The Myrtle Beach tourism leader accused of causing a boating accident that led to the amputation of a 9-year-old girl’s thumb plans to settle the case for $1 million, according to civil court records.
Matthew Brittain, managing partner of Brittain Resort Management in Myrtle Beach, was sued last year in federal court by the girl’s mother, Mary Hope Georgino of Georgetown County.
A hearing to approve the settlement is scheduled for Aug. 31 in Charleston.
Brittain could not be reached for comment. Georgino’s attorney, Paul Gibson of Charleston, also could not be reached.
The accident happened on May 25, 2014, when the girl’s hand was resting on the side of her father’s boat, which was in the process of being moored and rafted alongside several other vessels in the Murrells Inlet area during an event for the Wounded Warriors Foundation.
The family’s lawsuit states that a wake caused by Brittain’s yacht, the Epiphany, forced the father’s boat to collide with another vessel.
“Suddenly, and without warning, Brittain came through the harbor operating the Epiphany at a high rate of speed close to the nearby moored and rafted boats,” the lawsuit states. “Despite numerous calls to slow down, [the Epiphany’s] speed and proximity caused a huge wake that caused several other boats to rock violently and then fled the scene.”
The girl’s hand was caught between two colliding boats and mangled, the lawsuit states. Her right thumb was eventually amputated.
Court records indicate a $1 million offer was made to the girl’s family to settle the case.
“Respondents deny any negligence or responsibility on their part, but in order to avoid the expense, inconvenience and the uncertainty of any litigation of the cause or causes of action, has offered the above sum,” according to documents filed by the attorney for the girl’s family.
Under the proposed settlement, $570,000 would be placed in an annuity for the girl, who would receive payments through 2028. Nearly $370,000 would go toward attorney fees.
Brittain Resort Management is one of the Myrtle Beach area’s largest lodging companies, with ownership or management interests in more than a dozen properties.