UPDATE: SLED has opened a criminal investigation into Gloria Satterfield’s death.
The sons of former Murdaugh family housekeeper Gloria Satterfield — who died suspiciously in 2018 following an alleged “trip and fall” incident at a home owned by the prominent South Carolina family — filed a lawsuit Wednesday alleging civil conspiracy and stolen funds in connection with a 2018 settlement following her death.
The lawsuit was filed a day after FITSNews first reported on claims from Satterfield’s sons that they received no money from a $500,000 settlement their attorney Cory Fleming — a well-known friend of the Murdaugh family — reached with Alex Murdaugh three years ago.
However, FITSNews sources said the actual payouts related to Satterfield’s death may have been much larger.
“The settlement amount may have been hidden from them — the real amount,” an attorney close to settlement told FITSNews.
Attorneys Eric Bland and Ronald Richter filed the lawsuit Wednesday against Murdaugh, Fleming and others involved in the 2018 settlement. Other defendants included Fleming’s law firm (Moss, Kuhn and Fleming), Chad Westendorf (the banker listed as a representative of Satterfield’s estate), and Palmetto State Bank (the financial institution where Westendorf worked).
The lawsuit is the latest bombshell in the ‘Murdaugh Murders’ saga — a made-for-Hollywood story that unspooled even further on Tuesday evening when news broke that Alex Murdaugh allegedly staged a failed suicide-for-hire insurance scheme on September 4, 2021.
Satterfield’s death is one of three suspicious fatalities tied to the Murdaugh family which occurred prior to the June 7, 2021 double homicide of 52-year-old Maggie Murdaugh and 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh.
Satterfield, 57, died on February 26, 2018 after she allegedly tripped on the steps at Murdaugh’s former home in Hampton, South Carolina. Her sons were told that the dogs caused her to trip and she suffered a traumatic brain injury.
Satterfield was the family housekeeper and nanny for the prominent Murdaugh family for around 25 years.
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“Gloria was proud of her association with the Murdaugh family, but she was most proud of her two sons, Tony and Brian,” the lawsuit said.
At Satterfield’s funeral, Alex Murdaugh told Satterfield’s family “he was going to take care of the boys because he was going to ‘sue myself’ for her death.”
Alex Murdaugh personally introduced Gloria’s sons to his “good friend” Fleming and encouraged them to hire him “so that Fleming could assist the sons in filing legal claims against Murdaugh for the wrongful death of their mother,” the lawsuit stated.
Satterfield’s sons did not know that Fleming was Murdaugh’s former college roommate, best friend, and Buster Murdaugh’s godfather.
“Tony and Brian trusted Alex Murdaugh and because of their trust in him, Tony and Brian retained Fleming and (his law firm) to represent them,” the lawsuit said.
Further, Alex Murdaugh “used the assistance” of his banker friend Chad Westendorf in the alleged conspiracy and he was selected as a personal representative of the estate.
Satterfield’s sons were not told that they had priority by law to serve as personal representatives.
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The lawsuit accused Fleming of a number of ethical violations including not communicating with his clients and not going after Alex Murdaugh’s personal assets.
The new lawsuit alleges that Fleming never even filed a lawsuit for Satterfield’s sons.
During the settlement process, Alex Murdaugh admitted that he was at fault in Gloria’s death and Alex’s insurance company Lloyds of London agreed to pay out $505,000 for Satterfield’s death.
In December 2018, Westendorf petitioned the court to approve Murdaugh’s insurance payout. Gloria’s sons were completely left out of the settlement process. They didn’t find out about it until it was in the media.
Fleming’s law firm – where Alex Murdaugh previously worked — received $177,500 of the total sum in attorney fees and expenses from Murdaugh’s insurance company, according to the settlement.
According to the lawsuit, Gloria’s sons — the only beneficiaries listed in the settlement never got a dime of the settlement money — have never received a dime in the settlement.
S.C. circuit court judge Perry Buckner — who recused himself from the 2019 boat crash case because of his ties to the Murdaugh family — approved the settlement in December 2018.
Click below to read the full lawsuit..satterfieldLAWSUIT
ABOUT THE AUTHOR..
Mandy Matney is the news director at FITSNews. She’s an investigative journalist from Kansas who has worked for newspapers in Missouri, Illinois, and South Carolina before making the switch to FITS. She currently lives on Hilton Head Island where she enjoys beach life. Mandy also hosts the Murdaugh Murders podcast. Want to contact Mandy? Send your tips to email@example.com.
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