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Husband of Woman Killed by Alligator Sues Sea Pines Resort in South Carolina

— April 15, 2019

James Cline recently sued the Sea Pines Resort in South Carolina after his wife was killed in an alligator attack on resort property.

A wrongful death lawsuit was recently filed against a resort in South Carolina by the husband of a woman killed by an alligator. The man, James Cline, filed the suit against Sea Pines Resort and the Sea Pines Community Services Associates for what he described as “gross negligence.” According to the suit, his wife, Cassandra Cline, “was walking the couple’s dog near the Sea Pines Lagoon when an alligator came out of the water and tried to attack the dog.” While trying to protect the dog, Mrs. Cline was dragged into the lagoon by the gator instead. Mr. Cline argues in his lawsuit that Sea Pines Resort was aware of the alligator problem “and had a duty to keep the public safe.”

Harbour Town Marina in Sea Pines Resort
Harbour Town Marina in Sea Pines Resort; image courtesy of MoodyGroove of English Wikipedia,

Shortly after the attack, the 8-foot long alligator was found and killed, according to David Lucas. Lucas is a spokesman for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and said “previously that a maintenance worker ran over and tried to help Cline as she fought the alligator.”

When commenting on the incident, Captain Robert McCullough of the Department of Natural Resources said, “It’s common practice when we have an aggressive alligator like that, we put it down, but it will take some take some time to confirm it’s the right alligator.”

It’s important to note, that despite the attack on Mrs. Cline, alligator attacks remain rare. Lucas said since 1976, “there have only been about 20 attacks on people in the state.” He added, “until 2016, none of those attacks had been fatal. In 2016, a 90-year-old woman wandered away from a Charleston assisted living facility and was found dead in a pond.”

Blake Smith is a resident at the Sea Pines Resort and said it wasn’t uncommon to see alligators in the pools or yards, but noted that staff members were usually quick to remove them. He said, “They do a good job. This is just a sad incident. I have a young son, so it’s kind of concerning to see something like this could happen.”

In response to the lawsuit, Bret Martin said:

“The entire Sea Pines community continues to mourn the tragic loss of Cassandra Cline. The safety and security of Sea Pines property owners, guests, visitors, and staff are of paramount importance to Sea Pines C-S-A. Our council will provide any and all appropriate responses to the court regarding any filings.”

Martin is the president of the Sea Pines Community.


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