Judge denies Murdaugh attorneys request for delay in Beach family lawsuit until after murder trial
HAMPTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC/WTOC) - Attorneys representing former Lowcountry attorney Alex Murdaugh asked a Hampton County judge to delay a lawsuit filed by the family of a teen killed in a boating crash.
Mark Tinsley, the attorney for the beach family, tells WTOC that motion was denied by a judge Wednesday afternoon.
Tinsley released a statement saying, “The judge did not stay the case; however, he did say the case is not going forward October 3 as a result of John Tiller’s passing and new lawyers just coming in for the estates of Paul Murdaugh and Maggie Murdaugh. The judge indicated he would go forward with the claims against Parker’s and Buster Murdaugh if a motion to sever was filed. I am less clear if he would try a cases in which Alex Murdaugh is a defendant this year. We will be considering our options and making a decision soon.”
Murdaugh’s attorneys wanted a judge to continue the case and temporarily block discovery of evidence in the lawsuit until after Murdaugh stands trial for the murders of his wife, 52-year-old Maggie Murdaugh, and their youngest son, 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh to protect Murdaugh’s “right to a fair trial and due process of law.”
The family of Mallory Beach filed the lawsuit against Murdaugh and others on Feb. 23, alleging that Beach died in a boating crash and that Paul, who was under 21, was driving a boat owned by his parents while he was under the influence on the evening of Feb. 23, 2019. That evening, the boat he was driving crashed into a bridge in Archer’s Creek, the suit alleges.
The new court motion filed on Friday, however, states that because of pending charges of murder and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime Murdaugh faces in the deaths of his wife and son, the lawsuit should be stayed until after the murder trial is resolved.
“In light of these recent serious criminal charges, testimony in the above-captioned civil action could provide information that might be used against Alex Murdaugh in the criminal proceeding or might lead to the discovery of such information,” court documents state. “A review of the allegations in the [Beach lawsuit] demonstrates that Alex Murdaugh’s relationship with his son Paul Murdaugh is central to the plaintiff’s claims.”
The Beach family’s lawsuit alleges Murdaugh is liable for “negligent entrustment and negligent supervision related to Paul Murdaugh’s operating of the boat while under the influence of alcohol,” court documents state.
Murdaugh called 911 on the night of June 7, 2021, to report he had discovered the bodies of his wife and son at the family’s hunting property in the rural Colleton County community of Islandton.
He was charged with their murders on July 14, 2022.
The motion indicates the murder trial is expected to be held in January.
The Beach family attorney, Mark Tinsley, released the following statement right after it was announced Murdaugh’s attorneys were requesting a delay:
“Denying this motion to stay will promote the interests of the entire citizen base of the state of South Carolina as well as the entire justice system. The dark cloud created by this saga that hangs over the heads of lawyers and judges in this state must be eradicated in order to rebuild the trust of the public in our judicial system. The only way to move forward is to hold Alex Murdaugh accountable to the same rules that apply to the general public. The notoriety that he has created for himself through his own actions cannot serve as a basis for granting him a stay in this civil case. In fact, granting him a stay in this case will only further tarnish the reputation of our state’s judicial system. This alone requires a denial of his motion to stay. The Beach family lost their daughter in February of 2019. They have endured this grueling litigation for over three years suffering countless attacks from multiple sources. It is simply too much, yet Alex Murdaugh desires to prolong their suffering and torture by utilizing this delay tactic that is designed to avoid the public from seeing the real facts in this case. Any burden on Alex Murdaugh is of his own making, while the Beach family are innocent victims who deserve justice and who desire their day in court. The judicial system likewise desperately needs this case to proceed to trial to show the world that the judicial system in South Carolina protects everyone and all that it stands for is not lost because of who is involved in the proceeding.”
Again, a judge has denied the motion request for a delay but has not given a timeline for the case to move forward, given the death of the attorney representing Alex Murdaugh in the civil matter.
You can see a timeline of the Murdaugh case below:
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