Attorney, wife file amended complaint in botched international adoption case

Amelia Flood Feb. 15, 2011, 7:21am

An Edwardsville attorney and his wife have filed an amended complaint in a suit over a botched international adoption.

Madison County Associate Judge Clarence Harrison II is set to hear motions in the case at 8:30 a.m. on Feb. 18.

The new complaint filed by attorney Patrick Stufflebeam and his wife, Stacey Stufflebeam, includes 22 counts over infliction of emotional distress, fraud and respondent superior liability claims.

The suit seeks more than $1 million in damages.

The Stufflebeams allege that Lifelink Corporation, Lifelink International Adoption Services, and staffers Carol Kramer, Patricia Radley and Ann Wieczorek were negligent in handling the couple's ultimately unsuccessful international adoption.

They claim they were charged additional fees and the adoption's failure caused them both extreme emotional distress.

The defendants have moved to dismiss parts of the Stufflebeams' case.

According to the amended complaint filed Jan. 28, the couple contacted Lifelink in 2008 seeking to complete the adoption of a child from South Korea or China.

The couple's initial meeting with the adoption agency took place in February of that year and in March they were allegedly informed by Kramer that the China program would be a better fit.

The couple then claims they began taking the steps to meet the program's requirements.

The couple claims they then found that the wait period described by Kramer was false and they lost both fees and suffered emotional trauma.

The Stufflebeams allege that Kramer's superiors knew about her misrepresentations.

They claim that Radley directed Kramer and Wieczorek to accept a "switch" from the China program to the Korea program for the plaintiffs but then notified them that the adoption agency would breach its contract with the Stufflebeams unless they paid an additional $6,400, something the couple claims they could not do.

Lifelink alleges in its motion to dismiss the counts against it that as a non-profit it is not a proper party to the lawsuit.

It also claims that it did not guarantee completion of an adoption.

The other defendants make similar arguments in their dismissal moves.

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

Edwards 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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