United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division
SALLY D. MOTHERWAY, Plaintiff,
TEACHERS INSURANCE AND ANNUITY ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA-COLLEGE RETIREMENT AND EQUITIES FUND INDIVIDUAL & INSTITUTIONAL SERVICES, LLC, Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
E. STEELE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on plaintiff Sally
Motherway's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. #127) filed
on August 21, 2017. Sally Motherway (plaintiff) moves for
summary judgment as to the potential claims of remaining
cross-defendants Christine Engustian, Megan Motherway, Mara
Motherway, Mavis Motherway, and Carmel Motherway, and as to
the defaulted cross-defendants Joseph E. Motherway, Edward J.
Motherway, First American Bank, Melita M. Motherway, Suzanna
M. Murray, and William D. Motherway. (Id.) Carmel
Motherway filed a Response to the Motion for Summary Judgment
(Doc. #138) and Christine Engustian filed a Notice that she
would not be filing a substantive response to the Motion for
Summary Judgment due to ongoing settlement discussions (Doc.
#136). The other cross-defendants have not filed Responses
and the time to do so has expired.
judgment is appropriate only when the Court is satisfied that
“there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and
that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). “An issue of fact is
‘genuine' if the record taken as a whole could lead
a rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving
party.” Baby Buddies, Inc. v. Toys “R”
Us, Inc., 611 F.3d 1308, 1314 (11th Cir. 2010). A fact
is “material” if it may affect the outcome of the
suit under governing law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).
ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the Court views all
evidence and draws all reasonable inferences in favor of the
non-moving party. Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380
(2007); Tana v. Dantanna's, 611 F.3d 767, 772
(11th Cir. 2010). However, “if reasonable minds might
differ on the inferences arising from undisputed facts, then
the court should deny summary judgment.” St.
Charles Foods, Inc. v. Am.'s Favorite Chicken Co.,
198 F.3d 815, 819 (11th Cir. 1999) (quoting Warrior
Tombigbee Transp. Co. v. M/V Nan Fung, 695 F.2d 1294,
1296 (11th Cir. 1983) (finding summary judgment “may be
inappropriate even where the parties agree on the basic
facts, but disagree about the factual inferences that should
be drawn from these facts”)). “If a reasonable
fact finder evaluating the evidence could draw more than one
inference from the facts, and if that inference introduces a
genuine issue of material fact, then the court should not
grant summary judgment.” Allen v. Bd. of Pub.
Educ., 495 F.3d 1306, 1315 (11th Cir. 2007).
matter arises out of payouts on annuity contracts maintained
by TIAA-CREF Individual & Institutional Services, LLC.
2004, plaintiff Sally Motherway created an estate plan
pursuant to Florida law, which included a Living Revocable
Trust and a durable power of attorney. (Doc. #2, ¶ 11;
Doc. #127, p. 2.) Her assets included Annuity Contracts with
Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America -
College Retirement and Equities Fund Individual &
Institutional Services, LLC (“TC Services”),
which generated income for plaintiff during
her lifetime. (Doc. #127, p. 2.)
exercising her rights under the annuity contracts, gave
instructions to TC Services to deposit funds paid from the
annuity contracts into her Florida trust account.
(Id. at 3.) TC Services honored plaintiff's
instruction through October 2013. (Id.) Then TC
Services received an order from the Rhode Island court
indicating that two guardians had been appointed on behalf of
Sally Motherway. (Id.) After receiving the Rhode
Island order, TC Services changed the payee of the accounts
from Sally Motherway's Florida trust account to an
account created by the Rhode Island guardians established in
the state of Rhode Island, and began distributing accrued
funds and monthly distributions to the Rhode Island
guardians. (Id. at 4.)
December 4, 2014, Sally Motherway filed this action in
Florida state court for declaratory and injunctive relief,
seeking to enjoin TC Services from distributing funds from
her retirement account administered by TC Services. (Doc. #2;
Doc. #127, p. 4.) On February 4, 2015, TC Services removed
the action to this Court. (Doc. #1.) On April 27, 2015, TC
Services answered and filed a third-party interpleader
complaint against Christine Engustian, Megan Motherway, Mara
Motherway, Mavis Motherway, and Carmel Motherway, and other
alleged beneficiaries of the accounts, seeking clarification
as to whose instructions it should follow and where payments
should be made. (Docs. ##14, 18.)
the filing of the third-party interpleader complaint, some of
the interpleaded parties have been dismissed from the matter
by stipulation or have had a clerk's default entered
against them for failure to respond to the third-party
interpleader complaint. (Docs. ##100-02, 104.) Specifically,
Sherry Goldin was dismissed with prejudice by stipulation,
and a clerk's default was entered as to Joseph E.
Motherway, Edward J. Motherway, American Bank, as Temporary
Co-Trustee of the Sally D. Motherway Living Revocable Trust,
Melita M. Motherway, Suzanne M. Murray, and William D.
Motherway. (Id.) Therefore, the only parties who
have not been dismissed or had a clerk's default entered
against them are Christine Engustian, Megan Motherway, Mara
Motherway, Mavis Motherway, and Carmel Motherway.
August 21, 2017, plaintiff filed a Motion for Summary
Judgment against the remaining cross-defendants, Christine
Engustian, Megan Motherway, Mara Motherway, Mavis Motherway,
and Carmel Motherway, and also as to the parties against whom
the clerk's default was entered, Joseph E. Motherway,
Edward J. Motherway, American Bank, as Temporary Co-Trustee
of the Sally D. Motherway Living Revocable Trust, Melita M.
Motherway, Suzanne M. Murray, and William D. Motherway. (Doc.
#127.) On January 5, 2018, plaintiff and Christine Engustian
filed a Stipulation for Dismissal, agreeing to the dismissal
with prejudice of all claims and counterclaims (Doc. #139),
and on January 8, 2018, an Order was entered dismissing
Christine Engustian with prejudice (Doc. #140). On January 2,
2018, Carmel filed an Opposition to plaintiff Sally
Motherway's Motion for Summary Judgment. (Doc. #138.) The
other parties have not responded and the time to do so has
only remaining claims in this action are those at issue in
the third-party interpleader complaint. (See Doc.
#130.) Cross-defendants were interpleaded into this action by
TC Services as potential future beneficiaries of the funds at
issue. However, as beneficiaries, their interests have not
vested and are contingent, at a minimum, upon the death of
the plaintiff, Sally Motherway. Because these beneficiaries
do not have any present right to the funds at issue, the
Court finds that plaintiff Sally Motherway is the only
individual entitled to her annuity distribution proceeds. As
such, the ...