Mallory Dies family awarded $2.5 million settlement
December 30, 2014
By JOSH FRIEDMAN
The federal government has agreed to pay $2.5 million to the family of a Santa Barbara woman killed in a DUI collision caused by a former aide for Congresswoman Lois Capps. [
Morua, 32, left a Dec. 6 holiday party for the Santa Barbara Independent, struck Malory Dies, drove away and crashed into a palm tree. Morua had a blood alcohol level of .17.
Attorney Robert Stoll, who represents Matthew and Raeona Dies, said in the suit that Raymond Morua was on the job as a legislative aide to Capps at the time of the accident. In addition, Stoll says Capps was aware of Morua’s previous DUIs and hired him for a position that required driving from events that included alcohol.
The suit also claimed Capps and her staffers attempted to cover-up knowledge of Morua’s past. The suit named Capps and Morua.
The government assumed liability for Capps, but the suit againstMorua is not yet resolved. The settlement agreement, which occurred last month, states that the government doe not accept any liability for Dies’s death.
Dies family attorney Robert Stoll alleged that Morua was working for Capps in official capacity on the night of the crash. Capps denied the accusation, but Morua admitted during his sentencing hearing that he was working for Capps that night.
Stoll also said he had evidence that Capps was aware of Morua’s previous DUIs and still hired him for a position that required driving from events with alcohol.
In addition, Stoll alleged that prior to doctors removing Dies from life support, Capps’ office forged paperwork in attempt to get Morua out of jail.
Morua ultimately pleaded guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and fleeing the scene of a crime. He is currently serving a prison sentence of 20 years to life.
A large portion of the settlement money is expected to go to the family’s Vow 4 Mal Foundation that aims to prevent drinking and driving in the community.