No decision on dismissing lawsuit against Alex Murdaugh’s former law firm

The former Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth & Detrick law firm in Hampton County and two of...
The former Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth & Detrick law firm in Hampton County and two of its attorneys filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit against them filed by a man who said he never received settlement money the firm's attorneys negotiated for him following a 2008 car crash.(WTOC)
Published: Apr. 17, 2023 at 4:24 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 17, 2023 at 7:19 PM EDT

HAMPTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - A judge did not issue a ruling Monday on a request to dismiss a lawsuit against three of the six defendants named in a lawsuit involving disbarred Lowcountry attorney Alex Murdaugh.

The lawsuit, filed on Oct. 7 against Murdaugh, Ronnie Crosby, William Barnes III, Russell Laffitte, the Palmetto State Bank and Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth & Detrick, P.A.

PMPED was the former law firm that employed Murdaugh, Barnes and Crosby. Laffitte was the former CEO of Palmetto State Bank.

Manuel Santis-Christiani, who lives in Chiapas, Mexico, filed the suit, which focused on a car crash that occurred on or about Nov. 4, 2008, court documents state. The crash happened on I-95 in Colleton County when the tread separated from the right rear tire of the vehicle in which Santis-Christiani was traveling, causing the vehicle to overturn.

Santis-Christiani hired the law firm to represent him in a suit against the driver of the vehicle, Michelin North America Inc., the maker of the tire; and Ford Motor Company, the maker of the vehicle involved in the crash, documents state.

Court documents state that the law firm and its attorneys negotiated a settlement between Santis-Christiani and Ford Motors and Michelin in 2013 for an unspecified amount and that the law firm deposited Santis-Christiani’s settlement through Laffittee into the Palmetto State Bank. But the lawsuit alleges the attorneys failed to inform Santis-Christiani of the amount they recovered for him and that he never received the money from the settlement.

The suit alleges he has also never received an accounting from any of the defendants about the money he is due. The lawsuit sought actual and punitive damages against all six defendants.

In a response filed Monday to the motion to dismiss the lawsuit, Santis-Christiani’s attorneys state that the defendants have renewed an earlier motion to dismiss that another judge already denied. The “renewed” motion, Santis-Christiani’s attorneys argue, “is nothing more than a disguise” to have the first judge’s order reversed. They also argue the defendants’ new motion would have to be based on new material but allege it seeks to reargue the earlier complaints.

They asked the judge to dismiss the renewed motion to dismiss.

There is no word as to when the judge is expected to issue a ruling on the motion.