A recent case before the New Mexico Supreme Court addressed whether the children of a fatally wounded parent could bring a lawsuit under state law, even though the parent’s estate had not brought a lawsuit for wrongful death. The court determined that the children had the right to bring the lawsuit, since they were suing for personal injury or bodily injury damages, and the children were in a “sufficiently close relationship” to their father that it supported their claim.
After Albuquerque police officers responded to information regarding a suspected stolen vehicle, they found the decedent at the scene of the crime, inside a parked vehicle next to the suspected stolen vehicle. After surrounding his vehicle, the officers approached the decedent’s car on foot, and he drove away. An officer began shooting at the car and eventually shot and killed the decedent.
The decedent’s minor children brought a lawsuit against the defendants (the Albuquerque Police Department) for loss of consortium damages. They alleged that since the defendants caused the wrongful death of their father, they would grow without the support and love of their father. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss, and the court granted the motion, finding that the law enforcement officers were entitled to immunity for the claim. The court of appeals reversed the judgment.