Case Details


Attorney General Control Of Litigation, Status In State Government

Filing State



New Mexico Supreme Court




State ex rel. Madrid v. Turner, No. 26,035 (n.M. Dec. 14. 1999)


Agreement not signed by Attorney General not enforceable against the state

Case Description

The Attorney General sought a writ of mandamus commanding the state’s Natural Resources Trustee not to give any effect to an agreement reached with alleged polluters because the Attorney General had not signed the agreement and it was therefore unenforceable against the state. In granting the writ of mandamus, the New Mexico supreme court said, “[T]he Attorney General has the responsibility and the power to represent the interests of the State and its officials in all litigation before state and federal courts, and to manage and control said litigation, unless otherwise provided by law. . . . This power implies within it the authority to exercise judgment and discretion with respect to all such litigation-related matters involving the best interests of the state and the public.” The court held that because the Attorney General had not signed the agreement, it was not enforceable against the state, and “Insofar as respondent continues to represent and hold himself out as having the legal authority to bind the State in a manner that he clearly does not have, mandamus is a necessary and appropriate remedy.“