Crime & Public Safety

2 lawsuits filed after punches thrown at Sea Pines festival. Here’s where they stand

Wine 101: 5 things to know before attending a wine festival

On Saturday, wine lovers from around the region will be flocking to Hilton Head to taste fabulous wines from around the world at the 31st annual Hilton Head Island Food and Wine Festival. To prep for the event, local wine experts and event coordin
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On Saturday, wine lovers from around the region will be flocking to Hilton Head to taste fabulous wines from around the world at the 31st annual Hilton Head Island Food and Wine Festival. To prep for the event, local wine experts and event coordin

Sea Pines Resort and Hilton Head real estate partner Tad Segars have settled a lawsuit in which Segars says he was punched in the face by an intoxicated attendee at the 2016 Hilton Head Wine & Food Festival.

Segars sued the wine and food festival, the resort and Coastal Security Services for negligence and dram shop law liability. That case was settled on March 5 for an undisclosed amount, according to court filings in the Beaufort County Court Index.

“Dram shop liability” is the principle that says establishments have a duty to make sure patrons who become intoxicated don’t endanger themselves or others on or off the premises.

The settled case argued that the festival doesn’t have enough safety measures in place to stop attendees from drinking too much because it charges for bottled water while serving wine samples for free and sells T-shirts which promote alcohol consumption by saying things such as “Save water drink wine,” “Sip happens,” and “You had me at Merlot.”

“There are no warnings, signs, suggestions, or other indicators promoting responsible drinking or safe alcohol sales and service protocols,” the suit said of the festival grounds at Sea Pines Resort.

Segars is a Realtor and partner at Hilton Head Properties Realty and Rentals, according to the firm’s website.

Andrew Halio, the attorney for the Wine and Food Festival, said he could not comment on the confidential settlement when an Island Packet reporter contacted him Wednesday.

South Carolina does not have a specific dram shop act, but state statutes about sale of alcohol are often used to create dram shop liability, according to Charleston-based law firm Futeral and Nelson LLC.

This type of liability has been at play in several lawsuits in Beaufort county recently, including suits filed against Black Marlin Bayside Grill & Hurricane Bar and Bluffton’s Truffles and Chow Daddy’s restaurants and one related to the boat crash that killed 19-year-old Mallory Beach.

A second lawsuit

Segars is also suing the Fort Mill man who punched him, according to court documents in the Beaufort County Court of Common Pleas filed March 7.

The 2016 attack left Segars’ jaw broken and his retina detached, according to Segars’ attorney, Patrick Carr of Berry & Carr Attorneys at Law.

The man was “grossly intoxicated” when he assaulted Segars unprovoked, according to the lawsuit.

Segars’ jaw was wired shut for around three months, which prevented him from working and speaking clearly, according to Carr.

The assault and battery case does not name an amount being sought, leaving the damages for the court to decide.

There is no information available about whether an arrest was made related to this incident in public records.

Katherine Kokal moved to South Carolina in 2018 after graduating from the University of Missouri and loves everything about the Lowcountry that isn’t a Palmetto Bug. She has won South Carolina Press Association awards for in-depth and government beat reporting. On the weekends, you can find Kati doing yoga and hiking Pinckney Island.
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