Santa Fe Jury Awards Woman Millions in Damages

July 15, 2008

A Santa Fe, N.M., jury has awarded $2.15 million in damages to an Arroyo Seco woman whose earlier default judgment was ignored by an insurance company.

Sheila Gentry, 46, sued the Dallas-based Furr’s chain and its insurance carrier, Kemper Insurance Companies of Chicago, after she slipped and fell in a Furr’s cafeteria in March 2000.

She won a nearly $400,000 judgment from former state District Court Judge Carol Vigil in 2003. But Gentry’s attorney, David Houliston, said Kemper declined to pay because Furr’s was seeking to reorganize at the time under Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

He said the bankruptcy case was resolved last month. The second case was filed to try to collect the judgment.

Houliston said Gentry, a single mother, cried when the verdict was read.

“She was just stunned,” he said. “She’s been treated so poorly by these people for so long. They were just condescending to us.”

Neither Dan O’Brien nor Daniel Ulibarri, Albuquerque attorneys who represented Kemper in the case, responded to messages seeking comment.

The jury’s verdict included $400,000 in compensatory damages and $1.75 in punitive damages.

Was this article valuable?

Here are more articles you may enjoy.