On January 28, 2019, the New Mexico Court of Appeals rejected efforts by class-action attorneys to rewrite state law through litigation. The decision was a victory for WLF, which filed a brief in the case urging the court not to alter the plain meaning of New Mexico’s Unfair Practices Act (UPA) to provide the plaintiffs with the relief they sought. The UPA expressly limits class-wide recovery to actual damages, but the plaintiffs here sought to recover statutory damages on a class-wide basis—relief that the trial court rightly denied. WLF argued that if the appeals court were to alter the statute, it would violate the separation of powers under New Mexico’s constitution, undercut the state legislature’s public-policy goals, and impose unbearable liability on businesses throughout the state. The appeals court agreed. Harold (“Hal”) D. Stratton, Jr. and Veronica C. Gonzales-Zamora of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP provided valuable pro bono assistance to WLF in filing WLF’s amicus brief.


Court of Appeals decision