Lawyers for Canadian billionaire Marco Muzzo think their client — who killed three children and their grandfather in a 2015 drunk driving crash — has been punished enough, and are trying to reduce the settlement requested by a grieving family.
Muzzo pled guilty in February to multiple counts of impaired driving that caused death and bodily harm, and his lawyers admitted he is liable during the civil suit proceedings. But because Muzzo has been sentence to ten years in prison, his lawyers argue that the family’s settlement request of $25 million is in excess of what they should be granted, and are asking for a judge and jury trial to determine the damages awarded.
Muzzo, 29, had just returned to Toronto via private jet from his Miami bachelor party when he ran a stop sign at 85 miles an hour, crashing his black SUV into a minivan carrying six members of Jennifer Neville-Lake’s family: Her parents, her grandmother, and her three children. All three children — Daniel 9, Harrison, 5, and Milly, 2, and Jennifer’s father, 65-year-old Gary Neville — were killed in the crash, and the two women were injured. Mr. Neville was pronounced dead at the scene, while the children died later that night in the hospital. The youngest two, Harrison and Milly, held hands as they died. Muzzo’s blood alcohol level was triple the legal limit.
Marco Muzzo is the namesake of his billionaire developer grandfather, who died in 2005. Muzzo worked for his family’s drywall company, Marel Contractors, and the Muzzo family wealth is estimated at $1.8 billion.
But despite Muzzo’s sizeable resources, his attorneys argue that his stiff jail sentence should be a factor in determining the family’s settlement award.
His legal team filed a statement of defense in Newmarket Superior Court. “The plaintiffs’ damages, if any, should be reduced by the amount of collateral benefits they received or are entitled to,” it read, possibly referencing a crowdsourcing campaign that far exceded its initial goal to cover funeral costs. “The plaintiffs are not entitled at law to recover punitive or exemplary damages in view of Muzzo’s criminal conviction and lengthy incarceration in a penitentiary arising from his conduct leading to the subject accident.”
Muzzo will be eligible for parole after serving three years of his ten year sentence, and will have his driver’s license suspended for 12 years after he is released.
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