Judge recuses himself from wrongful-death lawsuit

pdonohue@beaufortgazette.comOctober 28, 2011 

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Beaufort County Master in Equity Judge Marvin Dukes has recused himself from a wrongful-death lawsuit filed last month against members of former Gov. Mark Sanford's family, according to court records.

In an order filed this month and made available to the public Friday, Dukes wrote that a conflict prevented him from hearing the lawsuit brought by the family of Camilo Andres Restrepo-Lopez, a 6-year-old boy who died after being found at the bottom of a pool during a party at Coosaw Plantation in August. The party was hosted by John and Julia Sanford, the former governor's brother and sister-in-law.

Dukes did not elaborate on the conflict in the filing, and attempts Friday to reach him for comment were unsuccessful.

It is unclear who will preside over the case, in which the boy's family claims children at the pool party were not properly supervised and that the boy was not given a lifejacket, although his parents had said he could not swim, according to court records.

Lopez was taken to the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, where he died two days later, according to the Beaufort County Coroner's Office.

His death was ruled an accident.

In addition to John and Julia Sanford, the Sanford Land Co. and the Sanford Family Partnership are defendants in the suit. The Sanford Family Partnership owns and maintains the neighborhood in Dale, the lawsuit states.

The suit seeks actual and punitive damages.

Attorneys for the Sanford family have not yet filed a response, court records show.

Follow reporter Patrick Donohue at twitter.com/ProtectServeBft.

Related content

  1. August pool death brings lawsuit, Oct. 9, 2011
  2. No charges expected in boy's death, Aug. 24, 2011

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