Law firm files motion asking plaintiff to admit facts related to Buske pre-nuptial agreement

Amelia Flood Jun. 20, 2011, 11:43am

The Springfield law firm Feldman, Wasser, Draper & Cox has filed a move asking its former client Sara Buske to admit to facts related to a prenuptial agreement and the settlement of her 2008 divorce in a legal malpractice suit she filed against the firm last year.

The Feldman firm filed its request to admit June 17.

Sara Buske is suing the firm on legal malpractice claims related to her divorce from Thomas Buske. She alleges that her attorney, Howard Feldman, botched the case and mishandled the pre-nuptial agreement.

The pre-nuptial agreement came to the fore in the divorce when an intervener in the case, S.C. Johnson and Sons. Inc., filed a motion asking for its production, claiming it would prove that the Buskes' divorce was an attempt to hide assets rather than a true dissolution of marriage.

Sara Buske filed for divorce eight days after a $203.8 million civil judgment was entered against Thomas Buske in S.C. Johnson's favor in Wisconsin court.

S.C. Johnson had alleged that Thomas Buske defrauded it out of millions of dollars using inflated invoices from his trucking companies.

S.C. Johnson moved to intervene in the divorce, alleging it was an attempt to shield money owed to the company.

Although the company aimed to make the Buskes' alleged pre-nuptial agreement the center of its case, the parties settled before the document was produced in court.

Sara Buske took away $325,000 under the settlement along with other assets such as the
couple's Edwardsville home.

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

A trust fund containing $425,000 was set up for the couple's children.

S.C. Johnson was granted the remainder of the Buske assets.

The divorce case ended in 2009.

Sara Buske then sued the Feldman firm a year later.

In addition to claiming her attorneys botched her divorce, Sara Buske also sued her accountants, RSM McGladrey, for allegedly giving her bad tax advice in the divorce.

She dismissed the accounting firm from her suit earlier this month.

The law firm has asked to be allowed to use the pre-nuptial agreement in the 2010 suit's discovery and possibly at trial.

In the June 17 request for admissions directed at Sara Buske, the law firm asks that Sara Buske admit certain facts related to the pre-nuptial agreement and settlement of her divorce.

The request to admit include asking the plaintiff to admit she entered into the pre-nuptial agreement with Thomas Buske in 1993 and that when she sought legal counsel in 2006, she was aware of the agreement.

The law firm goes on to ask that Sara Buske admit that prior to filing the divorce papers, Sara Buske informed Howard Feldman that Thomas Buske had rescinded the pre-nuptial agreement and that he would not assert it to mitigate any of his wife's claims in the divorce.

The request to admit touches upon the plaintiff's knowledge of her now ex-husband's net worth and what sums she would have been entitled to under the pre-nuptial agreement's terms.

The law firm also asks the plaintiff to admit that she took away more from the 2009 settlement of her divorce than she would have received under the 1993 agreement.

The June 17 filing notes the pre-nuptial agreement as attached as an Exhibit but it is not part of the case file as yet.

A case management conference is set in the suit June 29 at 9 a.m. before Madison County Chief Judge Ann Callis.

A. J. Bronsky represents the law firm.

Jarrod Beasley represents Sara Buske.

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

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