Judge says Busch civil case will stay in southeast Missouri

Tuesday, July 10, 2012 | 9:40 a.m. CDT; updated 4:24 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 10, 2012

ST. LOUIS — A judge has ruled that a wrongful death lawsuit against August Busch IV in the death of his former girlfriend will remain in a southeast Missouri court.

Busch, the former chief executive of Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc., is being sued by the minor son of his girlfriend Adrienne Martin, who died of a drug overdose at Busch's home in 2010. Busch has never been charged with any crime in her death.

The lawsuit was originally filed in St. Louis County but was transferred to Cape Girardeau, home of the child's father, Kevin Martin, according to The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Kevin Martin's lawyer, John Heisserer, said the case should be moved out of the St. Louis area because of the potential for bias in favor of Busch.

But Adrienne Martin's parents, Christine Trampler and Larry Eby, sought to have the case returned to St. Louis County, saying it was more convenient for most witnesses.

Judge William Syler on Monday said the case would remain in Cape Girardeau.

Maurice Graham, Busch's lawyer, also argued against the move back to St. Louis. He said the venue decision had been made and should stand.

Kevin Martin had agreed to settle the case for $1.5 million, but the settlement offer was stalled last year when Adrienne Martin's parents sought to join the lawsuit. Syler denied their request to intervene, but an appeals court overturned his decision.

Busch was the last of a long line of Busch family members to run the beer company. Against his wishes, the maker of Budweiser, Bud Light and other beers was sold to Belgian brewer InBev in 2008. Busch's net worth isn't known, but he earned about $100 million from the sale and then began earning $120,000 a month as a consultant to InBev.

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