Canadian Underwriter

Man who lost relatives to drunk driver says SGI keeping bars accountable

March 2, 2018   by The Canadian Press

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Photo copyright: GokhanA Saskatoon man whose son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren were killed by a drunk driver is applauding a move by the province’s insurance company to hold bars more accountable.

Lou Van de Vorst said he’s pleased SGI filed lawsuits against two Saskatoon bars that served alcohol to Catherine McKay the night she drove drunk and crashed into his son’s minivan in 2016.

Related: SGI settles out of court with two bars that served Catherine McKay

The crashed killed Jordan, Chanda, Kamryn and Miguire Van de Vorst.

On Wednesday, SGI announced it reached out-of-court settlements with the Industrial Kitchen and Lounge Corporation and MCDE Holdings, which operated the Crackers Licensed Cocktail & Dining Room at the time.

Catherine McKay pleaded guilty to four counts of drunk driving causing death and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

During her criminal case, court heard McKay’s blood-alcohol concentration was nearly three times the legal limit.

Court also heard that McKay was served alcohol at both bars and staff knew that she was intoxicated.

“It comes down to people taking responsibility for their actions and people also taking responsibility for those around them,” Van de Vorst said Thursday.

“When people leave a bar or come to a bar and they’re already intoxicated, should the bars be serving them liquor?”

Details of the settlement with SGI were not released.

Van de Vorst said he doesn’t need figures to know it sends a message.

“(SGI) held the bars accountable for their part in the whole accident,” he said. “I’m happy with it.”

Van de Vorst said he hopes the lawsuits serve as a warning to other establishments.

Jim Bence, CEO of Saskatchewan Hotel and Hospitality Association, said the industry is eager to understand how the lawsuits against the bars were resolved.

Bence said mandatory training on legal serving responsibilities has already been in place for owners and managers handling alcohol in Saskatchewan the last two years.

“They do understand, now more than ever, the responsibility is on them.”

In July, the Serving It Right online course will be mandatory for anyone, including servers, who handle alcohol.

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This story was originally published by Canadian Insurance Top Broker.