Ramsey County judge: Aaron Foster evaded suit

  • Article by: CHAO XIONG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 7, 2012 - 11:41 PM

The decision means Foster must pay the $6 million judgment against him in a wrongful-death suit.

A Ramsey County district judge found that Aaron Foster engaged in "deliberate game-playing and neglect" to avoid being served with a wrongful-death lawsuit in the 1981 fatal shooting of his girlfriend, Barbara Winn.

Judge Margaret Marrinan issued a decision Thursday that denied Foster's motion to vacate the $6 million judgment against him.

Winn's children filed the wrongful-death suit against Foster in 2011. He didn't respond to the summons and complaint, so the children's attorney asked for a judgment by default, which was granted in February. Ramsey County District Judge Dale Lindman found Foster civilly liable and ordered him to pay $6 million in damages.

In his motion filed soon afterward, Foster said he was never properly served and claimed that he learned about it when an acquaintance contacted him after Lindman's decision.

Marrinan heard arguments from Foster's attorney and the children's attorney in May.

"Where a party's own -- and in this case intentional -- deliberate game-playing and neglect lead to a default judgment, his actions are not excusable and such neglect is a proper ground for refusing to reopen a judgment," Marrinan wrote. "The overwhelming, credible evidence is that [the] defendant knew of this suit and purposefully chose to avoid service, whether via his attorney, via personal service or via service by mail."

Marrinan wrote in her decision that many attempts were made to hand-deliver the suit to Foster, but no one answered the buzzer to his apartment. It was also mailed to his apartment and delivered to attorney Earl Gray, who represented Foster when he tried to expunge his record in 2011.

Foster was tried and acquitted in 2008 in Winn's death. Her children told police the couple had argued and Foster shot Winn in her Maplewood townhouse. Foster said Winn shot herself.

Chao Xiong • 612-270-4708 Twitter: @ChaoStrib

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