New Mexico: State Supreme Court rules Indian Casino subject to same laws as any liquor license holder; lawsuit against Santa Ana Star Casino for wrongful death in DWI fatal wreck can go forward

SANTA FE, N.M. — The family of two siblings killed in a car accident can seek damages against a tribal casino for serving them alcohol after they became intoxicated, the state’s highest court has ruled. Santa Ana Pueblo’s casino had argued that the legal dispute should be handled in tribal court rather than in a state court. The state Supreme Court disagreed in a ruling on Monday.The unanimous decision permits a wrongful death lawsuit to move ahead against the Santa Ana Star Casino near Bernalillo.The case was brought by the mother and other family of Michael and Desiree Mendoza, a brother and sister who were killed in a car crash in July 2006 after attending a wedding reception at the casino. It’s unclear which of the two were driving the car. The lawsuit claims their deaths were caused because the casino continued to serve them alcohol after they were intoxicated. A pueblo liquor ordinance prohibited the casino from serving alcoholic drinks to an intoxicated person…..MORE

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