A judge was set to hear arguments in the Satterfield case from Alex Murdaugh‘s “bulldog” attorneys Monday morning, but the hearing was canceled after both parties came to an agreement on several matters, Columbia attorney Eric Bland said Sunday evening.
Bland represents the family of Murdaugh’s longtime housekeeper who died after a trip and fall accident at the Murdaugh family’s hunting lodge in 2018.
Murdaugh is accused of leading a scheme to defraud the family of their entire $4.3 million wrongful death settlement.
At issue for Monday’s hearing were:
- A motion from the defense to dismiss Murdaugh from the lawsuit
- A motion from the defense to silence and sanction Bland for his comments in the media
- A motion to dismiss Bank of America as a defendant from the Satterfield lawsuit
- Two motions to cancel lis pendens filings that were placed on two properties owned by the Murdaugh family by the plaintiffs
All parties withdrew their motions ahead of Monday.
“We continue to make meaningful progress every week to get justice, compensation and accountability for our clients, which was our goal from the first day we were retained for these were these worthy boys in early September 2021,” Bland said Sunday evening.
Bland said he did not know whether a complaint that had been filed against him with the South Carolina Supreme Court’s Office of Disciplinary Council in November by Murdaugh’s defense team had also been withdrawn.
When asked if the Satterfield family had settled with Bank of America — the bank where Murdaugh had opened two accounts in another business’ name to allegedly deposit stolen money — Bland said, “I cannot comment on Bank of America.”
Still to be resolved in the case are complaints against Curtis “Eddie” Smith — who allegedly received payouts from the stolen money — and a potential future complaint against BB&T bank, which had cleared an unsigned check for Murdaugh’s benefit.
“Yes we are nearing the end for what we are able to accomplish in the civil context but we intend to fully press forward and continue to participate in the criminal proceedings as we may be requested,” Bland said. “It is now time for some of the other victims of Alex Murdaugh to get there compensation and justice”
In November, state Sen. Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin, Murdaugh’s attorneys, filed two brazen motions at the Hampton County Courthouse.
One motion sought to have their client removed from the case because the Satterfield family had already recouped more than $6.5 million from Murdaugh’s alleged co-conspirators.
The other asked Judge Bentley Price to sanction Bland for speaking to the media.
On September 15, Bland and Richter filed a lawsuit on the Satterfield family’s behalf against Murdaugh, Cory Fleming and others involved in the 2018 settlement. Other defendants included Fleming’s previous law firm, Chad Westendorf (the banker listed as a representative of Satterfield’s estate), and Palmetto State Bank (the financial institution where Westendorf worked).
Two months after the Bland and Richter filed their lawsuit, Harpootlian and Griffin filed a motion that claimed Murdaugh “is entitled to a credit for the more than $6 million paid by all other settling tortfeasors.”
At the time, Bland told FITSNews he was shocked and disgusted by the motion.
“The reality of the situation is it just goes to show how despicable he is in that he’s going to victimize my clients again,” Bland said. “Alex is saying ‘Yes, I stole money from you. I’m not going to admit it, I’m a coward. I’m going to make you then litigate against me for two years to prove what the obvious already is.’”
The move by the Murdaugh camp was particularly galling because Murdaugh had confessed judgment in lawsuits filed by his former law partner John E. Parker and his brother Randy Murdaugh, FITSNews exclusively reported.
This essentially prioritized Alex’s debt to Randy ahead of a long line of alleged victims currently suing the man whose wife and son were murdered in June.
During a bond hearing for Murdaugh in December, Harpootlian told the court that Murdaugh had agreed to confess judgment for $4.3 million in the Satterfield case in a move that seemed designed to curry favor with the judge.
The judge was apparently unmoved by the announcement and ordered a $7 million bond for Murdaugh’s release, which he has not yet paid.
Murdaugh is facing at least seven lawsuits — three for both the 2019 boat crash that killed Mallory Beach, two for millions of dollars misappropriated/stolen funds dating back to 2015 and two for unpaid debt.
Murdaugh has only officially confessed judgment in Randy Murdaugh and John E. Parker’s cases, according to online court records. Bland said Sunday night that the confession of judgment in the Satterfield case needs to be submitted to Judge Daniel Hall, who is the judge who froze Murdaugh’s finances and assigned a co-receivership to comb through his finances.
The “confessions of judgment” to Parker and Randy Murdaugh were signed just hours after attorney Mark Tinsley, who is representing the Beach family, had presented his arguments for a temporary injunction over Alex Murdaugh’s assets and to appoint two outside parties — attorney John T. Lay Jr. and former U.S. attorney Peter M. McCoy Jr. — to have control over Alex and Buster Murdaugh’s assets, which is known as a “receivership” in court.
The second motion filed by Harpootlian and Griffin in November asked for the gag order contained six pages cataloguing Bland’s colorful quotes, including several that have appeared in FITNews as well as quotes featured in our news director Mandy Matney’s hugely popular podcast, “The Murdaugh Murders.”
Bland said Sunday night that he planned to withdraw two lis pendens filings he made against the Murdaugh family’s more than 1,700-acre hunting property, where Maggie and Paul Murdaugh were murder this past summer, and against their Edisto Beach home.
The withdrawal allows the personal representative of Maggie Murdaugh’s estate to sell the properties.
To read more about the sale of Moselle, click here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Liz Farrell is the new executive editor at FITSNews. She was named 2018’s top columnist in the state by South Carolina Press Association and is back after taking a nearly two-year break from corporate journalism to reclaim her soul. Email her at [email protected] or tweet her @ElizFarrell.
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