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What you need to know for 12/13/2017

Father of girl killed in Lake George crash files 2nd lawsuit

Father of girl killed in Lake George crash files 2nd lawsuit

'This has been absolutely ruinous for this family'
Father of girl killed in Lake George crash files 2nd lawsuit
Alex West is escorted from Warren County Court after his sentencing.
Photographer: ERICA MILLER

The father of the 8-year-old California girl killed last summer in a motorboat crash on Lake George is suing, for a second time, the man convicted of causing her death.

The second lawsuit, filed July 14 in state Supreme Court in Warren County, adds wrongful death to the list of accusations levied against Alexander West and seeks $3 million in damages.

West, of Lake George, was sentenced in June to five to 15 years in prison in the death of Charlotte McCue, who was vacationing on Lake George with her family on July 25, 2016, the night of the crash. West spent the day partying at Log Bay Day before heading south on the lake in his powerboat and crashing it into the antique Gar Wood that was carrying Charlotte. A jury found that West was intoxicated at the time.

“This has been absolutely ruinous for this family,” said E. Stewart Jones, the Troy-based attorney who filed the notice of summons on Eric McCue’s behalf. “There’s no amount of money that will make this any better, but punishment is required.”

The lawsuit also lists as defendants West’s parents, Martin and Cassandra West, and passengers Matthew Marry, Kristine Tiger and Morland Keyes. Not named in the lawsuit is Cara Mia Canale, the only passenger to testify against West in the trial. 

The four passengers face misdemeanor charges for lying to police and obstructing the investigation, to which they have pleaded not guilty. 

Jones said the previous suit did not include the death claim because Eric and Courtney McCue, Charlotte’s parents, had not yet been appointed as the representatives of her estate.

The first court action, filed June 6, claimed the defendants caused “catastrophic and permanent personal, psychological, emotional” injuries as a result of the crash, which also left Courtney McCue seriously injured. That suit also sought $3 million in damages and was filed the day after West was sentenced by Warren County Judge John Hall.

“That’s a completely separate matter. That was the criminal justice system inflicting punishment,” Jones said. “The civil justice system has similar remedies, only they’re monetary. This family is going to need help dealing with the emotional issues and the treatment issues.”

Jones said the two lawsuits would be consolidated if the matter goes to trial, and the damages being sought would remain at $3 million. 

West was represented in the Warren County trial by Albany attorney Cheryl Coleman. An employee in her office said Tuesday that Coleman doesn’t represent him in civil matters. 

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