In the News — Texas v. New Mexico Trial: From Discovery to Trial

By: Marsha Ray and Victoria Eller, CP

OPVEON is privileged to be a part of the legal team representing the State of New Mexico in the case of the State of Texas v. State of New Mexico, State of Colorado and the United States, an original jurisdiction case pending before the United States Supreme Court. This trial is the culmination of years of work throughout the discovery and pre-trial phases.

The first phase of the trial will conclude on Thursday, November 11th. This phase, which consisted solely of witness testimony, was conducted remotely — a decision made by Special Master Melloy shortly before the trial was to begin. He also determined that the three-month trial would be split into two portions, the first portion being virtual due, in part, to concerns surrounding the increase in COVID-19 cases.

During this phase, OPVEON’s CEO and Senior Trial Consultant, April Ferguson, has been in New Mexico working closely with counsel for the State, with back-up support being provided by OPVEON’s consulting team based in its Tulsa office. Beginning in March 2022, the second portion of the trial will be conducted in-person in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. OPVEON will be assisting both on-site in Cedar Rapids and from Tulsa.

CASE SUMMARY

This is a very complex case to summarize succinctly, but in a nutshell, involves a disagreement over the Rio Grande Compact, a 1938 interstate agreement between Colorado, New Mexico and Texas, dividing the water of the Rio Grande River between those states.

The Rio Grande Compact lays out how much water is to be allocated to each named state. Colorado is required to deliver the water to the New Mexico state line, and New Mexico is then required to deliver the water into the Elephant Butte Reservoir. The water stored there is used for irrigation districts in New Mexico and Texas (roughly 120 miles downstream) and further to provide New Mexico its share of Rio Grande water.

In a 2011 federal lawsuit, New Mexico alleged the federal government shorted New Mexico and gave too much of the water to Texas. It escalated when Texas filed the original jurisdiction case against New Mexico in the U.S. Supreme Court three years later. In this case, Texas alleges New Mexico’s groundwater pumping reduced Texas’ Rio Grande portion by tens of thousands of acre-feet each year, and because of that, it owes Texas damages. An acre-foot of water is equivalent to approximately 325,851 gallons. Colorado was named as a defendant solely due to the fact it is a signatory to the 82-year-old Rio Grande Compact.

OPVEON’S INVOLVEMENT

DATABASE MANAGEMENT

OPVEON has been involved in this case for five years and played an integral part in the creation and management of the eDiscovery database. This included the identification, preservation, collection, culling, review, and production of millions of pages of documents. In a case of this magnitude, proper database and document management is crucial to all phases of the litigation, extending beyond discovery to summary judgment, pretrial, and trial.

TRIAL CONSULTING

OPVEON is an integral part of the trial team. With April Ferguson acting in both consultant and paralegal roles, and with backup support from the team in the Tulsa office, we offer invaluable assistance with case management and evidence presentation, and communications with opposing counsel as well as with the Special Master.

GRAPHICS

OPVEON’s team of graphic artists created many of the key demonstrative exhibits used in this case. We specialize in taking complex issues and distilling them into concise graphics that resonate with both the judge (in this case) or the jury.

PRODUCTION

OPVEON’s production team created the physical trial exhibit notebooks used by the court, opposing counsel and members of the trial team. This process involved printing nearly one million pages, organizing and tabbing into notebooks, organizing those notebooks into boxes, and coordinating delivery to Santa Fe and Cedar Rapids. It further required keeping up with the daily ongoing needs for preparation and organization of the witness notebooks and making sure the Special Master has all of the physical exhibits for those witnesses. We were also responsible for making daily disclosure of exhibits to the case document repository for access by counsel, the Court, and interested parties.

WHAT MAKES OPVEON UNIQUE?

Our vast experience and expertise make us invaluable to you and your law firm. From discovery to trial, we provide the full range of service offerings to help you effectively prepare and present your case. OPVEON is equipped to provide expert guidance to help you formulate the best strategy to win your case. Let us help you win your next case.

Contact us at info@opveon.com or 918.359.8900.

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Originally published at https://www.opveon.com.

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