DSDK Successfully Defends Trustee Accused of Breach of Fiduciary Duty

Affirmed by Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District.

Roy Rogers, Jr., son of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Rogers, two of the most popular American Western actors and country musicians of their era, oversaw assets of the family held in trust accumulated over a lifetime career by his famous parents. Indeed, Roy Rogers, Sr. made almost 100 films, and he and Dale Evans starred in The Roy Rogers Show which aired on NBC from 1951 through 1957 and on CBS from 1961 to 1964.

The family trust held music and film rights, a vast collection of western artifacts and memorabilia, as well as the Rogers’ preserved horses (Trigger and Buttermilk) and dog (Bullett) which appeared in many of their films and television episodes. The trust’s collection was displayed in a popular California museum under a licensing agreement with the trust. In 2003, the museum moved to Branson, Missouri.

The museum faced financial trouble amid a weakening tourism economy in 2007–2008, and one of the trust’s beneficiaries sued claiming breach of fiduciary duties in running the museum and administering the trust. DSDK attorneys successfully defended Roy Rogers, Jr. at trial in the Circuit Court of Taney County, Missouri where Mr. Rogers was found to have fulfilled his fiduciary duties.

John Duggan argued the case on appeal to the Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District. The Court of Appeals in Barnett v. Rogers, 400 S.W.3d 38 (Mo. Ct. App. 2013) affirmed the trial court’s ruling finding for Roy Rogers, Jr. on the the beneficiaries’ breach of fiduciary duty claims.