Aquilini companies deny negligence in suit over deaths of 2 children at their U.S. vineyard
Parents have alleged improper electrical work, no smoke detectors in mobile home fire
Several companies operated by the family that owns the Vancouver Canucks are defending themselves in a lawsuit filed against them last summer.
In July, the parents of two children who died after a fire on property owned by the Aquilini family's Red Mountain Vineyard, located in southeast Washington State, sued several Aquilini companies, and family patriarch Luigi Aquilini, for negligence.
The fire occurred in July 2017 at a mobile home where the family was living on the vineyard. The suit alleged improper electrical work caused the fire, and there were no smoke detectors.
In a legal answer filed in King County Superior Court Oct 16, the Aquilini companies deny all the allegations of negligence against them.
In addition, the Aquilini companies allege "some or all" of the Hernandez family's injuries and damages were at least partly caused by the negligence of the father, Sergio Hernandez.
Sergio and Erika Hernandez, had two children, Patty and Alex, then ages seven and 10, who separately died in hospital of massive burns after the fire. The vineyard is located about 80 kilometres north of the Oregon border.
The parents claimed in their suit that Patty and Alex endured "horrific suffering" before their deaths. Patty died almost three weeks after the fire; Alex survived six months and then he too died, said their suit.
The parents allege Sergio was badly burned in the fire, trying to rescue his children, and has not been able to work since.
The Aquilini companies argue in their defence that any damages suffered by the Hernadez family were caused by others not included in the lawsuit.
The companies also deny liability on the basis that the Hernandez family were "trespassers" living in the mobile home.
The parents in their suit claimed they were workers at the Aquilini's Red Mountain Vineyard, and that the mobile home was supplied to them as part of their compensation for working at the vineyard.
Luigi Aquilini has not yet filed a statement of defence.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.