New Mexico Court Upholds $10M Punitive Damages in DWI Death

August 30, 2012

The state 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 Tuesday there was enough evidence to support the damages against the parent company of an Albuquerque convenience store known as Alameda Meteor.

A vehicle driven by store maintenance worker Dean Durand crashed into Daniel Gutierrez, who was stopped on his motorcycle at an intersection. Gutierrez later died.

The court said Meteor knew Durand drank on the job and had bought alcohol at the store on the day of the accident. The court said the store’s actions “demonstrated a reckless disregard for the health and safety of others.”

Compensatory damages of $4.5 million were not an issue in the ruling.

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