Callis adds Buske malpractice case to her own docket; case went through two circuit judges last week

By Amelia Flood | Apr 19, 2011


Sara Buske's legal malpractice suit against her divorce attorney and accountants has its third judge in just over a week.

Madison County Chief Judge Ann Callis assigned the 2010 case to her own docket in an order dated April 13.

Callis had received the case for reassignment purposes from Madison County Circuit Judge William Mudge after he bowed out of the case citing Illinois State Supreme Court rules governing the impartiality of judges.

The end of Mudge's time with the case came April 12 under two days after he got the case from Madison County Circuit Judge Andreas Matoesian.

Matoesian recused himself from overseeing the suit April 8 because "the main witness" in the case is a friend of his.

Matoesian's order did not identify the witness.

Sara Buske is suing the Springfield firm of Feldman Wasser, Draper & Cox and RSM McGladrey of St. Louis for malpractice.

She claims that Howard Feldman botched her 2008 divorce from Thomas Buske, her husband of more than ten years.

The Buske divorce featured the unusual intervention of a third party, S.C. Johnson and Sons Inc.

Sara Buske had filed for divorce eight days after a Wisconsin court entered a $203.8 million civil judgment in favor of S.C. Johnson, finding that Thomas Buske owed the company millions.

The company alleged that Thomas Buske defrauded it using inflated trucking invoices.
Thomas Buske also faces federal charges in connection with the alleged fraud.

S.C. Johnson came into the Madison County divorce, arguing it was orchestrated to protect assets owed to the company under the Wisconsin judgment.

The parties eventually settled.

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

His ex-wife took away $325,000.

A trust containing $425,000 was set up for the Buskes' children.

S.C. Johnson took home the rest.

Sara Buske contends she lost out on settlement money due to Howard Feldman's mishandling of her divorce and that McGladrey accountants gave her bad tax advice during the divorce.

Both defendants have moved to dismiss the case.

The Feldman firm is also asking for a protective order that would allow it to use the Buskes' prenuptial agreement in discovery and, if needed, at trial.

The Buske prenuptial agreement played a significant role in the divorce although it was never produced in court.

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

Chapman presided over the divorce settlement.

Jarrod Beasley represents Sara Buske in the malpractice suit.

Al Pranaitis represents the accounting firm.

A.J. Bronsky represents the Feldman firm.

Vicki Cochran and others represented Thomas Buske in the divorce.

Andrew Velloff and Thomas Keefe Jr. represented S.C. Johnson.

The 2010 malpractice suit is Madison case number 10-L-1211.

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

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