HOUSE BILL 435
56th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2023
Rod Montoya and T. Ryan Lane and Greg Nibert
RELATING TO COURTS; AMENDING REQUIREMENTS FOR VENUE DETERMINATION; PROVIDING REQUIREMENTS FOR DETERMINING VENUE IN CASES INVOLVING MEDICAL MALPRACTICE.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
SECTION 1. Section 38-3-1 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1875-1876, Chapter 2, Section 1, as amended) is amended to read:
"38-3-1. COUNTY IN WHICH CIVIL ACTION IN DISTRICT COURT MAY BE COMMENCED.--All civil actions commenced in the district courts shall be brought and shall be commenced in counties as follows and not otherwise.
A. First, except as provided in Subsection F of this section relating to foreign corporations, all transitory actions shall be brought in the county where either the plaintiff or defendant, or any one of them in case there is more than one of either, resides; or second, in the county where the contract sued on was made or is to be performed or where the cause of action originated or indebtedness sued on was incurred; or third, in any county in which the defendant or either of them may be found in the judicial district where the defendant resides.
B. When the defendant [has rendered himself] is liable to a civil action by any criminal act, suit may be instituted against the defendant in the county in which the offense was committed or in which the defendant may be found or in the county where the plaintiff resides.
C. When suit is brought for the recovery of personal property other than money, it may be brought as provided in this section or in the county where the property may be found.
D. [(1)] When lands or any interest in lands [are] is the object of any suit in whole or in part, the suit shall be brought in the county where the land or any portion of the land is situate; [(2)] provided that [where] if such lands are located in more than one county and are contiguous, [that] the suit may be brought as to all of the lands in any county in which a portion of the lands is situate, with the same force and effect as though the suit had been prosecuted in each county in which any of the lands are situate. In all such cases in which suit is prosecuted in one county as to contiguous lands in more than one county, notice of lis pendens shall be filed pursuant to Sections 38-1-14 and 38-1-15 NMSA 1978 in each county. For purposes of service of process pursuant to Rule  1-004 of the Rules of Civil Procedure for the District Courts, any such suit involving contiguous lands located in more than one county shall be deemed pending in each county in which any portion of the land is located from the date of filing of the lis pendens notice.
E. Suits for trespass on land shall be brought as provided in Subsection A of this section or in the county where the land or any portion of the land is situate.
F. Except as provided in Subsection H of this section, suits may be brought against transient persons or [non-residents] nonresidents in any county of this state, except that suits against foreign corporations admitted to do business and [which] that designate and maintain a statutory agent in this state upon whom service of process may be had shall only be brought in the county where the plaintiff, or any one of them in case there is more than one, resides or in the county where the contract sued on was made or is to be performed or where the cause of action originated or indebtedness sued on was incurred or in the county where the statutory agent designated by the foreign corporation resides.
G. Suits against any state officers as such shall be brought in the court of the county in which their offices are located, at the capital or in the county where a plaintiff, or any one of them in case there is more than one, resides, except that suits against the officers or employees of a state educational institution as defined in Article 12, Section 11 of the constitution of New Mexico, as such, shall be brought in the district court of the county in which the principal office of the state educational institution is located or the district court of the county where the plaintiff resides.
H. In a claim asserted by a personal representative pursuant to Section 41-2-3 NMSA 1978, a conservator, a guardian or guardian ad litem appointed pursuant to Chapter 45, Article 5 NMSA 1978 or a third person acting in any representative capacity, the residence of the person bringing the claim shall not be considered in determining venue in any civil action.
I. Subject to the provisions of Subsection H of this section, venue in a claim asserting medical malpractice shall be limited to the county in which the patient received the medical treatment that is the basis for the medical malpractice lawsuit. As used in this subsection:
(1) "medical malpractice lawsuit" means any legal proceeding alleging a cause of action arising in this state against a health care provider for medical treatment, lack of medical treatment or other claim of departure from accepted standards of health care that proximately results in injury to a patient, whether the patient's cause of action sounds in tort or contract, including actions based on battery, wrongful death, unfair trade practices or negligent hiring, supervision, training, retention or credentialing and excluding a cause of action arising out of nonmedical acts related to the operation, use or maintenance of a vehicular or aircraft ambulance; and
(2) "patient" means a natural person of any age who received or should have received health care from a health care provider."
SECTION 2. Section 41-5-4 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1976, Chapter 2, Section 4, as amended) is amended to read:
"41-5-4. AD DAMNUM CLAUSE--VENUE.--
A. A patient or [his] a patient's representative having a malpractice claim for bodily injury or death may file a complaint and demand right of trial by jury in [any] a court of law having requisite jurisdiction [and demand right of trial by jury] and where venue is proper.
B. Venue in a medical malpractice claim shall be proper when the claim is filed in the county in which the patient received the medical treatment that is the basis for the medical malpractice lawsuit.
C. No dollar amount or figure shall be included in the demand in [any] a complaint asserting a malpractice claim and filed after the effective date of this section, but the request shall be for such damages as are reasonable. This section shall not prevent a patient or [his] the patient's representative from alleging a requisite jurisdictional amount in a malpractice claim filed in a court requiring such an allegation."
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