Wittkowski v. State
New Mexico Court of Appeals
710 P.2d 93 (1985)
The personal representatives and survivors of Roland H. Wittkowski, a Colorado resident, (plaintiffs) filed a wrongful-death action in New Mexico against the State of New Mexico and some of its correction officials and state police (defendants). Wittkowski was killed during a robbery of the Colorado liquor store where he worked. Wittkowski’s killers were two prisoners who had escaped from the New Mexico State Penitentiary in Santa Fe. The escaped prisoners had violent records, but they were classified as minimum trustees, with minimal supervision. The state police knew about the escape within two hours and issued an all-point bulletin in New Mexico but did not notify Colorado authorities. The complaint also alleged that the prison officials were negligent in their duties for not properly classifying the prisoners and the state police breached their duty to identify, investigate, and apprehend the escapees and cooperate with officials in New Mexico and other states, including Colorado. The trial court dismissed the case for failure to state a claim under New Mexico rules of civil procedure. Wittkowski’s personal representatives and survivors appealed and argued that Colorado law applied, despite having pleaded both Colorado and New Mexico law in the alternative.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Neal, J.)
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