Madison - St. Clair Record

Monday, August 19, 2019

Regions Bank seeks dismissal or transfer in suit alleging inappropriate withdrawal of funds

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Dec 15, 2015

Regions Bank seeks to have a case alleging financial mismanagement dismissed, transferred or stayed while a similar case in the probation division determines which, if any, of the funds withdrawn by a child’s mother were inappropriate.

The estate of Makayla Calhoun filed the lawsuit on Aug. 26 against Regions Financial Corp., Jason Stepzinski and Prudential Insurance Co. of America, alleging violation of the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act.

According to the complaint, Calhoun is the beneficiary of an annuity with Prudential that deposits funds to an account in her name at Regions Financial. The account was set up following a structured settlement resulting from a personal injury suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. Details of the personal injury case were not provided.

The plaintiff alleges Regions Financial and Prudential allowed numerous unauthorized withdrawals of these funds in contradiction of a court order restricting access to the money until Calhoun turns 18.

Regions Bank and Stepzinski filed a motion to dismiss, transfer or stay Counts I, II, III and IV of the complaint on Nov. 17 through attorneys Jeffrey Heuer, Theodore Bynum III and Robert Hurtt of Husch Blackwell in St. Louis.

They argue that a case in the probation division (13-P-271) is currently in the process of establishing which, if any, of the sums withdrawn by the plaintiff’s mother were inappropriate and which were for the plaintiff’s benefit.

“The Probate Division has had this matter before it for over two years, and any ruling it would reach would be conclusive on issues implicated by these pleadings,” the motion states.

They add that failure to dismiss, transfer or stay would result in multiple lawsuits and would create a potential for inconsistent rulings.

Exhibits filed in the probation case show that the withdrawn money was used in various stores including Garden Ridge, Burlington Coat Factory and Wal-Mart, among others.

A status conference for the probation case is scheduled for Jan. 12 at 9 a.m.

St. Clair County Chief Judge John Baricevic scheduled a status conference for the civil action for Dec. 22 at 8:30 a.m.

The plaintiff seeks actual and punitive damages of more than $50,000, plus litigation costs, penalties and attorneys’ fees.

She is represented by Eugene C. Menges of the Menges Law Offices in Belleville.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 15-L-484

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