2019 Murdaugh Boat Accident Lawsuits Settled, Lawyers Say


Lawsuits over the deadly 2019 accident involving a boat believed to have been driven by the son of South Carolina legal scion Alex Murdaugh have been settled, two attorneys familiar with the negotiations said Sunday.

The boat struck a bridge piling in Archer’s Creek, a canal near Hilton Head, knocking 19-year-old Mallory Beach into the water and ultimately killing her, authorities said.

Alex Murdaugh, 64, an attorney from a prominent family in the state legal community and in Hampton County, South Carolina, owned the boat, and authorities believe his teenage son, Paul, was in control when crashed, according to police records.

In March, a jury convicted Alex Murdaugh of murdering his 52-year-old wife Margaret and Paul in June 2021. Prosecutors alleged that he killed his family to escape responsibility for the financial crimes he had committed. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

At the time of the murders, Paul Murdaugh was facing trial in connection with the boating accident.

As the owner of the vessel, Alex Murdaugh has been at the center of litigation in the boat accident, and a trial on at least one of the claims against him was expected to move forward in the coming months.

However, all lawsuits related to the accident have been settled as of Sunday, the lawyers said. No further trials were expected.

Four other teenagers were on the boat and all of their claims were settled, lawyers said. Those passengers are Anthony Cook, Morgan Doughty, Miley Altman and Connor Cook, they said.

A police report said the passengers, all under the legal drinking age, were «extremely intoxicated» and alcohol was found on the boat, authorities said. Paul Murdaugh appears on security video buying alcohol that night, and authorities believe he did so with the identification of his older brother, Richard Alexander «Buster» Murdaugh Jr.

The plaintiffs also targeted the store that sold it to them, Parker’s. In a statement Sunday, a lawyer for the retailer said his insurance companies had already settled rather than face a loss meant to punish the now-unpopular Alex Murdaugh.

«The unfairness of that caused Parker’s insurance companies to settle these lawsuits to avoid paying the likely damages intended to punish Alex Murdaugh,» attorney PK Share said in a statement.

Share continued: «This marks the conclusion of all boating accident cases. We sincerely hope all parties involved find some form of closure.»

Mark Tinsley, an attorney for the Beach family, said the settlement will establish a statement that retailers share responsibility for teen drinking.

«The Beach family believes this agreement will serve as a warning to all Parkers around the world who may be making an illegal sale of alcohol to a minor that they will be held accountable for their wrongful conduct if they do so,» he said. in a sentence.

The amounts involved in the settlements have not been confirmed by NBC News. Savannah, Georgia-based NBC affiliate WSAV reported that the settlement cash totaled $15 million, with most going to the de Beach family.

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