Significant Verdicts & Settlements

$10,900,000 settlement obtained after 18-wheeler veers off highway and strikes officer issuing a citation. (2003)

A police officer was issuing a traffic ticket when he returned to his patrol unit to get more information.  It was in the early afternoon and the weather conditions were clear and dry. The roadway was straight and level. Yet, suddenly an 18-wheeler veered onto the shoulder, crashed into the patrol car and caused it to slam against the police officer.  The driver of the 18-wheeler was found to have been under the influence of illegal narcotics. The police officer survived but, suffered severe traumatic brain injury.  The officer was later honored for his sacrifice in the performance of his duty.

Saenz & Torres, P.A. was able to effectively utilize their nationwide network of expert consultants and expert witnesses to build a “rock solid” case resulting a prompt settlement.

NOTE:  Past successes cannot be an assurance of future success because each case must be decided on it’s own merits.

$5.5 million jury verdict – Roberto Barba v. Columbus Electric Co., et al., Federal Court, tried in September, 1993.

A prospective client sought advice on a traffic ticket received by her husband for apparently causing a catastrophic collision in which her husband was rendered quadriplegic. The Columbus Electric truck and an automobile driven by Roberto Barba were traveling in the opposite direction on a dirt road.  The vehicles met around a curve in which the cross-ties improperly carried by the Columbus Electric truck struck the Barba vehicle severely crushing a portion of the Mr. Barba’s car roof and injuring Mr. Barba’s neck. Mr. Barba was the bread winner in the house, and at the time of the consultation had been hospitalized for at least two months.  The family had no other income and was unable to pay for daily living expenses or the mounting medical expenses.  After hiring an accident reconstructionist to confirm that the driver of the Columbus Electric truck caused the collision, the case was taken to trial in which a computer generated video re-enactment of the collision was shown to the jury and a life-size model of the Columbus Electric truck was built for the courtroom to show the jury that the Columbus Electric truck crossed the center of the road and that the cross-ties carried by the Columbus Electric truck were improperly loaded and secured.

Note: Past successes cannot be an assurance of future success because each case must be decided on it’s own merits.

$3,500,000 settlement for bad faith insurance claim: Luz Elena Salmon, Martha Ramey, and Randy Payne v. Kemper National Insurance Company and Lumbermens Mutual Casualty.  (Co-counsel with Bauman & Dow of Albuquerque, NM.)  (1999)

Plaintiff Luz Salmon was involved in a serious head-on collision on May 10, 1995.  She received a default judgment against the adverse driver in excess of $900,000.  Lumbermens Mutual Insurance Company, a/k/a Kemper Insurance Company denied coverage for the adverse driver, because the driver had borrowed her boyfriend’s rental car.  The boyfriend rented the car through his employer and the employer did not have a travel policy that prohibited personal use. Salmon’s attorneys successfully argued that there was coverage under Permissive User provision under New Mexico’s Mandatory Financial Responsibility Statute.

Luz Salmon had previously settled with Hertz Rental. The terms of the settlement are confidential.

Note:    Past successes cannot be an assurance of future success because each case must be decided on it’s own merits.

$2 million settlement for paraplegic – Estella Herrera v. Arpin Van Lines Trucking Company.

Catastrophic wreck caused by 18-wheeler on Interstate 40 near Grants, New Mexico.  All traffic had slowed on the highway due to a prior accident, however, the truck driver collided with the rear of the Herrera van. A suit was promptly filed and the matter was resolved within one year.  A life care plan was developed for Estella Herrera’s future medical needs.

The firm has successfully tried and settled 18-wheeler cases, working closely with experts in highway safety and accident reconstruction.

Note: Past successes cannot be an assurance of future success because each case must be decided on it’s own merits.


$1 million settlement for victims of head-on collision -Manuela Padilla, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Herman A. Ibarra, Deceased, and as Next Friend of Roxanne Sanchez and Jennifer Sanchez; Ricky Montoya; and Margarito Rivera  v. R-Squared Specialty Contractors, Ralph Gonzales and David Munoz. (1999)

This was a collision of two pickup trucks, where the driver of Defendants’ pickup truck crossed-over into the Plaintiffs’ lane of traffic.  Plaintiffs took evasive action by pulling onto the side of the road, where Plaintiffs’ vehicle was struck head-on by Defendant David Munoz. A passenger in each vehicle was killed.  Margarito Rivera and his second passenger, Ricky Montoya, were seriously injured.

Note: Past successes cannot be an assurance of future success because each case must be decided on it’s own merits.

$1 million settlement for farm worker burned in propane gas explosion and fire.  (Subject to Confidentiality Agreement). (1999)

Note: Past successes cannot be an assurance of future success because each case must be decided on it’s own merits.

Class action settled for over $1 million – Ron Jorgensen, et al. v. Whitfield Bus Lines, Inc. , State District Court, 1989.

This was a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of Las Cruces school bus drivers who were defrauded and not properly paid wages by their employer over a period of almost ten years.  Each class member received their prorata share of the settlement.

Note:  Past successes cannot be an assurance of future success because each case must be decided on it’s own merits.


$919,000 default judgment – Luz Salmon v. Martha Ramey, et al., State District Court in 1997.

The Defendant, Martha Ramey, crossed over the center of the roadway and struck Luz Salmon’s vehicle head on. Ms. Salmon was severely injured, including breaking both legs. She underwent eight separate surgeries.   Luz Salmon has received an assignment of the judgment from Martha Ramey and has filed an action against the insurance company that refused to cover Martha Ramey.

Note:  Past successes cannot be an assurance of future success because each case must be decided on it’s own merits.

$900,000 Settlement – Vicky Cain v. Summit Hotel Management Co., Inc. and Hotel Partners de Las Cruces, L.L.P. (Co-counsel with Gage & Gage, L.L.P. of El Paso, Texas) (1999)

Vicky Cain was abducted by two unknown assailants from the Holiday Inn in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and taken into the surrounding desert, where she was held against her will, raped, and assaulted. The Holiday Inn had dismissed it’s security guard sometime before the abduction and did not replace them and had no other security devices in use at the time.  It is significant to note that a maintenance man employed by the Holiday Inn witnessed the incident at the hotel and made no attempt to help Ms. Cain or call the police even though he was equipped with a two-way radio.

Note: Past successes cannot be an assurance of future success because each case must be decided on it’s own merits.


$677,362 settlement leg amputation in motorcycle accident. (1998)

This was a head-on collision between a car and a motorcycle. The client’s leg was torn off in the accident, and his passenger was killed. The recovery was against the liquor server for a dram shop violation.

Note:  Past successes cannot be an assurance of future success because each case must be decided on it’s own merits.


$665,500 Arbitration Award – Steven Maas v. Scottsdale Insurance Company. (1998)

This was an underinsured motorist claim. Steven Maas was test driving a pickup truck owned by the Las Cruces Public Schools after he finished making repairs on it. A drunk driver coming from the opposite direction hit the median and flipped her vehicle over, landing on top of the pickup truck driven by Steven Maas.

The Las Cruces Public Schools insurance carrier, Scottsdale Insurance Company denied coverage stating that Steven Maas was not an insured driver.  A three-person arbitration panel found in favor of Steven Maas and awarded $665,500 actual damages.

Note:  Past successes cannot be an assurance of future success because each case must be decided on it’s own merits.


$610,368.72 Settlement Agreement – Perry and Beatriz Truxton v. Antonio Mancha, Jr. (1999)

This was an automobile accident where Defendant crossed over the center line and struck Plaintiffs’ vehicle head-on.  Both Plaintiffs were severely injured.

Note:  Past successes cannot be an assurance of future success because each case must be decided on it’s own merits.

$150,000 settlement for motor vehicle accident – Alfred Morales v. City of Las Cruces and Pascual Rodriguez,  (1999)

City employee driving city truck ran a red light striking Alfred Morales’ vehicle. Morales’ injuries included a lacerated liver and his medicals were approximately $45,000.

Note:    Past successes cannot be an assurance of future success because each case must be decided on it’s own merits.

Dram Shop cases involving automobile collisions and wrongful death due to intoxicated drivers (subject to confidentiality agreements).

Note:  Past successes cannot be an assurance of future success because each case must be decided on it’s own merits.

Product liability settlements against Sunbeam and Dolomite Ski Book Company (subject to confidentiality agreements).

Note:  Past successes cannot be an assurance of future success because each case must be decided on it’s own merits.

Estate of Sofia Dodds v. E & R Roofing Company.  (1999)

Sofia Dodds was killed on August 27, 1998, when the  truck driver for E & R Roofing Company made an improper turn and collided with the car in which Sofia Dodds was a passenger. The other passengers and driver of the car  were injured as a result of the collision. The matter was settled for the policy limits of $500,000 upon the condition that the insurance company verify that no excess umbrella coverage existed. Lead counsel was Alvin M.  Gomez of Contreras & Gomez, Attorneys at Law, Chula Vista, California.

Note:  Past successes cannot be an assurance of future success because each case must be decided on it’s own merits.

Settlement of $325,000.  Libby Duran v. Southwestern Area Agency on Aging, Inc.  March, 2000.

Mrs. Duran, 67, nearly incapacitated by rheumatoid arthritis, was a passenger in a van owned by Southwestern Area Agency on Aging, Inc.  The driver of the van failed to properly secure Mrs. Duran and her wheelchair before being transporting her.  Mrs. Duran was thrown forward out of her wheelchair and lodged between the seat in front of her and her wheelchair. Mrs. Duran suffered a distal fracture blister and proximal and distal tibia/fibula fractures and has been in a nursing home since the accident.  She now plans to return home after some modifications are made to residence.

Note:  Past successes cannot be an assurance of future success because each case must be decided on it’s own merits.

Settlement of $500,000.  Norma Ramos, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Alfonso Torres; Gloria Torres, Surviving Spouse of Alfronso Torres; and Santos Urbina v. Juan Martin Zaragosa and Schneider National Carriers, Inc.  April 2000.

Alfonso Torres, a Nicaraguan business man, had purchased a school bus in California. Mr. Torres and his employee, Santos Urbina, were driving the school bus across New Mexico on Interstate 10, with the intention of driving the school bus to Managua, Nicaragua for resale.  On May 20, 1998, shortly after midnight, the bus which was driven by Santos Urbina was struck from behind by a Schneider National Carriers, Inc. semi-tractor trailer driven by Juan Martin Zaragosa.  Alfonso Torres died after being airlifted to an El Paso, Texas hospital, and Santos Urbina was severely injured.

Note:  Past successes cannot be an assurance of future success because each case must be decided on it’s own merits.

Settlement $1,450,000 ($1,092,114.12 in cash, $357,885.88 in structed settlement) Ignacio Badillo and Dionicia Badillo v. William David Salopek and John Salopek, d/b/a John Salopek Farms, June 23, 2000

Ignacio Badillo, 51 at the time of the incident on April 1, 1997, was at the John Salopek Farm in Las Cruces, New Mexico, with his pump rig truck which he was going to use to remove a diesel engine. Mr. Badillo was using the boom derrick on his truck to pick up the engine and move it. After he finished moving the engine, Mr. Badillo was bringing down the boom derrick when the boom came into contact with high power electrical lines. Mr. Badillo suffered electrical burns to the bilateral upper and lower extremities 12-15% of total body surface; left arm and left leg amputation; right arm and hand burn deformity with loss of digits, right fifth toe ray ampuation of the foot.

Note: Past successes cannot be an assurance of future success because each case must be decided on it’s own merits.

$900,000 settlement for wrongful death of husband and father. MARY LOU CARSON, Individually and as Personal Representative for the Estate of WILLIAM CHESTER CARSON, Deceased, TOM CARSON, REBECCA CARSON and GARY HUYDIC, v. TIMELY INTERGRATED, INC., CARLOS ANTONIO GUTIERREZ and JORGE HERNANDEZ. No: CV-02-711 (2002).

William Carson a loving husband and father was tragically killed when the pick-up truck which he was driving on I-10 near Las Cruces, New Mexico was rear-ended by an 18 wheeler owned by Timely Integrated, Inc. and driven by Carlos Antonio Gutierrez.

Saenz & Torres, P.A. was contacted the next day by the family because the driver of the 18-wheeler denied responsibility for the accident.  Saenz & Torres, had a team of accident reconstructionists investigating the scene the very same day they were contracted.  Careful and prompt preparation resulted in a settlement of policy limits within a matter of months.

Saenz & Torres, P.A. has a “team” of accident investigators and reconstructionists available on an “on-call” basis in any area of the country.

NOTE:  Past successes cannot be an assurance of future success because each case must be decided on it’s own merits.

$1,500,000 settlement for wrongful death of father and son by 18 wheeler  by driver lacking the skill or training to control the tractor and trailer after a blowout. (2002)

A multi-vehicle collision occurred as a result of the negligence of a corporate farm and it’s truck driver. The truck driver was not properly trained in large truck operation and safety and yet was employed by the corporate farm to drive 18-wheelers on the interstate highways. While driving on 1-10 near Casa Grande, Arizona, one of the semi’s drive tires blew-out, due to age and wear. The driver was not able to keep the semi under control or bring it safely to a complete stop. Instead it crossed over the center median causing a head-on collision killing a father and son and seriously injuring others.

Saenz & Torres, P.A. is grateful to the Arizona law firm which associated to provide effective and aggressive representation through the Arizona court system.

Saenz & Torres, P.A. has successfully handled cases in many states, including New Mexico, California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Colorado and Florida since 1981.

NOTE:  Past successes cannot be an assurance of future success because each case must be decided on it’s own merits.