Cape County judge says parents can't join Busch wrongful death lawsuit

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The parents of Adrienne Martin, a woman who died of an overdose at the Hunt­leigh, Mo., mansion of August Busch IV in December, will not be able to join a wrongful-death lawsuit against the former beer heir, a judge decided Tuesday at the Common Pleas Courthouse in Cape Girardeau.

Circuit Court Judge William L. Syler also delayed approving a $1.5 million settlement already agreed upon by Busch and the plaintiff, Dr. Kevin Martin of Cape Girardeau, who filed the class-action suit on behalf of the Martins' 8-year-old son.

Adrienne Martin's mother, Christine Trampler, and father, George "Larry" Eby, filed motions to intervene in the suit April 20, after parties already involved in the suit agreed to settle.

An autopsy revealed Adrienne Martin's death was accidental and caused by an oxycodone overdose.

At Tuesday's hearing, Trampler's counsel and Eby's attorney both said their clients have the right to be a plaintiff in the lawsuit. They expressed their concern about how quickly the case changed from St. Louis County to Cape Girardeau County and that they'd like to take depositions from both Busch and Martin. Only Trampler was present at Tuesday's hearing.

"I can't imagine what the possible reason would be to not allow a person to be present here," said Tim Monsees, Trampler's attorney. "She has rights that'll be affected."

Attorneys for Busch and Martin both opposed the intervention, claiming the woman's parents want to join the suit to apply for a change of judge and a change of venue. The case would face a number of delays, Busch's attorney, Maurice Graham, told the judge.

"If intervention is allowed here it would start a lengthy process, a circus atmosphere," Graham said.

Syler's decision doesn't rule out Tramper or Eby's chances of receiving a settlement themselves. He agreed to review a brief from their attorneys on who they'd like to take depositions from before a June 29 hearing, when Syler would decide whether the settlement amount is appropriate and how it would be distributed.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Pertinent address:

44 N. Lorimier St., Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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