Hutch Hotels Ltd., which owned the former Alder Inn (which was demolished in November 2020), is among the defendants in a lawsuit related to an alleged impaired-driving crash in January 2017. The civil suit also names S & L Kitchen and Bar in Abbotsford. (Black Press file photo)

Hutch Hotels Ltd., which owned the former Alder Inn (which was demolished in November 2020), is among the defendants in a lawsuit related to an alleged impaired-driving crash in January 2017. The civil suit also names S & L Kitchen and Bar in Abbotsford. (Black Press file photo)

Two Fraser Valley bars named in lawsuit related to alleged impaired-driving crash

S & L Abbotsford and Alder Inn being sued by passenger in 2017 rollover collision

Two Fraser Valley bars are among the defendants in a court case scheduled to go to trial next month in which an alleged impaired driver crashed her vehicle after a night that included drinking at the locations.

S & L Kitchen and Bar in Abbotsford and Hutch Hotels Ltd. – which owned the former Alder Inn in Aldergrove which was demolished last November – are named in the civil lawsuit, as is the driver.

The suit was filed by Cynthia McLaughlin, who was a passenger in the vehicle being driven by Luisa Cerda in the early morning of Jan. 10, 2017, when it crashed.

According to court documents, Cerda lost control of the vehicle, and it rolled several times. The collision took place on Highway One near No. 3 Road in Chilliwack.

McLaughlin had also named the S & L location in Langley in her lawsuit, but a judge ruled last month that the location had no liability in the crash.

The court documents state that Cerda and McLaughlin were servers at the Langley location. Cerda and several other servers arranged to travel to the S & L in Abbotsford on the evening of Jan. 9, 2017.

ALSO READ: Man in hospital, dog dead after suspected impaired driving crash in B.C. Interior

After Cerda finished her shift, she joined some other servers for a drink at the bar, and then left to pick up McLaughlin from her home.

The pair then travelled to the Abbotsford restaurant, where they met the other workers for dinner and drinks.

The court documents state that S & L Abbotsford provided two complimentary bottles of wine to the women. This was in addition to other drinks that at least some of the women had, the documents indicate.

They state that Cerda then drove with McLaughlin to the Alder Inn, where they continued to drink.

The crash took place around 1 a.m. on Jan. 10, when Cerda was driving McLaughlin back home.

S & L Langley argued in court that it could not be held liable for the accident or injuries that resulted because Cerda was not intoxicated when she left the location.

However, Justice Matthew Kirchner said the location might have been liable “if its management knew or ought to have known Ms. Cerda and her colleagues intended to have a night out for dinner and drinks at S & L Abbotsford.”

But the judge determined there was “no admissible evidence even suggesting S & L Langley’s management was aware of these plans” and removed them as a defendant. The restaurant was also awarded court costs.

“There is no basis to find S & L Langley failed to meet its standard of care either as a commercial host or as an employer,” Kirchner said.

The judge said, by contrast, Cerda’s level of intoxication after leaving the other two establishments “will very much be in issue at trial.”

“It has long been established in Canada that the operators of alcohol-serving establishments owe a duty of care to their patrons and to third parties who may be harmed by an intoxicated patron,” Kirchner said.

The trial is slated to begin July 5 and last several weeks.

ALSO READ: School bus of kids struck by suspected impaired driver in Burnaby



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