COLUMBIA, SC (WIS/Gray News) – The attorneys for the family of Gloria Satterfield, the Murdaugh family’s housekeeper, responded to Alex Murdaugh’s defense team’s attempt to vacate a $4.3 million judgment awarded to the family.
In court documents filed Tuesday, the Satterfield family’s attorneys called the defense team’s latest filing “absurd and nonsensical.”
In a motion last month, Murdaugh’s attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin argued that the judgment awarded to the Satterfield family should be vacated because it was obtained through “inaccurate facts,” citing their client’s own lies.
The judgment, the defense team argued, was merely symbolic.
The Satterfield family’s attorneys, Eric Bland and Ronnie Richter, said that there is no legal basis to throw out the judgment and wrote in their response to the motion that this is just the Murdaugh defense seeking a “mulligan,” or do-over.
“It’s just continuously misleading and using our court system, and enough is enough,” Bland said in an interview Wednesday.
Bland said this attempt to take back the judgment was also further victimizing the Satterfield family.
The Satterfield family filed a lawsuit against Murdaugh in September 2021, claiming he stole insurance money owed to them after Gloria Satterfield died in a trip and fall accident at the Murdaugh estate in 2018.
Murdaugh admitted to the wrongdoing and agreed to the $4.3 million judgment last year.
The disgraced former attorney is currently serving a life sentence in prison for the killings of his wife and son.
His defense team argued the Satterfields were never entitled to that money in the first place, because Murdaugh “invented” the story about the family dogs causing Gloria Satterfield’s fall.
The Satterfield family’s attorneys wrote in their response that this was a “twisted application of Murdaugh logic.”
“The time for him to have said the dogs weren’t tripped was when I went to him with the confession of judgment and asked him to sign,” Bland said. “He should have said, ‘No, I’m not signing for that. I lie and your clients aren’t entitled to any judgment from me.’”
Bland believes Murdaugh is only now shifting his story to shield himself from liability in a separate lawsuit from Nautilus Insurance Group, the company that paid out the original $3.8 million settlement.
“They traffic that confession of judgment when they want Alex to be rewarded for it,” he said. “’You see, he stepped up and he gave the Satterfields $4.3 million, Judge Lee, so lower his bond.’ Or when he went to the murder jury, and said, ‘Hey, we gave them a confession of judgment,’ trying to curry favour, trying to say, ‘I’m making restitution.’ No. It’s only when it benefits him does he say that he gave the confession of judgment. Now when he’s going to get smacked with the $3.8 million judgment from Nautilus Insurance Company, and then interest on that money, he wants out of it.”
Murdaugh’s defense team argued that the $4.3 million judgment does no harm to Murdaugh since all of his assets are in the hands of receivers meant to divvy up the funds among the victims of his alleged financial crimes.
They said the judgment really only hurts those victims.
The motion from Harpootlian and Griffin reads, “Mr. Murdaugh and his counsel do not challenge the confessed judgment in this case because it somehow harms Mr. Murdaugh. The confession harms Mr. Murdaugh not at all. It does not require him to pay any money and all his money is in the custody of receivers appointed by this Court. If 10 insurance companies sued Mr. Murdaugh for this same $4.3 million and all prevail, Mr. Murdaugh’s life would not change in any way. The confessed judgment only harms Mr. Murdaugh’s other victims.”
Bland vehemently disagreed.
After negotiating with Murdaugh’s counsel for six months, the Satterfield family’s attorneys agreed to not assert “dominance” over other claimants.
“It’s a completely false argument that we have harmed the victims by our confession of judgment because we’ve agreed to go to the back of the line with it,” Bland said.
The Satterfield family’s attorneys have asked for sanctions against Murdaugh’s lawyers, and have requested a hearing on this matter before Judge Daniel Hall, who approved the confession of judgment.
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