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Mr. Seawright, a State Farm insurance agent, failed to provide adequate information to make informed decisions about whether (and in what amount) the plaintiffs should purchase uninsured or unknown motorist (“UM”) coverage. Plaintiffs brought a putative class action alleging that Mr. Seawright violated New Mexico’s Unfair Practices Act, NMSA 1978, §§ 57-1-1 to -19 (“the UPA”), which entitles anyone harmed by an unfair business practice to “bring an action to recover actual damages or the sum of one hundred dollars ($100), whichever is greater.” § 57-12-10(B).

Because § 57-12-10(B) of the UPA requires a loss of money or property” to sue and § 57-12-10(E) expressly limits class-wide recovery to “actual damages, Mr. Seawright moved to dismiss Plaintiffs’ individual and class claims. The trial court obliged, dismissing Plaintiffs’ operative complaint, with prejudice.

On appeal, Plaintiffs ask this Court to construe § 57-12-10(E) to permit class-wide recovery of statutory damages. In the alternative, Plaintiffs contend that § 57-12-10(E)’s express limitation of class-wide recovery to “actual damages” lacks any “rational basis” in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the New Mexico Constitution, N.M. Const. art. II, § 18.

Publication Title

First Judicial District Court


Santa Fe


No. A-1-CA-35699


No. D-0101-CV-2013-10293

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