NM Supreme Court: Fraudulent concealment doctrine applies to wrongful death claims

The New Mexico Supreme Court has held that the doctrine of fraudulent concealment can toll the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims.

The opinion is Estate of Brice v. Toyota Motor Corporation, written by Justice Maes (Justice Nakamura did not participate).

Chelo Rivera of KRQE has this story about the decision.


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10th Circuit declines to revisit Utah polygamy decision

Today the Tenth Circuit denied a petition for en banc review in Brown v. Buhman, the challenge to Utah’s anti-bigamy statute brought by reality television star Kody Brown and his four “sister wives.”

Last month, the Tenth Circuit found that the plaintiffs’ challenge was moot, and vacated the judgment in their favor.

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Tenth Circuit Conference will host Justices Sotomayor and Kagan

The schedule for this year’s Tenth Circuit Bench and Bar Conference has been released, and it includes talks by both Justice Sonia Sotomayor (the circuit justice for the Tenth Circuit) and Justice Elena Kagan.

Other prominent speakers include appellate lawyers Paul Clement and Kathleen Sullivan; Adam Liptak of the New York Times; Dahlia Lithwick of Slate magazine; Ed Whelan of the Ethics and Public Policy Center; and historians Pamela Brandwein, Eric Foner, and Gary Gallagher.

The conference is scheduled for September 1-3, 2016 at the Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs.

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Former Justice Patricio Serna to deliver commencement address at WNMU

According to this report in the Silver City Sun-News, former New Mexico Supreme Court Justice Patricio M. Serna will deliver the commencement address on Friday afternoon at Western New Mexico University in Silver City.

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ABA Criminal Justice Section to meet in Albuquerque on April 28-30

The American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section will host its 2016 spring meeting at the Hotel Albuquerque from April 28-30.

The program is titled “Neuroscience: Paving the Way for Criminal Justice Reform.”

Chief Justice Charles Daniels of the New Mexico Supreme Court will be giving a luncheon address on April 29 at noon.

Later that day, my law partner, Roberta Cooper Ramo, who also serves as president of the American Law Institute, will be giving the keynote address.

You can register for this event here.


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Federalist Society will host Ilya Shapiro in Albuquerque on May 12

Yesterday I wrote that the American Constitution Society is forming a chapter in New Mexico, and expressed the hope that it will bring interesting speakers and debates to the Land of Enchantment.

Well, in a double dose of good news, I have learned that the sometimes-dormant New Mexico Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society will host a talk by Ilya Shapiro, Senior Fellow of Constitutional Studies at the Cato Institute, here in Albuquerque on May 12. This event is being co-sponsored by the Rio Grande Foundation.

The title of Mr. Shapiro’s talk is “The Scalia Legacy and the Future of the U.S. Supreme Court.”

This event will take place on Thursday, May 12, 2016, from 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m, at the Marriott Pyramid Hotel at 5151 San Francisco Road NE, Albuquerque, NM 87109. You can register for it here. The cost is $30 per person through May 5, and $40 after that.

This is great news. I hope that both the Federalist Society and the ACS will continue to be active and promote the discussion of interesting and controversial legal issues.

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NM Supreme Court: State agencies aren’t immune from USERRA claims by national guard members

In Justice Judith Nakamura’s first opinion, the New Mexico Supreme Court has ruled that state agencies are not immune from claims under the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA), which prohibits discrimination against members of the military.

Although USERRA creates a private right of action for individuals, it wasn’t clear whether Congress could abrogate the sovereign immunity of the states. After Phillip Ramirez, Jr. won a jury verdict against New Mexico’s Children, Youth, and Families Department under USERRA for allegedly firing him due to his military service in the national guard, the New Mexico Court of Appeals held that New Mexico has not waived its state sovereign immunity against such claims, and that Congress lacks the power to abrogate New Mexico’s sovereign immunity.

In Ramirez v. CYFD, the Supreme Court reversed on the ground that New Mexico has waived its sovereign immunity against USERRA claims under Section 20-4-7.1(B), which provides that USERRA’s rights and benefits “shall apply” to members of the New Mexico national guard. Among those rights is the right to sue for violations of USERRA. The Court also held that deciding the case on that ground made it unnecessary to decide whether the federal constitution gives Congress the power to abrogate state sovereign immunity for such claims against a state’s will.


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Judge Hanisee to speak at Albuquerque Lawyers Club on May 4

Judge Miles Hanisee of the New Mexico Court of Appeals will speak at a lunch meeting of the Albuquerque Lawyers Club on May 4, 2016, at noon, at Seasons Rotisserie and Grill in Albuquerque.

The luncheon is free to members, but non-members may attend for $30. For more information, e-mail ydennig@sandia.gov.

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American Constitution Society of NM to hold inaugural event on April 20

A chapter of the American Constitution Society is apparently being formed in New Mexico, and its inaugural event will be held tomorrow, April 20, 2016, in Room 2402 at the UNM Law School, at 5:30 p.m.

The speaker at this event will be Juan Melendez, who spent over 17 years on death row in Florida before being exonerated. After his talk, Prof. Gordon Rahn will lead a discussion about wrongful convictions.

This event is free and open to the public. For $5 you can even get CLE credit, which is a bargain.

The American Constitutional Society is an organization that promotes discussion and debates about legal and public policy issues from a progressive or liberal viewpoint. It was founded as a counterpart to the more well-known Federalist Society, which does the same thing from a generally conservative or libertarian standpoint.

I am glad to see a chapter of ACS being formed here. I hope that ACS will bring interesting speakers, and host debates on legal issues, here in New Mexico.

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Daniels sworn in as Chief Justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court

On Monday, Justice Charles Daniels was sworn in for his second term as New Mexico’s Chief Justice, taking over from Justice Barbara Vigil.

KRQE News has the story here, and KRWG has it here.

As it happens, last night I had the pleasure of hearing Chief Justice Daniels speak about the proposed bail reform amendment to New Mexico’s Constitution, which will be on the ballot this November.

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