Woman sues mother, bank over her settlement

September 25, 1994|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,Sun Staff Writer

A Fallston woman has sued her mother and Mercantile Safe Deposit & Trust Co., claiming they cheated her out of a $59,000 insurance settlement after she survived an accidental shooting 20 years ago.

Linda Ann Canapp, 31, of the 2600 block of Friendship Road, filed the civil suit Wednesday in Harford Circuit Court.

She claims Mercantile allowed her mother, Virginia Harkins, of the 1200 block of Wild Orchid Court in Fallston, to withdraw the money before she reached the age of 18 in 1980.

Mrs. Harkins was the trustee of the settlement, the suit said.

Ms. Canapp said in the lawsuit that she didn't learn of the settlement until last year. Then she learned that the money was gone.

The lawsuit said Mrs. Harkins acknowledged receiving the settlement check to be held in trust until either the court released the funds or her daughter turned 18.

Ms. Canapp is seeking $58,864 plus interest from her mother and the bank. That figure represents the amount remaining from a $100,000 settlement in the 1974 shooting incident after her legal fees and other bills were paid.

The suit said attorneys in the 1974 case collected $30,000 plus costs and that Mrs. Harkins received $10,000.

Ms. Canapp contended that Mrs. Harkins has not only deprived her of the money, but also of benefits that money could have provided.

The suit also alleged that Mercantile was not authorized to release any money from the trust, except by court order, or until Ms. Canapp herself withdrew the money as an adult.

A court order was never sought or issued, the suit said.

John E. Kelly, a Bel Air attorney who is representing Ms. Canapp, was unavailable for comment on the lawsuit.

Mrs. Harkins, 57, said in a telephone interview Friday that she does not have the money.

She said her daughter was accidentally shot by a close friend's daughter when the two girls were examining a gun at her friend's home.

Mrs. Harkins said the other girl pulled the trigger and nothing happened. She pulled it again and a bullet pierced her daughter's lung.

She also said she was surprised by the lawsuit.

"The bank never told me I could not use the money as needed, and it all went for medical expenses or to make my daughter's life a little happier," Mrs. Harkins said.

She said she bought a new Ford Ranchero for her daughter on her 16th birthday and spent the rest of the money as needed, except for some which her daughter gave to John Harkins, her stepfather.

The mother said her daughter does not speak to her.

"That hurts, because I miss my two grandchildren," Mrs. Harkins said.

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