NM Court of Appeals: Los Lunas has standing to challenge Valencia County’s decision re hospital

According to this report by Julia Dendinger in the Valencia County News-Bulletin, the New Mexico Court of Appeals issued an oral ruling reviving the Village of Los Lunas’ challenge to Valencia County’s decision which paves the way for a hospital to be built in the City of Belen. Evidently, the Village would prefer that the hospital be built in Los Lunas.

Los Lunas filed suit against Valencia County, arguing that one of the county commissioners who voted in favor of the Belen hospital location had moved out of his district, and was thus no longer eligible to serve as a county commissioner at the time of the vote. The district court had dismissed Los Lunas’ complaint for lack of standing.

On appeal, Los Lunas argued that it had standing under New Mexico’s “great public importance” doctrine, in which courts can confer standing on parties to challenge actions that implicate the nature of representative government. The Court of Appeals agreed that Los Lunas has standing, and has remanded the case for further proceedings.

A notable feature of this case is that the Court of Appeals issued an oral ruling shortly after the oral argument concluded. I don’t know if a written opinion will follow.

Ms. Dendinger’s report is much more comprehensive than the usual news stories about appellate oral arguments, and for that the New Mexico Appellate Law Blog congratulates her, and encourages all New Mexico reporters to emulate her fine example.

UPDATE: (October 21, 2015): It has come to my attention that the non-precedential opinion in this case has now been posted online. See State of N.M. ex rel. Village of Los Lunas v. County of Valencia.

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