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Regnery v. Wallerich

September 28, 2010

FREDERICK W. REGNERY, LINDSAY REGNERY, FREDERICK L. REGNERY, AND GEOFFREY REGNERY, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
GRETCHEN REGNERY WALLERICH, AND LYNN REGNERY, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge George M. Marovich

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiffs Frederick W. Regnery ("Frederick W.") and his children, Lindsay Regnery ("Lindsay"), Frederick L. Regnery ("Frederick L.") and Geoffrey Regnery ("Geoffrey"), filed a second amended complaint against Frederick W.'s two sisters, Gretchen Regnery Wallerich ("Gretchen") and Lynn Regnery ("Lynn"). The dispute involves two trust funds. Defendants move for judgment on the pleadings with respect to certain claims. For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants in part and denies in part the motion.

I. Background

The following facts are taken from the pleadings and are, unless otherwise noted, admitted by all of the parties.

Members of the Regnery family are fighting over two trusts. The first trust, Marital Trust A, was created by the father of plaintiff Frederick W. and defendants Gretchen and Lynn for the benefit of their mother, Verla Regnery, who passed away in November 2007. Marital Trust A provides, in relevant part:

THIRD: (b) All of the income from Trust "A" from the date of my death shall be paid to my wife, VERLA REGNERY, in convenient installments, at least quarter-annually, so long as she shall live. In addition to the net income of Trust "A", the Trustees shall pay at any time and from time to time to my wife, VERLA REGNERY, so long as she shall live, such amounts from the principal of Trust "A" as the Trustees in their absolute and sole discretion shall deem necessary, appropriate or advisable.

(c) Upon the death of my wife, the assets then remaining in Trust "A", with the income accrued thereon, shall be distributed to such person or persons or to the estate of my wife, free of all trusts created hereunder, in such manner and in such proportions as my wife may designate and appoint in and by her Last Will. Such power of appointment hereby conferred upon my wife shall be exercisable by her exclusively and in all events.

Marital Trust A. The three trustees of Marital Trust A are Frederick W., Gretchen and Lynn. Frederick W., Frederick L., Lindsay and Geoffrey were never direct beneficiaries of Marital Trust A.

The second trust over which the parties are fighting is the Verla Regnery Trust (the "Verla Trust"). The Verla Trust was formed in 1989 and amended and restated in 2003. Verla was the primary beneficiary of the Verla Trust, and Gretchen and Lynn were the co-trustees. Under the terms of the Verla Trust, the remainder was to be distributed in equal, one-third parts to Frederick W., Gretchen and Lynn. Gretchen and Lynn were to receive their parts outright. Frederick W. was to receive his part via the Frederick W. Regnery Trust, of which Frederick L., Lindsay and Geoffrey are the co-trustees.

II. Standard on a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings

A party may move for judgment on the pleadings at any time after the pleadings have closed. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c). In this case, the pleadings include the second amended complaint, answer, counterclaims, answers to counterclaims and the trust documents attached to plaintiffs' second amended complaint. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 7(a), 10(c). A court may not consider evidence outside of the pleadings without converting the motion to a motion for summary judgment. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(d). In considering a motion for judgment on the pleadings, a court applies the same standard as when considering a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim and considers the facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Buchanan-Moore v. County of Milwaukee, 570 F.3d 824, 827 (7th Cir. 2009).

III. Discussion

A. Plaintiffs' Claim for an Accounting

In Count I, plaintiffs seek an accounting under both the Verla Trust and Marital Trust A. Defendants move for judgment on the pleadings on the grounds that certain plaintiffs are ...


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