The parents of a man who was shot and killed at a “crime-infested” hotel have settled their wrongful death suit against the motel’s owner for $1.25 million, well above its insurance policy’s limits, their attorneys report.
Brian Mickelsen and Danny Dalton of Mickelsen and Dalton in Charleston report that their clients and their son were approached at the defendant hotel by a drug dealer who lived there. The son and the dealer got into an altercation that led to the fatal shooting, and the parents watched their son die in their arms.
A motel security guard witnessed the shooting, Dalton said, and the parents later learned that the guard had previous convictions for sex offenses and violent crimes.
The attorneys said that the motel claimed that the son was a former motel employee who’d been trespassed from the property for threatening fellow employees with a knife. The parents denied the allegations and produced more than 15 affidavits from former motel employees, guests, and neighboring businesses showing that the security guard had previously fired shots at the motel; that he was in cahoots with the killer; that it knew about violent crimes committed both on motel premises and by the guard; and that the motel had a history of destroying or doctoring documents such as internal incident reports, emails, and video surveillance.
The attorneys said that the motel rejected a $300,000 offer of judgment by the plaintiffs but later offered $500,000, which the parents rejected. The motel also rejected several Tyger River policy-limit demands, the attorneys said.
The attorneys said that the motel was also sanctioned for failing to timely respond to discovery.
“We went to war on this one,” Mickelsen said. “Ultimately, the court granted plaintiffs’ motion for sanctions and struck the defendant motel’s answer. I admire our judge, who demanded that the parties play by the rules and then sanctioned the defendant when it disregarded his order.”
Pursuant to a confidentiality agreement, many details of the case, including names of the parties and venue, have been withheld.
SETTLEMENT REPORT — WRONGFUL DEATH
Amount: $1.25 million
Injuries alleged: Death and negligent infliction of emotional distress
Case name: Withheld
Date of settlement: September 2021
Attorneys for plaintiffs: Brian Mickelsen and Danny Dalton of Mickelsen Dalton in Charleston
Attorneys for defendant: Withheld