Best v. Best

This case concerned a dispute regarding who was entitled to the proceeds of a retirement annuity contract. Plaintiff filed a complaint for declaratory judgment pursuant to the Uniform Declaratory Judgments Act claiming that she was entitled to the proceeds. The circuit court entered summary judgment in favor of Defendant. Plaintiff appealed. The district court did not reach the merits of the case, concluding that the circuit court lacked jurisdiction over the dispute because only a district court has jurisdiction over matters brought under the Declaratory Judgments Act, no matter the amount in controversy. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) a cause of action seeking declaratory relief can be within the jurisdiction of the circuit court so long as the circuit court has jurisdiction independent of the declaratory relief requested; and (2) in this case, the circuit court had jurisdiction independent of the declaratory relief sought, and therefore, the court had jurisdiction to decide the declaratory judgment claim. View "Best v. Best" on Justia Law