A national sports-bar chain and the operator of its Summerville location have settled a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the father of an autistic man who was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver.
Buffalo Wild Wings Inc. and franchisee ACI Holdings Inc. agreed to pay $2 million without admitting liability in the 2013 death of Forrest Carlton, who had wandered away from a group home in West Ashley.
Carlton’s estate was to receive about $1.28 million after attorney fees and other costs, according to documents filed with the Charleston County Court of Common Pleas.
A passerby found Carlton on the side of Ashley River Road between Plainview Drive and Parsonage Road around 3 a.m. on Dec. 8, 2013, dressed only in a T-shirt and undergarments. The 22-year-old, who later died from his injuries at Medical University Hospital, had roamed away from the South Carolina MENTOR group home on Church Creek Drive.
Daniel A. Shirley, then 18 and a Hollywood resident, surrendered to law enforcement two days later. The Charleston County Sheriff’s Department charged him with leaving the scene of an accident with personal injury and death. He was credited with time served and released on probation, according to court records.
Mount Pleasant attorney Nathan Hughey, who represented Carlton’s father in the lawsuit, said Shirley went to Buffalo Wild Wings to watch a college football game. The complaint alleged the Summerville sports bar served alcohol to the underage Shirley, who became intoxicated and later drove off in a black Dodge Charger.
Because Shirley left the scene, Hughey said Thursday, police could not test him for driving under the influence.
The lawsuit, filed in May 2014, was dismissed in late July. S.C. Lawyers Weekly reported the settlement this week.
The operator of the Summerville sports bar at 109 Grandview Drive agreed to pay $1.925 million. Its attorney said Thursday that the terms prohibit ACI from commenting.
Minneapolis-based Buffalo Wild Wings agreed to pay the other $75,000. A company spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment this week.
Hughey said the money has been paid.
A separate wrongful death lawsuit that Carlton’s family brought against South Carolina MENTOR was settled last year. The terms are confidential, but they were a factor in determining the amount of the settlement in the Buffalo Wild Wings case, Hughey said.
Contact John McDermott at 843-937-5572.