ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Construction crews are busy clearing a site on Stanford, next to the University of New Mexico School of Law. Zacary Wilson-Fetrow, a second-year law student there, says the work is messy and kicks up clouds of dust that are making people sick. He says since Oct. 1, he’s been breathing it all in and it’s starting to impact his health and every day life.
“Even trying to stand outside my car and get to class across the parking lot here was a very miserable experience,” said Wilson-Fetrow. “I had some respiratory problems, I spent the next few days coughing. Especially that day, I had a class I was going to that afternoon. I spent almost the entire thing coughing while it was going on.”
He says days later, the dust also caused him to break out with a terrible rash. He says there were a few times where he had to miss class or work.
Now, he’s filing a lawsuit against the construction company Custom Grading Incorporated and UNM, asking for thousands of dollars. In the suit, he includes costs for damages including around $4,000 for missed classes, work and medical bills, $36,000 for pain and suffering, and nearly $360,000 for trespass and reckless disregard, totaling just dollars shy of $400,000.
Wilson-Fetrow is representing himself in the lawsuit. He says he filed it because students were never given a heads-up the construction work was happening during school hours.
“When I and other students had asked about the construction and terrible pollution, we never really heard much back. Matter of fact, we never really had notice this would be going on,” said Wilson-Fetrow. “The university had no information about if this is an active construction project. There was no signage or notice around here.”
KRQE News 13 asked Wilson-Fetrow if the lawsuit could be considered frivolous. He says he’s ready to take on the doubters.
“This lawsuit is based on my bodily injuries, something that’s very serious. The fact that I’ve experienced respiratory illness, respiratory pain,” said Wilson-Fetrow. “It’s really something that should be protected for everyone and should be stopped in the future.”
UNM sent the following statement:
“It is the University’s practice not to discuss any active or pending litigation.”
KRQE News 13 also reached out to the construction company for comment. They never got responded.