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January 28, 2014  |  Written by Richard S. Deitchman

Rio Grande River: United States Supreme Court Grants the State of Texas’ Motion for Leave to File a Bill of Complaint

On January 27, 2014, the United States Supreme Court granted the State of Texas’ motion for leave to file a bill of complaint against the State of New Mexico alleging injury to Texas’ rights under the 1938 Rio Grande Compact (Compact).  The Court agreed to hear Texas’ case, invoking its seldom-used original jurisdiction.  Somach Simmons & Dunn represents the State of Texas in this litigation and Stuart L. Somach is Counsel of Record for the State of Texas.

The State of Texas filed the complaint in the United States Supreme Court in January 2013 alleging that the State of New Mexico has, contrary to the purpose and intent of the Compact, allowed and authorized Rio Grande Project (Project) water intended for use in Texas to be intercepted and used in New Mexico.  The Compact requires that New Mexico deliver Rio Grande water into Elephant Butte Reservoir, a storage feature of the Project.  Texas alleges that New Mexico, by allowing and authorizing the interception of Project water intended for Texas, violates the purpose and intent of the Compact, causing grave and irreparable injury to Texas.  More information on the case can be found here.

The Court accepted the case after briefing by the parties, and after submission, at the Court’s invitation, of an amicus brief from the Solicitor General of the United States.  Adopting the suggestion of the United States, the Court’s order provides that New Mexico is allowed 60 days to file a motion to dismiss, in the nature of a motion under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) (failure to state a claim).  Texas will be allowed 45 days to file a response to the motion to dismiss, after which New Mexico may file a reply brief within 15 days.  Briefing on the motion to dismiss will be complete before the end of May 2014.

For more information on Texas v. New Mexico & Colorado, No. 141 Original, please contact Richard S. Deitchman at (916) 446-7979 or

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