Monday, June 14, 2010

An Open Letter to All Members of the Jue Joe Clan

Dear Family ,

To my aunties and uncles and cousins who are descendents of May, Corrine , and Dorothy , I apologize for not including more of your history in this blog. Unfortunately ,the lawsuit and the family rift that followed has caused the descendents of San Tong Jue to lose all contact with the descendents of my Grand Aunts . We do not know your history , or the viewpoint of your families on these events. If you should happen on this blog please feel free to post on it or contact me .

For me there are no villains in this story. It is in the end a tragic story of a brother and his sisters and sister in law caught up in the drama of the Chinese immigrant story , of a family caught up in the racist policies that led to the Oriental Exclusion Act and the Alien Land Act . It is the story of a family on the verge of becoming American and yet holding on to being Chinese in a new land . It is the drama of a family trying to make new rules and relationships and yet holding on to old ones.

Our family lawsuit has become a footnote in training programs for lawyers and estate planners .


"Nobody enjoys a family feud over money. Nobody wins. This is especially true for feuds concerning the inheritance of assets from loved ones

Most of us have, at one time or another, probably also heard warring survivors say their fights are not about money – and they are right. The fights are about anger, envy, fear, pride, jealousy, resentment, power, love, hate and regret.

Death and grief often release pent-up emotions that often overrule otherwise rational and economic decision-making and fuel legal actions by survivors. When the parents were alive, their role as parent worked as the structure to keep the family and the planning in check; however, upon their death and the shift to the next generation there tends to be a Rules Crisis. The children have no structure, no rules in place to help make the transition smooth, because the parents, in their planning, failed to anticipate that the children might grasp at straws, once they were gone, to make up emotionally for something that was missing when they were alive. Thus, resulting legal actions begin to erode the value of the family business or the estate more quickly and surely than any tax code or competitor ever could.

The most important step or decision, when creating or revising an estate plan, should be to find advisors who understand that family dynamics can destroy a family; and who are equipped to bring in the right people to help the parents put in place a reliable legal document that addresses the family dynamics as part of the estate planning process. From the research, these factors go a long way toward developing an estate plan that will hold up long after you’re gone. "

Unfortunately , Jue Joe and his successors had no such advisor to help them .

There is a time to put away old family hurts , and stories that ingrain that hurt . I think that was also my Grandather, San Tong's wish . It is time to start anew . Auntie Maxine in contacting Auntie Soo-Yin many years ago while researching her family roots said it best . She said that after all, despite the rift, "We're still family," I heartily agree. This is our story , a story that we should tell to our children , who will tell it to their children down the generations . It is the story of how our family came to be here in a new land. And as my Auntie Soo- Jan says
"Our past molded us to be what we are today."

with love and respect to all the clan ,

Jack Jue Jr.
Great grandson of Jue Joe
June 14, 2010


  1. JR: So beautifully articulated and so true! You've grasped the meaning of our family's experience so well. As future generations will discover, through your effort in uniting us, the journey of the Jue clan is far broader than what Jue v. Jue in 162Cal.App.2d.213 shows. In my opinion the 3 month trial should never have occured. Instead, our family issues should have been adjudicated through Mediation. Once a case goes to court it is the "process of the law" that takes over and the process never considers the human cost. The participants were unaware of the options, and Mediation, in 1956, was in its infancy. Twenty-five years later Corrine and San Tong reconciled and she said to him, "...if Dorothy and I had been older we would never have done this to you." She understood, at last, that litigation was not the answer. And San Tong never blamed his sisters. He forgave them. One day he said to me, "Even though I lost the land I thank God that it still remains in the family." To him family meant everything. He always said, "The whole in time heals its injured parts." This is so Chinese. One looks ahead and long term. Sees each life as a fraction of the whole of a family's life-force. Auntie Soo-Yin.

  2. Jr. reposting my prior email, just wanted to let you know that I’m hooked. I read it every morning. Your presentation of the “lawsuit” was outstanding. In fact, it was so moving my eyes began to well up as I read along. I only had bits and pieces and never understood the full story. Anyways, thanks a million Jr. for all your hard work.

  3. I am writing a book on the history of Van Nuys. I would love to know more about the connection between your ancestors and Otto F. Brant. As you know, Mr. Brant was one of the "Board of Control" who built the town of Van Nuys/Owensmouth/Marian. How they came to know each other and the process by which he helped your family create this farm is absolutely fascinating, especially concerning the covenants which existed at the time and were quite prevalent in all written materials for potential home, business and farm purchasers. Please feel free to contact me. Richard Hilton Thanks.