Home News Local News Anaya widow files wrongful death lawsuit

Anaya widow files wrongful death lawsuit

Submitted Photo A Roswell native, Raymond Anaya was known in the area for his work as an accountant, his Golden Gloves boxing championships as a young man and his community involvement.

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

A Roswell woman has brought a wrongful death lawsuit against the owners of a West Second Street commercial and office building regarding the November 2017 death of her husband, well-known businessman and community volunteer Raymond Anaya.

Lynda Anaya filed the suit June 9 in the New Mexico 5th Judicial District, and it has been assigned to Judge Jared Kallunki, who presides in Chaves County.

Anaya is seeking unspecified actual and compensatory damages. She alleges that the owners of the building at 508 W. Second Street, next to Missouri Avenue, acted negligently by failing to notify Anaya and her husband that the government had notified them as early as 2012 of known chemical contaminants in the area, which Anaya contends caused her husband’s death.

According to the lawsuit, Anaya and her husband rented office space from 2007 to 2017 in the building for their gross receipts consulting and tax service, and the lawsuit said that Raymond Anaya began to exhibit many distressing symptoms in 2008 that eventually led to a coma and death.

Representatives of Anaya’s lawyer, William Griffin of Ruidoso, said Griffin was not available to comment last week.

Support Local Journalism
Subscribe to the Roswell Daily Record today.

According to court documents posted Thursday afternoon, the defendants in the case have not been served and have not filed a response. County records indicate that the property is owned by Taylor Investments Inc. of Roswell, a defendant in the lawsuit. One of the requests of the lawsuit is to hold all beneficiaries of the corporation accountable.

The suit alleges that the people who benefited include John and Betty Taylor King; their daughters, Kathryn King Marley and Karolyn King Gillespie, who are the listed directors of Taylor Investments, according to New Mexico Secretary of State records; as well as Kathryn Marley’s husband, Mark Marley.

Karolyn King Gillespie, who said she spoke for the others, said they would have no comment at this time.

Lynda Anaya said her husband knew the Kings for many years and that the Kings’ association with the building was one of the reasons why they decided to rent there.

The office building is located in what is now known as the Lea and West Second Street Superfund site. For several years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been in charge of the environmental remediation and clean-up of the site, which actually involves four different locations along East and West Second Street. (A second Superfund site in Roswell is known as the McGaffey and Main Groundwater Plume site in the south section of the city.)

The EPA Superfund website indicates that “hazardous” chlorinated solvents seeped into the groundwater near the office building and could be detected in vapor form in some air samples, as well. The EPA website attributed the contaminants near the office and commercial building primarily to the leaking of chemicals by dry-cleaning operations in the area.

Anaya’s suit alleges that a dry-cleaning business in her building knew as early as fall 2007 that the state was concerned about contaminants. By September 2012, the lawsuit states, the building owners had been notified that the building was located within the Superfund site, and the suit includes a 2015 letter from the EPA to city of Roswell officials indicating that the federal government intended to add the site to its Superfund National Priorities List.

Anaya’s lawsuit states she and her husband had been informed by early 2017 about the environmental pollutants, but were not aware of the extent of the problem until September 2017. They vacated the building in October, she said.

Anaya and her lawyer also filed a lawsuit in November 2019 against the city of Roswell and New Mexico Environment Department. In that case, they allege that those entities failed in a responsibility to notify her and her husband of the alleged dangers at the building. That case is before Judge Thomas Lilley in the Chaves County division of the 5th Judicial Court, and Lilley is considering the defendants’ motions to dismiss.

A 1962 Roswell High School graduate, Raymond Anaya was 73 when he passed. He and Lynda were the parents of five sons, and Raymond Anaya was known in Roswell for work as an accountant, his years as a Golden Gloves boxer and his involvement with community organizations, including the Salvation Army, Job Corps and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC).

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or reporter02@rdrnews.com.


Previous articleAir Center sees staff resignations
Next articleCity-county talks on air authority sought
Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.