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Herrera v. Quality Pontiac

New Mexico Supreme Court
73 P.3d 181 (2003)


An individual took his car to Quality Pontiac (Quality) (defendant), located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, for repairs. Quality instructed the individual to leave his keys in the car. The Quality lot had a fence surrounding the lot, but the gate was unlocked. Garcia entered the lot and looked into that car for something to steal. Discovering the keys in the car, Garcia stole the car. An officer observed Garcia speeding and pursued him. During the pursuit, Garcia collided with a car occupied by Ruiz and Encinias (plaintiffs), killing one occupant and seriously injuring another. Herrera, the personal representative of Ruiz and Encinias, filed suit against Quality for wrongful death and personal injury. Quality moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. Herrera objected to the motion. Herrera submitted an affidavit of a sociologist averring that Albuquerque had the second-highest motor vehicle theft rate in the country at the time of the accident. The affidavit also stated that the accident rate for stolen cars is about 200 times the accident rate for cars that have not been stolen. The trial court granted the motion. Herrera appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Serna, J.)

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