PRESTONSBURG – This past week has seen a couple new developments in both the federal and civil cases against Stanville attorney Eric C. Conn.
Prestonsburg attorney Ned Pillersdorf, who is currently representing former Conn clients who saw their benefits temporarily suspended due to a federal investigation against Conn, formally submitted a motion this week to stop hearings planned by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to review their claims.
But this is what’s happening in the courtroom. Pillersdorf reported another update via his Facebook page Tuesday, saying he was “devastated” to share.
“Devastated to report was contacted about another suicide,” Pillersdorf wrote. “Spoke with the Johnson County widow yesterday. She blames the SSA letter, and constant fear of losing benefits. The suicide occurred over the weekend.
He continued, saying he was going to be working with the widow in the coming days.
“Will be speaking to the widow again in the next few days,” he continued. “Do not feel comfortable revealing any further information, except to say we are doing everything in our power to help those who feel overwhelmed by the situation the SSA and Eric Conn have put you in.”
There have been two other suicides after which family members pointed to the loss of social security and disability benefits as the reason behind the deaths.
The motion filed this past week to stop hearings planned by the SSA was in response to that administration’s plans to hold hearings in September to review the cases of some 1,500 former Conn clients due to the ongoing federal fraud investigation against the Floyd County attorney.
Pillersdorf and others helping with the case have maintained the hearings would put an undo amount of financial strain on the former clients. Among those helping with this is Prestonsburg attorney John Rosenberg, who spoke with SSA officials and reported back to Pillersdorf this week.
“The bad news is that SSA does intend to move these hearings along, beginning in September,” Rosenberg wrote Pillersdorf Tuesday. “They plan to schedule hearings daily through the end of the year, since the initial orders from ‘on high’ were to get them done by the end of the year.”
Officials told Rosenberg they thought there were about 1,470 of the cases to be heard, he said, adding, however, that the Hearing Branch of the SSA had only received 643 files for scheduling. In addition, he said that officials stated that those showing up without representation for the hearing would get a 30-day extension in order to obtain representation.
Sheldon Compton is a staff writer for The Floyd County Times. He can be reached at (606) 886-8506.