United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
CAROL EASTERLEY as Guardian of the Estate and Person of MARY LOU KUSMANOFF, Plaintiff,
MICHAEL BURGETT & LYNDA BURGETT, Defendants.
R. Herndon, Judge
Easterley (Mary Lou Kusmanoff's daughter), as Guardian of
the Estate and person of Mary Lou Kusmanoff, filed this
diversity suit against Michael Burgett (Mary Lou
Kusmanoff's son) and Lynda Burgett (Michael Burgett's
wife) on March 18, 2016. The two-count complaint alleges the
Burgetts fraudulently deprived Mary Lou Kusmanoff of access
to funds belonging to her and converted said funds for their
own benefit. Count I seeks an order directing the Burgetts to
return to the Estate of Mary Lou Kusmanoff the sum of $160,
000.00 and the title to a 2014 Chrysler van. Count II seeks
an order directing the Burgetts to return the person of Mary
Lou Kusmanoff to the State of Illinois.
before the Court is the Burgetts' motion to dismiss for
lack of subject matter jurisdiction (Doc. 12). Also pending
are two motions to supplement the record (Docs. 22 and 25)
and a motion to quash subpoenas (Doc. 29). Based on the
record and the following, the Court ORDERS as follows:
motions to supplement (Docs. 22 and 25) are GRANTED. The
motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction
(Doc. 12) is GRANTED. Further, in light of the dismissal, the
motion to quash (Doc. 29) is GRANTED.
to the complaint, between December 2014 and March 2015, the
Burgetts entered the State of Illinois and fraudulently
deprived Mary Lou Kusmanoff of access to funds belonging to
her and wrongfully converted said funds for their own
benefit. Additionally, the complaint alleges that in March of
2015, the Burgetts entered the State of Illinois under false
pretenses and removed Mary Lou Kusmanoff to the State of
on April 17, 2015, Carol Easterly filed a petition in the
Probate Court in St. Clair County, Illinois, alleging Mary
Lou Kusmanoff is a disabled adult and seeking the appointment
of a Guardian of the Estate and Person. Lynda Burgett filed a
cross-petition for Guardianship. Michael Burgett entered his
appearance as an interested person and filed discovery
responses identifying himself as a respondent.
trial commenced on December 2, 2015. Mary Lou Kusmanoff,
represented by attorney Brian McCarthy, was present at the
December 2, 2015 bench trial. Additionally, the Burgetts were
present and represented by their attorney, Jack Cranley.
Testimony was taken and, on December 3, 2015, the St. Clair
County Probate Court continued the matter until March 1,
March 1, 2016, the bench trial resumed. The Burgetts'
attorney was present. However, the Burgetts and Mary Lou
Kusmanoff failed to appear.
on March 1, 2016, the Probate Court in St. Clair County,
Illinois entered an order restraining the Burgetts from
proceeding in any other court other than in St. Clair County
on issues relating to probate and guardianship involving Mary
the bench trial, the St. Clair County Probate Court heard the
(1) Testimony from two physicians, both of whom opined Mary
Lou Kusmanoff suffered from mild cognitive impairment, short
term memory loss, and moderate dementia. Additionally, both
physicians opined Mary Lou Kusmanoff was at an increased risk
of manipulation and pressure from others.
(2) The oral report of Mary Lou Kusmanoff's Guardian ad
(3) Evidence pertaining to Mary Lou Kusmanoff's moderate
dementia, short term memory loss and confusion, and severe
(4) Evidence pertaining to Michael Burgett removing funds in
excess of $700, 000.00 from Mary Lou Kusmanoff's bank
accounts and placing the same into bank accounts in his own
name and Lynda Burgett's name, thereby converting the
funds for the Burgetts' own benefit.
(Doc. 19-2 pp. 3-4).
March 6, 2016, the St. Clair County Probate Court issued an
order adjudicating Mary Lou Kusmanoff a disabled person and
appointing Carol Easterley Guardian of Mary Lou
Kusmanoff's Estate and Person. Specifically, the Probate
Court concluded Mary Lou Kusmanoff “was as of December,
2014 and continues to be a disabled person due to mental
deterioration and physical incapacity who is not fully able
to manage her person or estate, and further because of her
disability she lacks sufficient understanding to make or