Summary Review of Court Systems -
Structure of Civil Courts
There are thirteen State District Courts in New Mexico that cover all its counties. They consist of the: First (Santa Fe, Rio Arriba and Los Alamos); Second (Bernalillo); Third (Doña Ana); Fourth (San Miguel, Mora and Guadalupe); Fifth (Chaves, Eddy and Lea); Sixth (Grant, Hidalgo and Luna); Seventh (Torrance, Socorro, Catron and Sierra); Eighth (Taos, Colfax and Union); Ninth (Curry and Roosevelt); Tenth (Harding, De Baca and Quay); Eleventh (San Juan and McKinley); Twelfth (Otero and Lincoln); and Thirteenth (Cibola, Sandoval and Valencia).
All of New Mexico’s State District Courts are courts of general jurisdiction and are governed by the New Mexico Rules of Civil Procedure. Each District Court has, to varying degrees, local rules as well. The Second Judicial District Court, and only that court, requires arbitration of most civil matters, including commercial/business disputes, wherein the only relief being sought by any party is a money judgment in an amount of $25,000 or less. This is exclusive of punitive damages, interests, costs, and attorney fees. Such matters would be arbitrated pursuant to the provisions of the court’s arbitration program.
Basis of Jurisdiction
The New Mexico State District Courts are courts of general jurisdiction.
Neither the New Mexico Rules of Civil procedure nor local rules mandate mediation/settlement conferences, though the Judges are given the authority to order parties to mediation. Most State Court Judges require the parties to participate in a mediation/settlement conference as a matter of course, however. Typically, this will be set forth in a Scheduling Order. The Judges vary in their positions on personal attendance by parties and “persons with full and final settlement authority. It is important to determine what a Judge requires, which will either be set forth in the Scheduling Order, a separate Order concerning mediation/settlement conference, and/or the applicable local rule, if any. Most of the time the costs of the mediation are split equally among the parties, though some Districts have an ADR program under their local rules that provides for payment on a sliding scale basis.
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