Jury Awards $2.6 Million in Salas v. Hi-Tech Erectors

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As the Presidential election approaches, and the debate over immigration reform continues to take center stage, The Seattle Times reported last week that a King County jury awarded $2.6 million to a carpenter who was in this country illegally.

The verdict came down after a 13-year legal battle over whether a person who is in this country illegally can sue a company for negligence. As the Washington State Supreme Court ruled in Salas v. Hi-Tech Erectors, it constituted “abuse of discretion” when a lower court allowed Salas’s immigration status to be included at trial—a trial where the jury found Hi-Tech negligent but determined the company’s negligence didn’t cause the injury. Salas’s attorneys successfully argued that the jury was unfairly prejudiced when it learned of Salas’s immigration status, earning the right to a new trial, which resulted in the verdict last week.

Salas’s attorney noted that the money awarded will help pay for past and future medical bills, as Salas sustained significant injuries in the accident.

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