Suit: Deceased defendant took advantage of plaintiff's 'submissive and unassertive' personality

Kelly Holleran Sep. 10, 2009, 7:52am

A St. Clair County man has filed suit against a deceased woman and her grandson, alleging they took money that was supposed to belong to him.

Laurel E. St. Clair claims he moved into a neighborhood that he shared with Naomi R. Franklin in 1995.

Both St. Clair's and Franklin's spouses had died before St. Clair moved into the neighborhood, so he and Franklin became acquaintances, according to the complaint filed Sept. 3 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

St. Clair began suffering from heart disease and had several strokes, so Franklin began helping him with his finances, the suit states.

But beginning in early 2006, Franklin caused St. Clair to sell stocks and securities he did not need to sell and used the proceeds of the sale for her benefit, the complaint says. In fact, St. Clair claims Franklin placed his money into her own personal account and transferred his funds to her grandson, defendant George G. Watson.

Because of this, St. Clair says he has lost more than $50,000, plus an undetermined amount of money that Franklin gave to Watson, the suit states.

Since then, Watson has left the state of Illinois, and St. Clair is not sure where he can be found, the complaint says.

Franklin died on Aug. 10 and no administrator has been named to her account, but whomever is named as administrator will also be named as a defendant in the suit, the complaint says.

St. Clair says Franklin took advantage of his "submissive and unassertive personality" and that Watson has now been unjustly enriched.

In the five-count suit, St. Clair is seeking a judgment of more than $100,000 and is asking that a constructive fund be found for any property or funds that have been taken from him by Franklin. He is also asking the court to order an accounting of all records and transfers on his account, is seeking a permanent injunction on the sale of any real estate Watson or Franklin own, and is seeking costs and other relief the court deems just.

Deborah Ann Newgent of Jennings, Jacknewitz and Schrader in Belleville will be representing him.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-470.

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