When the New Mexico Unfair Practices Act (UPA) was enacted in 1967, the language adopted did not clearly state whether the legislature intended to confer standing to competitors to sue for unfair or deceptive trade practices. Before the New Mexico Supreme Court decision in Gandydancer, LLC v. Rock House CGM, LLC,1 the New Mexico Court of Appeals and the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico—applying state law—had interpreted the statutory term “any person” as an opening for businesses to sue competitors under the UPA in certain circumstances. However, the New Mexico Supreme Court approached the UPA in a different way and limited standing under the UPA to consumers, based on the legislative history of the statute. This interpretation of the UPA goes in the opposite direction taken by other jurisdictions interpreting similar statutes and limits the resources available to businesses to recover for actual damages suffered due to their competitors’ misconduct under the UPA. Moreover, as this note intends to prove, this interpretation of the UPA affords less protection for consumers. This note explores the topic of competitive injury under the UPA in New Mexico by (1) presenting the background of the adoption of the UPA and the New Mexico Supreme Court decision in Gandydancer; (2) discussing how consumers’ rights would not be diminished by allowing business competitors to sue for competitive injury under the UPA; (3) discussing the similarities between the UPA and antitrust law, which accomplishes its goals by allowing suits for competitive injury; (4) arguing that the violations of the UPA would be deterred if business competitors had standing to sue for competitive injury under the UPA; (5) discussing whether there is a possible trend—with the recent amendments to the Motor Carrier Act—indicating that the legislature is inclined to expand a right of action for competitive injury under the UPA; (6) exploring how other jurisdictions have adopted and interpreted statutes similar to the UPA; and finally (7) suggesting that the New Mexico legislature should revisit the UPA and include a provision that clearly grants standing not only to consumers but also to business competitors to sue for competitive injury.
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Raquel K. Pinto,
Consumer Welfare: Would Competitive Injury Claims under the New Mexico Unfair Practices Act Actually Undermine Consumer Protection?,
N.M. L. Rev.
Available at: https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/nmlr/vol51/iss2/9