Barreras v. State Corr. Dep’t – Case Brief Summary (New Mexico)

In Barreras v. State Corr. Dep't, 2003 NMCA 27, 133 N.M. 313, 62 P.3d 770, the plaintiffs were former state employees who had been discharged from employment in violation of the SPA. Id.

The Barreras plaintiffs attempted to bypass an administrative appeal to the State Personnel Board (SPB) by filing a lawsuit directly in district court against their former employer, alleging breach of implied contract of employment based on the SPA. Id.

The district court concluded that the plaintiffs' claims were barred as a matter of law. Id. We affirmed that decision after determining that the administrative scheme in place was comprehensive since the SPB in that case was "expressly empowered to hear appeals from adverse employment actions." Id.

In doing so, this Court assessed several factors in determining whether the SPA's administrative remedies prevailed over an action for damages in district court in light of the fact that the Act "contains no express language that its administrative remedies either are, or are not, exclusive." Id.

"Those factors included the comprehensiveness of the administrative scheme, the availability of judicial review, and the completeness of the administrative remedies afforded." Id.