August 2012: The New Mexico Latino Education Task Force announces MALDEF’s plan to investigate the cause of the achievement gaps for students of color. MALDEF announces that if necessary, it will sue the State of New Mexico, alleging education officials are violating low-income and English-language learner students’ right to an equitable and sufficient education as guaranteed under the state’s constitution.
September 2012 – March 2014: MALDEF investigates and develops school finance litigation. Twelve families hire MALDEF to represent them in the case.
March 19, 2014: New Mexico Center for Law and Poverty files a lawsuit in the 11th Judicial District Court, Gallup-McKinley County. The suit, filed on behalf of families, seeks to increase funding for public education, especially for at-risk students, including Native Americans and Latinos. The case is known as Yazzie v. New Mexico.
April 1, 2014: MALDEF files a lawsuit in the 1st Judicial District Court, Santa Fe County on behalf of 51 parents and children from around the state, including Española, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Zuni, Magdalena, Las Cruces and Gadsden. The suit alleges that state education officials are violating low-income and English- language learner students’ fundamental right to a uniform and sufficient education as required under New Mexico’s Constitution. The case, known as Martinez v. New Mexico, is the first of its kind in the state.
June 10, 2014: MALDEF amends its lawsuit to include special education claims on behalf of clients.
June 18, 2014: New Mexico files motion seeking to dismiss MALDEF’s lawsuit.
October 7, 2014: New Mexico Center for Law and Poverty dismisses their case in Gallup-McKinley County and refiles Yazzie v. New Mexico in Santa Fe, where MALDEF’s lawsuit is pending.
October 23, 2014: Court denies state’s motion to dismiss Martinez v. New Mexico, ruling for the first time in the state’s history that education is a fundamental right under New Mexico’s constitution.
November 25, 2014: State education officials ask the court to consolidate Martinez v. New Mexico and Yazzie v. New Mexico.
January 26, 2015: Court consolidates Yazzie and Martinez lawsuits against the state.
May 22, 2017: Court hears pretrial motions, including request for summary judgment.
June 12, 2017: Trial begins in the landmark lawsuit challenging New Mexico’s failure to provide low-income students and English-language learners an appropriate education as required by the state’s constitution.
January 9, 2018: Attorneys from MALDEF and the Center file closing briefs for their consolidated lawsuit (Martinez v. State of New Mexico and Yazzie v. State of New Mexico) against the State of New Mexico for its failure to provide all public-school students a sufficient education as mandated by the New Mexico Constitution.
July 20, 2018: In a landmark decision, Court rules that the State of New Mexico violated students’ fundamental rights by failing to provide a sufficient public education, as required under the state constitution.
February 14, 2019: The Court files its final judgment in favor of the plaintiffs, ordering the state to address the violations demonstrated. There were no appeals.
October 30, 2019: MALDEF asks the court to allow discovery to learn what steps, if any, the state has taken to comply with the injunction. The filing also asks the court to set a schedule for further proceedings to enforce the injunction.
March 4, 2020: New Mexico files a motion to dismiss, arguing that the state’s Public Education Department had made sufficient changes, including funding and programs for English Learner and Special Education students, to satisfy the Court’s final judgement.
April 27, 2020: MALDEF asks a judge to strike New Mexico’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, noting that the state’s motion addresses the exact same issues as its opposition to MALDEF’s previously-filed motion for discovery.
May 1, 2020: MALDEF files its opposition to the state’s request for a dismissal, arguing that changes New Mexico education officials and legislature cite as progress do not rise to the level of a sufficient education for all students and that it is too early to tell whether the state’s efforts have been effective.
June 29, 2020: Judge Matthew Wilson denies New Mexico’s motion to dismiss Martinez v the State of New Mexico and Yazzie v the State of New Mexico, ruling that the public school system should remain under the court’s oversight until long-term reforms are implemented. In the same hearing, Wilson grants a motion for discovery by MALDEF.