“Dead robber’s widow sues shop clerk”

by Walter Olson on May 20, 2013

Albuquerque: “The wife of an armed robbery suspect shot dead by a shop clerk said the clerk was wrong, and now she has filed a civil lawsuit claiming wrongful death….’He [deceased robber Ramon Sedillo] does bear some fault, but it’s like a pie. You divide out the fault accordingly, and [store clerk Matthew] Beasley could have done something different,’ [Sedillo family lawyer Amavalise] Jaramillo said.” [KRQE]

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Robber’s Widow Sues Store Clerk Who Shot Her Husband. | Raised On Hoecakes
05.21.13 at 5:29 am


1 Ed 05.20.13 at 8:04 am

“Beasley could have done something different”. Yeah, liked get shot by the robber.

2 captnhal 05.20.13 at 9:29 am

“He had no basis to believe that his life was in danger,” Jaramillo said. “Most robberies end with an attempt to get money. They really don’t kill the clerks.”

So he should have waited to see if the stranger pointing the gun at him fired it before deciding to use his own. Is this what they teach at law school?

3 Jack Olson 05.20.13 at 10:50 am

Yes, Captnhal, that is what law schools mean when they offer to teach you to “think like a lawyer.” It means that when your client’s husband got killed committing an armed robbery you sue everybody in sight including the clerk he was robbing, the store he was robbing, and the police who questioned the widow.

4 John Skookum 05.20.13 at 12:54 pm

He should sue the dead robber’s estate for intentional infliction of emotional distress, and loot this greedy widow’s last mite. Too bad there’s no way to punish the lawyer too.

5 Hugo S. Cunningham 05.20.13 at 1:50 pm

In an ideal world, the plaintiff and her lawyer would be jointly and severally liable for the costs of the defense.

6 wfjag 05.20.13 at 4:09 pm

Although I have no sympathy for the perps (including the estate of the dead perp), the widow (or child) or plaintiffs’ attorney, in fact the attorney would likely be behaving unethically if he did not tell the the widow and estate representative, that they have a viable case under New Mexico law.

In 1981, the New Mexico Supreme Court adopted pure comparative negligence. Scott v. Rizzo, 634 P.2d 1234 (N.M. 1981). Wrongful deaths and loss of consortium for the deaths young parents are $Multi-Million potential judgments. If plaintiffs’ attorney can convince a jury that the perp was only 90% at fault, a 10% judgment of say a $10 Million Judgment is still a big payday. Assuming that plaintiffs’ attorney has a 40% contingent fee and recoups $100 K for experts and litigation costs (which isn’t an unreasonable estimate for this type of litigation for the plaintiffs’ attorney to front), the widow and child still pocket $500K (none of which are subject to income taxes).

The problem isn’t the plaintiffs’ attorney. The problem is the New Mexico legislature not limiting comparative negligence to plaintiffs who are less at fault than the defendants (e.g., see Indiana’s comparative negligence law).

7 Anonymous Nicholas 05.20.13 at 4:23 pm

Yawn. You can sue for anything. Post again when the widow wins a court decision. Until then it’s just the normal workings of the courts. This is apparently news at Overlawyered, but there are nitwits in the world and sometimes they file lawsuits.

8 Steve Egan 05.20.13 at 6:22 pm

Anonymous Nicholas , there are nitwit Judges that will allow this sort of idiocy to come to trial, and a nitwit jury will find for the “defendant”. Unfortunately.

In other news, coffee in styrofoam cups is hot and will burn you if spilled on your lap. Who knew?

9 No Name Guy 05.21.13 at 3:12 pm

Helllllooooooooo. Loser pays. Anyone? [crickets......]

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