Partial settlement reached in suit involving lawyer accused of staging his shooting and missing millions
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A Beaufort, South Carolina, lawyer who sued his friend, suspended lawyer Alex Murdaugh, for wrongful death litigants has settled a suit alleging that they never received the settlement payout.
Lawyer Cory Fleming and his law firm—Moss, Kuhn and Fleming—agreed to pay back all fees and expenses that they received while representing the sons of Murdaugh’s housekeeper over her death at Murdaugh’s home, report Fox News, the Greenville News and the Island Packet.
In addition, the law firm’s malpractice insurance carrier has agreed to pay the housekeeper’s estate the full policy limits of the insurance, according to a statement by the sons’ lawyers, Eric Bland and Ronnie Richter.
Murdaugh was in the news when he was accused of staging his own shooting. Murdaugh, under investigation for law firm theft, plotted to have himself killed by a former client, so his son could collect a $10 million life insurance policy.
Murdaugh is facing charges of insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and filing a false police report. His law firm had confronted Murdaugh with allegations that he was misappropriating money.
Authorities are also investigating the shooting deaths of Murdaugh’s wife and son at their home in Islandton, South Carolina.
The housekeeper’s sons alleged in a new civil suit that they never received any money from the $4.3 million wrongful death settlement, and that they were unaware that Fleming was friends with Murdaugh.
According to the lawyer who filed the new case, the wrongful death settlement specified that the housekeeper’s family should get $2.76 million, but it was never paid out.
A court filing Tuesday alleges that Murdaugh diverted more than $3.5 million in the settlement money to himself by depositing checks made out to “Forge,” a company with a name similar to structured settlement company Forge Consulting. The State has coverage.
Forge Consulting has said it appears that Murdaugh and others working with him established the bank account for “Forge” to leverage its name.
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division has said it is investigating how the housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield, died and what happened to the insurance payout. Murdaugh had claimed that the housekeeper died in February 2018 after she tripped and fell down the steps at his home.
Her sons allege that Murdaugh acknowledged that Satterfield’s death was his fault and introduced them to Fleming, so he could file legal claims on their behalf.
Fleming and his law firm maintain that they were victims of a fraudulent scheme by Murdaugh, according to a statement by the law firm representing the sons.
“The estate will continue pursuing other culpable parties who resist acceptance of responsibility for their part in this tragic matter,” the statement said.
The new legal filing seeks to depose the judge who approved the settlement, according to the State and the Post and Courier.
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