On Monday, January 29, 2024, the Supreme Court of the State of New Mexico publicly censured attorney Nancy Ana Garner over allegations of professional misconduct during her legal representation of clients related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Nancy Ana Garner,” with case no. S-1-SC-39515.

According to the filing, Garner represented a group of employees at Sandia National Laboratories who were challenging the company’s COVID-19 workplace policies in July 2021. She also represented Backstreet Grill, a restaurant appealing the revocation of its food permit for violating a public health order issued in August 2021.

The court found that Garner violated ethics rules in her interactions with both clients. In letters to Sandia National Labs on behalf of employees dated July 29, 2021, Garner improperly communicated with persons represented by counsel. For Backstreet Grill, Garner made inappropriate statements in court filings accepted on August 24, 2021, referring to elected officials as criminals and accusing a judge of unethical behavior without evidence.

Garner did not contest that her actions amounted to violations including failing to provide competent legal representation, placing her personal interests above her clients’, making false statements to the court, and engaging in conduct disruptive to legal proceedings between July and August 2021. While she had no prior misconduct, aggravating factors for Garner included a pattern of improper behavior and substantial legal experience.

In its order on January 29, 2024, the Supreme Court acknowledged Garner expressed remorse but said her conduct harmed clients, the reputation of lawyers, and the administration of justice in 2021. The court emphasized that members of the legal profession must treat all individuals, including those in opposing roles, with respect.

According to martindale.com, Ms. Garner attended the University of New Mexico, graduating in 1981. She acquired her law license in New Mexico in the same year.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.