Our People

Patricia L. Davidson
Partner

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Biography

Patricia is a partner in the Probate, Trust and Fiduciary Litigation Group and the Business and General Litigation Group. Her practice focuses on helping families resolve issues involving wills, trusts and real estate as well as disputes involving family and closely-held businesses. In addition, she represents individual and institutional fiduciaries, and assists them with resolving conflicts concerning their rights and obligations.

Patricia also litigates complex business issues that arise out of breach of fiduciary duty claims, breach of contract claims, shareholder disputes, corporate dissolutions, trade secret issues and real estate matters.

Patricia works closely with clients to manage risks and, when litigation is neccessary, to implement efficient and effective strategies. She has an extensive track record of successfully taking matters to trial, but she also works with clients to achieve practical and expedient results when litigation is not in the client's best interest.

Patricia was named a Massachusetts "Super Lawyer" by Boston magazine and Law & Politics in 2013 and 2014.  In 2001, Patricia was selected by the Worcester Business Journal as one of "40 under Forty" young professionals honored for their community service. In 2003, the Girl Scouts of the Montachusett Council named her a "Woman of Distinction." She is a leader in a number of community organizations in Worcester and MetroWest.

Representative Matters

  • Successfully tried a case between two factions of an extended family involving two wills, four trusts, three consolidated lawsuits and eighteen legal claims, including the proper allocation of trust and estate expenses; misappropriation of trust assets; distribution of insurance proceeds; and the effect of the testator's lifetime gifts and gifts of equity
  • Successfully tried a jury case in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts for fraud and tortious interference with contractual/advantageous relationship against a company engaged in organizing amateur sports leagues, its shareholders and its attorney; prevailed in the appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit; spearheaded collection efforts resulting in full satisfaction of the judgment
  • Successfully defended beneficiaries of a trust who were sued by a family member who sought ownership of trust real estate. Legal issues raised at trial included judicial estoppel, laches, the statute of frauds, the statute of wills, the canons of ethics, the disciplinary rules, adverse possession, constructive trust, fiduciary duty and the attorney-client privilege.
  • Prevailed in a trial in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York on behalf of a company that provides licensure and educational services to financial institutions against allegations, including breach of contract, breach of fiduciary and equitable claims, initiated by a sales and marketing company after termination of the relationship for poor performance
  • Negotiated a resolution to a long-term dispute among siblings by forcing the sale of real estate through a petition to partition, by filing suit against an escrow agent for breach of fiduciary duty and by cooperating with the court-appointed commissioner's plan to break an impasse by auctioning the disputed real estate
  • Successfully defended a $1 million claim for breach of contract against a manufacturer of computer hardware by serving a motion for summary judgment that relied almost exclusively on the plaintiff's own deposition testimony to demonstrate that the claim was barred by the plaintiff's prior conduct and to demonstrate the speciousness of the claim
  • Negotiated the settlement of complex litigation among shareholders of two closely-held international plastics, companies involving various business torts, contract claims and equitable remedies; coordinated the transfer of stock, the implementation of a security agreement and indemnification for international financing obligations
  • Successfully petitioned the Supreme Judicial Court to reform trusts to include language permitting trusts to benefit from generation-skipping transfer tax exemption by proving that testators would have intended to minimize taxes
  • Secured a summary judgment on behalf of a restaurant in the Superior Court and on appeal before the Massachusetts Appeals Court by proving that the restaurant would not infringe on the plaintiff's legal and private rights and that, as a result, the plaintiff had no standing to challenge the zoning relief afforded the restaurant
  • Successfully defended a municipal zoning board of appeals at trial before the Superior Court by proving that the board correctly determined that that plaintiff's construction violated the intensity regulations under the zoning bylaw and constituted a prohibited alteration and reconstruction of a nonconforming use or structure
  • Successfully petitioned a probate court after final judgment to reopen a guardian's three accounts by showing fraud and manifest error against the guardian who had mismanaged the ward's estate; filed a complaint for breach of fiduciary duty; negotiated a settlement that provided for significant reimbursement of fees to the estate
  • Deflected a co-executor's attempt to gain wrongful control of an estate by seeking injunctive relief and by pursuing contempt proceedings after the co-executor forged our client's name, misappropriated estate assets and violated an injunction

Publications/Presentations

  • "Heirs and Heirlooms Can Create Hurdles in Estate Administration," Estate Planning , August 2014
  • “Petition for Instructions and Complaints for Declaratory Judgment in Probate Court: Tools to Determine Intent and Keep the Peace,” Massachusetts Lawyers Journal (March 2014)
  • Quoted in “Court Tells Bernice King to Surrender Bible, Nobel [Peace Prize],” Atlanta Journal-Constitution (2014)
  • “Petition for Instructions and Complaints for Declaratory Judgment: Equity Tools to Assist with the Interpretation and Administration of Estate Planning Documents,” Massachusetts Bar Association Probate Law Conference (2013)
  • “Client Management in Trust and Estate Disputes,” American Law Institute/Continuing Legal Education (2013)
  • "Legal Fees: Getting Paid-Preferably by the Estate, Trust or the Other Guy," Representing Estate and Trust Beneficiaries and Fiduciaries, American Law Institute/American Bar Association (2012)
  • "Rantings of a Partner... and Pushback from the Associate," American Bar Association, contributing author (2011)
  • "Traditions and Transitions: Challenges in Family and Closely-Held Businesses," Mirick O'Connell Seminar Series (2011)
  • "Attorney's Fees in Probate Administration and Litigation," Massachusetts Bar Association Continuing Legal Education (2011)
  • "Joint Bank Accounts: the Solution or the Problem?" Mirick O'Connell Trusts and Estates Newsletter (2010)
  • "The Estate of Bartley J. King and In Re: Guardianship of Kenneth E. Simon: Analyzing Attorney's Fees in Probate Litigation," Section Review, Massachusetts Bar Association (2010)
  • "Successor Fiduciary Liability: When the Follower Must be the Leader," Mirick O'Connell Trusts and Estates Newsletter (2010)
  • "Authentication of Emails: Beware of Improper Alterations," Proof, The Journal of the Trial Evidence Committee of the American Bar Association (2010)
  • "When Accountant Communications Are - and Are Not - Confidential," Mirick O'Connell Business Law e-Report (October 2009)
  • "Family Probate, Trust and Fiduciary Litigation," Mirick O'Connell Seminar Series (2009)
  • "Trustees Take Note: In O'Connor v. Redstone, the SJC Explores a Successor Trustee's Obligation to Seek Redress for a Predecessor's Misconduct," Section Review, Massachusetts Bar Association (2009)
  • "Fiduciary Successor Liability," Worcester County Bar Day (2009)
  • "Sibling Rivalry in Probate Matters," Mirick O'Connell Trusts and Estates Newsletter (2008)
  • "Misappropriation of Trade Secrets and Trademark Claims," Worcester County Bar Day (2008)
  • "What You Don't Know about Your Patents Will Hurt You," Mirick O'Connell Seminar Series (2007)
  • "Disputes Involving the Family Castle (or Cabin)," Mirick O'Connell Trusts and Estates Newsletter (2007)
  • "Post Closing Issues in the Sale of a Business," Worcester County Bar Day (2007)
  • "Shareholder Rights in Closely-Held Companies," Worcester County Bar Day (2006)
  • "Director and Officer Liability and Risk Management," Mirick O'Connell Seminar Series (2006)
  • "Managing Risks in Private Companies," Mirick O'Connell Seminar Series (2005)
  • "Legal Ways to Get Out of a Contract," Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (2004, 2003 and 2002)
  • "Environmental Issues in Residential Real Estate," Worcester County Bar Day (2003)
  • "Personnel Law Update," Council on Education in Management (1999, 1998 and 1997)