The New Mexico Court of Appeals has upheld $10 million in punitive damages for the family and estate of an Albuquerque man killed by a drunken driver in 2003. The Court ruled last month that there was enough evidence to support the full amount of damages awarded against the parent company of an Albuquerque convenience store known as Alameda Meteor. The case arose out of a crash involving a store employee. A vehicle driven by Dean Durand, a store maintenance worker, crashed into Daniel Gutierrez, who was stopped on his motorcycle at an intersection. Gutierrez later died from his injuries.
The Appeals Court said Meteor knew the employee drank on the job and had actually bought alcohol at the store on the day of the accident. The Court, in its opinion, said the store’s actions “demonstrated a reckless disregard for the health and safety of others.” There was no claim that the compensatory damages of $4.5 million were excessive. Therefore, those damages were not an issue in the ruling. But the full amount of punitive damages, which was at issue, was upheld.
Source: Insurance Journal
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