Wyoming Supreme Court upholds dismissal in Disney heir lawsuit

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

A lawsuit filed by Walt Disney’s grandson over land cession in Teton County should be decided in California, the Wyoming Supreme Court has ruled.

The court on Wednesday dismissed Brad Lund in his bid to file a lawsuit over the sale of land known as Eagle South Fork Ranch near Wilson in Teton County.

The judges unanimously upheld a state district court’s ruling that justice would be better served if Lund’s challenge was heard in a California court rather than a Wyoming court.

“The District Court did not abuse its discretion in finding that the California court was an available and adequate alternative forum,” said the decision written by Chief Justice Kate Fox.

The decision is the latest in a long series of legal battles between Lund, his sister Michelle Lund and the trustees of the two trusts maintained for the two.

Brad and Michelle Lund are the children of Sharon Disney-Lund, Walt Disney’s daughter.

Their father purchased the 110-acre ranch and after their mother’s death the ranch was placed in residual trusts for the two children, with each trust owning 50% of the land.

According to the ruling, since 2009, Brad Lund and the trustees have been embroiled in a lawsuit in California probate court over numerous elements of the trust, including how assets should be divided between Brad and Michelle’s trusts. .

In 2019, the administrators agreed to let Bradford buy his sister’s stake in the Eagle South Fork Ranch for $9.7 million rather than sell the land to a third party.

In September 2020, the trustees announced that they had received an offer of $35 million for the property, which they intended to accept. Michelle withdrew her consent to her brother’s purchase of the land.

Brad then filed a lawsuit against his sister and the trustees in Teton County State District Court, claiming they breached the terms of an agreement to purchase the land.

The trustees and Michelle asked that the lawsuit be dismissed because all other legal actions surrounding the trusts were taking place in California.

The state district court granted the claim, and Brad challenged it in the Wyoming Supreme Court, saying the action involved Wyoming property, so it made sense to hear the challenge in Wyoming.

But the Supreme Court, which agreed that it made more sense to sue in California because it was actually part of a larger probate case in that state.

“The California court has a long history with these parties and their trust disputes, and the district court reasonably concluded that the most effective course was for that court to also preside over this dispute,” the decision said.

Additionally, all parties, witnesses and evidence in the case are located outside of Wyoming, according to the ruling.

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