Category Archives: Opinions and Analysis

NMCA: Underground water rights may be partially forfeited

A landowner contended that he owned 394.85 acre-feet of underground water rights in the now-abandoned town of Cutter, New Mexico. The evidence at trial showed that a railroad had previously used the water, but that for 34 years the water … Continue reading

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NMCA: Fundamental error to instruct jury on element of crime that has been repealed

In this case, the defendant, Marcos Figueroa, was charged with criminal sexual penetration of a minor for abusing his son and stepson. At trial, the district court granted the State’s request that the jury be instructed that the defendant had … Continue reading

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10th Circuit denies habeas relief in high-profile 1984 Utah murder case

Today, in Lafferty v. Benson, the Tenth Circuit (in an order signed by Judge Briscoe) denied a certificate of appealability in the high-profile murder case of Ron Lafferty, who was convicted of murdering his sister-in-law, Brenda Lafferty, and her fifteen-month-old … Continue reading

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NMCA: Reversing conviction of middle school student who said he was making a “kill list”

A 14-year-old student at Capitan Middle School told another student he was making a “kill list.” Then, when the school’s principal asked whether he had a “hit list,” the student corrected her and said it was a “kill list.” The … Continue reading

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NMSC: Public Regulation Commission’s approval of PNM’s 2018 renewable energy procurement plan affirmed

Today the New Mexico Supreme Court issued its unanimous opinion in New Mexico Industrial Energy Consumers v. New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (opinion by Justice Shannon Bacon). The issue in the case is whether the Public Service Company of New … Continue reading

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10th Circuit upholds $60M breach of contract verdict in natural gas pricing dispute

Antero Resources Company entered an eight-year contract to sell natural gas from the Marcellus Shale formation to South Jersey Gas Company. They agreed that South Jersey would pay a price in accord with a gas price index published by a … Continue reading

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10th Circuit: Prisoner who was victim of unprovoked assault by Denver sheriff’s deputy failed to allege Section 1983 municipal liability claim

Anthony Waller, a criminal defendant, was at a hearing in a courtroom inside the Denver city jail. He politely and calmly addressed the judge about his disagreement with the State’s case against him. Suddenly, a deputy sheriff spun Mr. Waller … Continue reading

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10th Circuit: Albuquerque city clerk and lawyers are immune from suit by failed mayoral candidate

Stella Padilla wanted to run for mayor of Albuquerque in 2018, but the city clerk, Natalie Howard, rejected her nominating petition. Padilla filed a suit in state district court asking for declaratory judgment that her petition was proper. During the … Continue reading

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NMCA: Wrongfully enjoined defendant cannot recover damages in the absence of an injunction bond

Norman Gaume filed a lawsuit claiming that the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission had violated the Open Meetings Act, and asked for an injunction against a committee created by the Commission from taking any further action on certain matters related … Continue reading

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NMCA: Employer’s mistaken belief that worker was disabled supported discrimination claim

In Goodman v. OS Restaurant Services, LLC (opinion by Judge Hanisee), the Court of Appeals has held that sufficient evidence supported a jury’s verdict that an employer mistakenly “regarded” the plaintiff worker as disabled, and discriminated against him because of … Continue reading

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