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Noteworthy Cases: Montgomery v. Tulane

August 21, 2019 News

Montgomery v. Tulane is a follow-up to the earlier case of Howard v. Tulane, also handled by SPS&R, which resulted in a 2008 landmark ruling by the Supreme Court of Louisiana that would-be heirs who inherit nothing from an ancestor’s estate have the right to enforce a condition in their ancestor’s will. Previously, these would-be heirs only had a poorly defined right to revoke a conditional donation or bequest if the donee violated the condition. By ruling that this class of plaintiffs, called would-be heirs or successors, have a right to enforce a conditional bequest in their ancestor’s will, the Supreme Court set the stage for the current litigation, in which the plaintiff is a great-great-great niece of Mrs. Newcomb. Following up on the ruling in Howard, Mrs. Montgomery asked the court in New Orleans to enforce the charge in Mrs. Newcomb’s will that Tulane “continue to use and apply the benefactions and property, I have bestowed and may give, for the present and future development of this Department of the University known as the H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College which engrosses my thoughts and purposes, and is endeared to me by such hallowed associations.”

Montgomery v. Tulane is a significant case in the increasingly important area of donor intent in making bequests to educational and charitable institutions. Read the pleadings filed on behalf of Mrs. Montgomery here.