PRESTONSBURG – Prestonsburg attorney Ned Pillersdorf has extended his lawsuit to include all 1,500 people affected following the Social Security Administration’s suspension of benefits following an investigation opened by the SSA into Stanville attorney Eric C. Conn.
The Prestonsburg lawyer added that he is currently working with other legal teams to provide the 1,500 with some option for legal representation. The Floyd County Bar Association, the Kentucky Bar Association and the Appalachian Regional Defense Fund (AppalReD) are also are also going to assist in providing those effected with attorneys, he said.
Monday evening at the Mountain Arts Center (MAC) in Prestonsburg, Pillersdorf held his own court with a crowded venue of people, both those of his clients and others simply curious about the ongoing case. Questions were asked and answered, and Pillersdorf showed no sign of slowing down.
Pillersdorf also took the time Monday to tell those in attendance he had filed another wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of Melissa Jude, of Martin County. Jude took her own life on June 2 after her benefits were suspended and attempts to obtain her medical records under a timeline imposed by the SSA failed.
“Today we filed the lawsuit as to the tragic suicide of Melissa Jude in Floyd Circuit Court,” Pillersdorf said Monday. “If you listened to the questions posed during the public session of the meeting at the MAC, you might understand why Ms. Jude shot herself. The initial letters from the Social Security Administration (SSA) immediately suspending benefits and giving individuals ten days to get their medical records created sheer panic in this region. When Ms. Jude tried to retrieve her records, she was informed that it would take 30 days. Fearing her desperately needed benefits were gone, combined with her history of mental illness, her suicide was foreseeable. Once again, shame on those bureaucrats in the SSA who launched those 900 letters, without any apparent concern for the consequences.”
The lawsuit is the second filed following the suicide of one of Conn’s former clients who had their benefits suspended. Pillersdorf has already filed on behalf of former Floyd County resident Larry Burchett.
As with Burchett’s lawsuit, Jude’s explains that her estate jointly holds Conn and his law office, along with the SSA responsible for causing the former Beauty resident to take her own life.
Most of the questions asked during the meeting Monday at the MAC focused on the 1,500 people, all former clients of Conn’s, having recently received notices to provide their medical records to the government within 30 days.
“Being sarcastic, one could say how kind of the SSA to allow 30 days,” added Pillersdorf. “President Franklin Roosevelt would be weeping today if he knew how the agency he created to protect the most vulnerable, has launched such cruel attack on the most vulnerable.”
The next hearing in the case is scheduled to take place Wednesday in Floyd Circuit Court at 11 a.m.