EB discusses how Alex Murdaugh’s assets are going to be divided and the lawsuit that Mark Tinsley filed against FITSNews. Eric also shares his thoughts on the Jennifer Grumbly case. We can’t forget our new segment, EB’s Law Library!
Hey there. How’s everybody we everybody’s week doing? EB here. Good week to premium members, True Sunlight listeners, and Cup of Justice listeners. We are going to talk about a couple subjects this week, obviously some Murdaugh matters took place. And also talk about you know, some exciting things regarding Mandy’s book tour and some appearances coming up.
So earlier this week, we had the special referee Walter Tollison, who’s from Greenville, South Carolina. He was appointed by Judge Daniel Hall to make a decision on how the funds at this time which are about I think $1.78 million that are being held by the two receivers, after they spent the last two years trying to find the assets of Alex Murdaugh. They were successful in getting only $1.78 million. Actually, it was $1.9. But there’s been some money that has been spent. And the special referee is assigned the task of how is he going to divide that money amongst all of Alex Murdaugh’s victims and former clients? And there was a procedure in place throughout the fall that began in October that the victims and former clients would make an application to the court, state their case and as to what amount, and why they are entitled to some of those funds. Now, we all know that Alex Murdaugh probably has much more money than the $1.8 million because he stole over $10 million from his clients, he stole from his brother. He’s made a fortune of money, sometimes up to, you know, $5 million, and as low as $650,000, which still is a tremendous amount of money from 2010 to essentially about 2021.
And so everybody made their applications, we submitted an application on behalf of our two clients. We’ve represented seven but two of them we submitted on behalf of the Satterfield and on behalf of the Plyler sisters, Alania Plyler Spohn and Hannah Plyler. And we have also obtained a confession of judgment for $4.3 million, which was the total amount of the settlement as a result of Gloria’s death, of which Alex stole 3.5 million. And as some of you may recall, we got that confession to judgment at the butt end of a rifle. We had to sue Alex. At this time, Alex is the only one who has not paid any money to the Satterfields, also to the Plylers. And so we sued Alex and after five months in negotiations, we got a $4.3 million judgment, a judgment that we got after we recovered more than seven and a half million dollars. So Alex knew that he had further individual exposure, and he agreed to pay that money. So we felt that we were in a pretty good position to get a good portion or some of this $1.78 million that is going to be divided. The Plyler sisters certainly should have been considered victims because they Alex with Russell Laffitte, borrowed money allegedly really took the money, didn’t pay the required interest didn’t pay them the delinquency fees that were built than the sum of the promissory notes, and they use that money for their own personal benefit. Alex used it to pay off other obligations. Russell Laffitte, built a swimming pool. Russell Laffitte, paid off his line of credit that was at a 7% interest rate, and then agreed only to pay the Plyler sisters 2%. Didn’t get court approval for any of these things when Russell Laffitte was the conservator. And Alex stole the money to pay the Plyler sisters back when they turned of majority eight age at 18 years old. And absolutely shocking that Mr. Tollison gave $0 to the Plyler girls. Absolutely shocking that he gave $0 to the Satterfields. He grouped them with Randy Murdaugh, who he gave $0 for. Yet he gave 14% to PMPED law firm. He gave 15% to Johnny Parker, who was the senior partner in that law firm, and arguably, if he paid more attention could have stopped Alex Murdaugh a long, long time ago, from stealing money from clients. You can never tell me that it was just the Satterfields who hold an enforceable $4.3 million judgment that’s been gaining interest since 2022 get $0. The Plyler sisters who lost interest on their money for five years get $0.
The second thing that took place this week is Mark Tinsley, Zero Dark Tinsley, we don’t hear too much from Mark. He works behind the scenes, he works in darkness. You know, when people can’t see him, and he’s a dangerous, dangerous lawyer. He is as good as it gets. And he decided to sue FITSNews on behalf of someone who was falsely accused of being a murder suspect in the Stephen Smith homicide investigation. And you can imagine if you are named as a suspect in a murder investigation, people are going to look at you a little differently, regardless of whether you proclaim your innocence. But I do think that this is a serious lawsuit. If I was the gentleman who was accused of being a murder suspect, I would be livid. So that’s what happened this week. It’s a lot.
Next, I’m really excited about next Thursday night for premium members. Mandy Matney and Sarah Ford are going to be at the Capital City Club next Thursday. Love to have you there. Renee and I are going to be there, absolutely. Mandy is going to talk about her book. Sarah is going to talk about the victim organization that she runs. Should be a great evening, looking forward to seeing both them and David and any of you who want to make the trip. Looking forward to talking to you, taking some photos and just hearing how your years are going.
Earlier this week, I was on “Opening Statements,” the Julie Grant show on Court TV, and we talked about Jennifer Crumbley, it is a landmark decision. It’s a landmark decision because oftentimes parents get sued when there’s a mass shooting and they didn’t properly supervise the child either shot up a restaurant or school and they get sued in a civil context for failure to supervise and gross negligence. And it kind of makes sense because if you have a problem child and you know you should see it, you live with that person every day. It’s foreseeable that something like this could happen. You see a child, a young teenager that migrates from wearing normal clothes and then they start wearing darker clothes and so if the child goes and shoots somebody up, they’re sued civilly.
In this particular case, they brought in voluntary manslaughter charges against the mother and the father. And this past two weeks, it was a trial against the mother, the father’s trial is set for March 6, I believe. There were four charges of involuntary manslaughter. Involuntary manslaughter is not murder, it’s saying that you are grossly negligent in how you handled the situation, and they’re suing the parents, meaning the State is bringing criminal charges for the failure of the parents to prevent the shooting and killing of four innocent students.
The concern amongst the defense bar is, wow, this is gonna open up Pandora’s box. You know, parents are always gonna get sued. I think this was pretty fact specific. You had a mother who was indifferent to the cries in the pleas of this child. Juries like to see contrition, they like to see, anguish and sorry parents, you know, putting their faces in their hands saying, I wish I could have done more. I’m so sorry. I have to live with this guilt. But she was too matter of fact, saying like, I wouldn’t change anything. If I had to do it all over again I’d do it the same way. Well, there were a ton of red flags. This is a red flag case. What do red flags mean? Just exactly what they say, the signals. I mean, he started talking about ghosts and flying plates. Now the mother tried to explain that away. Oh, we had this running joke in our family that the house was haunted. But the real death knell for her and there was a conviction. It took two days of full deliberations and she was convicted of the involuntary manslaughter of the kids that were killed.
She said she testified and there was evidence on the morning of the murders. On the morning of the murders, on the morning of the murders…she had to meet at school with the guidance counselor’s and the principal because he had drawn some pictures that showed dead people next to a gun. And she left and she did nothing about it. And she never told the principal hey, you know what, we bought him a pistol for Christmas. She lied about the fact that there was a cable triggering mechanism that would prevent the trigger from being depressed, that had stayed in the package. She tried to blame the husband, to say the husband was in charge of storage of the gun.
You know, I have no problem with parents buying a hunting rifle or a shotgun to teach the kids how to hunt. But I don’t understand why anybody as a parent would buy a pistol for a 15 or 16 year old kid, especially a semi automatic nine millimeter. And if you did not have it locked up in a gun safe. There were just too many issues here that made me as a parent and a citizen uncomfortable. And if I sat on that jury, I think I would probably vote guilty. So now you’re going to say wow, this is precedent setting, is this going to be we’re going to see this every time there’s a mass shooting? The answer is I don’t know. Certainly they’re going to appeal this a lot of it was appealed already, because they tried to get the charges dismissed. Because remember, you’re holding somebody criminally responsible for the death of others. Look in a civil context we hold bars who overserve people, let people go out and, you know, we had the golf cart case and in Mount Pleasant, just horrific. This lovely couple got married and then they got run over and their golf cart. You have psychiatrists who can be held liable if somebody that they’re treating says hey, I’m going to leave here today and I’m gonna go kill my wife, then you have a duty to step up and stop the crime because you know that a crime is going to be happening. If a patient comes into a psychiatrist and says, hey, oh, by the way, five years ago, I killed six people. That is a privileged conversation, believe it or not, and they can’t go to the police. But you have a duty to stop a future crime if you know what’s going to happen. And so in this particular case, are we going to hold parents criminally responsible for the murders that their children do? The answer is maybe.
Look, who better to stop this than parents? Parents are the first line of defense. There’s a Latin saying called in loco parentis, you may have heard it. It was in the center of a woman. Al Pacino talked about in loco parentis, which means in the place of the parents. That when your kids are at school, the school is in loco parentis in place of the parents. Why? Because the parents are the most important people. And so in this day and age, if you’re gonna give a kid a cell phone, you’re gonna give them a tablet, you’re gonna give them access to the internet – you better know what they’re searching for, you better know what they’re doing, especially when they’re in these young teenage formative years. Especially when kids are getting bullied online. And if you see this change in your kid you got to do something about it, you got to seek help. And if you do that and your kid still shoots and kills somebody, then you’re okay. But you can’t just turn a blind eye to it. So it was a very, very interesting case. I enjoyed following it. And we’re going to see how it plays out. Obviously, it’s going to be appealed. And we’ll see how far the wall takes these types of cases.
Okay, next, we’re going to go to the legal library. EB is going to tell you about some different terms, pro bono and pro se. Pro bono is when an attorney works for free. Now, that’s really interesting, isn’t it, that doesn’t happen too much. But you would be surprised about how many lawyers give their time to different organizations or different causes and do it for free, and it’s called pro bono. We actually have to report as a licensed lawyer to our South Carolina bar every year when we renew our license, how many pro bono hours that we give. I give my pro bono time to my synagogue. I give it to, I make speeches to the Richland County Library that get different people who are interested in business, to hear a speech about business. Some people who come to me that don’t have any money, I will help them out and that’s called pro bono. And believe it or not more lawyers do it than you would think. And, and they do it without fanfare and they do it without publication. So all that means is a lawyer is willing to give their time, their sweat, their competency and their intelligence and do it at no cost to the client.
The next term is called pro se and that’s an interesting term. Pro se means that the litigant, whether that person is a plaintiff in a lawsuit, or a defendant in a lawsuit, whether it’s a civil suit, or if the government whether it’s either the state government of the United States government is bringing criminal charges against an individual, they represent themselves, which means pro se they’re representing themselves. A corporation, or an LLC, Limited Liability Company cannot represent themselves. Under our state statute, they have to have a licensed lawyer. But an individual that wants to bring a lawsuit or an individual that is being sued, can represent themselves. It’s not advisable. You know, ever hear the saying by Abraham Lincoln, a lawyer that represents himself has a fool for a client. Same thing goes I mean, I would never walk into a surgery and do my own surgery. So you shouldn’t walk into a courtroom and do your own lawyering. But some people do it because they can’t find a lawyer and they have to represent themselves. And I’ve seen some very, very good pro se lawyers, meaning pro se litigants representing themselves. They’ve studied the law, they make good arguments. I’ve tried cases against pro se litigants. And it’s very hard, because they don’t know the rules of procedure and the judge. If you’re going to represent yourself, it’s presumed. And it’s required that you are going to follow the rules. You just can’t go in there. And it’s a melee, you actually have to follow the rules. And it’s frustrating for the judge because there’s a protocol and how you introduce evidence, how you call witnesses, things that you learn in law school and over the course of your career. And oftentimes, judges have to bend over backwards for a pro se litigant where they’re coaching them along the way. And he or she who’s the judge wants to give a benefit of the doubt to the pro se litigant and not shut them down at every minute. So it’s difficult. Sometimes juries feel sorry for that pro se litigant. So pro se means just essentially, you’re representing themselves.
So with that, I spoke for a long time, probably too long. EB out.
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