As regular members of our audience are well aware, Beach’s family sued a host of defendants in the aftermath of a 2019 boat crash that claimed the life of their loved one. The settlement submitted on Tuesday was between Beach’s family and two of the defendants in the case – the estate of the late Maggie Murdaugh and her surviving son, Buster Murdaugh – as well as the court-appointed receivers handling the assets of Alex Murdaugh.
The wrongful death case stems from a February 24, 2019 boat crash which killed Beach, a 19-year-old from Hampton, S.C. Brought by Allendale, S.C. attorney Mark Tinsley, the lawsuit is viewed by many as the impetus for the collapse of the once-powerful “House of Murdaugh” – a family which ran the Palmetto Lowcounty like a fiefdom for nearly a century.
The lawsuit connects to the Murdaughs most directly via the late Paul Murdaugh – who was allegedly at the helm of the 17-foot, center console Sea Hunt fishing boat as it slammed into a piling near the Archer’s Creek Bridge outside of Parris Island, S.C. on that fateful early winter morning.
Seconds before the boat crashed, GPS data obtained by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) indicated the vessel was traveling at a speed of approximately 29 miles per hour (or approximately 25 knots).
Beach was flung into the cold, dark waters upon the boat’s impact with the bridge piling. Her body was discovered a week later by fishermen.
The boat allegedly driven by Paul Murdaugh at the time of the crash belonged to none other than Alex Murdaugh – the disbarred 54-year-old attorney who now stands accused of killing his wife and younger son.
In the settlement agreement, the personal representative for Maggie’s estate – Alex Murdaugh’s younger brother John Marvin Murdaugh – waived his right to any fees and agreed to pay the following:
- An estimated $290,000 in outstanding legal fees and administrative expenses
- $12,305.28 to be paid to John Marvin Murdaugh as personal representative to reimburse himself for funds he advanced on behalf of the estate
- $275,000 to be paid by the estate to satisfy a fraudulent conveyance claim made by the court appointed receivers regarding the transfer of the family’s Moselle property from Maggie’s estate back to Alex Murdaugh’s name.
- $6,511.52 to Laura Jones LLC to satisfy an outstanding creditor claim made against the estate
- $530,000 to Murdaugh’s surviving son, Buster Murdaugh, as sole devisee of the estate
- $100,000 to Attorney Joe McCulloch on behalf of Conner Cook, one of the boat crash victims.
- The remaining balance of the estate – an undisclosed sum – will be transferred to Tinsley on behalf of Renee Beach as the representative of Mallory Beach, Morgan Doughty, and Miley Altman. Doughty and Altman were also passengers on the boat at the time of the crash.
In addition to settling the lawsuits, the agreement resolves any creditor claims made against Maggie Murdaugh’s estate. Of interest? It is contingent upon a loan from Palmetto State Bank (PSB) being resolved, released, and satisfied for a payment of no more than $25,000 by the personal representative of the estate.
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It is unknown what this loan was for as a receivership agreement approved on September 19, 2022 stated that any deal between the bank and the receivers was contingent upon the bank getting in line behind Murdaugh’s other creditors. This agreement included the claims Palmetto State Bank filed against Maggie Murdaugh’s estate for mortgages on Moselle and the home she co-owned with Alex in Edisto Beach, S.C. The claims against Maggie’s estate for the Moselle property were disallowed by the probate court and the Edisto property sold in June of 2022.
If approved, the agreement would release the estate of Maggie Murdaugh as well as Buster Murdaugh from the boat crash litigation.
“I am happy for everyone involved to have reached an agreement that – if approved – will result in the dismissal of Buster and Maggie’s estate from the case,” Tinsley said. “Court approval is one of the contingencies of the agreement and that happening, along with Palmetto State Bank’s agreement to abide by the deal it struck with the co-receivers. Hopefully, both those things will occur and we can then focus on concluding this matter with a trial at the earliest date possible. The settlement will leave Alex Murdaugh, Paul Murdaugh’s estate and Parker’s (convenience store) as the remaining defendants at trial.”
When will that trial be held? For more on that click here …
THE FILING …
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Jenn Wood is the director of research at FITSNews. She is also a producer on our Cheer Incorporated podcast and our resident expert on the ‘Murdaugh Murders‘ crime and corruption saga. Wood is a wife and mother of two residing in Louisiana, but she will be in the Palmetto State for the duration of the upcoming double homicide trial.
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