Hinger v. Parker & Parsley Petroleum Co. - New Mexico Court of Appeals

Hinger v. Parker & Parsley Petroleum Co.

By New Mexico Court of Appeals

  • Release Date: 1995-05-31
  • Genre: Law
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Hinger v. Parker & Parsley Petroleum Co. New Mexico Court of Appeals Book Review Score: ★★★★★ 5/5 stars

On September 20, 1990, a natural gas well (Rosa 282) exploded in the San Juan Basin severely burning Plaintiffs, who were employees of a subcontractor working at the wellsite. Plaintiffs collected workers' compensation from their employer and filed a complaint for personal injuries against Parker & Parsley Petroleum Company (Parker) and Evergreen Resources, Incorporated (Evergreen), the general partners that leased and operated the well. Plaintiffs also sued other subcontractors but settled with them prior to trial. A jury awarded Plaintiffs substantial compensatory damages against Parker and Evergreen and punitive damages against Parker. On appeal, Defendants raise various challenges to the theories of negligence presented to the jury, and Parker challenges the submission to the jury of punitive damages. Defendants also question the applicability of strict liability to this case under Saiz v. Belen School District , 113 N.M. 387, 827 P.2d 102 (1992). Plaintiffs cross-appeal from a trial court decision reducing the verdict by the amount of their settlement with the subcontractors. In post-trial proceedings, Defendants argued to the trial court that Saiz had been applied to the case, over their objection, and therefore joint and several liability and a right to indemnification or contribution necessarily applied. The trial court ruled for Defendants based on the court's view that Saiz applied. Our Discussion of Saiz and Defendants' issues on appeal is dispositive of our resolution of the cross-appeal. We affirm the verdict for Plaintiffs and reverse the trial court on the cross-appeal. FACTS

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