BEAUFORT, S.C. (WSAV) – Who is responsible for the death of a Lowcountry teenager who died in a boating accident? That’s a question a Beaufort County Criminal court is still looking at.
Now a federal court is getting involved in the case.
Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance believes it should “not” be responsible for any payout to the family of Mallory Beach from the Murdaugh family.
That’s the base of a lawsuit filed in federal court — which does not name the man accused of causing Beach’s death — but does point the finger of blame on his father and brother.
Paul Murdaugh is charged with two counts of BUI causing bodily harm and death in connection with the crash that killed Mallory Beach back in February.
The insurance company that covers his father and his company says no matter what the verdict is, it should not be responsible.
Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance filed a federal suit claiming it has “no duty to defend” the Murdaugh’s and their policy provides “no coverage” to the family.
20-year-old Paul Murdaugh is accused of driving a boat on Archer’s Creek early in the morning on Feb. 24 when it crashed into a piling.
19-year-old Mallory Beach was one of the passengers. She was thrown from that boat and her body wasn’t found until six days later.
The Murdaugh’s and Parker’s convenience store are named in a wrongful death lawsuit in Hampton County court by Renee Beach, Mallory’s mother, who claims that Paul took his older brother’s i-d and used it to buy alcohol.
All six people on board were described as being “grossly intoxicated” in a police report.
Paul’s father, Richard Alexander Murdaugh is accused be Beach of “knowingly and willfully” allowing his minor son to use Richard Alexander Murdaugh, jr.’s driver’s license to buy beer or liquor.
In the suit, the insurance company says Richard Murdaugh’s policy does not cover accidents involving boats.
Even if it did, the only member of the family named in the policy is the father, Richard Murdaugh, not his sons.
The suit also claims this was not an “accident”, but the “combined and concurred conduct” of Richard Murdaugh Senior and Junior to help Paul buy alcohol illegally.
It continues to say they “acted intentionally”, and should have to pay any judgment themselves.
If the insurance company wins, Richard Murdaugh would have to pay damages or any settlement that could result from Renee Beach’s wrongful death lawsuit out of pocket.
Paul Murdaugh is “not’ named directly in this suit.
His trial date in the criminal case has still not been set.