Thank you for visiting the web-site of Mark J. Klecan, Attorney at Law. Since 1976, Mr. Klecan has established a reputation as one of the most effective trial lawyers throughout the State of New Mexico in personal injury, wrongful death and insurance claims. Mr. Klecan’s expertise as a Litigator, (a lawyer who tries cases), as a Mediator, (a person who assists parties in resolving disputed cases and claims through the settlement process) and as an Arbitrator, (a lawyer who acts as a decision-maker in an ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) process is highly regarded within the legal community.
Mr. Klecan was born in Kansas City, Missouri but has lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico since the early 1950s. Mr. Klecan and his wife raised two daughters who are currently pursuing careers in Oregon and Washington. Mr. Klecan continues in the tradition of a family of prominent lawyers. His father, Eugene Klecan, was an extremely successful trial attorney who obtained, in 1968, the first million dollar verdict in New Mexico in representing the plaintiff in a medical malpractice claim. His brother John Klecan is a highly-rated insurance defense attorney with the law firm of Renaud, Cook, Drury & Mesaros in Phoenix, Arizona. Mark's sister, Janet Santillanes, is a very successful plaintiff attorney in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Mr. Klecan graduated from Holy Cross Abbey School in Canon City, Colorado, attended Rockhurst College in Kansas City, Missouri and graduated from the University of New Mexico in 1972 with degrees in speech and psychology. Mark's law degree, (Juris Doctor) was obtained from the University of New Mexico School of Law in 1976.
Admission to Practice
Mr. Klecan was admitted to the practice of law in the State of New Mexico in 1976 and in the State of Washington in 2011. Mr Klecan is also admitted to practice in the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, Colorado and the United States Supreme Court.
Peer Review Rating and Organizational Membership
By way of peer review rating, Mr. Klecan has received the highest Martindale-Hubbell rating as an AV lawyer. This rating is described in the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings in these terms: "AV Preeminent is a significant rating accomplishment - a testament to the fact that a lawyers peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence." The Martindale-Hubbell rating system covers both legal ability and ethical standards. Mark is also one of less than fifty (50) New Mexico attorneys who are currently Fellows of the American College of Trial Lawyers. For information on this prestigious organization, please feel free to visit the web-site actl.com. Additionally, Mr. Klecan has served, for many years, as a hearing officer for the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of the State of New Mexico..
Candidates for election to the American College of Trial Lawyers are required to have significant jury trial experience. Data collected in connection with election to ACTL indicated that Mr. Klecan has had lead counsel experience in approximately 200 jury trials, as well as a higher number of arbitration hearings. Among the more interesting and significant trials with appellate record are the following:
Kinney vs. Luther - 97 NM 475, 641 P. 2d 506, 1982.
Mr. Klecan was retained by State Farm to represent defendant Donald Kinney who was allegedly involved in a drag race which resulted in a fatal accident in which a prominent local business owner was killed. The limits of the State Farm policy as well as a significant personal contribution from defendant Kinney were offered in settlement but the offer was rejected by the plaintiff. The jury returned a defense verdict. The New Mexico Court of Appeals reversed the trial court Judgment but the New Mexico Supreme Court then overturned the Court of Appeals decision and reinstated the trial court Judgment. While Mr. Klecan served as trial counsel, another New Mexico firm handled the appellate activity.
Thomas vs. Henson - 102 N.M. 417, 696 P. 2d 1010, (Ct. App. 1984) 1984 N.M. App. LEXIS 739; reversed by the New Mexico Supreme Court at 102 N.M. 326, 695 P. 2d 476, 1985 N.M. LEXIS 2005.
State Farm selected this case as one which provided the opportunity to establish a seat-belt defense in New Mexico. The Court of Appeals did recognize a seatbelt defense in a decision which the New Mexico Supreme Court noted to be "well-reasoned, carefully thought out and logical in its conclusion." Neither party requested review by writ of certiorari. However, the New Mexico Trial Lawyers Association sought to intervene after the deadline for the filing of a writ of certiorari had passed and the New Mexico Supreme Court then overturned the Court of Appeals decision. The basis for this reversal was that the establishment of a seat-belt defense should be left to the legislative branch rather than being established by the judiciary.
Hayes vs. Garcia - 123 Fed Appx 858, 2005 U.S. App. LEXIS 1280.
Officer Jimmy Garcia of the Luna County Sheriff's Department fell asleep at the wheel of his patrol car while driving through a rural area of the county. The patrol car ran over and killed a teenager who was intoxicated and in a horizontal position on the roadway. Limits of the tort claim coverage were offered in settlement and an admission of negligence on the part of Officer Garcia was made. The jury returned a defense verdict after concluding that the admitted negligence of Officer Garcia was not a proximate cause of the fatal accident. The jury verdict was affirmed by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court then denied the plaintiffs' petition for a writ of certiorari.
Among the more recent significant trials without appellate record are the following:
Smith vs. Fisher Sand & Gravel et. al., Cause #D-0506, CV-2006-00797.
Mr. Klecan took over the defense of Fisher Sand & Gravel from other counsel shortly before trial. Fisher Sand & Gravel was alleged to have caused a fatal accident by failing to properly separate opposing lanes of traffic during a road construction project. Plaintiff's decedent was a young man with significant future earning capacity who was survived by a sympathetic widow and three young children. The primary coverage limits of $1M were offered in settlement by Zurich Insurance Company but the offer was rejected by the plaintiffs. Great American Insurance Company, as the excess carrier, then attempted to either settle the case or reach a high-low agreement with the plaintiffs. This settlement effort was also rejected by the plaintiffs who sought $6M in settlement of the Wrongful Death and loss of consortium claims. The jury awarded the plaintiffs damages in the amount of $125,000.00 against Fisher Sand & Gravel in a comparative negligence verdict which limited the liability of Fisher Sand & Gravel to 5%.
Davenport vs. Fisher Sand & Gravel. Cause #D-101-CV-2015-01635.
This case was tried to a jury in Santa Fe County in 2017. The plaintiff was a world-class tri-athlete who sustained significant injuries on a bicycle training run. Fisher Sand & Gravel was alleged to have created a hazard on the roadway during a road construction project and the hazard was alleged to have caused Ms. Davenport to lose control of the bicycle and crash to the ground. The jury returned a defense verdict and the plaintiff elected to forego an appeal in exchange for the defendants' agreement not to pursue collection of costs. Dave Presta of Travelers Insurance Company (firstname.lastname@example.org) was the claim specialist who handled this claim and appeared for the trial. Tim Priebe of Fisher Sand & Gravel, (email@example.com), was involved in both the Smith and Davenport cases.
Mr. Klecan has frequently served as one of the top rated speakers at legal seminars on topics involving trial tactics in personal injury litigation, the arbitration of uninsured motorist claims, ethical considerations for trial lawyers, the use and over-use of expert witnesses, trying the automobile injury case, and proving and disputing damages in personal injury litigation, as well as numerous other topics involving the litigation, arbitration and mediation of personal injury, wrongful death and insurance claims.
Mailing address: P.O. Box 10248 Albuquerque New Mexico 87184-0248
Office Telephone: 505-200-0550
Cell Phone: 505-350-6791 (Feel free to call the cell phone number whenever you are unable to reach Mr. Klecan at the office phone number.)
MARK J. KLECAN
ATTORNEY AT LAW
LITIGATOR MEDIATOR ARBITRATOR