New Mexico Lawyers Serving New Mexico's Legal Needs Since 1997

January 2014 Archives

Wise Performance of Corporate Duties

People starting small companies often form corporations to operate their businesses and appoint the same individuals as shareholders, officers and board members. While New Mexico law does not prohibit a given individual from wearing all three of these “corporate hats,” it makes sense to consider the purposes of each of these roles and how to benefit from putting some different people in each of these positions:

New Mexico Citizens Facing Jury Scam

Last year was a difficult one for those who believe individuals’ privacy rights are too often violated. Revelations by Edward Snowden about the scope of NSA spying raised the issue of whether the agency was infringing upon the Fourth Amendment rights of American citizens. Computer servers belonging to some major American banks were hacked causing account holders to worry about whether anyone had procured their account information. And recently those customers of Target department stores who used their credit or debit cards for purchases made at their stores may had their credit card information stolen.  

New Mexico’s Well Statute Not Unconstitutional

When a citizen of any state contends his or her rights are impaired because a particular statute of law conflicts with or violates a federal or state constitutional provision, that citizen has the opportunity to raise that issue in the appropriate court. In New Mexico, the state constitution addresses the important issue of water use in Article XVI, Section 2 which reads, “The unappropriated water of every natural stream, perennial or torrential, within the state of New Mexico, is hereby declared to belong to the public and to be subject to appropriation for beneficial use, in accordance with the laws of the state. Priority of appropriation shall give the better right.” Last year the Court in Bounds v. State ex rel. D'Antonio, 2013 NMSC 37 - NM: Supreme Court 2013, found that a statute authorizing the State Engineer to follow certain procedures in approving permits to appropriate water in the state does not violate this section of the New Mexico Constitution.

Cantor Fitzgerald Settles with American Airlines over 9/11 Attacks

Cantor Fitzgerald, an investment firm that was housed in the North Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2011, finally settled litigation against American Airlines last month. While families of the employees previously received proceeds from insurance, Cantor Fitzgerald sued the airlines for over a billion dollars claiming that the carrier bears responsibility for the deaths of its employees for not preventing the terrorists who hijacked their airliner on that day. The trial judge refused to allow recovery for wrongful death finding that an employer cannot recover for its workers’ deaths. That right apparently is limited to the families of those who lost their lives.

The Only Way to Reach My Property

In a case in which it was difficult to determine the entire history of a particular tract of property, the New Mexico Court of Appeals found that the plaintiffs, the Los Vigiles Land Grant and Mike Martinez, had the right to use an adjoining parcel of property to access and depart their own property. The Court determined that the plaintiffs successfully made the case that they had an easement by necessity, and that absent a ruling they would not be able to access their property unless they used the only available road available to do so. The problem was that this road ran exclusively through the Rebar Haygood Ranch, the private property of the Defendants.

New Mexico Homeowners Win Partial Victory against Wells Fargo

The U.S .Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals which rules on federal cases originating from several western states issued a decision earlier this year which gave two New Mexico homeowners a continued opportunity to prevail in a suit against Wells Fargo bank. The plaintiffs in the case of Schlegel v. Wells Fargo Bank[1]  procured a loan from a lender referred to as NTFN, Inc. using their residence as collateral. When they later fell behind in making their loan payments, they filed bankruptcy. As part of that process, they reaffirmed the loan under 11 U.S.C. § 524 and the loan and deed were assigned to Wells Fargo; subsequently, Wells Fargo entered into a loan modification agreement which extended the loan’s maturity date by about 11 years while keeping the same interest rate.

Malice in Family Dispute Limits Discharge in Bankruptcy Case

The primary reason most individuals or companies seek bankruptcy protection is to rid themselves of debts which pose too great a burden on the debtor rendering the debtor unable to meet financial obligations. Debtors ask bankruptcy courts to discharge certain specific debts so that they no longer are legally required to pay such debts. A federal bankruptcy court involving a family dispute in New Mexico shows how such a discharge can be withheld where the debtor incurred the debt by some fraudulent or malicious means.

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