Woman accused of keeping assets from sister-in-law seeks to dismiss case

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Nov 25, 2013


A St. Clair County woman seeks to dismiss a sister-in-law’s lawsuit alleging she deprived her of significant amounts of money she was supposed to receive upon her brother’s death.

Defendant Birdie Stockman filed the motion to dismiss on Oct. 17 through attorney Irvin C. Slate of Granite City claiming the stock which is subject of the complaint belonged to her late spouse, Henry Stockman.

Birdie Stockman also claims the complaint implies that she owed a duty to the plaintiff, which she says is untrue.

“Plaintiff only alleges a fiduciary duty on the part of the defendant toward her late husband, breach of which does not give rise to a cause of action by the plaintiff,” the motion states.

According to the complaint filed on Oct. 1, Bertha E. Boyer claims her brother owned shares of the Capital World Growth and Income Fund, the Washington Mutual Investors Fund and three separate Van Kampen Funds.

Prior to his death, Henry Stockman allegedly filed a transfer on death registration request for the funds, paving the way for Boyer to receive the money in the funds upon her brother’s death, the suit states.

Henry Stockman was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2005 and relied on the defendant to care for him and handle his financial and business transactions, the suit states.

According to the complaint, shortly after Henry Stockman began suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, a lost certificate affidavit was filed for the funds Boyer was originally named as beneficiary. Birdie Stockman was named as the new death beneficiary, allegedly robbing Boyer from any of the money in the funds when her brother died. Boyer claims she still held the original certificates and still remains in possession of them.

Boyer seeks a judgment stating Birdie Stockman breached her fiduciary duty and that Boyer would have received the money upon her brother’s death had Birdie Stockman not done so. She also seeks an award in the amount of the assets she originally would have received.

Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder scheduled a motion hearing for Jan. 9, 2014, at 9 a.m.

William J. Niehoff, Laura E. Schrick and Beth K. Flowers of Mathis, Marifian and Richter in Belleville represents Boyer.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 13-L-1651

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