South Carolina circuit court judge Daniel Hall has denied a motion filed by attorneys for wealthy Savannah, Georgia convenience store magnate Greg Parker. Parker’s attorneys had sought to dismiss him and his company from a high-profile wrongful death case tied to the ‘Murdaugh Murders‘ crime and corruption saga.
No written order accompanied Hall’s notification of his decision, which was provided to attorneys shortly after 10:00 a.m. EDT on Friday (May 19, 2023) – a week before the judge’s self-imposed deadline.
This case was filed more than four years ago by Allendale, S.C. attorney Mark Tinsley on behalf of the family of the late Mallory Beach – a 19-year-old from Hampton, S.C. who perished in the early morning hours of February 24, 2019 in a totally avoidable boat crash.
Beach died when a 17-foot, center console Sea Hunt fishing boat owned by Alex Murdaugh – and allegedly piloted by the late Paul Murdaugh – slammed into a piling near the Archer’s Creek Bridge outside of Parris Island, S.C. 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).
Upon impact, Beach was flung into the cold, dark waters. Her body was discovered a week later by fishermen.
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Paul Murdaugh and others on the boat were in a “grossly intoxicated” state at the time of the crash, according to responding law enforcement officers.
Paul Murdaugh was criminally charged in connection with the crash, but was murdered before he could stand trial. His father, Alex, was convicted of his murder in March of this year and sentenced to life in prison.
Tinsley’s 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. Meanwhile, Beach’s death was the driving narrative in ‘Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal’ – the smash hit documentary that premiered on Netflix on February 22, 2023.
The case involves multiple prominent defendants – including Parker, who has engaged in an outright jihad in the hopes of absolving himself and his company of any blame for this tragedy. That jihad has actually spawned a second lawsuit tied to this case – one filed in December 2021 which focuses on the unauthorized disclosure of confidential mediation materials by those allegedly in Parker’s employ.
This case was originally scheduled to go to trial on January 9, 2023, but Hall delayed it due to Murdaugh’s pending double homicide trial. It was then scheduled for April 10, 2023, but one of Parkers’ attorneys – powerful S.C. House speaker Murrell Smith – invoked his “legislative immunity” (another blatant example of the unfair favoritism and special treatment extended by the state’s judicial branch to its legislative overlords).
At a hearing earlier this month, Parkers’ lead attorney – Pankaj K. Shere – argued the case against his clients should be thrown out because Parkers’ convenience store did not “knowingly” sell alcohol to Paul Murdaugh. Shere also noted Parkers’ had been cleared by the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) of any criminal wrongdoing in connection with the sale of alcohol to Paul Murdaugh.
Hall wasn’t buying that logic, determining there was “sufficient evidence as to questions of fact for the jury to decide Parker’s liability,” according to attorney Sara Azari – who has been closely following the various Murdaugh-related court actions.
Tinsley told me on Friday afternoon he was not surprised by Hall’s ruling – and questioned the motivation of Parker’s attorneys in bringing it before the court.
“Parker’s motion bordered on being frivolous and seems to have been intended to spread a false narrative, so we fully expected the judge to deny the motion,” Tinsley said. “We are looking forward to concluding this matter in August and beginning to give the Beach family some semblance of closure.”
Barring a settlement – which seems highly unlikely at this point – this case will go to trial on August 14, 2023 in Hampton County, S.C. Count on this news outlet to be there.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.
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Parker is going to blow more money on defense than a settlement would have cost on the principle than defending this one prevents other. While he might have a valid theory, he’s going to lose his ass on this one.