Motion hearing held to separate defendants in Beach family’s wrongful death suit

Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 3:46 PM EDT
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HAMPTON COUNTY, S.C. (WTOC) - A motion hearing in a civil case in Mallory Beach’s death was held Friday in Hampton County.

Beach was killed in a boating crash in 2019. The Beach family filed a wrongful death suit naming nearly a dozen defendants, including Parker’s Corporation and the Murdaugh family.

The suit says Paul Murdaugh, son of Alex Murdaugh, was driving his parents’ boat drunk when it crashed into a bridge. The lawsuit states a store clerk at a Parker’s location sold alcohol to two of the underage teens on the night of the crash.

A few weeks ago, a judge granted the Parker’s Corporation a motion to be severed from the rest of the almost dozen other defendants in Beach’s wrongful death suit. The initial order from early September states, “If Parker’s is not severed away from the Murdaugh defendants and remains tethered to any of them at trial in the instant case, Parker’s undoubtedly will be prejudiced.”

The attorneys representing the family of Mallory Beach essentially asked Judge Hall to rethink his decision to un-tether Parker’s from the rest of the defendants in this case.

“They intend on holding everybody that’s responsible for the death of their daughter accountable and we think that the severance hinders that. So, we’ve asked the court to reconsider, and I think he’s going to reconsider it,” said Mark Tinsley, the attorney representing the Beach family.

The opposing attorney sees a different motivation for Tinsley asking the judge to group Parker’s back in with the rest of the defendants, specifically the Murdaugh’s.

“The only reason they want us tethered together is because they want Parker’s to get swept up into that drama and then pay for their poor decisions and bad acts,” said PK Shere, the attorney representing Parker’s.

Shere was referencing the decisions and acts of the Murdaughs.

Tinsley, who represents the Beach family brought up almost 200 years of cases to argue there’s no law to support severance as necessary.

The attorney representing Parker’s disagreed on all points, saying those case examples had nothing to do with severance and don’t apply here.

All sides agree this case will come down to the jury deciding if Parker’s, where Paul Murdaugh bought alcohol before boating and crashing under the influence, was negligent in Beach’s death.

But the question now is if the judge will group Parker’s back in with the almost dozen other defendants or allow this case to stand alone.

Judge Hall says the latest we’ll have his decision on this motion to reconsider is end of day Tuesday.