SGI has filed a lawsuit against the two bars that allegedly over-served the woman who ended up driving drunk, eventually killing an entire family near Saskatoon.
The province filed a statement of claim in Saskatoon Court of Queen’s Bench Thursday against Industrial Kitchen & Bar and Crackers Licensed Cocktail & Dining Room, both establishments that served Catherine McKay on January 2 and 3, 2016.
The lawsuit is against the former owners of Crackers.
“There’s a legal obligation to make sure your patrons are safe and they don’t harm themselves or someone else,” said SGI’s executive vice-president Earl Cameron.
During her criminal case, court heard McKay’s blood alcohol concentration was nearly three times the legal limit, having been to both bars.
She got behind the wheel and eventually crashed into a vehicle that carried the Van De Vorst family at Highway 11 and Wanuskewin Road.
Jordan and Chanda died at the scene while their two young children, Miguire and Kamryn, died in hospital.
“She was three times over the limit and no one prevented her from driving. Someone has to be responsible,” said Cameron. “The bars, in this case, could have prevented this had someone intervened.”
McKay pleaded guilty in June 2016 to four counts of drunk driving causing death and was sentenced to 10 years prison.
While other jurisdictions across Canada have sued in this regard, this is the first time Saskatchewan has pursued legal action of this nature against liquor establishments.
“This is a good example of one where the evidence was very, very clear,” Cameron explained.
SGI also said it will pursue similar actions against other bars in comparable cases.
In this case, the Crown said it is seeking a maximum total of $95,000. Cameron said they will also be suing McKay herself.
But Cameron said it’s not about the money, but about saving lives.
“Ultimately, no more accidents like this one.”