Madison County Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth on Wednesday dismissed an insurance company as a defendant in a case that pits children against their step mother.
Three St. Louisans sued their father's widow, Anne Bailey, alleging she kept them from attending his funeral and kept insurance money from them.
Ruth wrote in his order that a motion made by plaintiffs Zachary Friederich, Elias Friederich and Jacob Friederich to dismiss Minnesota Life Insurance Company was granted.
The plaintiffs claim their father, James Friederich, married Bailey about two and a half years before his death in 2004.
A few months before his death, Bailey allegedly restricted his sons from seeing him and cut off communication, according to the complaint filed April 6, 2011.
The elder Friederich died from a brain tumor on Dec. 20, 2004, after which Bailey arranged his funeral. She allegedly failed to inform the children of their father's passing and failed to invite them to the funeral, the suit states.
Freiderich's sons also claim they lost out on life insurance benefits.
Their mother was named as primary beneficiary on James Freiderich's life insurance policy through defendant Minnesota Life Insurance Company until their parents' divorce in 1991.
After the divorce, the plaintiffs were named as beneficiaries, according to the complaint.
After James Freiderich married Bailey, he named her as a beneficiary, the suit states. At the time of the change in beneficiaries, James Freiderich was in a poor state of health and under the influence of Bailey, who harassed and badgered him until he made the change, the complaint says.
"At such time, James Freiderich was under the influence of drugs, painkillers and sedatives which further insulated his perceptiveness from reality," the suit states.
The plaintiffs are represented by Terry N. Brown of Brown and Associates in Belleville.
Erich Axmacher represented Minnesota Life Insurance Company.
Bailey, who is also named as a defendant, has not filed an answer to the April 2011 complaint. No attorney has filed a public entry as legal counsel for her.
Madison County Circuit Court case number: 11-L-320.