UPDATE: Satterfield’s estate attorneys file “Memorandum of Opposition to Murdaugh’s Motion to Dismiss” on November 23.
Even as another settlement was announced this week, attorneys for former South Carolina attorney Richard “Alex” Murdaugh filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit against the family of his late housekeeper, Gloria. Ann Satterfield, from whom he allegedly stole millions in insurance settlements. .
On Wednesday afternoon, November 17, Murdaugh’s attorneys filed a “motion to dismiss, or alternatively, stay of proceedings” against Michael “Tony” Satterfield and Brian Harriott, against Richard Alexander “Alex” Murdaugh, Chad Westendorf, Palmetto State Bank, Corey Fleming and Moss, Kuhn & Fleming, PA “This civil lawsuit alleges that Murdaugh, with the help of other parties, stole the insurance settlement money from the sons of Satterfield, who died after a fall at Murdaugh’s home in 2018.
Murdaugh’s attorneys Richard A. Harpootlian and James M. Griffin have filed the petition with the Hampton County Court of Common Pleas asking the court to dismiss the claims against Murdaugh in this lawsuit because other parties have already paid the settlements; or, stay the legal action until the end of its criminal proceedings. Murdaugh is currently charged with two counts of obtaining property under false pretenses after allegations he stole around $ 4.3 million in insurance payments from Satterfield’s heirs.
Eric Bland, an attorney representing the Satterfield estate, called the latest motion a “cockamamie”, adding that Murdaugh’s attorneys “were withdrawing empty motions.”
“It’s disgusting and it stains the legal profession,” said Bland, of Bland Richter, LLP.
âI expected Alex Murdaugh to pass the 5th Amendment on this matterâ¦ but I didn’t expect this ridiculous proposal,â Bland said. âBasically Alex now says, ‘Yeah, I might have stolen the money, but you got healed, so I can keep the stolen money.’ It is an arrogant proposition that he should be able to declare that the Satterfields have been healed, and not a judge or a jury. “
âIt’s no big deal for Alex Murdaugh,â Bland said.
To date, Bland Richter, LLP has recovered over $ 7 million in settlements in this case, from insurance companies and other parties – but not from the defendant, Murdaugh.
Bland further argued that Murdaugh is “victimizing” his clients for the second time, forcing them to go through the gauntlet and costly emotional turmoil of civil litigation, instead of “trying to do the thing for the first time. honorable “.
âIt’s the kind of evil darkness that exists with this guy,â Bland said. “That’s the kind of DNA flaw he has.”
Contacted for comment, Murdaugh Harpootlian’s attorney said “We do not comment on these matters outside the courtroom,” citing that this was prohibited by professional conduct rules.
Murdaugh’s request to dismiss or stay makes two main points:
- âThe plaintiffs have previously settled all outstanding claims against the co-defendants and other alleged perpetrators for more than $ 6 million. As a result, the plaintiffs have been fully compensated for their alleged losses. Because the law of the South Carolina prohibits plaintiffs from obtaining double recovery for the same injury, defendant Murdaugh is entitled to credit for the more than $ 6 million paid by all other torturers in settlement against any judgment.
- âThe only recovery potential of the plaintiffs against Murdaugh lies in their claim for punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended to punish the offender and deter the offender and others from engaging in reckless, willful, gratuitous or similar malicious conduct in the future. .. These are exactly the same goals of a criminal prosecution. Therefore, a stay of this civil suit is in the best interest of the judicial economy and will not interfere with the interest of the plaintiffs in a speedy recovery (which has already been obtained) In addition, the public interests will be better served by suspending this civil suit and allowing the criminal proceedings to proceed without interference. “
Bland added that this request is more “disgusting” when viewed in the context of the judgment admissions signed by Murdaugh on October 29 on two other civil lawsuits, from his brother, Randolph Murdaugh IV, and his former legal partner, John E. Parker, who claim Murdaugh borrowed money from them but never paid it back.
Bland stressed that these admissions of judgment, if accepted and approved by the court, would legally ensure that his brother and partner’s claims would be paid before other claims, including the Satterfields or a death suit. wrongful brought by Renee Beach, Hampton County. mother who lost her teenage daughter in a boating accident in 2019 for which Murdaugh’s son Paul is believed to be responsible.
Since these admissions of judgment were signed, attorney John Lay, who was recently appointed by the court as co-responsible for Murdaugh’s assets, has filed a motion to stay this judgment pending further court review. .
Bland Richter files memo in opposition to rejection
On November 23, Bland Richter filed a “memorandum of opposition to Murdaugh’s motion to dismiss” in the HC Court of Common Pleas.
This memo alleges that not only does Murdaugh still owe the allegedly stolen $ 4.3 million, but he also owes the Satterfield estate interest and taxes on that money, as well as punitive damages. Conservatively applying a five-fold punitive multiplier, Murdaugh’s damages exposure is $ 38,990,350, according to the memo.
The memo calls Murdaugh’s motion to dismiss “fatally flawed” and “akin to rearranging the lounge chairs on the Titanic – that won’t change the outcome.”
“Murdaugh cannot claim that because others have paid for the money he stole he is entitled to a free jail release card,” the note from Satterfield said. “Much to Murdaugh’s chagrin, he will have to wait for the jury to make a decision, assess the verdict (if any) that will be rendered, then determine if any previous settlements have been obtained for the same cause of action and whether he is entitled. compensation for the sums paid. “
“The public is waiting and watching how the courts in South Carolina will treat a once powerful and influential lawyer,” the memo added. âIs there a justice system for all or a two-tier justice system that favors the rich and the powerful?
Satterfield Additional Settlement Announced
On Wednesday, Bland Richter, LLP announced a new settlement in the Satterfield case.
âThe Law Firm Bland Richter, LLP is pleased to announce on behalf of the Estate of Gloria Satterfield (â Estate â) that on Tuesday, November 16, 2021, a second and final settlement was reached with attorney Cory Fleming, his former lawyer. firm, Moss, Kuhn & Fleming, PA, and their professional liability insurance company as part of an additional part of their applicable insurance policy, âsaid Bland and his partner, Ronnie Richter, in a statement.
The additional claim was against Fleming’s malpractice insurance policy, Bland said.
âThe insurance company and Cory Fleming stepped forward and wanted to do what’s right,â Bland added. “We are grateful that we were able to recover for these boys (from Satterfield), who deserve it.”
Bland said last week that to date his firm has reached more than $ 7 million in settlements from parties such as Palmetto State Bank, banker Chad Westendorf, Fleming, Fleming’s law firm, Moss, Kuhn & Fleming, PA, of Beaufort, SC, and several insurance companies.