Harris Trust and Savings Bank v. Salomon Smith Barney Inc.

530 U.S. 238 (2000)

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Harris Trust and Savings Bank v. Salomon Smith Barney Inc.

United States Supreme Court
530 U.S. 238 (2000)

  • Written by Alexander Hager-DeMyer, JD

Facts

Harris Trust and Savings Bank (Harris) (plaintiff) was a trustee and fiduciary of the Ameritech Pension Trust (trust), a pension plan governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). Salomon Smith Barney Inc. (Salomon) (defendant) provided broker-dealer services to the trust, executing trades at the direction of the trust’s fiduciaries. Salomon sold interests in several motel properties to the trust for $21 million at the direction of National Investment Services of America (National), another of the trust’s fiduciaries. Harris discovered that the motel interests were worthless and filed suit against Salomon in federal district court under ERISA § 502(a)(3), asserting that Salomon engaged in a prohibited transaction with a plan fiduciary, National, and was liable for the harm caused by the sale. Harris sought rescission of the sale, restitution from Salomon of the purchase price with interest, and disgorgement of Salomon’s profits from the trust’s assets that Salomon received from the sale. Salomon moved for summary judgment, and the district court denied the motion. Salomon filed an interlocutory appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. The court of appeals reversed the ruling of the district court, and Harris appealed to the United States Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Thomas, J.)

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