2011 New Mexico Statutes
Chapter 44: Miscellaneous Civil Law Matters
Article 9: Fraud Against Taxpayers Act, 44-9-1 through 44-9-14
Section 44-9-6: Rights of the qui tam plaintiff and the state.
44-9-6. Rights of the qui tam plaintiff and the state.
A. If the state proceeds with the action, it shall have the primary responsibility of prosecuting the action and shall not be bound by an act of the qui tam plaintiff. The qui tam plaintiff shall have the right to continue as a party to the action, subject to the limitations of this section.
B. The state may seek to dismiss the action for good cause notwithstanding the objections of the qui tam plaintiff if the qui tam plaintiff has been notified of the filing of the motion and the court has provided the qui tam plaintiff with an opportunity to oppose the motion and to present evidence at a hearing.
C. The state may settle the action with the defendant notwithstanding any objection by the qui tam plaintiff if the court determines, after a hearing providing the qui tam plaintiff an opportunity to present evidence, that the proposed settlement is fair, adequate and reasonable under all of the circumstances.
D. Upon a showing by the state that unrestricted participation during the course of the litigation by the qui tam plaintiff would interfere with or unduly delay the state's prosecution of the case, or would be repetitious, irrelevant or for the purpose of harassment, the court may, in its discretion, impose limitations on the qui tam plaintiff's participation, such as:
(1) limiting the number of witnesses the qui tam plaintiff may call;
(2) limiting the length of testimony of such witnesses;
(3) limiting the qui tam plaintiff's cross examination of witnesses; or
(4) otherwise limiting the qui tam plaintiff's participation in the litigation.
E. Upon a showing by a defendant that unrestricted participation during the course of litigation by the qui tam plaintiff would be for purposes of harassment or would cause the defendant undue burden or unnecessary expense, the court may limit the participation by the qui tam plaintiff in the litigation.
F. If the state elects not to proceed with the action, the qui tam plaintiff shall have the right to conduct the action. If the attorney general so requests, the qui tam plaintiff shall serve the attorney general with copies of all pleadings filed in the action and all deposition transcripts in the case, at the state's expense. When the qui tam plaintiff proceeds with the action, the court, without limiting the status and rights of the qui tam plaintiff, may permit the attorney general to intervene at a later date upon a showing of good cause.
G. Whether or not the state proceeds with the action, upon a showing by the attorney general on behalf of the state that certain actions of discovery by the qui tam plaintiff would interfere with the state's investigation or prosecution of a criminal or civil matter arising out of the same facts, the court may stay such discovery for a period of not more than sixty days. The showing by the state shall be conducted in camera. The court may extend the sixty-day period upon a further showing in camera that the state has pursued the criminal or civil investigation or proceeding with reasonable diligence and any proposed discovery in the civil action will interfere with the ongoing criminal or civil investigation or proceeding.
H. Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 5 of the Fraud Against Taxpayers Act [44-9-5 NMSA 1978], the attorney general may elect to pursue the state's claim through any alternate remedy available to the state, including an administrative proceeding to determine a civil money penalty. If an alternate remedy is pursued, the qui tam plaintiff shall have the same rights in such a proceeding as the qui tam plaintiff would have had if the action had continued pursuant to this section. A finding of fact or conclusion of law made in the other proceeding that has become final shall be conclusive on all parties to an action under the Fraud Against Taxpayers Act [44-9-1 NMSA 1978]. For purposes of this subsection, a finding or conclusion is final if it has been finally determined on appeal to the appropriate court, if all time for filing an appeal with respect to the finding or conclusion has expired or if the finding or conclusion is not subject to judicial review.
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