• Stuart Benson

Boat crash victim, amputee sues

Updated: Sep 21, 2020

Emilio Dutra Lidington spent weeks in hospital recovering after the boat crash, with his mother, Jasmin Lidington, by his side for much of it. File photo
Emilio Dutra Lidington spent weeks in hospital recovering after the boat crash, with his mother, Jasmin Lidington, by his side for much of it. File photo

Almost $2M claim alleges negligence and recklessness

By Hunter Cresswell

Emilio Dutra Lidington filed a lawsuit alleging recklessness and negligence just three days before the two-year anniversary of a boat hitting him while in the water of Lac Pemichangan in Gracefield, which left him with “… serious, permanent, catastrophic and disfiguring injuries,” according to court documents.

The statement of claim filed on Aug. 26 with the Federal Court of Canada names 20-year-old Dutra Lidington, his mother Jasmin Lidington, who is from Chelsea and has a Kirk’s Ferry summer home, father Leo Dutra of Chelsea, sister, maternal grandparents and stepfather as plaintiffs.

Dutra Lidington’s stepfather, Robert Lee, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from the family before the publishing deadline.

The claim names Aidan Mclaughlin, Julia Fournier and Otis Fatona-Pinet as defendants. McLaughlin drove the Malibu boat that towed Dutra Lidington while tubing; Fournier is Mclaughlin’s mother and owner of the boat; and Fatona-Pinet was the spotter in the boat during the crash. All three are Ontario residents.

Dutra Lidington is suing the defendants for $450,000 each “... for pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment and amenities of life….”

Lidington, Dutra and Dutra Lidington’s sister and stepfather all claim $100,000 each from the plaintiffs “... for loss of guidance, care and companionship….” The grandparents are claiming $50,000 each. The plaintiffs also claim $100,000 in punitive damages against Fournier.

“Specifically, the Plaintiffs state that evidence of alcohol on the Boat was removed by and/or on behalf of Defendant Fournier,” the claim states.

Fournier denied that allegation and the involvement of alcohol in a report on the claim by the Ottawa Citizen on Sept. 8. In November 2018, Sûreté du Québec Sgt. Marc Tessier told The Low Down that it didn’t seem like alcohol or drugs were a factor in the collision.

Dutra Lidington also claims other unspecified amounts and the cost of the legal proceedings, bringing the total in claims and damages to over $1,950,000.

Last year Dutra Lidington and his family told this reporter that he will likely need 23 prosthetics over his lifetime and each cost upwards of $100,000.

The claim alleges Mclaughlin operated the boat in a careless manner, failed to decelerate the boat after Dutra Lidgington fell off, failed to keep a proper or any lookout, failed to keep the boat under proper or any control, operated the boat without a boating license, and operated it while impaired by drugs or alcohol or both.

“... Mclaughlin operated the boat in a reckless manner with knowledge of Emilio’s presence in the water, and that the collision and Emilio’s catastrophic injuries would probably result,” the claim states.

The claim alleges negligence on Fournier’s part because she allowed Mclaughlin to operate the boat and alleges negligence on Fatona-Pinet’s part because he was also impaired by drugs or alcohol and failed to keep watch on every person being towed, communicate with the driver that Dutra Lidington fell into the water, and warn Dutra Lidignton of the impending crash.

This reporter spoke with Dutra Lidington for an article last year that shared his version of the events that day on the lake and his recovery, but the claim goes into deeper detail about the crash, such as the boat’s bow raising as it accelerated at Dutra-Lidington in the water and his subsequent recovery. According to the claim he underwent immediate surgery when transferred in hospital and has been through 16 to date.

“Emilio will require ongoing rehabilitative care and prostheses for the rest of his life,” the claim states.

This case hasn’t been heard in court yet and no hearing has been scheduled.

A gofundme.com crowd-sourced fundraiser started by Dutra Lidington’s family is still active online and has $226,150 pledged toward its $250,000 goal. To donate, visit bit.ly/2KoJjM5.