Lois Capps, a California Congresswoman, is being sued for wrongful death by the family of a young woman who was killed in a DUI crash by one of Capps' employees. Mallory Rae Dies was killed at a crosswalk when Raymond Victor Morua III, Capps' staffer, hit her while driving under the influence. Morua pleaded guilty on April 15.
Now, Dies' family is filing a wrongful death lawsuit against Capps, claiming that because Morua was "on duty" at the time of the crash, his employer (Capps) could be held liable. Morua did claim under oath that the night of the accident, he was at a party while working in an official capacity.
Officials from Representative Capps' office state that while Morua was employed with her staff at the time of the accident, this party was non-work related, invitation-only, and Morua decided to go of his own volition. Local news media, on the other hand, report that Morua attended the party on behalf of Capps, and even discussed policy while he was there.
The way Capps' office staff handled the matter has also raised some suspicions. Allegedly, Capps' staff forged Morua's signature in an attempt to get him out of jail and directly into a treatment facility. Capps' staff also kept Morua on their payroll until abruptly firing him soon after Dies was taken off life support. A background check also revealed that Morua had two previous DUI convictions on his record. At the time, he also had a suspended license.
This is a tragic case that illustrates the severe ramifications of DUI accidents. In the worst-case scenario, driving under the influence kills people. Not only can "DUI causing death" charges warrant criminal penalties, but as seen here, they can also lead to civil lawsuits for thousands of dollars in damages.