Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
From our private database of 19,800+ case briefs...

Egelhoff v. Egelhoff

United States Supreme Court
532 U.S. 141 (2001)



David A. Egelhoff (David, Sr.) and Donna Rae Egelhoff (defendant) divorced in April 1994. Approximately two months later, David died intestate after a car accident. While they were married, David had designated Donna Rae as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy and pension plan provided by his employer, Boeing Company, both of which were governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). After life insurance proceeds totaling $46,000 were paid to Donna Rae as the named beneficiary of the policy, Samantha and David Egelhoff (David, Jr.) (plaintiffs), David’s children from a prior marriage, commenced two separate actions against Donna Rae in Washington state court to recover the insurance proceeds and the pension plan benefits. In both actions Samantha and David Jr. claimed a Washington statute had revoked the beneficiary designation of Donna Rae by operation of law because Dona Rae and David, Sr. were divorced at the time of his death. The state statute on which they relied provided that any nonprobate asset, defined to include “a life insurance policy” or “employee benefit plan,” that is payable or transferable upon death to a former spouse is revoked and treated as though the surviving spouse had predeceased the decedent spouse. Following a ruling by the Supreme Court of Washington in favor of Samantha and David, Jr., Donna Rae petitioned the United States Supreme Court for review of the decision.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Thomas, J.)

Dissent (Breyer, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 507,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 507,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 19,800 briefs, keyed to 985 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Questions & Answers

Have a question about this case?

Sign up for a free 7-day trial and ask it

Sign up for a FREE 7-day trial