Lopinot suggests sanctions possible in suit over woman's college funds

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Jul 10, 2018

St. Clair County Circuit Judge Vincent Lopinot told a father that his failure to comply with an order granting a motion to compel will result in sanctions in a suit alleging he paid off debts with funds intended for his daughter’s college education.

In a June 12 order, Lopinot wrote that defendant Jeffrey Mueth failed to appear at a hearing on plaintiff Clarissa Mueth’s motion to compel the defendant’s answers to interrogatories and response to request on product. Because the defendant failed to appear, Lopinot granted the plaintiff’s motion to compel, ordering the defendant to comply.

If Jeffery Mueth fails to comply, Lopinot wrote that he will be sanctioned, including attorney fees.

Clarissa Mueth filed her complaint on Oct. 4, 2016, alleging she has been deprived of funds she needed to pay for her college expenses and has been required to obtain loans and pay interest.

The plaintiff alleges her father converted money he was required to keep as a custodian of the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act account and used it to purchase a car and pay his personal debts.

Jeffrey Mueth previously sought to dismiss the complaint through attorney Daniel Grueninger of Belleville, arguing that a judgment of dissolution of marriage with Iris Mueth, the plaintiff’s mother, was entered on Dec. 19, 2003. Clarissa Mueth was a minor at the time and resided in Missouri with her mother. She graduated high school in May 2015 and turned 18 in June 2015.

“That pursuant to a judgment of dissolution, an order for the transfer of property to a minor child after the age of majority, is invalid, as is the ordering of a gift to a child that has reached the age of majority,” the motion states.

Jeffrey Mueth also argued that Clarissa Mueth lacks standing to seek any damages under the Uniform Transfer to Minors Act as any sums are the marital property of her parents.

Lopinot denied his motion, holding that Clarissa Mueth is the third party beneficiary of the funds in the account at issue and has standing to file this lawsuit on her own behalf.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 16-L-530

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