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Store that sold Alex Murdaugh’s son beer must pay $15 million to family of teen killed in boat crash

by Chloe Baker
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Alex Murdaugh lawsuit settlement

The convenience store chain, Parker’s Kitchen, that sold alcohol to underage Paul Murdaugh, son of convicted double murderer Alex Murdaugh, will be required to pay a $15 million settlement to the family of a teenager who died in a subsequent boat crash. This event allegedly precipitated the financial downfall of Alex Murdaugh.

A legal agreement was reached on Sunday after a judge denied the store’s request to be separately tried from Alex Murdaugh in the wrongful death case scheduled for next month in Hampton County, South Carolina. Murdaugh, a once-prominent attorney in the region, is currently serving a life sentence for the 2021 murder of his wife and his son, who was implicated in the boat incident.

South Carolina law stipulates that even if the jury determines Parker’s Kitchen to be only 1% liable, it would be required to shoulder most of the settlement due to Murdaugh’s financial predicament. Mark Tinsley, the lawyer representing the victim’s family, highlighted that the $15 million settlement, covered by the store’s insurance, should serve as a potent reminder for businesses to abide by alcohol laws.

The investigation revealed that Parker’s Kitchen’s clerk didn’t prevent Paul Murdaugh, then 19, from purchasing beer with his older brother’s ID. At the time of his death, Paul was facing charges of boating under the influence resulting in death.

Though the settlement does not obligate Parker’s Kitchen to accept culpability, a lawyer representing the store chain explained that owner Greg Parker felt compelled to settle, considering both he and Murdaugh would be jointly tried in the wrongful death lawsuit. A recent legal ruling upheld this arrangement and kept the case within Hampton County.

The teenager killed in the boat crash, Mallory Beach, was 19 at the time. Three other teens were injured when Paul Murdaugh crashed the boat into a bridge pillar in February 2019. Beach’s family had previously settled lawsuits with another family who hosted the event they attended, a bar that served Paul Murdaugh liquor before the crash, and his older brother Buster. Settlements were also agreed upon with the three surviving teenagers.

Following the accident, nurses at the hospital where the injured teenagers were treated reported that Alex Murdaugh and his father arrived shortly after and attempted to speak with them privately. One of the teenagers expressed suspicions that the Murdaughs were attempting to persuade them to blame someone other than Paul Murdaugh for the accident.

The accident increased Alex Murdaugh’s fear of a wrongful death lawsuit. During his murder trial, prosecutors suggested that he feared the lawsuit might expose his decade-long embezzlement of millions of dollars from his clients and law firm. His lawyer argued that he was broke, despite Tinsley’s insistence that his affluent appearance and reputation contradicted these claims.

While serving his life sentence, Alex Murdaugh maintains that he did not murder his family. His lawyers have hinted at his willingness to settle his portion of the Beach family’s wrongful death lawsuit. State agents are presently investigating potential obstructions by Murdaugh in the criminal investigation into the boat crash.

Please note: An earlier version of this story inaccurately reported that the Murdaugh family attempted to convince the injured teenagers to blame Buster Murdaugh for the boat accident. It was, in fact, Paul Murdaugh who they allegedly tried to imply was not driving the boat.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Alex Murdaugh lawsuit settlement

Who is the convenience store chain involved in this lawsuit?

Parker’s Kitchen is the convenience store chain involved in this lawsuit.

How much is the settlement agreed upon?

The agreed upon settlement is $15 million.

What is the relation between the convenience store and the boat crash incident?

Paul Murdaugh, son of convicted double murderer Alex Murdaugh, bought alcohol from Parker’s Kitchen while underage. He later crashed a boat while under the influence, resulting in the death of a teenager.

Who will pay the settlement amount?

The settlement amount will be paid by Parker’s Kitchen’s insurance.

What crime was Alex Murdaugh convicted for?

Alex Murdaugh was convicted for the double murder of his wife and son.

What impact did the boat crash have on Alex Murdaugh’s legal and financial situation?

The boat crash allegedly precipitated the financial downfall of Alex Murdaugh and increased his fear of a wrongful death lawsuit.

Who were the other parties involved in prior settlements with the victim’s family?

The victim’s family had previously settled lawsuits with another family who hosted the event they attended, a bar that served Paul Murdaugh liquor before the crash, and his older brother Buster.

What charges was Paul Murdaugh facing at the time of his death?

At the time of his death, Paul Murdaugh was facing charges of boating under the influence resulting in death.

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