A Canadian woman convicted of impaired driving in a 2019 crash that led to a massive explosion in London, Ontario, is suing the food and beverage company that served her alcohol, aiming to make them liable for the costs.
Daniella Leis, 26, made national headlines when she crashed her car into a house at 450 Woodman Avenue, breaking a gas line that later triggered an explosion, causing damages pegged at C$13m to C$20m ($9.8m to $14.7m in USD).
She pleaded guilty to four counts of impaired driving and was sentenced to three years in prison in 2021.
Now, Leis is filing a lawsuit against Ovations Ontario Food Services, alleging that the company shares some of the liability for civil lawsuits filed by victims of the blast against Leis and her father Shawn Leis over the explosion.
In a statement of claim filed in a London court, the father and daughter are seeking a ruling that Ovations Ontario Food Services LP is on the hook for “any awards or judgment amounts”, including interest and costs, stemming from six Ontario Superior Court and small claims court actions launched against them by Woodman Avenue victims.
The lawsuit says Leis became intoxicated at Budweiser Gardens on 14 August 2019, the night of the crash and explosion, hence any damages caused to the victims were “caused or contributed to by the negligence, breach of duty, breach of contract” by the bar under the contravention of the Occupiers’ Liability Act or Liquor Licence Act.
The company has not responded to the allegations yet.
Among other allegations, the statement of claim Ovations served alcohol when it knew she was intoxicated and did not train or supervise staff serving alcohol and “put profit above safety.”
According to the 2019 case documents, Leis had been driving home from a Marilyn Manson concert that night at Budweiser Gardens and drove the wrong way on Queen’s Avenue before slamming into a house at 450 Woodman Avenue, severing the brick house’s gas line.
The explosion injured seven people and damaged four houses.