Arguments Continue in Burns Restitution Case
In a continuing legal battle over money, Judge John C. McKeon heard arguments in an ongoing restitution case against the Dan Burns Estate.
Burns was convicted of felony sexual abuse of children in 2009, and died in prison in 2014. Following his death, Maugeen McGrath-Stark filed a civil suit against the estate on behalf of her child seeking payment of court-ordered restitution. (See Abuse Victim Still Waiting for Restitution, Glasgow Courier, March 23, 2016).
During the hearing on Aug. 2, Dan Flaherty presented arguments on behalf of the estate and personal representative, Andrea Dobbs. The majority of arguments were based on procedural issues with Flaherty contending that the plaintiff, Maugeen McGrath-Stark, did not have the authority to file a claim against the estate. Flaherty argued that because the victim was an adult at the time McGrath-Stark filed her claim, he should have filed on his own behalf and his mother has no claim against the estate.
Flaherty also argued that a recent affidavit assigning McGrath-Stark as the recipient of the ordered restitution is “hearsay,” and “deliberately vague.” According to Flaherty, “We can’t go around filing clams for people we don’t represent.” Flaherty was unable to reference any codes or examples to support his argument, stating, “I haven’t been able to find a law one way or another.”
Bill O’Connor, attorney for McGrath-Stark, argued that judgments can be assigned and the assignment of his client is valid. He also contended that Burns never attacked the restitution order, therefore it cannot be attacked now.
At the conclusion of nearly 45 minutes of arguments, Judge McKeon closed the hearing. When contacted, Valley County Clerk of Court staff were unsure when a decision would be made.