$165 Million Verdict for Wrongful Death Victims Upheld by New Mexico Court

- Samuel Kane

A jury award in favor of the victims of a tragic accident involving a semi-truck has recently been upheld by a New Mexico Appeals Court. The ruling affirms the $165-million award of personal injury and wrongful death damages made by a jury after a 2015 trial, which made headlines as the largest-ever jury award in New Mexico’s history.

Accident on Interstate 10 between passenger truck and big rig

The events resulting in the jury award occurred in the early morning hours of June 22, 2011. 22-year-old Marialy Venegas Morga, of El Paso, was driving a GMC passenger truck along Interstate 10, roughly 20 miles outside of Las Cruces at 1:30 am. With her were her two children, Ylairam, who was 4 years old, and her son, Yahir, who was a year old. Marialy was either stopped or driving slowly with her hazard lights on at the time of the crash, with her truck only partially in a lane of traffic and partially riding on the shoulder. The passenger truck was struck from the rear by a Fed-Ex-contracted tractor-trailer being driven by Elizabeth Quintana, also of El Paso. Marialy and her daughter Ylairam, as well as the driver of the Fed Ex truck, were killed in the accident. Yahir was injured but survived the crash.

Surviving spouse and father and surviving parents seek personal injury damages through lawsuit

Marialy’s surviving spouse and the father of her children, Alfredo Morga, filed a lawsuit against Fed Ex for damages relating to the wrongful death of his wife and child and the personal injuries suffered by his son. Marialy’s parents also participated in the lawsuit, seeking damages for the wrongful death of their daughter. At trial, the plaintiffs presented evidence that the driver of the Fed Ex truck had a history of emotional issues and was taking drugs for sleep disorders, both of which made her too great a safety risk to be allowed to drive for the shipping company. The plaintiffs also argued that FedEx should have provided training to its drivers on safely driving during the dangerous early-morning hours, but had not, making the company liable for the truck driver’s negligence. The jury found FedEx to be 95% responsible for the accident and awarded the husband, parents, and young son $165.5 million. FedEx appealed this award, which was recently affirmed by the New Mexico Court of Appeals.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a New Mexico truck accident, find out if you’re entitled to money damages for your injuries by contacting the dedicated, compassionate, and effective Las Cruces personal injury lawyer Samuel I. Kane for a consultation on your case, at 575-526-5263.