After a full week of testimony, a civil trial over an estate's rental income abruptly ended Friday, with the parties opting to settle rather than letting the jury decide.

Plaintiffs Marilyn Gregory and Elizabeth Crow filed a lawsuit last May, claiming their late father, Joseph Lee Victorian, created the Joseph Lee Victorian Trust before his death.

The suit named Raymond M. Brassard, Patrick Dargin, John K. Victorian and Loretta Payne Victorian, who are also trustees, as defendants.

After a year of litigation, the trial began April 11 in Judge Milton Shuffield's 136th District Court and ended five days later on April 15 before jurors could deliberate.

The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

According to the lawsuit, Gregory and Crow - the trust's only living beneficiaries - say the trust's assets include rental properties, warehouses and other real property.

The dispute between the trustees arose after Gregory and Crow claim they have never been asked to vote on or meet with their co-trustees regarding any actions the co-trustees performed.

"Defendants, without Plaintiffs' consent, have allowed defendant Loretta Payne Victorian to manage the assets of the Trust," the suit states.

"Plaintiffs do not trust Payne and do not believe Payne is acting in the best interests of the Plaintiffs/Beneficiaries. In other words, the interests of Payne and the interest of the Plaintiffs are adverse."

Wyatt D. Snider, Jason M. Byrd, Justin G. Sanderson and Russell W. Heald of Snider and Byrd in Beaumont represent the plaintiffs.

The defendants are represented in part by Beaumont attorney Bruce Partain.

Case No. D186-804

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