NEWMARKET, Ont. — A drunk driver who killed three children and their grandfather in a collision north of Toronto in 2015 says he is liable for the crash, but argues the amount of damages sought by the family of his victims is too high.
The Neville-Lake family is seeking more than $25 million from Marco Muzzo and his family's drywall company, Marel Contractors. The suit argues their negligence caused the crash that killed nine-year-old Daniel Neville-Lake, his five-year-old brother Harrison, their two-year-old sister Milly and the children's 65-year-old grandfather, Gary Neville.
Muzzo says in a statement of defence that the Neville-Lake family's damages should be reduced because he was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison and therefore they are not entitled to punitive, exemplary or aggravated damages.
The children's grandmother, Neriza Neville, and great-grandmother, Josefina Frias, were also seriously hurt in the September 2015 collision in Vaughan, Ont.
In its statement of claim, the Neville-Lake family says Muzzo was drunk, speeding and driving without corrective lenses after returning from his bachelor party in Miami in September 2015 and "created a situation of danger and emergency."
Muzzo denies many of the assertions in the family's statement of claim, which contains allegations that have not been proven in civil court.
The lawsuit — which was filed by Neville, the children's parents, Jennifer Neville-Lake and Edward Lake, and Neville-Lake's brother and sister — alleges Muzzo "was conscious of the probable consequences of his carelessness and was indifferent or worse to the danger of injury or death to the occupants of the Neville-Lake vehicle."
"This motor vehicle accident has had a profound, significant and catastrophic impact upon the lives and well-being of all of the plaintiffs," causing them enduring pain and suffering, affecting their quality of life and their ability to earn a living, it says.
The loss of four relatives has left the family reeling with shock and grief and deprived them of the support, care and companionship they would have received from their loved ones, the suit alleges.
It has also saddled them with bills for hospitalization, therapy, rehabilitation and attendant care, among others, the document says.
The suit was filed in April, just weeks after Muzzo was sentenced on four counts of impaired driving causing death and two of impaired driving causing bodily harm.
During Muzzo's criminal trial, court heard he picked up his Jeep from the airport parking lot and drove through a stop sign shortly afterward, plowing into the driver's side of the minivan carrying the Neville-Lake family. He was speeding at the time.
The court heard he was so drunk at the time of the crash that he urinated on himself and needed help standing.
The Neville-Lake's lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment.
The Canadian Press