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Sorrell v. Reeves

United States District Court, E.D. Texas, Sherman Division

October 21, 2019

IMA JEAN SORRELL & WILLIAM SAMUEL SORRELL, JR.
v.
JERRY W. REEVES, Individually & as Trustee F/B/O WILLIAM SAMUEL SORRELL, SR. TRUST, et al.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          AMOS L. MAZZANT, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Pending before the Court is Plaintiff Ima Jean Sorrell's Motion to Compel Discovery from Jerry Reeves, Mary Lou Reeves, Brandon Reeves, & BWR Construction, LLC (Dkt. #113).[1]Having reviewed the motion and the relevant pleadings, the Court finds that the motion to compel should be granted.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Mrs. Ima Jean Sorrell was married to Mr. William Sorrell, Sr. (collectively “the Sorrells”). They had two children: Plaintiff, Mr. William Samuel Sorrell, Jr. and Ms. Bonnie Sorrell Gregory. The Sorrells accumulated a sizable joint estate worth in excess of $5, 000, 000 prior to their retirement.

         In 2014, William Sorrell, Sr. consulted the Sorrells' attorney Defendant J.S. “Sandy” Freels to create a second draft of the Sorrells' estate planning documents, which included the Sorrells' wills, trusts, and power of attorneys, specifically creating the Ima Jean Sorrell Trust and William Samuel Sorrell, Sr. Trust (“Sorrell Trusts”) at issue in this motion. The Sorrell Trusts appointed Defendant, Jerry W. Reeves as the trustee of the Sorrell Trusts and named Jerry Reeves' wife, Mary Lou Reeves, and their son, Brandon W. Reeves (collectively “the Reeves Defendants”) as successor trustees of the Sorrell Trusts. The estate planning documents also list the Reeves Defendants as the beneficiaries of the residual estate after the death of Ima Jean Sorrell and William Sorrell, Jr. (collectively “Plaintiffs”). Plaintiffs did not know Jerry Reeves or the Reeves Defendants.

         William Sorrell, Sr. passed away on February 20, 2014. Immediately after, Jerry Reeves exercised Ima Jean Sorrell's power of attorney. Acting in his roles under the Sorrells' relevant estate planning documents, Jerry Reeves transferred all of Ima Jean Sorrell's assets, including all her cash, to an entity that is believed to be the Sorrell Trusts. Meanwhile, Jerry Reeves also began to make cash payments of $1, 300 per month to Plaintiffs. After the filing of the present suit, Jerry Reeves resigned as trustee and Brandon Reeves is now the acting trustee.

         Plaintiffs filed suit on May 14, 2018 (Dkt. #1). As part of the litigation and discovery process, Plainitff Ima Jean Sorrell served interrogatories and requests for production. The requested interrogatories, at issue, are as follows:

         INTERROGATORIES

1. Please identify each financial transaction between you and the Sorrell Trusts in excess of $500, specifying the date, the purpose/description of the transaction, the amount of the transaction and whether the transaction was made by cash or check.
2. Please identify each financial transaction between you and Mary Lou Reeves from February 20, 2014 until the present in excess of $500, specifying the date, the purpose/description of the transaction, the amount of the transaction and whether the transaction was made by cash or check.
3. Please identify each financial transaction between you and Brandon Reeves from February 20, 2014 until the present in excess of $500, specifying the date, the purpose/description of the transaction, the amount of the transaction and whether the transaction was made by cash or check.
4. Please identify each financial transaction between you and Mindi Jo Reeves from February 20, 2014 until the present in excess of $500, specifying the date, the purpose/description of the transaction, the amount of the transaction and whether the transaction was made by cash or check.
5. Please identify each financial transaction between you and Stacy Kimuyu from February 20, 2014 until the present in excess of $500, specifying the date, the purpose/description of the transaction, the amount of the transaction and whether the transaction was made by cash or check.
6. Please identify each financial transaction between you and Nicole Reeves from February 20, 2014 until the present in excess of $500, specifying the date, the purpose/description of the transaction, the amount of the transaction ...

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