An attorney embroiled in the latest shocking developments of the Murdaugh Murders saga, along with his law firm, have reached a settlement in the pending lawsuit on behalf of Gloria Satterfield — Alex Murdaugh’s family housekeeper who died suspiciously in 2018 following a “trip and fall” incident at the Murdaugh’s home.
Eric Bland — a Columbia, South Carolina attorney who is representing Satterfield’s two sons in a recently filed lawsuit alleging civil conspiracy and stolen funds in connection with Satterfield’s wrongful death settlement — announced the settlement from Cory Fleming and his law firm Moss, Kuhn and Fleming Sunday evening.
The settlement was reached less than two weeks after FITSNews published a shocking report about Fleming’s alleged role in a scheme to take millions of dollars from Satterfield’s sons after her $4.3 million secret settlement was approved in 2019.
Before the new settlement was reached on Friday, Satterfield’s two sons hadn’t received a single dime from their mother’s wrongful death settlement.
“Mr. Fleming and his firm agreed that the estate will be paid back all legal fees and expenses Mr. Fleming and his law firm received from the $4,300,000 they recovered for the estate in connection with the claims asserted against Alex Murdaugh for the death of Gloria Satterfied,” Bland said in a press release. “In addition, their malpractice insurance carrier agreed to pay to the estate their full policy limits of insurance.”
Bland said that Cory Fleming, who was Alex Murdaugh’s best friend, ultimately decided to do the right thing after the lawsuit was filed.
Fleming apparently turned on Alex Murdaugh and claimed that he and his law firm were duped by the disgraced attorney.
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“Mr. Fleming and his law firm maintain, they—like others—were victims of Alex Murdaugh’s fraudulent scheme,” Bland said.
But is it even possible that Fleming wouldn’t know that his own clients were fooled out of millions?
The lawsuit accuses Alex Murdaugh of conspiring with Fleming and their banker friend Chad Westendorf to convince Satterfield’s sons to let them take over the estate.
Court documents appear to show that circuit judge Carmen Mullen signed the $4.3 million secret settlement in 2019.
According to the documents, which were just released to the public in September,$2.8 million of that settlement was supposed to go to Satterfield’s sons.
However, Satterfield’s two sons — Brian Harriott and Tony Satterfield — never received a dime in the settlement, according to the motion. Her sons were the only beneficiaries in Gloria’s estate.
How can Fleming call himself a competent attorney when he failed to notice that his clients were missing millions from their settlement?
The petition was not entered into the court record— which is a major violation of procedure. In fact, none of these documents essential to the settlement process were entered properly.
The documents — which were secretly filed in April and May of 2019 as the Murdaughs had just emerged into the media spotlight following the fatal boat crash that killed Mallory Beach — also mysteriously did not list Alex Murdaugh’s name as the defendant. It appears that he convinced the court to take his name off of it — a luxury most South Carolina citizens do not have when they admit fault in the wrongful death of another human being.
Bland told FITSNews that this settlement was done in an elaborate scheme that began soon after Satterfield’s death in February 2018.
The Satterfield family was told that Gloria tripped on the steps at the Murdaugh’s former home on Holly Street in Hampton, S.C. on February 2, 2018. They were told the Murdaughs’ dogs caused her to trip – causing a fall which resulted in her sustaining a traumatic brain injury.
At Gloria’s funeral, Alex allegedly started railroading her sons and convinced them to hire his friend Cory Fleming to get money for their mother’s death, according to Bland.
However, Satterfield’s sons did not know that Fleming was Murdaugh’s former college roommate, best friend and Buster Murdaugh’s godfather.
He also convinced Gloria’s sons that they needed to have a banker (Westendorf) work as their personal representative of Gloria’s estate, according to the lawsuit.
Bland later learned that Alex Murdaugh’s insurance company actually settled for more than $4.3 million — with $2.8 million that was supposed to go to his clients.
Murdaugh and Fleming apparently claimed they were doing a structured settlement for Satterfield’s sons, although this was never disclosed to the court. Essentially, this would work like a trust — instead of getting a lump sum, the plaintiff would receive more money over time with tax breaks.
Murdaugh claimed that he set up an annuity account for Satterfield’s sons through a company called Forge Consulting LLC.
“The only problem is Cory never got any documents from Forge and he’s taking direction from the defendant (Murdaugh), who tells him after you take your fees, write the check to “Forge” and send it to a P.O box in Hampton, South Carolina.”
Alex Murdaugh allegedly told Fleming to make checks out to “Forge” — not Forge Consulting LLC — after he set up an account with that name.
“Alex Murdaugh opened up a bank account at Bank of America under the name of Forge, got the check cashed and walked away with the money,” Bland said.
Bland said Fleming, his law firm, and the Satterfields will release more infomation about the settlement later this week.
The lawsuit is far from over.
“The estate will continue pursuing other culpable parties who resist acceptance of responsibility for their part in this tragic matter,” Bland said.
Other Investigations Tied To Fleming
Cory Fleming is connected to all three death investigations that are also tied to the Murdaugh Family — Gloria Satterfield, Stephen Smith, and Mallory Beach.
In the Stephen Smith case, Fleming’s former client Patrick Wilson was suspiciously injected into the investigation after a trooper started to zero in on Buster Murdaugh as a potential person of interest. The solicitor’s office dropped Wilson’s charges after this.
And in the 2019 boat crash, Alex Murdaugh allegedly told Connor Cook essentially the same thing that he told Satterfield’s sons —that Fleming was a good lawyer who could be trusted and would have his back.
Now, Connor Cook now is suing Alex Murdaugh for essentially conspiring to frame him in the boat crash investigation.
Unlike Murdaugh, Fleming has not been suspended by the South Carolina Supreme Court and is still a practicing attorney.
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 protected].