Beaufort man punched on golf course awarded $500,000

mmcnab@beaufortgazette.comJanuary 14, 2014 

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A Beaufort man assaulted on a Fripp Island golf course in 2011 was awarded $500,000 last week in a civil trial against the man who attacked him, according to Beaufort County court records.

A jury awarded Beaufort resident Rodney J. Allgire $400,000 in actual damages and $100,000 in punitive damages Jan. 8 after a civil trial in Beaufort County stemming from a Nov. 13, 2011, assault.

Conway resident Marshall C. Blanton, 44, punched Allgire twice in the face while on the stairs of the Fripp Island Ocean Course's pro shop after an argument between the playing groups to which the men belonged, according to a Beaufort County Sheriff's Office report.

The two groups had been arguing on the course and in the pro shop before Blanton punched Allgire, whom he mistakenly believed was the one arguing with Blanton's group, the report said.

Allgire told Blanton he had not been a part of the argument after he was punched. When Blanton tried to walk away from the pro shop, Allgire asked staff to call police, the report said. Blanton told Fripp Island security personnel he later learned it was another golfer in the group he had argued with and that he had apologized to Allgire.

Allgire still wished to press charges against Blanton.

Blanton was charged with third-degree assault and battery, the report said. He pleaded no contest to the charges in January 2012, according to court records. Allgire's attorney, Jim Moss, said Blanton paid a fine but served no jail time.

Attempts Tuesday to reach Blanton's attorney, Mitchell Griffith, for comment were unsuccessful.

Allgire's injuries were not detailed in the Sheriff's Office report, but a lawsuit filed two days after the incident said Allgire suffered a severe concussion after Blanton's punch knocked him to the pavement. It said he also injured his back, neck and jaw.

Moss said Allgire suffered a fractured T-12 vertebrae, two broken ribs and a bruised jaw from the fall. Allgire's doctor testified to his injuries during the civil trial. Moss said the fractured ribs weren't discovered until a week after Allgire was assaulted, after Allgire went to the hospital believing his chest pains could be the onset of a heart attack, Moss said.

Allgire underwent physical therapy through August 2013 and is still undergoing medical treatment. He was able to return to his job as a construction supervisor and began playing golf again about five months after he was assaulted, Moss said.

Moss said nearly 20 depositions were taken between Beaufort and the Myrtle Beach area, where Blanton currently lives, before the trial started. About 25 witnesses testified in the trial, which started Jan. 6 with Circuit Judge Carmen Mullen presiding.

Follow reporter Matt McNab at twitter.com/IPBG_Matt.

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