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Jury trial underway on lawsuits from deadly 2018 boating accident


Jury trial proceedings began this week in Hale County Circuit Court related to the July 4, 2018 boating accident in Moundville that killed two people and injured numerous others.

Plaintiffs in the suits, which have been combined into one jury trial, include the estates of the two victims killed in the wreck, as well as passengers who were injured.

The suit includes claims for wrongful death, negligence and wantonness, product liability, claims towards uninsured motorist coverage, and other claims. The defendants include Richard Latham, who was driving the boat that caused the accident, State Farm Insurance, ALFA Insurance, Chapparal Boats, which manufactured the boat Latham was driving, and others.

The action combines several different, but related, lawsuits brought on behalf of the estates of those killed in the accident, as well as by the individuals who were passengers in both of the affected boats and who sustained injuries as a result of the collision.


After an all-day jury selection process on Monday, the trial had begun in earnest by Tuesday at the Hale County Courthouse in Greensboro.

The various Plaintiffs in the case are requesting compensatory damages for their medical and other expenses, as well as punitive damages to punish the defendants for their alleged negligence and/or wantonness. While none of the civil complaints in the case name a dollar amount in damages, similar cases have garnered jury awards in the millions of dollars.

As of press time, the trial was still in process, with few other developments to report.

Defendant Richard Latham of Tuscaloosa has already been sentenced on charges of reckless manslaughter and assault in conjunction with the wreck.

Court records indicate that Latham pled guilty in Hale County Circuit Criminal Court to two counts of reckless manslaughter, two counts of first degree assault, and one count of third degree assault last year. Prosecutors dropped two charges of reckless endangerment against Latham as a part of the plea deal. He was sentenced at a May 17, 2023 hearing to four fifteen year sentences. The sentence was split, with Latham to serve 20 months in prison and 60 months of supervised probation. The court also ordered Latham to attend alcohol treatment as a condition of his sentence.

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