Johnson v. Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc., No. 12-3869 (7th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Johnson, sole administrator of the Shirley T. Sherrod Benefit Pension Plan and Trust, sued the Plan’s custodian, Merrill Lynch, alleging that Merrill Lynch refused to abide by his instructions and has exercised control over Plan assets by refusing to make distribution to Sherrod. The Plan is a single-participant retirement account, exempt from garnishment under the anti-alienation provision of the Employment Retirement Income Security Act, 29 U.S.C. 1056(d). There is a freeze on the account, as a result of a Michigan state court order in a post-judgment collection proceeding. The district court dismissed for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, holding that any harm is traceable to the state court order, not to Merrill Lynch.