Brown v. Legal Foundation of Wash., 538 U.S. 216, 14 (2003)

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Cite as: 538 U. S. 216 (2003)

Opinion of the Court

the Fifth Amendment, id., at 28-29; and the third count alleges that the requirement that client funds be placed in IOLTA accounts is "an illegal taking of the beneficial use of those funds," id., at 29. The prayer for relief sought a refund of interest earned on the plaintiffs' money that had been placed in IOLTA accounts, a declaration that the IOLTA Rules are unconstitutional, and an injunction against their enforcement against LPOs. See id., at 30.

Most of the pretrial discovery related to the question whether the 1995 Amendment to the IOLTA Rules had indirectly lessened the earnings of LPOs because LPOs no longer receive certain credits that the banks had provided them when banks retained the interest earned on escrowed funds. Each of the petitioners, however, did identify a specific transaction in which interest on his escrow deposit was paid to the Foundation.

Petitioner Hayes and a man named Fossum made an earnest money deposit of $2,000 on August 14, 1996, and a further payment of $12,793.32 on August 28, 1996, in connection with a real estate purchase that was closed on August 30, 1996. Id., at 117-118. The money went into an IOLTA account. Presumably those funds, half of which belonged to Fossum, were used to pay the sales price, "to pay off liens and obtain releases to clear the title to the property being conveyed." Id., at 98. The record does not explain exactly how or when the ultimate recipients of those funds received or cashed the checks issued to them by the escrowee, but the parties apparently agree that the deposits generated some interest on principal that was at least in part owned by Hayes during the closing.

In connection with a real estate purchase that closed on May 1, 1997, petitioner Brown made a payment of $90,521.29 that remained in escrow for two days, see id., at 53; he estimated that the interest on that deposit amounted to $4.96, but he did not claim that he would have received any interest


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