Mallory Dies family awarded $2.5 million settlement

December 30, 2014
Former staffer Raymond Morua and Rep. Lois Capps

Former staffer Raymond Morua and Rep. Lois Capps

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.

Mallory Dies

Mallory Dies

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.


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willieslo

As much as I like Lois, this finishes her career!


willieslo

Working or not working,

knowing he has to drive himself,

“He did not have and should not have consumed any alcohol at all” especially with priors!

Or simply watch his consumption

Past DUI’s and this example supports he has either an addiction or a uncontrollable habit.

I bet when he interviewed with Capps and later got hired, he went and got drunk after both events.


shelworth

The other 49 states must be very happy about chipping in for California’s mistakes.


Theo P. Neustic

Oh , I’m sure that stuff like this is pretty evenly spread between the states, we just don’t always hear about it.


Slowerfaster

California has been paying…funding, most of ‘Idiot America’ for years.

All of those ‘conservative’ states that take more tax dollars than they contribute, year after year…. Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma, North Dakota, South Carolina, Utah,

Actually, the entire ‘Old Confederacy’ are all net tax bleeders. It’s only the ‘Librul’ states like California, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, et al that allows these cheats, morons, and bums to live with some security.


st33L

CA receives 33% of all welfare for the country, what are you talking about?


achillesheal

Capps probably throw away $2.5 M per day that she is in office. Drop in the bucket for this buffoon.


Pelican1

“The government assumed liability for Capps, but the suit against Morua is not yet resolved. The settlement agreement, which occurred last month, states that the government doe not accept any liability for Dies’s (sic) death.”

BUT…..”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.”

So according to the government, Capps is liable, but we will pay $2.5 mil., but not for Dies’ death.

Does this make sense to ANYONE? Are we witnessing the government shell game at work?


Jorge Estrada

This makes perfectly good sense, by accepting the $2.5 million the Dies family has waived any further action listing the Federal Gov as a defendent. They can still go after all the doe’s now having in hand validated merit, one party paying already paying $2.5 million. Sure, everyone else may pay less but the list of legally articulated defendents may surprize all, a gold mine for the license to dig family appointed representative.


There is no free money, we will all pay with some degree of separation.


hijinks

It’s a typical pre-trial payout. Settle before a trial, try to guess what a jury might award, agree to pay less on the spot provided plaintiff agrees to go away forever. It’s great, actually, cuts out the trial lawyer’s half of the jury award. Money goes to those harmed directly. Going to trial in a case like this is very risky — you never know what’s going to happen: jury could find no fault, and family ends up with zero, or jury could award 100 Bazillion$$. Smart lawyers settle. Bird in hand principle. $2.5 mil is probably a good resolution for family and taxpayers both.


DennySLO

So let me get this straight, Morua works for Capps, Capps works for us. Capps hires Morua knowing he had prior DUI’s. Morua, while working for Capps drinks and then gets behind the wheel, killing Mallory. Morua pleads guilty and is sentenced to 20 years. Capps however is not in any way held accountable for her representative but, we the taxpayers are financially held responsible for this action?

WTF, this is BULLSHIT!


TaxMeAgain

You got it. Good summary.


Kevin Rice

“We” elected Capps, thus we pay. Simple. You’d expect no less of any corporation whose representative caused injury. Don’t like it? Elect better.


icequeen1

I don’t know why I’m surprised by this…but it pisses me off!!!!! If my husband (business owner) hired someone, knowing he had prior DUI’s and then he proceeded to drive drunk on company time, not only would they be coming after his business assets, they would be holding us personally liable!!! They would bankrupt us in a heartbeat….WTH!!!!!


WorkingClass

Capps lies and cheats to her advantage. How does that woman get re-elected? Ugh, so frustrating!


Mariposa

WC, here’s exactly how Ms. Capps gets re-elected. Registered voters who “know better” and should VOTE for Ms. Capps’ opponent, choose instead to NOT vote. They believe only in complaining. Ms. Capps supporters (aka, idiots) vote in mass. Presto—another open season for Ms. Capps. It’s a done deal.


racket

Feds say, “It’s not our fault, but we’ll give you $2.5 million anyway, because it’s not our money.”


If the govt had to earn the money they spent, it would be much different.


R.Hodin

“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”


It’s much simpler than this. Just outlaw driving while alcohol-impaired. Sweden lowered it’s BAC level to .02% and reduced alcohol-involved traffic fatalities. Penalties were also increased. This didn’t stop drinking, it just for the most part removed it from behind the steering wheel.


Zuma7

Hope they keep that drunk driver in prison where he belongs, for his full sentence.


racket

Your theory requires a belief that laws actually deter crime.


Pelican1

Well, in this case if he’s kept off the streets, THEORETICALLY he won’t be able to drive drunk, endangering lives, thus deterring crime.

The only applicable law is the Law of Detachment…deductive reasoning.


racket

Pretty clearly, Morua won’t kill anyone else with his car until after he is paroled. I think Hodin was pointed toward a PROACTIVE approach, rather than a reactive one. So, the question, really, is whether Morua’s sentence, or any penalty, is significant enough to deter the behavior.


racket

… to deter the behavior *in others*. To serve as an example to make others choose not to drive drunk.


GoneBabyGone

I really want you to think about what you posted, just for a second now…..


First… You’ve already convicted him of something he hasn’t yet done, “Pretty clearly, Morua won’t kill anyone else with his car until after he is paroled.” You should team up with law enforcement with your Minority Report abilities.


Second… While questioning “…whether Morua’s sentence, or any penalty, is significant enough to deter the behavior.” you should maybe take some time and come up with some ideas of your own of what would work. No?


I myself don’t have a clue; the laws on the books don’t seem to deter much, prohibition definitely wasn’t the answer and education doesn’t seem to offer much hope either. One telling bit of evidence is this: The vast majority of DUI’s are perpetrated by the 21 to 25 year old age group, so maybe we’re missing the mark somehow with this segment of our population. Maybe we should abandon the notion that 21 is the magic age of reasoning and raise it to 26?


racket

I am failing to understand. Are you saying that laws don’t seem to be an effective deterrent? If so, then we seem to be oddly in agreement. If not, then remind me what we’re disagreeing about.


GoneBabyGone

Just your ability to see into the future, i.e. “Pretty clearly, Morua won’t kill anyone else with his car until after he is paroled.” And while complaining about the obvious shortfalls you provide not even one idea of a solution.


I also wonder how many of us posters would have fell under DUI laws if we would have been pulled over at the appropriate moment in time (Me? On more than one occasion)… even just once! Seems to me this is another case of only those being caught are the criminals… Those who don’t? I don’t know…


In my opinion a large portion of our adult driver, over 21, population, at one time or another, could have been arrested and convicted of DUI (alcohol or drugs[illicit or otherwise]) if the opportunity for law enforcement to act had arisen.


Pelican1

Interestingly enough, in countries like Canada and others where the legal drinking age in 19, the rate of DUI’s is actually less.

Another significant difference of late, at least in BC, Canada if the lowering of the legal limit to 0.5% from 0.8% with an immediate roadside prohibition had indeed modified the behavior of many drivers.

In addition, the availability of alcohol is nothing like California, with it being offered for sale at almost any retailer.

In conclusion the problem is not all that complex….

Availability

Acceptability

A sense of invincibility

And lack of personal accountability (until it’s too late)

And we see this over and over, and over again…..


GoneBabyGone

I agree with you. But in a society that has made alcohol consumption a social standard and co-signed its abuse by labeling it a disease it’s no wonder availability is rampant and personal accountability is almost non-existent. That’s life in the USofA… By-the-way… We are not a proactive nation! We are acutely and mortally reactive! To much money lost and too much discomfort to be proactive…


Pelican1

Quite right. I never intimated that the US is proactive. Being proactive in a free and open society is often hamstrung by varying interpretations of one’s rights.


Theo P. Neustic

I’m not arguing with you but another poster here, “mkaney ‘ says this: “And this doesn’t even get to the fact that DUI laws, since their inception, have not reduced the percentage of alcohol related traffic fatalities to all traffic fatalities by even a single percent. Reductions in traffic fatalities are pretty well uniform across the cause spectrum because the only effective work that has been done in this area is the production of safer automobiles. I’d like to know what the truth is then. Do DUI laws do anything or not?


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