A South Carolina law firm announced Sunday that a settlement had been reached in a lawsuit alleging that Alex Murdaugh embezzled millions from the sons of his longtime housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield.
After Satterfield died from an alleged fall while working in 2018, Murdaugh advised her sons to start a wrongful death action against himself and try to collect from an insurance company. To that end, Murdaugh introduced them to attorney Cory Fleming, without telling them they were old friends. Fleming allegedly helped secure settlements in the housekeeper’s death behind the sons’ backs – which gave way to the new lawsuit settled over the weekend.
The settlement was reached Friday with Fleming, his law firm – Moss, Kuhn and Fleming – and their insurance carrier “in connection with the pending lawsuit,” the law firm of Bland Richter, LLP, which is representing the estate of Satterfield, said in a statement released Sunday.
Satterfield, a 57-year-old housekeeper and nanny who worked for the Murdaugh family for two decades, died at the hospital on Feb. 26, 2018 – weeks after sustaining a head injury, after Alex Murdaugh claimed she had tripped and fallen over his dogs and down the steps while working at his family’s home in Colleton County. She never regained consciousness before her death.
SONS OF ALEX MURDAUGH’S HOUSEKEEPER ASK JUDGE TO JAIL DISGRACED ATTORNEY UNTIL HE FORFEITS EMBEZZLED MILLIONS
“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 Satterfield,” the statement says.
“In addition, their malpractice insurance carrier agreed to pay to the Estate their full policy limits of insurance,” it adds. The statement does not clarify how much of the $4.3 million will be paid to Satterfield’s two sons, Michael Anthony Satterfield and Brian Harriott.
“Mr. Fleming stepped forward and did the right thing by the Estate,” attorneys Eric Bland and Ronnie Richter, who represent Satterfield’s estate, added in their statement Sunday. “Mr. Fleming and his law firm maintain, they—like others—were victims of Alex Murdaugh’s fraudulent scheme. A more comprehensive joint statement from Mr. Fleming, his firm, and the Satterfield Estate will be issued later this week.”
This comes after a new motion filed on behalf of Satterfield’s sons last week had asked a Hampton County judge to order the arrest or detention of Alex Murdaugh until he returned the millions allegedly embezzled following the housekeeper’s death.
Gloria Satterfield worked as a housekeeper and a nanny at the Murdaugh home. Alex Murdaugh was released last month following separate charges related to an alleged botched plot of his own death so his son, Buster, could collect a $10 million life insurance policy. A judge allowed him to return to an out-of-state rehabilitation facility to treat a supposed opioid addiction.
(Brice Herndon Funeral Home/ AP)
Fleming later convinced Michael Satterfield to sign over his right to represent his mother’s estate to the vice president of Palmetto State Bank, Chad Westendorf, arguing Westendorf was better suited to handle any “business issues” that should arise, the filing had alleged. After that, Gloria Satterfield’s sons never were informed of any settlement discussions, let alone a settlement being reached.
Court documents show that Lloyds, London Underwriters initially agreed to a $505,000 settlement. Other insurers, Brit Syndicates Ltd. and Nautilus Insurance Company, agreed to pay $4.3 million in exchange for the final release of liability coverage. Subtracting legal fees and other costs, Satterfield’s sons were entitled to $2.8 million, according to an order signed off on by 14th Circuit Judge Carmen Mullen on May 13, 2019.
But that order was subsequently never filed in the court system, and neither son had seen a dime of the settlement money, the filing said.
Fleming and his law firm were represented by attorney Thomas Pendarvis from the Pendarvis Law Offices, P.C. in Beaufort, S.C. and attorney David Overstreet of Earhart Overstreet in Charleston, S.C. The estate of Gloria Satterfield “will continue pursuing other culpable parties who resist acceptance of responsibility for their part in this tragic matter,” Bland and Richter added Sunday.
South Carolina’s State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) also opened an investigation on Sept. 15 into the death of Gloria Satterfield and the handling of her estate. Hampton County Coroner Angie Topper had asked SLED Chief Mark Keel to open an investigation because Satterfield’s death certificate ruled the manner of death as “natural,” which is inconsistent with injuries sustained in a trip-and-fall accident. The death was also not reported to the coroner at that time and an autopsy was never performed.
Fleming was named in a separate lawsuit filed last month on behalf of Connor Cook, one of the passengers injured in the February 2019 boat crash that also killed 19-year-old Mallory Beach. A drunken and underage Paul Murdaugh allegedly steered the boat into a bridge in Beaufort County, but the lawsuit claims that Alex Murdaugh started a “whisper campaign” to spread the false rumor that Connor, and not his son, Paul, was driving.
Cook also claims Alex Murdaugh sought him out at the hospital after the crash to tell him to “keep his mouth shut” and later introduced Cook to Fleming, who as his attorney, directed the teen not to talk to law enforcement investigating the accident.
Boating under the influence charges were dropped against Paul Murdaugh after his death in June when he and his mother, Maggie Murdaugh, were found shot on the family’s property in Colleton County. No arrests have been made in connection to their double murder.
Danielle Wallace is a Digital Reporter for Fox News and FOX Business. Follow her on Twitter at @danimwallace. If you have a tip, you can email her at email@example.com.