December 2008 Archives

December 16, 2008

New Mexico Police Misconduct Leads to Criminal Action

Three members of the Raton Police Department were recently indicted on charges of involuntary manslaughter. The charges arose from a November 2007 incident in which the three officers were attempting to subdue a suspect. The officers began the ordeal by firing Tasers at the suspect then, placed him face down a police car with his legs shackled and a police officer sitting on his back. The unorthodox restraint technique, in addition to the drugs and the suspect's system resulted in an impaired breathing and ultimately, his death.

New Mexico police misconduct cases, such as the one actionable by the deceased subject's estate, are often times difficult to prove. Generally, contrary to popular belief, the success of a New Mexico police misconduct case is based not on the conduct of the police officers, but rather whether it was justifiable based on the conduct of the suspect. For example, there is no prohibition on using lethal force by police officers however, it is crucial that such force, when used be justifiable and proportionate to the harm that the suspect may pose. Similarly, any such conduct by police officers, whether it be Tasering, or physical restraint, must be necessary and in relation to the misconduct by the suspect.

For this reason, the success of a New Mexico medical malpractice case often depends on being able to prove that the officer's conduct was not justified. Ideally, this can be accomplished through testimony and evidence other than from the plaintiff or his or her friends or family. Often times, this evidence is best when it comes from an independent, unbiased witness, or, better yet, a dashboard camera or other indisputable physical evidence.

December 13, 2008

New Mexico Road Maintenance Cases

A South Valley man is celebrating the streetlights that may be pouring into his bedroom, keeping him up at night. Although it sounds like an odd reason to be happy, it is important to look at why the streetlights were installed. In a story reported by Michael Paluska at KRQE, the addition of 25 streetlights installed along Isleta Blvd. in Albuquerque, is the ending to a dark story involving an Albuquerque man who was forced to witness the death of his son.

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The South Valley father saw his son crossing the street, and although he told him to be careful, it was too late. Although the driver of the truck that killed the New Mexico man faces vehicular homicide charges, as well as others, the dark, under lit, nature of the road seems to have been a contributing factor in the death.

This scenario brings to light a common issue in New Mexico injury law which is whether the government can be held accountable for poorly maintained streets. Essentially, the distinction that makes all the difference is whether the street or highway contributed to an injury because of its poor design or poor maintenance. Without getting into extensive detail that would no doubt boor half of Albuquerque, citizens are unable to sue the government for negligent design of roadways however, are permitted to do so for negligent maintenance of roadways. However, before beginning the analysis of whether the defect is maintenance or design, one must ask whether a played a material role in the injury. Because New Mexico is a comparative fault state, in this case, the jury would also consider the percentage fault that the negligent driver had.

December 10, 2008

New Mexico Semi Truck Accident Prevention From Washington?

Any New Mexican who has not had their head buried in a plate of enchiladas for the past year is aware of the difficulties facing the Obama administration. At the top of everyone's list is, the economy, national security, and terrorism. Chances are that truck safety is not on anyone's top 20 list. However, based on a recent meeting of the American Trucking Association, Truckload Carriers Association, commercial vehicle safety alliance, National Private Truck Council, and the Owner-Operator Independent drivers Association, changes in a semi truck industry may be coming to Washington and therefore New Mexico.

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At the meeting, and expected to be addressed in Washington, our issues relating to truck size, devices to limit the speed; are able to travel, improvements to truck driver resting areas, driver training, and truck loading and unloading procedures. Although these topics are not likely to place your family in awe at the dinner table, they do have the ability to drastically reduce New Mexico truck driving accidents Changes in Washington could have a substantial role on implementing procedures that would greatly reduce New Mexico semi truck accidents.

Even from a New Mexico semi truck lawyer's perspective, there are more pressing things facing the Obama administration however, it is certainly worth keeping an eye on how Washington addresses these issues.

December 8, 2008

Beware of New Mexico Holiday Car Accidents

According to statistics, during the holiday season, it is best for New Mexicans to stay indoors. The following is a list of statistics as well as their sources:

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National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: 4020 people in the United States will die in a car accident between Thanksgiving and New Year's.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving: 1000 people will die between Thanksgiving and New Year's in drinking related crashes.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety: The most alcohol-related car accidents will occur between December 23 and January 1.

Obviously staying inside for fear of a New Mexico Car Accident would defeat the purpose of the holiday season, however, any glance at these statistics sends a signal that it is important to stay cautious and safe while on New Mexico's roads. The majority of these statistics are the result of not only drunk driving, but also fatigue, speeding, and talking on cell phones. Not only is it an obvious suggestion to avoid doing these, but it is also prudent to be aware that other drivers around you may not be so responsible.

December 6, 2008

Wal-Mart Black Friday Death & New Mexico Work Injury Law

We have all heard about the massive crowds that gather for Black Friday. The shoppers that camp out overnight eager to get the best deals. However, things went too far at a Long Island New York Wal-Mart when a temporary employee was trampled by mindless shoppers racing to get good deals on tvs, toasters, toilette paper, or whatever else. The massive crowd barreled down the entryway trapping the employee and costing him is life.

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Such stories are interesting for a New Mexico personal injury lawyer. Claims by employees who are hurt on the job are generally limited by worker's compensation. However, under the new Delgado Opinion, which one of our New Mexico work injury lawyers helped author, injured employees, or their family members, may pursue claims against employers when their injuries were forceable and almost certain to occur. Don't get me wrong, the actual test for what amount to a viable New Mexico work injury case is far more complex, but for now, that essentially sums it up.

According to accounts, Wal-Mart should have known that such a seneraio was likely to occur and is partially responsible for its failure to staff adequate security, place safety barriers, and devise a better plan for its employees. This is not to say that the bargain obsessed shoppers are not also to plain, but under New Mexico work injury law, Wal-Mart may be on the hook as well.

December 4, 2008

Santa Fe Lawyer Hit & Run

Many New Mexican's are aware of the somber holiday news regarding a New Mexico lawyer that was involved in an New Mexico car accident that left resulted in the death of a San Felipe man. The accident occurred near a Santa Fe bar and, according to news reports, occurred when the vehicle the lawyer was driving struck a pedestrian. Initially, the pedestrian was taken to a local hospital where he was listed in critical condition, sadly, the man passed away, unable to survive his injuries.

As noted earlier, the attorney now faces both criminal and civil penalties. A sad, and legally unique aspect of the case surrounds the vehicle's passenger, a state police officer who was also assigned to the governor's security detail. New Mexico law is foggy on how to treat the conduct of a passenger who knowingly enters a vehicle with an intoxicated driver. How this translates into criminal and civil legal action against the passenger will be interesting to follow.

December 2, 2008

New Mexico Baby Formula Scare

Parents in Otero and Lea Counties are at a high level of alert after reports that two infants contracted e. Sakazakii, a bacteria believed to be connected to the preparation of baby formula. One infant passed away as a result of the illness, while another was hospitalized. Given the recent baby formula deaths in China, it is hard to rule out the two incidents as coincidence. However, hopefully tha tis exactly what it is and not the first signs of a possible New Mexico product liability action.

While the matter is investigated further, doctors are recommending that parents and caregivers ensure that everything is clean during the preparation of formula. This would apply to both the bottles being used as well as the hands of whoever is mixing formula.

Hopefully this issue is resolved immediately without additional victims.