Lawsuit filed against resort following deadly alligator attack on Hilton Head Island

Published: Apr. 10, 2019 at 7:06 PM EDT
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HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC (WTOC) - You may remember an alligator attack that happened last August in Sea Pines that took the life of a woman on Hilton Head Island.

The alligator attacked Cassandra Cline’s dog and then her. Cline died as a result of the attack. Now, her family has filed a lawsuit saying the resort didn’t do enough to protect the public.

James Cline says in the lawsuit that he has suffered grief, sorrow, and mental anguish because of what happened to his wife that August morning.

Caller: “There’s a lady being attacked by an alligator.”

911 Dispatcher: “Where at, sir?”

Caller: “I’m in Sea Pines."

South Carolina DNR says a nine-foot alligator attacked Cline near the golf course’s 13th hole as she tried to save her border collie.

Cline worked as a Kindergarten teacher in New York. She and her husband split their time between there and their vacation home in Sea Pines. WTOC spoke with school colleagues after her death.

“The sweetest, kindest. She is the image of a Kindergarten teacher, which was her calling and her career," one colleague said.

The wrongful death lawsuit filed against Sea Pines on Tuesday, April 9, states: "The defendants were aware of the problems with alligators at Sea Pines Plantation. It goes on to accuse the resort of being quote “aware of the aggressive nature of the alligator that attacked and killed Ms. Cline.”

The suit goes on to accuse the resort of being negligent by “allowing an unreasonably hazardous and unsafe condition to exist...failing to take appropriate measures to prevent alligators from attacking the public and failing to take steps to warn the public of an unsafe condition.”

WTOC reached out to the resort regarding this lawsuit. Here is Sea Pines CSA President Bret Martin’s full statement:

“The entire Sea Pines community continues to mourn the tragic loss of Cassandra Cline. The safety and security of Sea Pines property owners, guests, visitors and staff are of paramount importance to Sea Pines CSA. Our council will provide any and all appropriate responses to the court regarding any filings.”

The alligator responsible for that attack was euthanized.

Since the late 70s, there have been about 20 alligator attacks in South Carolina. Two have been deadly.

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