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David Schultz's Pro Bono Civil Wrongful Death Suit Hearing Held Before the Courts—and the Cameras
May 31, 2012
Maslon attorney David Schultz was back in court on May 29, 2012, arguing against a defendant's motion to vacate a $6 million default judgment in the wrongful death suit against Aaron Foster. On February 1, 2012, Foster was found civilly liable for the 1981 death of Barbara Winn who died of a gunshot wound to the chest during a domestic assault by Foster, and David successfully obtained a $6 million judgment for his clients, the surviving children of Barbara Winn.

In the May 29 hearing, the defense counsel requested a dismissal of the $6 million judgment against Foster arguing that he wasn't personally served with papers from the civil suit, and that the statute of limitations expired three years after Barbara Winn's death. In an affidavit, it was reported that Foster didn't become aware of the lawsuit until an acquaintance told him about a news report of the $6 million judgment in February.

David argued that the motion to vacate was without merit because Foster had made it impossible to be served with the civil court papers, and that the statute of limitations does not apply in this case. He stated, "It's the right thing to do to let the judgment stand that Mr. Foster is civilly liable for the murder of Barbara Winn."

The case was argued before Ramsey County District Court Judge Margaret Marrinan and was part of a pilot project in Minnesota courts to allow cameras and news media into the courtroom for some civil cases. During an interview with WCCO following the hearing, David noted that he hadn't noticed the cameras and argued that the exposure of the judicial process "contributes to fostering respect for the law and the more people have exposure, the better we all are."

"I am not convinced Mr. Foster has a reasonable excuse for his failure to act," Judge Marrinan stated at the close of the hearing. She will take the arguments under advisement, to further research the motion, then issue her ruling.

Related Media Coverage
CBS Minnesota - WCCO 4: Inside The Courtroom: A $6 Million Wrongful Death Lawsuit
St. Paul Pioneer Press: Barbara Winn case: Foster had to be aware of suit lawyer argues

June 7, 2012: Update and Related Media Coverage
Aaron Foster's request to vacate the $6 million judgment against him for the wrongful-death of Barbara Winn has been denied. According to a June 7th, 2012 St. Paul Pioneer Press article, Judge Margaret Marrinan denied the request saying that Foster engaged in "deliberate game-playing" in order to avoid being served with the lawsuit. "Such neglect," she continued, "is a proper ground for refusing to reopen a judgment ."

St. Paul Pioneer Press: Aaron Foster still must pay $6M to children of slain Barbara Winn, judge says
KMSP-TV Fox 9 News: Judge accuses Aaron Foster of gamesmanship in wrongful death suit

David Schultz is a partner in Maslon's Litigation Practice Group and focuses his practice on trial and appellate work in healthcare/medical malpractice and medical devices, intellectual property, commercial litigation, and civil and criminal fraud. David served on the Board of the Innocence Project of Minnesota for six years. David's work on the Innocence Project reflects his long-standing passion for fairness in our justice system.

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