VERDICTS & SETTLEMENTS

VERDICTS & SETTLEMENTS

Here are a few of the many significant verdicts and settlements Lawyer Denise M. Torres has litigated:

*Please note that in each of these cases, past success is not an assurance of future success as each case must be decided on its own merit.

18-WHEELER STRIKES POLICE OFFICER ISSUING CITATION – $10.9 MILLION SETTLEMENT

A police officer was issuing a traffic ticket when he returned to his patrol unit to get more information. It was in the early afternoon and the weather conditions were clear and dry. The roadway was straight and level. An 18-wheeler truck veered onto the shoulder, crashed into the patrol car and caused it to slam against the police officer. The driver of the 18-wheeler was found to have been under the influence of illegal narcotics. The police officer survived, but suffered severe traumatic brain injury. The officer was later honored for his sacrifice in the performance of his duty.
*Past success is not an assurance of future success as each case must be decided on its own merit.

BAD FAITH INSURANCE CLAIM: LUZ ELENA SALMON, MARTHA RAMEY, AND RANDY PAYNE V. KEMPER NATIONAL INSURANCE COMPANY AND LUMBERMENS MUTUAL CASUALTY. $3.5 MILLION SETTLEMENT.

Plaintiff Luz Salmon was involved in a serious head-on collision. She received a default judgment against the adverse driver in excess of $900,000. Lumbermens Mutual Insurance Company, a/k/a Kemper Insurance Company, denied coverage for the adverse driver, because the driver had borrowed her boyfriend’s rental car. The boyfriend rented the car through his employer and the employer did not have a travel policy that prohibited personal use. Salmon’s attorneys successfully argued that there was coverage under Permissive User provision under NewMexico’s Mandatory Financial Responsibility Statute. Luz Salmon had previously settled with Hertz Rental. The terms of the settlement are confidential.
*Past success is not an assurance of future success as each case must be decided on its own merit.

ESTELLA HERRERA V. ARPIN VAN LINES TRUCKING COMPANY, $2 MILLION SETTLEMENT FOR PARAPLEGIC

This case involved a catastrophic wreck caused by an 18-wheeler on Interstate 40 near Grants, New Mexico. All traffic had slowed on the highway due to a prior accident, however, the truck driver collided with the rear of the Herrera van. A suit was promptly filed and the matter was resolved within one year. A life care plan was developed for Estella Herrera’s future medical needs.
*Past success is not an assurance of future success as each case must be decided on its own merit.

MANUELA PADILLA, AS PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ESTATE OF HERMAN A. IBARRA, DECEASED, AND AS NEXT FRIEND OF ROXANNE SANCHEZ AND JENNIFER SANCHEZ; RICKY MONTOYA; AND MARGARITO RIVERA V. R-SQUARED SPECIALTY CONTRACTORS, RALPH GONZALES AND DAVID MUNOZ -$1 MILLION SETTLEMENT FOR VICTIMS OF HEAD-ON COLLISION

This was a collision of two pickup trucks, where the driver of defendants’ pickup truck crossed-over into the plaintiffs’ lane of traffic. Plaintiffs took evasive action by pulling onto the side of the road, where plaintiffs’ vehicle was struck head-on by Defendant David Munoz. A passenger in each vehicle was killed. Margarito Rivera and his second passenger, Ricky Montoya, were seriously injured.
*Past success is not an assurance of future success as each case must be decided on its own merit.

VICKY CAIN V. SUMMIT HOTEL MANAGEMENT CO., INC. AND HOTEL PARTNERS DE LAS CRUCES, L.L.P., $900,000 SETTLEMENT

Vicky Cain was abducted by two unknown assailants from the Holiday Inn in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and taken into the surrounding desert, where she was held against her will, raped, and assaulted. The Holiday Inn had dismissed it’s security guard sometime before the abduction and did not replace them and had no other security devices in use at the time. It is significant to note that a maintenance man employed by the Holiday Inn witnessed the incident at the hotel and made no attempt to help Ms. Cain or call the police even though he was equipped with a two-way radio.
*Past success is not an assurance of future success as each case must be decided on its own merit.

LEG AMPUTATION IN MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT, $677,362 SETTLEMENT

This was a head-on collision between a car and a motorcycle. The client’s leg was torn off in the accident, and his passenger was killed. The recovery was against the liquor server for a dram shop violation.
*Past success is not an assurance of future success as each case must be decided on its own merit.

STEVEN MAAS V. SCOTTSDALE INSURANCE COMPANY, $665,500 ARBITRATION AWARD, UNINSURED MOTORIST

Steven Maas was test driving a pickup truck owned by the Las Cruces Public Schools after he finished making repairs on it. A drunk driver coming from the opposite direction hit the median and flipped her vehicle over, landing on top of the pickup truck driven by Steven Maas.The Las Cruces Public Schools insurance carrier, Scottsdale Insurance Company denied coverage stating that Steven Maas was not an insured driver. A three-person arbitration panel found in favor of Steven Maas and awarded $665,500 actual damages.
*Past success is not an assurance of future success as each case must be decided on its own merit.

PERRY AND BEATRIZ TRUXTON V. ANTONIO MANCHA, JR, $610,368.72 SETTLEMENT

This was an automobile accident where defendant crossed over the center line and struck plaintiffs’ vehicle head-on. Both Plaintiffs were severely injured.
*Past success is not an assurance of future success as each case must be decided on its own merit.

ALFRED MORALES V. CITY OF LAS CRUCES AND PASCUAL RODRIGUEZ, $150,000 SETTLEMENT FOR MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT

City employee driving city truck ran a red light striking Alfred Morales’ vehicle. Morales’ injuries included a lacerated liver and his medicals were approximately $45,000.
*Past success is not an assurance of future success as each case must be decided on its own merit.

ESTATE OF SOFIA DODDS V. E & R ROOFING COMPANY, $500,000 SETTLEMENT

Sofia Dodds was killed when the truck driver for E & R Roofing Company made an improper turn and collided with the car in which Sofia Dodds was a passenger. The other passengers and driver of the car were injured as a result of the collision. The matter was settled for the policy limits of $500,000 upon the condition that the insurance company verify that no excess umbrella coverage existed.
*Past success is not an assurance of future success as each case must be decided on its own merit.

LIBBY DURAN V. SOUTHWESTERN AREA AGENCY ON AGING, INC, SETTLEMENT OF $325,000

Mrs. Duran, 67, nearly incapacitated by rheumatoid arthritis, was a passenger in a van owned by Southwestern Area Agency on Aging, Inc. The driver of the van failed to properly secure Mrs. Duran and her wheelchair before transporting her. Mrs. Duran was thrown forward out of her wheelchair and lodged between the seat in front of her and her wheelchair. Mrs. Duran suffered a distal fracture blister and proximal and distal tibia/fibula fractures.
*Past success is not an assurance of future success as each case must be decided on its own merit.

NORMA RAMOS, AS PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ESTATE OF ALFONSO TORRES; GLORIA TORRES, SURVIVING SPOUSE OF ALFRONSO TORRES; AND SANTOS URBINA V. JUAN MARTIN ZARAGOSA AND SCHNEIDER NATIONAL CARRIERS, INC., SETTLEMENT OF $500,000.

Alfonso Torres, a Nicaraguan business man, had purchased a school bus in California. Mr. Torres and his employee, Santos Urbina, were driving the school bus across New Mexico on Interstate 10, with the intention of driving the school bus to Managua, Nicaragua for resale. Shortly after midnight, the bus which was driven by Santos Urbina was struck from behind by a Schneider National Carriers, Inc. semi-tractor trailer driven by Juan Martin Zaragosa. Alfonso Torres died after being airlifted to an El Paso, Texas hospital and Santos Urbina was severely injured.
*Past success is not an assurance of future success as each case must be decided on its own merit.

IGNACIO BADILLO AND DIONICIA BADILLO V. WILLIAM DAVID SALOPEK AND JOHN SALOPEK, D/B/A JOHN SALOPEK FARMS,$1.45 MILLION ($1,092,114.12 IN CASH, $357,885.88 IN STRUCTURED SETTLEMENT)

Ignacio Badillo, 51 at the time of the incident was at the John Salopek Farm in Las Cruces, New Mexico, with his pump rig truck which he was going to use to remove a diesel engine. Mr. Badillo was using the boom derrick on his truck to pick up the engine and move it. After he finished moving the engine, Mr. Badillo was bringing down the boom derrick when the boom came into contact with high power electrical lines. Mr. Badillo suffered electrical burns to the bilateral upper and lower extremities 12-15% of total body surface; left arm and left leg amputation; right arm and hand burn deformity with loss of digits, right fifth toe ray amputation of the foot.
*Past success is not an assurance of future success as each case must be decided on its own merit.

MARY LOU CARSON INDIVIDUALLY AND AS PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR THE ESTATE OF WILLIAM CHESTER CARSON, DECEASED, TOM CARON, REBECCA CARSON AND GARY HUYDIC V. TIMELY INTEGRATED INC, CARLOS ANTOINIO GUTIERREZ AND JORGE HERNANDEZ, $900,000 SETTLEMENT FOR WRONGFUL DEATH OF HUSBAND AND FATHER.

William Carson, a husband and father, was killed when the pick-up truck which he was driving on I-10 near Las Cruces, New Mexico, was rear-ended by an 18 wheeler owned by Timely Integrated, Inc. and driven by Carlos Antonio Gutierrez. Contacted the next day by the family because the driver of the 18-wheeler denied responsibility for the accident. Careful and prompt preparation resulted in a settlement of policy limits within a matter of months.
*Past success is not an assurance of future success as each case must be decided on its own merit.

WRONGFUL DEATH OF FATHER AND SON BY 18 WHEELER DRIVER LACKING THE SKILL OR TRAINING TO CONTROL THE TRACTOR AND TRAILER AFTER A BLOWOUT. $1.5 MILLION SETTLEMENT

A multi-vehicle collision occurred as a result of the negligence of a corporate farm and its truck driver. The truck driver was not properly trained in large truck operation and safety and yet was employed by the corporate farm to drive 18-wheelers on the interstate highways. While driving on 1-10 near Casa Grande, Arizona, one of the semi’s drive tires blew-out, due to age and wear. The driver was not able to keep the semi under control or bring it safely to a complete stop. Instead it crossed over the center median causing a head-on collision killing a father and son and seriously injuring others.
*Past success is not an assurance of future success as each case must be decided on its own merit.