Harrison to hear motions to dismiss in botched adoption suit

Amelia Flood Jan. 4, 2011, 5:56am

Madison County Circuit Judge Clarence Harrison II is set to hear motions to dismiss parts of an Edwardsville couple's suit against Lifelink International Adoption Services and several of its employees.

Plaintiffs Patrick and Stacey Stufflebeam claim that they were misled and charged additional fees while trying to complete an ultimately unsuccessful international adoption they say caused them both significant emotional distress.

The hearing is set for 1 p.m. Friday.

The Stufflebeams seek damages in excess of $850,000 and other relief.

The couple claims that the defendants misled them about the wait time for adopting a child from first China and then South Korea and then demanded extra funds that made the adoption impossible.

The couple is suing on claims of the intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, social work malpractice and breach of contract.

The defendants are moving to dismiss various counts of the Stufflebeams' suit.

Lifelink, the adoption agency, claims in its Oct. 15, 2010 motion to dismiss that it is not a proper party to the lawsuit as a non-profit entity. The agency also claims the plaintiffs' allegations on counts of conspiracy and breach of contract are insufficiently pled.

The agency points to its contract with the Stufflebeams disclaiming responsibility for the extra expenses the couple incurred and that it does not guarantee completion of the adoption.

The other defendants including Patricia Radley make similar arguments in their motions to dismiss.

Radley's fellow defendants include Carol Kramer and Ann Wieczorek.

Patrick Stufflebeam represents himself and his wife. He is with the HelperBroom firm.

Edward McCarthy represents the defendants.

Harrison took over the case from Madison County Circuit Judge Andreas Matoesian.

The case is Madison case number 10-L-926.

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