Kevin and Linda O'Leary sued for wrongful death by boating crash victim's family
TORONTO - Kevin and Linda O’Leary are being sued for wrongful death by the family of an Uxbridge woman who died in a boating crash on an Ontario lake this summer.
Susanne Brito, 48, and Florida man Gary Poltash, 64, were killed when two boats collided on Lake Joseph near Emerald Island in Seguin Township, Ont. at around 11:30 p.m. on Aug. 24.
Kevin O'Leary and his wife, who own a luxury cottage on the lake, were on one of the boats involved in the collision.
On Wednesday, the parents of Brito, Rosa and Antonio Ragone, as well as her sister, Paula Brito, announced they are suing the O’Learys.
In the Statement of Claim, the family alledges the O'Learys "failed to keep a proper lookout" and "drove at too high a rate of speed for that time of night." It goes on to allege their "faculties of observation, perception, judgment and self-control were impaired due to alcohol and drugs."
At the time of the crash Kevin O'Leary put out a statement saying his wife Linda was at the wheel of the boat.
Linda O’Leary has since been charged under the Canada Shipping Act with careless operation of a vessel, which is not a criminal charge. The maximum penalty is a $10,000 fine.
TMZ has previously reported that a representative for O'Leary stated that Linda O'Leary passed a breathalyzer test.
The Brito family is also suing New York men Richard Ruh and Irv Edwards. Ruh, 57, was charged with failing to exhibit navigation lights in connection with the boating crash and Edwards is the owner of the boat that Ruh was driving.
Patrick Brown, of law firm McLeish Orlando LLP, who is representing the claimants, said they are seeking damages for wrongful death as well as punitive, exemplary and aggravated damages. The family is seeking $2 million.
"For this grieving family, it is about obtaining civil justice so as to prevent these types of deaths and curtailing reckless and dangerous behaviour from continuing on our lakes," Brown said.
Brown released a statement on behalf of the family, saying they are "devastated" by the crash.
"Our family has lost a beautiful, loving person," Rosa Ragone said.
"We sincerely hope that through this process, that justice is served and that steps are taken so that innocent victims like Suzie, are not seriously injured and killed and that other families do not have to go through such pain and loss."
"Operating pleasure crafts comes with great responsibility. We hope that from this process, that water safety is taken more seriously."
In September, Brian Greenspan, Linda O'Leary’s lawyer, said the crash was "tragic" and "traumatic" but went on to say his client was an experienced boater.
"She was simply proceeding home and we think this charge is inappropriate," he said. "Anyone involved in an incident, an accident, in which lives are lost, there is a great deal of unhappiness about it, a great deal of grief about it."
The two boats involved in the crash were a 13-occupant wakeboard pleasure craft and a small ski boat.
CTV News has contacted the O’Leary’s lawyer for comment but has not yet received a response.