Parker’s seeks summary judgment denying liability in Mallory Beach lawsuit
LEXINGTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Parker’s Corporation is asking a judge to release it from a wrongful death lawsuit, arguing one of its convenience stores has no liability.
The company was named as one of the defendants in the lawsuit filed by the family of Mallory Beach. Beach was 19 when she died in a Feb. 23, 2019, boating accident involving Paul Murdaugh, the son of disbarred Lowcountry attorney Alex Murdaugh.
Murdaugh himself was also named in the lawsuit, which was filed by Beach’s mother. The lawsuit alleges Paul Murdaugh, who was underage at the time of the crash, was able to buy alcohol from the convenience store.
Parker’s Corporation’s lawyers argued in a lengthy filing and in a hearing Wednesday in Lexington County that the teens involved in the boat crash planned to drink on the day of the accident. They say the license Paul Murdaugh used to buy alcohol from their store was a valid South Carolina license.
Lawyers went on to argue the teens involved assumed the liability of using a boat with alcohol involved, not using life jackets and not operating the boat’s lights at night.
READ MORE: Chilling new details from 2019 boat crash that killed S.C. teen
Beach was thrown from the boat in that crash near Parris Island in Beaufort County. The family’s lawsuit alleged that Paul Murdaugh was the driver of the boat at the time of the crash. He was facing a civil lawsuit before he was killed in June 2021 at the family’s hunting property in Colleton County. A Colleton County jury convicted Alex Murdaugh of killing Paul and Alex’s wife Maggie in March.
Paul, who was 19 at the time, was seen on security camera footage buying alcohol at a Parker’s convenience store the night of the crash. The lawsuit filed by Beach’s family against Parker’s and several members of the Murdaugh family states that Parker’s knowingly sold alcohol to a minor and both the corporation and the cashier need to be held accountable.
“Tragic events occur, and they are most unfortunate. But we must never turn away from the truth,” attorneys for Parker’s Corporation wrote in the filing. “The truth is that Parker’s was not negligent because there is no evidence to support the position that Parker’s knowingly sold alcohol to a minor.”
They say Paul Murdaugh used the valid South Carolina ID that belonged to his older brother, Buster, to buy the alcohol.
The hearing was continuing Wednesday afternoon, but it was not immediately clear whether the judge planned to rule Wednesday on Parker’s Corporation’s request to be dropped from the suit.
Judge Daniel Hall said he will take his time reviewing the arguments he heard in court and will rule on whether or not to remove Parker’s as a defendant by May 26.
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