Leafs’ Ceci being sued by burn victim of accident at party

Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Cody Ceci and his common-law partner, Jamie Thompson, are being sued by a guest at a May 2018 dinner party, according to the Ottawa Citizen's Aedan Helmer.

Hana Engel suffered second- and third-degree burns covering 35 percent of her body as a result of an incident during which Thompson tried to refill a burner on an outdoor tabletop fireplace and accidentally ignited Engel with flaming liquid fuel.

Thompson squirted the ethanol into the burner "without checking to determine if the burner had cooled and/or completely extinguished," causing "flames and ethanol to jet out of the bottle," according to the lawsuit. She then "immediately threw the burning bottle in Hana's direction."

"Hana's clothing caught fire and she was immediately engulfed in flames," the lawsuit states.

Engel was placed in a medically induced coma and required 18 hours of surgeries and skin grafts over three separate operations. She's seeking $6 million for "loss of income, loss of competitive advantage in the marketplace, and loss of economic opportunities," $500,000 for "pain and suffering, loss of amenities, and loss of enjoyment of life," and $300,000 in damages for "loss of housekeeping and homemaking capacity."

None of Ceci, Thompson, nor Clair de Lune Products Inc. - the manufacturer of the tabletop ethanol fireplace - have filed a statement on the matter. Clair de Lune stopped selling the fireplace after the incident, according to the lawsuit.

Jake Cardwell, Engel's partner and Ceci's former teammate in junior, is also listed as a plaintiff. He's seeking $500,000 for the value of "nursing, attendant care, and other services, including loss of income," $200,000 in damages for "loss of care, guidance, and companionship," and $200,000 for "nervous shock" and "intentional infliction of mental suffering and emotional distress."

Cardwell "watched in helpless horror" as he tried to put out the flames with the help of other guests. He was playing overseas in the Czech Republic but had to take a leave of absence to care for Engel.

Engel's parents are also listed as plaintiffs, as they are seeking $700,000 in damages for nursing, attendant care, and other services. Her siblings are also seeking $200,000 in a similar claim.

The lawsuit states: "Hana has undergone indescribable emotional trauma and personal upheaval" as a result of the incident, her injuries, scars, and impairments, which include emotional distress and post-traumatic stress inflicted "by the incident itself (and) by the complete and permanent change to Hana's appearance."

Engel owned and operated a yoga studio in Ottawa but has been unable to return to work.

The suit claims Ceci "failed to inform himself and Thompson of the hazards," failed to warn the invited guests, and "failed to keep his premises safe." It also claims both Thompson and Ceci were "intoxicated and unable to appreciate the danger and ought not to have used dangerous or ignitable objects such as the fireplace."

Ceci was traded from Ottawa Senators to Toronto on July 1 and signed a one-year, $4.5-million contract with the Leafs a few days later.

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