In past blog posts, we have covered what must be shown by the injured plaintiff in a personal injury action. Often, the elements of a personal injury action are summarized as duty, breach, causation, and damages. A duty is usually created by statute or case law, where a standard of care or behavior is expected and owed by the at-fault party to the injured person. If the at-fault party fails to uphold that duty, and an injury resulted because of the failure, the at-fault party can be held responsible for the damages that were incurred because of the injury. While these are the cornerstones of a personal injury suit, many other factors must be considered to ensure the success of a civil action.
A recent New Mexico Court of Appeals personal injury case illustrated how the location of the injury and the location of the parties involved affected whether a suit can be filed in New Mexico state court. Following an injury in a hotel’s exercise facility, a woman filed suit for the damages arising out of her injury. While the injured woman in Trei v. AMTX Hotel Corporation was a New Mexico resident, the accident occurred in a Holiday Inn hotel in Texas. The parent company of the franchised hotel was a New York corporation. The corporation participated in discovery, or exchange of evidentiary information, but maintained that it could not be sued in New Mexico for lack of personal jurisdiction. The trial court dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction, and the woman appealed. Continue reading →