By Paul Gable
Despite stating he would issue a ruling last week, Judge Doyet A. Early remained silent on the disposition of litigation and settlement money in the Southern Holdings case.
The case before Judge Early is an interpleader action asking the court to rule on who has claim to the remaining Southern Holdings litigation and settlement funds and how much should go to each claimant.
The interpleader case was brought by attorney and Lexington Magistrate John Rakowsky who represented seven individual plaintiffs in the original Southern Holdings case. Rakowsky stated he didn’t know who had claims to the remaining litigation and settlement money he held.
There are problems with issuing a decision in the interpleader case.
Number one is the lack of an informed consent settlement agreement, signed by all plaintiffs in the Southern Holdings case represented by Rakowsky. How do you order the disbursement of funds when the document that should be the guideline for that disbursement was never created?
A settlement agreement demonstrating informed consent is required by law in cases where multiple plaintiffs are represented by the same attorney.
Number two is the sudden change of potential claimants at the eleventh hour of this case. Three funding organizations, Law Max, Litfunding and Resolution Settlement Corporation, were used by the plaintiffs to assist with litigation funding costs.
Only two of those organizations, Law Max and Litfunding, were listed as defendants in the original interpleader filing. Just before an August 20, 2014 hearing in the interpleader, Law Max was dropped from the case and RSC was added by Rakowsky’s attorney, Desa Ballard, without a formal amended complaint being filed with the court.
An amended complaint approved by the court is required when defendants all of a sudden change in midstream.
Number three is the lack of an accurate accounting of the funds provided to Rakowsky. Contracts submitted as evidence show Rakowsky received at least a total of $110,000 from the above mentioned three funding organizations.
Rakowsky’s accounting of the funds shows a starting balance of only $69,500. Where is the missing $40,000? Apparently lost in the sleight of hand that lists only two funding organizations at any one time, although those organizations change.
Accurate accounting of all funds deposited with an attorney, where they came from and how they were spent, is required by law.
So we’ve come to where we always seem to come with any court action associated with the original Southern Holdings case.
Totally absurd filings, unsubstantiated by any evidence, are made with the court. Laws and rules of procedure are ignored by officers of the court at will. The truth remains buried under a mound of deceit.
Nothing actually requires a judge to issue an opinion or render a decision. Don’t expect a decision any time soon in this case.
What passes for a legal system is South Carolina continues to roll along in spite of the requirements of the law itself.