Despite the lack of a witness signature, this document appears to be (at least part of) the working form of the final settlement agreement, including the claim number. So if what CeCe Woods at The Local Malibu is saying is that this was indeed the how the final settlement agreement ended up, it should be publicly findable, or at least — if it’s like almost every other personal injury claim — it was first filed before it was settled, then that part is public, and would be helpful to see.
But the thing that really jumps out is that the attorney actually signed Elaine’s name, and only her name. There is no legal situation in which that would be the correct way for anyone to represent power of attorney, or guardianship, or any other option meant to convey that the person the settlement is meant to go to is somehow unavailable to sign for themselves. (And this is clearly not a legal POA situation.) There is no “only sign someone else’s name” option in any corner of the law, (any more than there are “everything warrants.”)
So this law firm, (or possibly Michael Woo Kwon from that firm?) might not be pleased with those screenshots coming out, but only because if that’s how the final settlement ended up, he could face a suit by the insurance company, as well as a complaint to the bar.
Actually, the more I look at this the more totally fucked up it gets, but it’s not necessarily Susan it looks bad for, because the email shows that she’s fairly clueless about what the attorney is up to here regarding the signatures… at least up to a point.
Let me explain…
In every civil settlement document of this kind you would expect to see a phrase like the one we see in Elaine’s:
For and in consideration of the sum of FIVE-THOUSAND DOLLARS and 00/cents (“$5,000”) to be paid to ELAINE PARK & LAW OFFICES OF WILLIAM C. HUDSON…
And that’s written like that because the attorneys are fully empowered to negotiate and act in the interest of the client in regards to the settlement. But once there is an agreed upon settlement, the client has to actually sign on the dotted line. And that’s where this gets tricky, because even if the attorney had full, durable Power of Attorney (POA) for Elaine — which I would bet big money he did not — he still could not just sign as if he was Elaine.
But here’s the thing, there is just no scenario imaginable in which Elaine signed full power of attorney over to anyone, let alone some random lawyer for a personal injury suit she was uncomfortable with in the first place. Giving power of attorney to someone is a big, big deal, and it’s not something that a young woman does. Did Susan possibly have some sort of power of attorney for Elaine? Coercion is a big issue when it comes to POA, but we’ve been told that Susan took her checks from acting jobs, so it might be possible, but even with that in mind, I just seriously doubt it. Especially because if Susan did have POA it would have been her name that needed to be signed at the bottom of the settlement. Still, even on the very unlikely chance that Susan did have POA, it still doesn’t explain the lawyer signing Elaine’s name.
And to be absolutely clear, the piece does state, unequivocally, that the attorney signed “using their power of attorney” —
“…the attorney was able to release the funds with the attorney signing all documents using their power of attorney in the case.”
The more closely one looks at this document, the more nefarious the whole settlement looks. If putting this out was supposed to exonerate Susan of insurance fraud, not only does it fail, it actually seems to add to the list of people who look like they’re part of it.
Ms. Malibu is clueless af, too, because the way she presents this — Susan was just too upset to try to get the death certificate [that she in no way could get at this point anyway] — shows that she doesn’t get what she’s looking at.
— IN SUMMARY —
The Local Malibu piece meant to prove that there was in no way any insurance fraud only raises more questions. I could write 4 more paragraphs, at least, on the many questions I have about what exactly was done to get the claim paid without a death certificate, because it seems to me it would have had to be re-worked so as to make the plaintiff/claimant Susan instead of Elaine. But that wasn’t done because the attorney just signed it as Elaine. (Using his “power of attorney” to sign the name of a girl that hasn’t been seen in over four years despite the fact that there’s no record that anyone knows of showing that she signed POA over to him while she was known to be alive.)
And what about that whole “estate of Elaine Park” thing?
The claim was settled… for $5000 with …1/3 to Susan in care of the estate of Elaine Park.
What?? “The estate of Elaine Park“?? I need an assist from an Estate and Wills Attorney to be completely sure, but I think to have a legal estate in the sense they’re using here — which this settlement would require — one must, again, be declared dead. (Or be a minor, or be alive in order to set up the papers required to transfer one’s estate to another person.) And that, again, would require documentation before the legal settlement of another person could just be lawfully handed over.)