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November 10, 2014  |  Written by Richard S. Deitchman

United States Supreme Court Names Special Master in Rio Grande Compact Litigation

On November 3, 2014, the United States Supreme Court issued an order appointing A. Gregory Grimsal as the Special Master in Texas v. New Mexico & Colorado, No. 141 Original.

Special Master Grimsal is a commercial litigator in the New Orleans office of the law firm Gordon Arata McCollam Duplantis & Egan LLC.  The Supreme Court’s order provides Special Master Grimsal “with authority to fix the time and conditions for the filing of additional pleadings, to direct subsequent proceedings, to summon witnesses, to issue subpoenas, and to take such evidence as may be introduced and such as he may deem it necessary to call for.”  In addition, he “is directed to submit Reports as he may deem appropriate.”  The Supreme Court typically appoints a Special Master to take evidence and conduct trial-like proceedings for actions under its original jurisdiction.  The parties typically have the opportunity to present exceptions to any reports of the Special Master to the nine justices of the Supreme Court, similar to an appeal.

The State of Texas filed the complaint in the case 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 water intended for use in Texas to be intercepted and used in New Mexico.  The Supreme Court granted Texas’ motion for leave to file the complaint on January 27, 2014 and the United States successfully intervened on March 31, 2014.  New Mexico filed a motion to dismiss on April 30, 2014.  The Supreme Court did not address the motion to dismiss in its most recent order, and this may be the first task undertaken by the Special Master.

Somach Simmons & Dunn represents the State of Texas in this litigation and Stuart L. Somach is Counsel of Record for the State of Texas.  For more information on this case, please contact Rich Deitchman at (916) 446-7979 or

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