Wrongful death suit settled out of court

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The parties in a civil lawsuit that alleged the city, the police department and several individuals in law enforcement were responsible for the death of a local woman settled out of court during the last week of June, the lawyer for the defendants said.

The defendants and the plaintiff, Janice Blevins, the sister and acting representative for the estate of the late Theresa Saiz and her parents, agreed to a settlement amount of $350,000. The defendants in the case also admitted no liability in Saiz’s death, said the defendant’s attorney, Jerry Armijo.

“In filing a lawsuit against the city of Socorro, Socorro Police and Socorro Dispatch, we strenuously objected to the manner in which Socorro officials searched for Theresa,” said Blevins in a press release. “We have resolved our case against Socorro. The cases involving my sister are over.”

Along with the civil case against city and police officials, Saiz’s death prompted a criminal case against John Hayden, the man who locked her in her trunk. Hayden is now serving jail time stemming from the sentencing.

The civil case was moved to federal court in Albuquerque because three judges in the Seventh Judicial District Court, in which the lawsuit was originally to be heard, recused themselves from the case.

The lawsuit alleged that the negligence of the city, the police department and several individuals in law enforcement was responsible for Saiz’s death.

In the press release, Blevins stated that the Saiz family “suffered the tragic loss of (their) beloved family member” and that Saiz was “the victim of domestic violence.”