"Shark Tank" star Kevin O'Leary and his wife, Linda have been hit with a wrongful death lawsuit from the family of the woman who tragically lost her life in a boat crash this past August.
This past summer, Linda was driving a boat on Lake Joseph in Ontario, Canada when she crashed into another boat late at night. 64-year-old Gary Poltash and 48-year-old Susanne Brito were both killed. Brito's parents and sister have filed a lawsuit and are seeking punitive, exemplary and aggravated damages, according to the Toronto Sun.
The Family Wants Civil Justice
“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,” Attorney Patrick Brown, of the law firm McLeish Orlando LLP, said in a statement released to several news outlets.
Brito's mother, Rosa Ragone also released an emotional statement. "Our family has lost a beautiful, loving person. We are devastated," 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."
The family is also going after Richard Ruh, the driver of the boat that Brito and Poltash were on when the crash occurred. Authorities charged Ruh and the vessel's owner, Irv Edwards, with failure to exhibit a navigation light while underway.
Linda O'Leary Was Charged
In September, authorities charged O'Leary's wife with the careless operation of a vessel under the Canada Shipping Act. The charge is not criminal and if found guilty, she would face a fine but will not do jail time despite reports claiming she could face up to 18 months.
There was speculation that the story O'Leary told authorities was slanted to favor the "Shark Tank" star and his wife. However, officials validated his story about the deadly crash. It was determined that Linda was driving the boat at an unsafe speed when she slammed into the other boat, killing two passengers onboard.
Linda's case is set to be heard on November 21.
O'Leary Received Harsh Backlash
O'Leary faced harsh backlash when he returned to social media after a short absence following the crash. O’Leary tweeted promoting the new season of the Colombian spin-off of “Shark Tank.”
“Hola Colombia!” the tweet began. “I’m Mr. Wonderful from Shark Tank US. I’ve been told Colombians are pretty hard negotiators, I guess we’ll find out soon. Hope you are ready for the new Sharks: Alejandra, Andrea, & Samy! Don’t miss @sharktankcol new season starting Sept 6th on @sonychannella.”
Many fans and followers did not appreciate his tweet and called it "tone deaf" promotion at the time. “Life goes on for "Mr. Wonderful”?” One fan commented, “Kevin O’Leary money roadshow is rolling on. After Being in a Fatal Boat Accident Killing Two.”