JOHN R. LUONGO, Plaintiff
MICHAEL A. LUONGO, JR., Defendant.
ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS
E. WALKER, JUSTICE.
the Court is Defendant's motion to dismiss Plaintiffs
complaint pursuant to Maine Rule of Civil Procedure 12. A
hearing was held on this motion on September 6, 2017.
Following the hearing, Plaintiff filed a motion for leave to
amend his complaint, which the Court granted. For the
following reasons, Defendant's motion to dismiss is
granted in part and denied in part.
August 8, 1983, Marie A. L. Jacobson created the Marie A. L.
Jacobson Trust. Plaintiff and Defendant are the co-trustees
of the trust. Plaintiff is a resident of Maine. Defendant is
a resident of Massachusetts. When the trust was created, Ms.
Jacobson was a resident of Florida. She subsequently moved to
Massachusetts and, in 2008, to Maine, where she died in 2014.
The trust instrument states: "This is a Massachusetts
Trust made in this state and is to be governed and construed
and administered according to its laws and shall continue to
be so governed and construed and administered though
administered elsewhere in the United States except for its
tax laws." (Def.'s Ans. Ex. A.)
terms of the trust, following the death of Ms. Jacobson,
certain distributions of trust assets are to be made, and the
remainder of trust assets are to be divided into two trusts,
one for the benefit of Plaintiff and one for the benefit of
Defendant. Plaintiff has brought this action alleging that
Plaintiff and Defendant are in deadlock concerning how the
trust is to be administered and how trust assets are to be
divided. In Count I of his amended complaint, Plaintiff
requests that the Court order the distribution of trust
assets to the two sub-trusts in accordance with the terms of
the trust. He further alleges that Defendant has failed to
perform his duties as co-trustee and demands from Defendant
reimbursement for expenses incurred by Plaintiff in
administration of the trust and for expenses incurred by
Plaintiff for Ms. Jacobson's funeral.
Count II, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant defrauded
Plaintiff by misrepresenting advice Defendant received from
Charles W. Sullivan, who was until his death counsel for Ms.
Jacobson's estate and a co-trustee of the trust.
Plaintiff claims Defendant told Plaintiff, based on Mr.
Sullivan's advice, that a bank account jointly held by
Plaintiff and Ms. Jacobson was part of Ms. Jacobson's
estate. Plaintiff alleges the account was actually a
non-probate asset that belongs exclusively to Plaintiff.
Based on Defendant's misrepresentations, Plaintiff made
$70, 000 of distributions from the account to Defendant and
his family members.
Count III, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant has violated the
Maine Uniform Prudent Investor Act, 18-B M.R.S. §§
901 et. seq., by abandoning his responsibilities as
a trustee and interfering with Plaintiffs attempts to
administer the trust.
these proceedings, Defendant has repeatedly asserted that he
is not subject to personal jurisdiction in Maine. Defendant
first raised this argument as an affirmative defense in his
answer. (Def.'s Ans., Aff. Defenses ¶ 2.) Defendant
then reasserted and elaborated on this argument in his Motion
to Dismiss. (Mot. Dismiss 3.) Although Defendant has since
filed an amended answer and a counterclaim, this filing was
made in the alternative and without waiving the objections
raised in his pending Motion to Dismiss. (Mot. Amend 1.)
Finally, this argument was reiterated at the hearing on this
motion. The Court finds Defendant has preserved his personal
is a Massachusetts resident, and Plaintiff has alleged no
facts to suggest Defendant is subject to general jurisdiction
in this state. Instead, Plaintiff contends that Defendant
"negotiated the terms of a trust re-domiciled in the
State of Maine with the relocation of the Settlor to Gray,
" subjecting him to personal jurisdiction for the
purposes of Counts I and III. (Opp'n to Mot. Dismiss 4.)
Plaintiff further argues that Defendant defrauded Plaintiff,
a Maine resident, subjecting Defendant to personal
jurisdiction in this state for the purposes of Count II.
argument pertaining to personal jurisdiction for Counts I and
III must fail. Bases for jurisdiction over a foreign
defendant in matters involving a trust are contained in the
Maine Uniform Trust Code. The Code provides: "By
accepting the trusteeship of a trust having its principal
place of administration in this State or by moving the
principal place of administration to this State, the trustee
submits personally to the jurisdiction of the courts of this
State regarding any matter involving the trust." 18-B
M.R.S. § 202(1). The statute further authorizes the
exercise of personal jurisdiction over "the
beneficiaries of a trust having its principal place of
administration in this State...." Id. §
202(2). Plaintiff argues that as a trustee and a beneficiary
of a trust with its principal place of administration in
Maine, Defendant is subject to personal jurisdiction in Maine
for claims involving the trust.
the principal place of administration of this trust is in
Massachusetts, not Maine. The trust was created in
Massachusetts, and the instrument itself states the trust is
administered in accordance with the laws of Massachusetts.
Although Maine law recognizes that the place of
administration of a trust may be transferred, that has not
occurred in this case. The procedure for transferring the
place of administration is outlined in 18-B M.R.S. § 108
and requires that a trustee notify qualified beneficiaries of
a proposed transfer and that the qualified beneficiaries have
an opportunity to object to the transfer. Id. §
has not alleged that he followed the procedures described in
§ 108 to transfer the administration of the trust from
Massachusetts to Maine. Thus, because jurisdiction under
§ 202 only arises when the trust is administered in
Maine, this Court cannot exercise personal jurisdiction over
Defendant under this section. Plaintiff has alleged no other
basis for personal jurisdiction over Defendant for ...