HUNTLEIGH -- The parents of Adrienne Martin won a role in a wrongful-death lawsuit against August Busch IV when the Missouri Supreme Court refused Tuesday to hear the former beer baron's request for reconsideration.
Martin died of a drug overdose Dec. 19, 2010, in Busch's mansion in Huntleigh. Busch later struck a tentative settlement in court in Cape Girardeau with Martin's ex-husband, Dr. Kevin Martin, in a wrongful-death suit brought on behalf of the couple's 9-year-old son.
When Christine Trampler, of Ozark, Mo., and George "Larry" Eby, of Springfield, Mo., sought to join the case as Martin's parents, the trial court barred them. But an appellate court reversed that, finding that they had "an absolute right to join" the case.
Busch sought an opinion from the Missouri Supreme Court, but it formally declined Tuesday.
The result gives the parents greater control over legal strategy and the decision of whether to accept the $1.5 million settlement offer. It also will make them privy to legal discovery surrounding Martin's death and enable them to subpoena witnesses.
The case returns to court in Cape Girardeau, where Martin's son lived with his father when the suit was filed last year. Both of Martin's parents will be added as plaintiffs.
John Heisserer, the attorney representing Kevin Martin, will ask Circuit Judge William Syler, who had initially blocked the parents from joining, to finalize the $1.5 million settlement. If he does, he could allocate some of the money to them.
Maurice Graham, a lawyer representing Busch, said he would proceed with the case as before.
Authorities said Adrienne Martin died of an accidental overdose of the painkiller oxycodone, and had a high level of cocaine in her blood. A hole in her nasal septum indicated 'several months to a year of cocaine use," they said.
Busch, 47, took over as chief executive officer of Anheuser-Busch in 2006, but his tenure ended with the brewery's sale to InBev in 2008.
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