Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

by
The First Circuit reversed the district court’s grant of summary judgment for Plaintiffs in this alleging that certain assets should have been distributed to the estate of the decedent in this case, holding that the district court improperly granted summary judgment for Plaintiffs. In 2003, the decedent established an individual retirement account (IRA) with Mesirow Financial (Mesirow IRA) and designated Alyssa Jane D’Amore, his then-wife, as beneficiary. The couple divorced, but the decedent never revoked the beneficiary of the designation. The decedent later transferred the majority of his Mesirow IRA assets to a TD Ameritrade IRA. Upon the decedent’s death, Mesirow distributed the remaining assets in the Mesirow IRA to D’Amore. Plaintiffs, the primary beneficiary of the decedent and the executor of the decedent’s estate, filed suit against D’Amore, alleging that the Mesirow assets should have instead been distributed to the decedent’s estate. The district court granted summary judgment for Plaintiffs. The First Circuit reversed and remanded with directions to enter summary judgment for D’Amore, holding that because a request to transfer all assets was never made, the beneficiary designation was never revoked and D’Amore was entitled to the remaining assets in the account upon the decedent’s death. View "Cooper v. D'Amore" on Justia Law

by
The First Circuit reversed the district court’s grant of summary judgment for Plaintiffs in this alleging that certain assets should have been distributed to the estate of the decedent in this case, holding that the district court improperly granted summary judgment for Plaintiffs. In 2003, the decedent established an individual retirement account (IRA) with Mesirow Financial (Mesirow IRA) and designated Alyssa Jane D’Amore, his then-wife, as beneficiary. The couple divorced, but the decedent never revoked the beneficiary of the designation. The decedent later transferred the majority of his Mesirow IRA assets to a TD Ameritrade IRA. Upon the decedent’s death, Mesirow distributed the remaining assets in the Mesirow IRA to D’Amore. Plaintiffs, the primary beneficiary of the decedent and the executor of the decedent’s estate, filed suit against D’Amore, alleging that the Mesirow assets should have instead been distributed to the decedent’s estate. The district court granted summary judgment for Plaintiffs. The First Circuit reversed and remanded with directions to enter summary judgment for D’Amore, holding that because a request to transfer all assets was never made, the beneficiary designation was never revoked and D’Amore was entitled to the remaining assets in the account upon the decedent’s death. View "Cooper v. D'Amore" on Justia Law

by
The First Circuit reversed the judgment of the district court and remanded this case involving the ownership of the Touro Synagogue building and associated land and rimonim used in the worship in the Touro Synagogue. Congregation Jeshuat Isreal (CJI) brought a declaratory judgment against Congregation Shearith Israel (CSI), and CSI counterclaimed. The district court concluded that CJI was owner of the rimonim and that CSI was owner of the building and real estate subject to a trust for CJI as representing the practitioners of Judaism in Newport, Rhode Island. The First Circuit reversed, holding that the only reasonable conclusions to be drawn from the parties’ own agreements determining property rights by instruments customarily considered by civil courts are that CSI owns both the rimonim and the real property free of any trust or other obligations to CJI except as lessor to CJI as holdover lessee. View "Congregation Jeshuat Israel v. Congregation Shearith Israel" on Justia Law

by
This case concerned defects in the execution of two life insurance annuity polices that the decedent purchased through National Western Life Insurance Co. Plaintiffs, the decedent’s wife and children, sued National Western seeking a declaration that the policies were void and a return of the premiums paid by the decedent. National Western filed a motion to dismiss because Plaintiffs failed to join a necessary party - the decedent’s brother, who was named under both policies as the sole beneficiary - even though National Western had already paid him. The district court denied the motion, ruling that the beneficiary at issue was not “required to be joined if feasible” under Fed. R. Civ. P. 19(a). The court then granted summary judgment for Plaintiffs. The First Circuit vacated the judgment of the district court, holding that the sole beneficiary of the annuities was required to be joined if feasible under rule 19(a). The court remanded the case to the district court to determine whether it was equitable for the case to proceed without him. View "Maldonado-Vinas v. National Western Life Insurance Co." on Justia Law