Kevin O'Leary, wife being sued for wrongful death in boat crash
November 6, 2019
November 6, 2019 12:31 PM EST
Businessman and television personality Kevin O'Leary and his wife Linda arrive at the 2014 Elton John AIDS Foundation Oscar Party in West Hollywood, California March 2, 2014.GUS RUELAS / REUTERS
Bombastic Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary and his wife, Linda, are being sued for wrongful death by the family of one of the victims in last summer’s crash in Muskoka.
On Aug. 24, Linda O’Leary was driving a boat on Lake Joseph when it crashed into another boat just before midnight.
Retired accountant Gary Poltash, 64, of Florida, and Susanne Brito, 48, of Uxbridge, were both killed.
Three others were hospitalized but later released.
Uxbridge mother Suzana Brito, right, and American Gary Poltash are pictured in Muskoka. Both died after an Aug. 24, 2019 boating accident involving celebrity businessman Kevin O’Leary. (GoFundMe)
In late September, the OPP charged Linda O’Leary with careless operation of a vessel under the Canada Shipping Act. It is not a criminal charge, and if found guilty, she will be fined but not jailed.
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Now, Susanne Brito’s parents, Rosa and Antonio Ragone, and sister Paula Brito are taking action against the O’Learys. The family is seeking punitive, exemplary and aggravated damages for wrongful death.
Also being sued is Richard Ruh, the driver of the other boat, who the OPP charged with failure to exhibit a navigation light while underway, and Irv Edwards, the vessel’s owner.
“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,” Patrick Brown, of law firm McLeish Orlando LLP, said in a news release.
A funeral was held for Suzana Vieira Brito, 48, at Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church in Uxbridge on Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019. The mother of three is one of two victims killed in a boat crash in Muskoka a week earlier. (Jack Boland/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network)
The statement quoted the dead woman’s mother, Rosa: “Our family has lost a beautiful, loving person. We are devastated. 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.”
Linda O’Leary’s case is next set to be heard on Nov. 21.
Initially, prosecutors, said O’Leary faced a maximum penalty of 18-months’ imprisonment and a $1-million fine.
Shark Tank star's wife now facing fine, not jail time
Kevin O'Leary's wife, other driver charged in fatal Muskoka boat crash
But that interpretation of the Shipping Act was challenged by Brian Greenspan, O’Leary’s lawyer, and prosecutors later amended their view to say O’Leary faces a maximum $10,000 fine and no jail time.
The O’Learys are longtime summer residents of Lake Joseph, a playground for celebrities, sports stars and the country’s financial elite.