Our firm believes that the law can be used to transform the behavior of insurance companies, corporations and government. When someone's loved one dies or is someone is seriously injured, we seek not just fair compensation for their greivious loss, but changes in the behavior of those that caused the death or injury so tragedy will not strike again. In this way, through settlement or a jury's verdict, the community can be made safer for each one of us.
McConnell for Victorina Garcia v. Allsup''s — Workplace violence wrongful death jury trial which settled minutes before $51 million jury verdict against the Allsup''s Corporation. Despite knowledge of security rules, practices and devices which would have protected workers, the largest convenience store chain in the Southwest had repeatedly risked the lives of its clerks by requiring them to work alone on the high crime, graveyard shift without any security. More than 13 clerks had been killed working alone in this fashion and countless others had been assaulted, beaten, stabbed, shot, threatened and raped.
Elizabeth Garcia was kidnapped at knifepoint on her second day alone on the graveyard shift in this high crime store. She was raped and died after being stabbed 56 times. She left 3 young children who are being well-taken care of by the jury''s work and their grandmother, Victorina Garcia.
Best of all were the changes the family brought about through their testimony at state OSHA, which implemented the strictest late night convenience store rules in the country requiring stores to choose on graveyard shift between 2 clerks on duty, clerk & security guard, bullet resistant enclosure or closing the store. No one has been killed in a convenience store in NM since while following these rules.
Delgado v. Phelps Dodge — Case in which we changed New Mexico law to allow workers killed or injured on the job to sue their employer outside the Worker''s Compensation Act when the employer''s conduct was in reckless disregard of the employee''s safety.
Reynaldo "Junior" Delgado was burned to death after being ordered over his objection to drive a Kresshaul truck down a tunnel to pick up a 3 ton ladle of overflowing molten slag, which was hotter than lava. The Kresshaul, which the company had chosen not to retro-fit with fire suppression equipment, caught fire and Junior was engulfed in flames. He lived for 23 days with 3rd degree burns over 85% of his body and then died, leaving a wife and 2 young daughters.
His courageous wife went to work to support the family during the 6 years of litigation and appeal, rather than accept the small amount of workers compensation death benefits being offered. As a result of her fortitude, she changed the law for all future workers who employers risk their lives to increase production or make more money.