Sovereign immunity is a challenging subject, especially when the government causes you harm. After the damage is done, you hope that you can recover. Still, when the defendant is the government, the situation can become complicated.
Recently, the New Mexico legislature passed a law that promises changes to the sovereign immunity rules as they apply to state residents. While it does not help in federal cases, it can support you on a state level.
Here’s what you should know about the New Mexico Civil Rights Act and how it protects you from harm done by the government.
What it does
Before this historic legislation passed, Colorado was the only state with a similar law. Now that the New Mexico Civil Rights Act has been signed into law, New Mexicans have legal recourse if a state entity violates a state constitutional right.
Bills like this have met resistance since a lawsuit would mean government entities needing to pay damages from taxpayer monies. However, the governor and the majority of the New Mexico legislature agreed that this measure was a significant move to protect the civil rights of the state’s citizens.
There are limits
While you may have millions of dollars in suffering or damages, there are limits to how much you can expect the government to pay if a lawsuit is successful. Currently, the law sets a limit of $2 million in damages.
There are also limits to whom you can sue. The law opens the door to lawsuits against government entities, not individuals. So, for example, you could make a claim against a school, but not an individual teacher.