Business Law

Aghaian v. Minassian

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Cite as B296287
Filed May 24, 2021
Second District, Div. Eight

By Jaime B. Herren
Holland & Knight LLP

Headnotes:     Decedentā€™s Causes of Action ā€“ Successor-In-Interest Affidavit

Summary: A successor-in-interest affidavit may be filed after commencing or continuing a suit as a decedentā€™s successor-in-interest.

Plaintiffs, individually and as trustees of their deceased parents trust, sued Minassian for unjust enrichment in January, 2013.  More than two years later they filed successor-in-interest affidavits under C.C.P. section 377.32, and filed a second amended complaint.  On a renewed motion to dismiss or stay for forum non conveniens, Minassian argued that the filing of Plaintiffsā€™ successor-in-interest affidavits was not timely or proper because such affidavits must be filed prior to initiating an action on a decedentā€™s claims, the causes of action belonged to the decedentsā€™ estate, the affidavits were filed after the statute of limitations ran, and Plaintiffs initially alleged only harm to themselves individually rather than to their parents.  The trial court denied the motion.

The appellate court affirmed.  Because a successor-in-interest affidavit is not a condition precedent to filing a suit as a decedentā€™s successor in interest, Plaintiffsā€™ failure to immediately file the affidavits did not nullify their complaints.  Minassianā€™s argument that the claims could only be pursued by the personal representative of the estate was forfeit as unsupported by any meaningful analysis or citation.  No authority supported Minassianā€™s claim that the statute of limitations would continue to run until the filing of such affidavits.  Finally, Plaintiffs properly alleged that Minassian harmed the decedents, not Plaintiffs individually.

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