Judge approves settlement in Murdaugh boat crash lawsuits
HAMPTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - Nearly four years after a family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against disbarred attorney Alex Murdaugh and his family members, a judge approved a settlement agreement in the case, dropping the estate of Murdaugh’s wife and his surviving son.
Beach family attorney Mark Tinsley says Judge Daniel Hall approved a settlement agreement Tuesday that drops Buster Murdaugh and the estate of Maggie Murdaugh. The case relates to the death of 19-year-old Mallory Beach, who was killed in a crash after Murdaugh’s youngest son, an underage and allegedly intoxicated Paul Murdaugh, reportedly crashed the boat.
“We are pleased with the court’s decision and feel like it was not only the best decision given the circumstances, but the only decision for all who had any real interest in the matter. We also believe the ruling will help give some closure to the people who so desperately deserve it,” Tinsley says.
Beach’s family filed the wrongful death suit in March 2019, a little more than a month after the crash. The lawsuit lists the estate of Maggie Murdaugh, who allegedly knew Paul was drunk when he went boating that night, and Buster Murdaugh, Paul’s older brother whose ID he allegedly used to buy the alcohol found on the boat after the crash, according the several court filings in the case.
This agreement also approves the settlement in lawsuits from two of the other boat crash victims, Morgan Doughty and Miley Altman. While they survived the 2019 crash, the pair filed identical personal injury lawsuits listing Buster and Maggie’s estate as defendants.
After years of litigation involving Maggie’s estate, the Beach Family attorney says the estate has accrued approximately $290,000 in attorneys’ fees and dismissing it from the lawsuit would ensure there is money left over for his clients.
“If the receivers won, John Marvin Murdaugh (Maggie’s estate representative), would have to pay the fees, but the receivers would have taken a lot of what there is in fees,” attorney Mark Tinsely says. “If the receivers lost, the estate would have been eaten up by more fees. In either event, the victims would suffer,” Tinsely previously said.
This compromise and approval avoids that, according to Tinsely.
Parker’s Kitchen, where Paul bought alcohol prior to the crash, and its owner, Greg Parker, both defendants in the wrongful death lawsuit, alongside Palmetto State bank voiced their opposition to the agreement at a hearing in Lexington County in mid-January. Judge Hall’s approval rules against these objections.
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