Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
IN RE: ESTATE OF SARUNAS V. ABRAITIS
Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Probate
Court Division Case No. 2017 EST 222341
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Catherine M. Brady.
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEES For Egidijus K. Marcinkevicius
Egidijus Marcinkevicius Brenda T. Bodnar Algis Sirvaitis
Algis Sirvaitis & Co.
Adam M. Fried Adam M. Fried Martin T. Galvin Paul R. Shugar
David J. Walters Reminger Co., L.P.A.
BEFORE: Jones, J., E.T. Gallagher, P.J., and Celebrezze, J.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
A. JONES, SR., JUDGE.
Appellant-attorney Catherine Brady ("Brady"),
former executor of the estate of Sarunas V. Abraitis
("Abraitis"), appeals the trial court's
decision to remove her as executor. Finding no merit to the
appeal, we affirm.
In 2008, Abraitis's mother, Vlada Abraitis, died.
Abraitis was appointed executor of her estate in 2011. Brady
was his attorney at the time. In 2013, the probate court
removed Abraitis from his position as executor, finding that
he had concealed assets of her estate. He was ordered to
repay $575, 870.30 to his mother's estate.
The court named appellee-attorney Adam Fried
("Fried") as the successor executor on Vlada's
estate. The court also found that Brady engaged in frivolous
conduct with respect to the administration of the estate. The
court ordered Brady and Abraitis to pay attorney fees and
expenses to Fried in the amount of $104, 485 in attorney fees
and $1, 214.59 in expenses. Brady appealed, but this court
affirmed the probate court's decision. In re Estate
of Abraitis, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 104816,
2017-Ohio-5577, discretionary appeal not allowed,
Slip Opinion No. 2017-1131, 2017-Ohio-9111.
Abraitis died on January 4, 2017. In accordance with his
will, Brady was appointed executor of his estate. Fried, as
fiduciary of Vlada's estate, filed a claim against
Abraitis's estate, but Brady rejected the claim. Fried
then moved to remove Brady as executor of the estate. The
trial court held a hearing, granted the motion removing Brady
as executor, and appointed appellee-attorney Egidijus
Marcinkevicius as successor fiduciary to Abraitis's
In its decision removing Brady as the executor, the trial
court found the following: (1) during the hearing, Brady was
"evasive, argumentative and largely unaware of what her
responsibilities were" as executor of the estate; (2)
Brady admitted to receiving a large amount of cash from
Abraitis shortly before his death, which she had failed to
account for or list as an estate asset; and (3) Brady
testified she knew Abraitis used a false social security
number on at least one bank account belonging to the estate.
The court further found that Brady had a "clear conflict
in serving as executrix of this estate due to the judgment
rendered between her and decedent, jointly and severally,
" and "Brady's rejection of Adam Fried's
claim on behalf of the estate of Abraitis's mother is
further indication of conflict and falls within the allowance
under R.C. 2113.18."
Brady now appeals, raising the following assignments of error
for our review:
I. The probate court erred as a matter of law where the
movant for removal, Adam Fried, Successor Fiduciary of the
Estate of Vlada Abraitis, lacked standing to ...