Murdaugh attorneys ask for delay in lawsuit until after murder trial

Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 2:57 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 9, 2022 at 11:54 PM EDT
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HAMPTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - Attorneys representing former Lowcountry attorney Alex Murdaugh are asking a Hampton County judge to delay a lawsuit filed by the family of a teen killed in a boating crash.

Attorneys want a judge to continue the case and temporarily block discovery of evidence in the lawsuit until after Murdaugh stands trial for the murders of his wife, 52-year-old Maggie Murdaugh, and their youngest son, 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh to protect Murdaugh’s “right to a fair trial and due process of law.”

The family of Mallory Beach filed the lawsuit against Murdaugh and others on Feb. 23, alleging that Beach died in a boating crash and that Paul, who was under 21, was driving a boat owned by his parents while he was under the influence on the evening of Feb. 23, 2019. That evening, the boat he was driving crashed into a bridge in Archer’s Creek, the suit alleges.

The new court motion filed on Friday, however, states that because of pending charges of murder and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime Murdaugh faces in the deaths of his wife and son, the lawsuit should be stayed until after the murder trial is resolved.

“In light of these recent serious criminal charges, testimony in the above-captioned civil action could provide information that might be used against Alex Murdaugh in the criminal proceeding or might lead to the discovery of such information,” court documents state. “A review of the allegations in the [Beach lawsuit] demonstrates that Alex Murdaugh’s relationship with his son Paul Murdaugh is central to the plaintiff’s claims.”

The Beach family’s lawsuit alleges Murdaugh is liable for “negligent entrustment and negligent supervision related to Paul Murdaugh’s operating of the boat while under the influence of alcohol,” court documents state.

Murdaugh called 911 on the night of June 7, 2021, to report he had discovered the bodies of his wife and son at the family’s hunting property in the rural Colleton County community if Islandton.

He was charged with their murders on July 14.

The motion indicates the murder trial is expected to be held in January.

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