‘A drop in the bucket’: Former Eric C. Conn clients awarded malpractice settlements
PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (WYMT) - Floyd County attorney Ned Pillersdorf mailed out more than 1,000 checks Tuesday as part of the $700,000 malpractice lawsuit his office filed against former social security lawyer Eric C. Conn’s legal malpractice insurer.
The settlement checks, issued to the 1,073 former clients who filed claims with Pillersdorf’s office, were for different amounts based on the client’s case.
Former Conn clients who lost all of their social security benefits were given checks for $1,000; those who lost their benefits for a while but had them returned were given $500. Anyone who did not lose their benefits but is still at risk of losing them was given $200. The families of the two former clients who died by suicide were given $10,000.
He said the money was obviously a need for the people who received the checks.
”I mailed out the checks Tuesday morning and when I checked my lawyer-client account, I noticed on Thursday probably 150 of them had already been negotiated,” he said. “Which tells you how financially desperate many of the former Conn clients are.”
Pillersdorf said $24,000 was leftover from the settlement, which was originally expected to be given to legal aid and local food banks. But since writing the 1,073 checks he has already heard from several out-of-state former clients who lost their benefits and had not heard about the malpractice lawsuit.
He said this is because the Social Security Administration (SSA) was not able to provide a list of clients, so many of them were not in contact with his office. Now he is waiting to talk to a judge in order to know how to use the reserved funds moving forward.
According to Pillersdorf, the money from the settlement is just a “drop in the bucket” when compared to what the families have all lost. He said there is a separate lawsuit that stands to award around $30 million to the clients who have been impacted in the years since the benefits hearings began.
“It’s still not over,” Pillersdorf said.
He said 500 local people have “lost everything” and the firm is still fighting to get the SSA to reinstate all of their benefits. Aside from the pending lawsuit, Pillersdorf mentioned a $31 million judgment was entered against Conn several years ago, but money from that is not likely to be seen “unless he writes a book.”
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