Raúl Torrez | Attorney General

Government Litigation

The New Mexico Department of Justice Government Litigation Division is responsible for representing state agencies in lawsuits, representing state court judges in writ petition matters, and administratively prosecuting individuals licensed/certified by state boards and commissions who have violated regulatory standards. The Division also takes on the defense of state agencies in important lawsuits that affect important state interests.

Civil Litigation

This Litigation Division litigates civil matters on behalf of the State and the public interest, and defends state entities in civil matters in both state and federal courts. This representation includes defending challenges to state statutes and regulations, as well as representation of judges and state officers when they are sued in their official capacities in non tort-related claims or when the authority of the courts is challenged.

Administrative Prosecutions

The Division serves as administrative prosecutor to approximately 30 state boards and commissions which regulate licensed professions. A majority of these prosecutions are for violations of the Uniform Licensing Act or related laws. Sanctions range from fines to revocation of state-issued licenses. The Division also seeks injunctions in state court against individuals or organizations that refuse to become licensed by the appropriate state agencies.

Please note: complaints against individual licenses should be made to the relevant Board or Commission, or to the Regulation and Licensing Department.

Significant Litigation Being followed by NMDOJ

The Government Litigation Division follows and participates in critical litigation that involves important state interests, such as education, corrections, and the treatment of persons with developmental and intellectual disabilities.  

Cases

  • Yazzie/Martinez v. State of New Mexico et al. (D-101-CV-2014-00793) (2014)
    • The Yazzie case was filed in 2014 by students who were economically disadvantaged, English language learners and/or disabled, seeking declarative and injunctive relief to address the disparate education system in the State. In 2018, the Court ruled the State violated the Education Clause, the Equal Protection Clause, and the Due Process Clause of the New Mexico Constitution by failing to provide a uniform statewide system of free public education. The case remains open as the parties continue to explore the paths and methods in which to comply with the Court’s 2018 Order.
  • Duran v. Apodaca (1:77-cv-00721) (1977)
    • The Duran case was filed in 1977 to address the poor living conditions of inmates at the state penitentiary. The continued litigation of the case without making substantial improvements to inmate living conditions resulted in the horrific 1980 Santa Fe prison riots, which led to 33 deaths and hundreds of injured persons. The case resulted in nation-wide prison reform to prevent similar atrocities. In the months following the riot, the parties in Duran entered into a consent decree that continues to be monitored for compliance more than 45 years later.  

Prosecutions

The Government Litigation Division administratively prosecutes up to 200 cases per year for more than 30 individual professional boards and commissions. The Division is asked to prosecute these cases to assist the board or commission with adjudicating an individual’s license or certification following an alleged violation of regulatory standards. A comprehensive list of these boards and commissions can be found on the Regulation and Licensing Department website at https://www.rld.nm.gov/boards-and-commissions/. Outside of RLD boards and commissions, the Division also administratively prosecutes cases for the NM Law Enforcement Certification Board and the NM Racing Commission.

Prosecutions

The New Mexico Attorney General is charged with defending and representing the legal interests and sovereignty of the people of the State of New Mexico, including the legal interests of all state agencies. Due to the scale of such representation, the Attorney General delegates the legal representation of state agencies in certain legal matters to state agency-employed attorneys and outside counsel as needed through the issuance of Special Commissions. Any attorney who represents a state agency in legal matters is required to obtain a Special Commission from the Government Litigation Division prior to representation.

A Special Commission can be requested by sending an email to law clerk Carol Ann Ortiz at caortiz@nmag.gov.

Service of Process

The Division accepts summons, complaints, and other legal documents alleging civil causes of action against the state, a state agency, or a state official or employee acting in an official capacity. Service must be made pursuant to the Rules of Civil Procedure upon:

New Mexico Department of Justice
​Litigation Division
408 Galisteo Street
Santa Fe, NM 87504

(505) 490-4060

The Division does not accept subpoenas unless they are for the Division itself. The Office of the Attorney General cannot guarantee the appearance of witnesses, nor the provision of documents or other items customarily required by a subpoena.

Raul Torrez
Attorney General
Raúl Torrez

Resources

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