Macdonald | Fernandez LLP


221 Sansome Street
San Francisco, CA 94104
Telephone: (415) 362-0449
Facsimile: (415) 394-5544
914 Thirteenth Street
Modesto, CA 95354
Telephone: (209)549-7949
Facsimile: (209) 236-0172

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Advisory Member to Dean's Honor Circle

We are proud to announce that Reno Fernandez has been appointed as as Advisory Member to the Dean's Honor Circle of Golden Gate University School of Law.  He is happy to be attending a meeting of the group today.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Bankruptcy Judges Luncheon

Reno Fernandez is proud to host the upcoming Bankruptcy Judges Luncheon, featuring Judges Hannah Blumenstiel and Elaine Hammond.  Join us to hear the judges' perspectives and enjoy a good lunch.

Bankruptcy Judges Luncheon

Honorable Hannah L. Blumenstiel
United States Bankruptcy Judge Northern District of California, San Francisco Division
Honorable M. Elaine Hammond
United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of California, Oakland Division


City Club of San Francisco
155 Sansome Street, 10th Floor
San Francisco 


Registration: 11:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Lunch/Program: 12:00 - 1:30 p.m.

Reno Fernandez of Macdonald Fernandez LLP, chair of the Bar Association of San Francisco's Commercial Law & Bankruptcy Section

Register here.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Insurer Cannot Attach Social Security Benefits or Proceeds to EnforceDisability Overpayment Agreement Under ERISA

In Bilyeu v. Morgan Stanley, 683 F.3d 1083 (9th Cir. 2012), the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rules that an insurer cannot impose a lien upon the proceeds of Social Security benefits in the possession of the insured in order to recover overpayment of long-term disability benefits.

Leah Bilyeu filed a claim with First Unum Life Insurance Co. under her long-term disability plan with her employer Morgan Stanley.  Unum approved a claim for 24-months of benefits, subject to a mental-illness limitation.  Bilyeu brought an action against Unum and alleged that her benefits were wrongfully terminated because her disability was caused by an autoimmune condition.  Unum counterclaimed for reimbursement of $36,000 in Social Security benefits Bilyeu received.

By reversing the trial court's judgment in favor of Unum, the Ninth Circuit split with five other circuit courts.  Specifically, the court ruled that Unum could seek only equitable relief and could not sue for breach of contract under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). Moreover, Unum could not obtain reimbursement by imposing an "equitable lien by agreement" against the proceeds of Bilyeu's Social Security benefits by targeting money in her possession as a fund for recovery.  The court found that this would "circumvent the congressional prohibition on assignment and attachment of Social Security benefits...." 

This case may have implications for bankruptcy debtors and trustees.  In particular, it is likely to impact the priority and treatment of insurers' claims for reimbursement against bankruptcy estates.

Also seen on Legal By the Bay, the Bar Association of San Francisco's blog.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Reno Fernandez Featured in BASF Bulletin

Reno Fernandez was featured in the January issue of the Bulletin, the monthly newspaper of the Bar Association of San Francisco.  You can view the article here.

Webinar: Disposition of IP Assets in Bankruptcy

On January 9, 2014, at noon, the Business Law Section of the State Bar of California will put on a webinar entitled "Disposition of IP Assets in Bankruptcy."  The speakers are Gary Kaplan, Adam A. Lewis and Roger Ross.  You can sign up using this link.  Reno Fernandez is a member of the Business Law Section's Insolvency Law Committee.