By Paul Gable
Another week has passed with no decision on the Southern Holdings litigation and settlement money.
Despite saying in court on August 20, 2014, he would issue a ruling within one week, Judge Doyet A. Early remains silent.
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 action 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.
As we have reported before, the Southern Holdings case lacks a settlement agreement signed by the original seven plaintiffs demonstrating informed consent of how the money should be split.
Lacking the settlement agreement, the case was never really legally settled although Judge Bryan Harwell announced a settlement in federal court seven years ago.
Since that announcement, attorneys for both the Southern Holdings plaintiffs and defendents, as well as Judge Harwell, have tried to keep a lid on the case and other litigation arising from it.
But, that is tough to do when there is apparent fraud on the court being perpetrated at both the state and federal court levels.
For example, the necessity of Rakowsky requesting state court to interplead the settlement funds is proof in itself that no settlement agreement exists. If the agreement did exist, no interpleading of funds would be necessary because the disbursement of settlement funds would be spelled out in writing and agreed to by the signatures of the Southern Holdings plaintiffs.
Despite repeated requests by the Southern Holdings plaintiffs in various courts over the last seven years for the production of the settlement agreement, one has never been produced.
The original Southern Holdings defendents, including Horry County, and their attorneys continue to refer to the case as closed in court filings. However, they fail to produce a settlement agreement to verify the accuracy and truth of those court filings.
Rakowsky’s attorney Desa Ballard even took the incredible step of claiming the settlement agreement falls under attorney-privilege and, therefore, cannot be produced in court. However, in that argument Ballard forgets the people requesting the production of the agreement are the very clients that the claimed privilege would apply to.
It is an interesting legal approach, however. And it is very enlightening on the way in which the entire Southern Holdings case was handled from the beginning.
The Southern Holdings lawsuit was a claim for damages arising out of the apparent illegal actions of several Horry County sheriff deputies and Horry County police officers conspiring with a North Carolina sheriff deputy and assistant prosecutor and help several convicted felons steal approximately $15 million of assets from the Southern Holdings company.
Along the way to the non-settlement of the case, lives of the plaintiffs were damaged and one lost, law enforcement personnel and other witnesses committed perjury and officers of the court appear to have committed fraud upon the court under color of law.
And no one cares because the outstanding goal in dealing with the Southern Holdings case has been to make it go away by any and every means possible.