Attorney: Settlement in Beach’s wrongful death lawsuit is about accountability
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WTOC) - There was a $15 million dollar settlement between the family of Mallory Beach and the Parker’s Corporation.
Beach was killed in a 2019 boat wreck in Beaufort County. Investigators say surveillance video showed the son of Alex Murdaugh Paul, buying alcohol the night of the crash at a Parker’s convenience store.
For eight hours on Sunday, all the decision makers in this case negotiated what this settlement would look like, to avoid a trial next month in Hampton County. That group included Mallory’s parents and their attorney, Mark Tinsley.
“It is the most unusual case in every regard,” Tinsley said.
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The deadly boat crash that took Mallory’s life happened in 2019. The wrongful death lawsuit settled more than four years later, awarding Mallory’s family $15 million.
“They have that sense of relief, they have those tears of relief and how they believe… they felt like they stood up for their daughter,” Tinsley said.
He said insurance companies for Parker’s Corporation will foot the bill, as surveillance video shows Paul Murdaugh buying alcohol illegally at one of their stores before crashing the boat.
“It sets a precedent that if a 5′7 140 something pound kid that uses an ID that says he’s 6′2 over 200 pounds, somebody’s going to look twice at it,” Tinsley said.
Tinsley said that’s what the case was about for Mallory’s family, not the money.
A statement from Parker’s, said in part:
“For Mark Tinsley, it was all about using the Murdaughs’ bad actions and the unfair law of joint and several liability in South Carolina to make Parker’s pay for a verdict intended to punish the Murdaughs.”
With the publicity this case has received, Parker’s also said they wouldn’t have gotten a fair trial.
“The application of the joint and several liability law in South Carolina meant that, if Parker’s was found even 1% at fault, it would have paid for the entirety of any verdict rendered against the Murdaugh family. The unfairness of that caused Parker’s insurance carriers to resolve these suits to avoid paying the likely award intended to punish Alex Murdaugh.”
Tinsley believes they would have won the case at trial and been awarded far more than they settled for, but the Beach’s wanted something more.
“It was about accountability, and we think that represents a level of accountability. An objective level of accountability that somebody can look at and say, ‘yeah, we better make sure our people are carding,’” Tinsley said.
Beach’s family will be awarded $15 million, and Tinsley said that is expected to be approved by Judge Daniel Hall at a hearing later this week. As far as Alex Murdaugh’s role in this goes, the Beach family attorney said they’re in line like everyone else to see what if anything they can get from the convicted killer.
On top of the $15 million to the Beaches, Tinsley said Parker’s agreed to settle for another $3 million with the rest of the passengers on the boat that night back in 2019.
He said $1 million will go to Connor Cook, another million to Anthony Cook, and another million to Miley Altman and Morgan Doughty combined.
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