Judge dismisses NM Restaurant Association's data request lawsuit | KOB 4

Judge dismisses NM Restaurant Association's data request lawsuit

Patrick Hayes
Updated: August 14, 2020 10:16 PM
Created: August 14, 2020 03:47 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- A District Court judge granted the state's motion to dismiss a lawsuit that was filed by the New Mexico Restaurant Association.

The organization sued the New Mexico Department of Health for documents that led to the decision to ban indoor dining.

The restaurant association says the state law requires the production of requested documents immediately or “as soon as practicable.”

The state’s Inspection of Public Records Act requires public entities to produce the documents “as soon as practicable.” It also has a timeline that includes three and 15-day deadlines.

The state wanted the lawsuit thrown out because it was filed before the 15-day mark.

Judge Joshua Allison granted the dismissal, saying there can’t be a lawsuit for production of records unless there’s a denial or a deemed denial.

Melanie Majors, director of the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government, still has questions.

"If this is the case, the question remains, why didn't DOH immediately release the records on request," she said.

KOB 4 requested the records, but a spokesperson for the Department of Health said the case is still being litigated. 

"As the plaintiff has been granted by the court to amend their complaint, the case is not over. The Department of Health can't comment about pending litigation," a spokesperson for the Department of Health said. 

The New Mexico Restaurant Industry has another lawsuit against the state. It's suing to overturn the ban on indoor dining. The case will be heard at the New Mexico Supreme Court later this month. 

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