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City of Darlington reaches settlement for drownings

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By LISA CHALIAN-ROCK, Editor - The (Darlington) News & Press

The City of Darlington has settled in one of two civil cases arising from the drowning deaths of two young boys in May 2010.
The two children, Justin Lee McKay, 14, and Timquan McAllister, 13, drowned in the city pool on May 29, 2010. The pool remained closed until council re-opened the pool in late June after a coroner’s inquest found the children’s death to be accidental.
The city, through its insurer, agreed to pay $165,000 in the case involving the estate of Timquan McAllister, according to court documents. The city denies any wrongdoings, and the agreement discharges the city from further litigation on the matter.
“We reached a resolution satisfactory to both sides,” said Robert T. King, the attorney representing the city in the case. King works in the firm Willcox, Buyck & Williams, P.A.
McAllister was pronounced dead on May 31 at McLeod Regional Medical Center, and the court found no evidence that Timquan suffered any conscious pain or suffering prior to death. The McAllister family donated his kidneys, liver, and heart to save the lives of four transplant patients.
In the matter of Justin McKay, Alberta McDonald and Michelle Law-Gordon, personal representatives of his estate, don’t seem as ready to settle.
Court documents show that mediation was at an impasse last August after the parties spent nine hours in negotiations.
Discovery was scheduled to be complete as of July 10 of this year. All other motions, including those relating to admissibility of evidence at trial, must be filed on or before Aug. 10.
The case is subject to being called for jury selection and trial on or after Oct. 10.
The court order, however, leaves open the possibility of further mediation prior to Sept. 20.
“We look forward to continue the process and trust in the court system,” King said.
The statutory cap on damages is $300,000/$600,000 in South Carolina.
Use of the city pool this year has been down, with around 30 people using the facility during days of operation. City officials decided to close the pool on Aug. 3 this year instead of Labor Day weekend but did not comment as to why.