An Albuquerque Federal Court jury awarded $5.5 million on Friday afternoon to the family of Martin Leon who was killed by the driver of a FedEx tractor-trailer.
Martin Leon, 48, of Los Angeles, CA was killed on November 30, 2011 leaving his wife and three children. The wrongful death lawsuit was filed by his widow, Elia Leon. The lawsuit sought personal injuries and wrongful death against FedEx and its driver.
The fatal crash happened at 11:00pm on Interstate 40 near Grants, New Mexico. Fed Ex driver Federico Martinez-Leandro rear-ended another slower moving tractor-trailer at about 68 mph. Martin Leon was in the sleeper compartment of the FedEx trailer. The sleeper compartment was completely demolished.
At the scene of the horrific crash the FedEx driver told officers that he had fallen asleep. He was pulling two trailers when he suddenly changed lanes from the left lane to the right lane and collided with the rear of another tractor-trailer.
The Leon family claimed that no driver safety training was provided to its semi truck driver. The family also claimed that the FedEx driver and FedEx itself were negligent in the operation of the semi truck.
"We asked the jury to send a strong message to FedEx that it must begin over-the-road safety training of its semi truck drivers. FedEx officials admitted at trail that it provided no over-the-road driver safety training," said Leon's attorney Mark Caruso.
"The Leon family continues to struggle with the death of their father and husband," said attorney Caruso. "The death has really affected his 14 year old daughter Juanita who was only 10 at the time of he father's death."
The 5 day Albuquerque jury trial was held before US District Judge James Browning. The family had already settled their case with the trucking company responsible for the slower moving tractor-trailer.
The Leon family was represented by Albuquerque trial attorney Mark Caruso, who was also involved in last year's Santa Fe lawsuit that resulted in a $16.5 million jury verdict against FedEx. In that case, the FedEx tractor-trailer rear-ended a passenger vehicle.