Merrill Lynch’s Efforts to Dismiss Pre-Need Trust Litigation Thwarted
Two recent decisions in the Southern District of Illinois have denied Merrill Lynch an easy exit from litigation relating to the mishandling of pre-need funeral funds in Illinois.
On June 21, 2011, Judge Murphy denied in its entirety a motion to dismiss made by Merrill Lynch Bank & Trust Co. FSB (“MLTC”), the one-time trustee of the Pre-Need Trust. Judge Murphy determined that the funeral home plaintiffs have standing to pursue their claims and, importantly, recognized that they properly allege they were unfairly forced into signing a Trust Agreement with MLTC that purports to relieve MLTC – not only of any liability – but of any responsibility as a trustee to pursue claims against those who harmed the Trust. To view the decision, click here.
More recently, on July 1, 2011, Judge Murphy went on to deny a motion to dismiss made by the financial advisors to the Pre-Need Trust, Ed Schainker and Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc., in a related case brought by pre-need consumers. To view that decision, click here.