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New Mexico

The New Mexico anti-SLAPP law is relatively narrow. It applies only to lawsuits “seeking money damages against a person for conduct or speech undertaken or made in connection with a public hearing or public meeting in a quasi-judicial proceeding before a tribunal or decision-making body of any political subdivision of the state.” N.M. Stat. Ann. § 38-2-9.1(A) (2019). A “public meeting in a quasi-judicial proceeding” includes any meeting held by a state or local government entity, including meetings or presentations before state, city, town, or village councils, planning commissions, or review boards. § 38-2-9.1(D).

A defendant sued for damages based on acts in connection with such a public meeting can bring a special motion to dismiss under the New Mexico anti-SLAPP law. § 38-2-9.1(A). The court will consider the motion “on a priority or expedited basis.” Id. If the court fails to rule on the motion in an expedited fashion, either party is entitled to seek expedited review in the appellate court, although the statute does not define “expedited.” § 38-2-9.1(C).

New Mexico’s law does not address whether the filing of an anti-SLAPP motion automatically stays discovery. The statute also does not specify what standard a court will use to decide a special motion to dismiss or what evidence it will consider in making this determination.

If the court grants the SLAPP defendant’s motion to dismiss, it will impose attorney’s fees and costs on the plaintiff, assuming the defendant complied with certain filing deadlines. § 38-2-9.1(B). Conversely, the court will award attorney’s fees and costs to the plaintiff if it finds that the special motion to dismiss was frivolous or brought solely to delay the proceedings. Id.

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