Disgraced attorney Alex Murdaugh is facing yet another lawsuit as the ex-girlfriend of his deceased son, Paul, blames the family for her “disfigurement” in a boat crash.
Lawyers for Morgan Doughty, who was dating Paul Murdaugh at the time of the accident, filed the lawsuit on Monday. They say Paul, then 19, was “grossly intoxicated” as he drove his parents’ boat from him in February 2019, crashing it into a bridge over Archer’s Creek, South Carolina.
The crash killed 19-year-old Mallory Beach, who was among several passengers on the boat that night. Meanwhile, Ms Doughty, the lawsuit says, “she suffered injuries to her hand, finger and other parts of her body,” and “permanent scarring and disfigurement.”
Specifically, Ms Doughty’s lawyers blame Parker’s, a convenience store that they say sold Paul the alcohol, and Paul’s parents, who they say knew Paul drank regularly, gave him credit cards with which to buy alcohol, and “condoned, encouraged and facilitated” his drinking.
In fact, the lawsuit contends that Paul’s mother, Margaret “Maggie” Murdaugh, spoke to Paul just before the crash, when he was already drunk, but didn’t talk to him out of driving the boat.
“In the early morning of February 24, 2019, prior to the boat crash, Margaret Kennedy Branstetter Murdaugh actually spoke to an intoxicated Paul Murdaugh by telephone,” the complaint says. “However, she failed to stop Paul despite knowing he was intoxicated after having paid for the alcohol he consumed earlier.”
Paul and Margaret Murdaugh were both found dead of gunshot wounds in June 2021. Their murders are still unsolved.
The Independent has reached out to Alex Murdaugh’s lawyers for comment.
The new lawsuit adds to the long list of legal actions against Mr Murdaugh, whose name has been tied to a series of shocking headlines since last summer. In June, I have reported finding the bodies of his wife and son of him. Months later, Mr Murdaugh himself was shot, but later admitted that he had arranged the shooting himself in order to secure a $10m life insurance payout for his surviving son of him, Buster.
Meanwhile, police are taking a second look at Mr Murdaugh’s housekeeper, who died under disputed circumstances in 2018. Mr Murdaugh has said the maid, Gloria Satterfield, died in a trip-and-fall accident, but the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division says it has new information on the case, and has launched a criminal investigation.
Separately, Ms Satterfield’s sons have sued Mr Murdaugh to recover millions of dollars that they say he owed him from a lawsuit they filed after her death. In October, Mr Murdaugh was arrested in Florida and charged with “obtaining property by false pretenses” in the case.
After the arrest, Mr Murdaugh’s lawyers lamented that the charges took attention away from the unsolved murders of Paul and Margaret.
“Alex intends to fully cooperate with this investigation, as he has with the investigation into the murder of his wife and son,” the two attorneys, Mr Harpootlian and Jim Griffin, said in October. “He deeply regrets that his actions have distracted him from the efforts to solve their murders.”