$6M South Carolina Defamation Verdict Settled After Appeal Lodged

A Hilton Head Island, South Carolina Judge won a $6M verdict in 2012 against Sea Pines Community Services Association and the association’s chief of security, and the Judge has reached a settlement after the defendants appealed the verdict.

The original defamation suit was brought by Judge Coffey after the chief of security at Sea Pines allegedly falsified police reports, told the Sheriff's Office that Judge Coffey's step-brother was responsible for crimes in Sea Pines and falsely reported that Judge Coffey was covering up and interfering with the investigation of her brother.  Following six days of testimony and having found that Coffey proved by clear and convincing evidence that the Defendants made statements about Coffey that were false or that they should have known were false, the jury returned the $6M verdict in favor of Judge Coffey.  The defendants appealed the verdict based on the fact that financial information regarding a Sea Pines reserve fund was improperly put before the jury and introduced into evidence.

The settlement approval documents filed with the court do not reveal the amount of the settlement.

Please feel free to visit our Defamation Page to learn more about defamation in South Carolina.  If you feel that you may have been the victim of false and defamatory language please contact Milton Stratos, a South Carolina lawyer, for a fee-free consultation.

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