Jury Rejects FedEx attempt to overturn $165 million dollar verdict
In a unanimous decision, a state appellate court in New Mexico rejected FedEx’s attempt to overturn a 2015 jury verdict ordering the company to pay $165 million in damages over the death of a mother and her 4-year-old daughter, who were killed when a FedEx tractor trailer struck their vehicle in 2011. FedEx had argued that the size of the damages themselves—by far the largest in New Mexico history for a case of its kind—proved that the jury’s verdict had been unreasonable. In rejecting the company’s claim, the Court pointedly noted that the difficult task of putting a dollar value on the loss of a beloved family member is a task our legal system leaves to juries of our peers, so long as they are not unduly influenced by “passion or prejudice.”
While sitting idle in their small pickup truck in June 2011, Marialy Venegas Morga and her daughter Ylairam Morga were tragically killed when they suddenly were struck by a tractor trailer travelling approximately 60 miles per hour. Yahir Morga, a son who was only 19-months old at the time, also was in the vehicle but miraculously survived the crash.
The suit was brought by members of their family. The estate of the mother, Marialy Venegas Morga, was represented by her parents, while the interests of the minor son and the estate of the daughter were represented by their father.
On appeal, FedEx did not contest its liability for the crash. Instead, it had limited its arguments to challenging the large award for non-economic damages, arguing that the emotional testimony of the father had biased the jury. However, the Court, in rejecting this contention, also noted that FedEx failed to object to the father’s testimony at trial—instead only raising the issue on appeal. The Court also denied FedEx’s attempts to have the award reduced by conducting a comparative analysis of awards in similar cases, saying that each case is to be decided by a jury on the specific facts of that case, and not others.
Have you or a loved one been involved in a serious accident involving a tractor trailer or other large commercial vehicle? The expert attorneys at TheLawFirm.com stand prepared to defend your rights. Contact us now for a free consultation.
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