United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
MEMORANDUM (DOCS. 543, 545, 547 MOTIONS TO
ARBUCKLE MAGISTRATE, JUDGE.
Robert Yoncuski asks the Court to reconsider (Motion, Doc.
543; Brief, Doc. 544) the denial of a Motion in Limine (Doc.
537). He raises no new factual issues or legal arguments.
Jeff and Marianne Adams also seek reconsideration (Motion,
Doc. 545; Brief, Doc. 546). Their motion and brief also raise
no new factual issues or legal arguments.
Thomas Yoncuski also seeks reconsideration (Motion, Doc. 547;
Brief, Doc. 548) without raising any new factual or legal
on the issue has not changed. In the divorce case Judge James
concluded that the jewelry in the safe was non-marital
property. He also concluded that the wife had not proven
specific values. Neither did the husband. In my view the
precise value of the jewelry is not a necessary part of the
Equitable Distribution decision once the jewelry was
determined to be non-marital. If the husband believed the
value was integral to the case, he could have offered proof
of value, apparently, he did not. The Adams were not a party
to the divorce and have not suggested that they should have
been. Neither was Thomas Yoncuski.
the precise value of the safe's contents was not
necessary to the equitable distribution decision, or was not
specifically decided in the Opinion, there is no res judicata
or collateral estoppel effect available to the
Defendant's in this case. In preparing this Memorandum I
have again scrutinized Judge James' Equitable
Distribution Opinion. The relevant portions can be summarized
In this case, the court finds that both parties are less than
credible and, therefore, have a problem carrying their
burdens of proof regarding uncorroborated facts. Husband had
admittedly not told the truth to the Northumberland County
Courts regarding the safe. His testimony is surely suspect.
Wife has been less than forthright to this court about her
inheritance and other matters. She often exaggerates.
Likewise, her testimony is suspect. Where sufficient evidence
corroborates their testimony, this court has found that the
burden of proof has been sustained on certain issues. Where
there is no credible corroborating evidence, this court has
found that the burden of proof on certain issues has
generally not been met. For example, husband claims that wife
had control of certain items of personal property which had a
value of $238, 162.00 plus sentimental value. There is no
corroborating evidence. Thus, husband's burden of proof
was not met.
same time, Wife suggests that she had approximately $5
million worth of jewelry int he safe and $500, 000.00 in cash
in the safe. This issue has been a major factor driving this
litigation. This court believes that there was significantly
valued jewelry in the safe. This jewelry has not only a
significant monetary value but had an extraordinary emotional
and sentimental effect on wife. She had collected it for many
years, and it was part of a bond she had with her mother.
However, wife has produced little, if any, credible
evidence/corroborating evidence for this court to place an
actual value on the jewelry. There was no inventory. There
were no receipts. There was insufficient other evidence of
she has not shown evidence of a source for the cash that she
claims was in the safe. She has carried her burden of showing
that there was a significant amount of jewelry in the safe
but has not proved the value of the jewelry or the amount of
the cash. Although this court cannot determine the value of
what jewelry might have been missing from the safe, this
court will take into account the fact that there was
significant jewelry in the safe and that it is missing, when
determining equitable distribution.
in the Order (Doc. 529-1, pp 251-253) the Judge made a
distribution of “marital property” as follows:
2. Division of Marital Property…
B. Property to Husband …
Cash in Safe (Husband has possession) $50, 000.00
is nothing in the Court's opinion regarding Husband's
testimony about the cash in the safe or how the Court came to
the valuation of $50, 000. That lack of detail makes it
impossible for this Court to determine, on this record, if
the decision on unproven cash was necessary for a
determination in equitable distribution. The Judge found that
Husband had $50, 000 in cash from the safe but did not make a
specific finding that there was no other cash in the safe. As
noted, he did find that the Wife had not ...