New Mexico Appellate Court Opinion Discusses the Adoption of the Doctrine of Circuity in a Recent Negligence Case
The doctrine of circuity is a legal doctrine that some state and federal courts across the country have adopted to conserve valuable judicial resources. At its heart, the doctrine serves to prevent a plaintiff from seeking damages from a defendant with whom that plaintiff does not have a valid course of action. The recent case of Loper v. JMAR illustrates the principle well:
Loper, a dairy farmer, hired JMAR to build a new dairy. In turn, JMAR sub-contracted out all of the electrical work to Snyder. After the dairy was built and Loper began operations, he noticed that milk production was much lower than it should have been. Loper looked into several potential causes of the low milk production with no luck, until he hired a different electrician to examine the fences. According to Loper's expert, the way in which the dairy farm was wired resulted in stray electricity that adversely affected the herd's milk production. Loper filed a lawsuit against both JMAR and Snyder claiming negligent construction of the dairy.
As the lawsuit commenced, JMAR sent a letter to Snyder demanding indemnification from the lawsuit. Essentially this letter demanded that Snyder admit that the error was on his part, and that JMAR had nothing to do with the improper wiring of the fence. Soon thereafter, Loper settled out of court with Snyder, who was then dismissed from the suit.