Goodwin Procter reports on the Woodward Case, which provides guidance to trustees on their duties under the Massachusetts Prudent Investor Act. Their report begins as follows:
On July 23, 2014, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”), sitting in the John Adams Courthouse, issued a decision in Woodward School For Girls, Inc. v. City of Quincy, Trustee (“Woodward”). The case, involving a trust established by John Adams in 1822 of which the City of Quincy (“Quincy”) is the trustee, is the first reported case in which the SJC has reviewed a trustee’s investment duties under the 1998 Massachusetts Prudent Investor Act (“MPIA”). It is also the first SJC case since Chase v. Pevear (1981), that discusses a trustee’s investment responsibilities. In Woodward, the SJC upheld the probate court’s finding that Quincy breached its fiduciary duties by investing the trust almost entirely in fixed income instruments.