Law firm claims Sara Buske knew about pre-nup that led to legal malpractice case

Amelia Flood Jan. 18, 2011, 12:20am


A Springfield law firm that represented Sara Buske in her divorce from ex-trucking baron Thomas Buske claims she knew about a pre-nuptial agreement that is the crux of her legal malpractice suit.

The law firm of Feldman, Wasser, Draper & Cox filed its answer to Sara Buske's suit on Jan. 13.

In its answer, the firm denies it was negligent in its handling of the 2008 divorce that eventually netted Sara Buske $325,000 in a 2009 settlement.

Sara Buske is seeking damages in excess of $50,000 from the law firm and her St. Louis-based accountants RSM McGladrey, Inc.

She had filed for divorce from her husband of more than a decade in 2008 eight days after a $203.8 million civil judgment was entered against him in a Wisconsin court.

Thomas Buske also faces federal charges in Wisconsin for allegedly defrauding S.C. Johnson and Sons. Inc. of millions using inflated trucking invoices.

After S.C. Johnson obtained $203.8 the million judgment, the company filed to intervene in the Madison County divorce.

S.C. Johnson claimed that the divorce was a sham meant to shield Thomas Buske's assets from the civil judgment.

The existence of a pre-nuptial agreement became the centerpiece in S.C. Johnson's fraud allegations, although it was never produced in court filings.

The Buskes and S.C. Johnson eventually reached a settlement in December 2009.

Under that settlement, Sara Buske received $325,000 and the Buskes' two children received $425,000 in trust.

Thomas Buske was allowed to keep $50,000 in personal property.

S.C. Johnson took home the bulk of Thomas Buske's assets.

In her suit, Sara Buske claims that the Feldman firm failed to disclose the existence of the pre-nuptial agreement and then failed to challenge it.

By failing to do so, the plaintiff contends she lost out on settlement money.

She is suing her accountants for allegedly giving her bad advice related to her tax returns and returns she filed jointly with her now ex-husband during the divorce proceedings.

The accounting firm has yet to answer.

The Feldman firm denies the plaintiff's claims, and goes on to point out what it claims is Sara Buske's own fault in the matter.

"Plaintiff was careless and negligent in that plaintiff knew of the existence of a prenuptial agreement but did not disclose the existence of a prenuptial agreement," the answer reads.

The law firm claims that Sara Buske is not entitled to damages because she shares more than 50 percent of fault for her alleged damages.

Jarrod Beasley represents Sara Buske in the 2010 lawsuit.

Howard Feldman of the Feldman firm represented her in the 2008 divorce.

A.J. Bronsky represents the Feldman firm in the present lawsuit.

Vicki Cochran and others represented Thomas Buske in the divorce.

Andrew Velloff and Thomas Q. Keefe Jr. were among those representing S.C. Johnson in the divorce.

The 2010 lawsuit is part of Madison County Circuit Judge Andreas Matoesian's docket.

Both Madison County Associate Judges Duane Bailey and Thomas Chapman oversaw the Buske divorce.

Chapman presided over the 2009 settlement of the divorce and subsequent proceedings in the case.

The lawsuit is Madison case number 10-L-1211.

The Buske divorce is Madison case number 08-D-560.

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