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Dick Blenden of the Blenden Law Firm in Carlsbad presented a spirited overview of civil rights litigation during a school-wide lecture on Oct. 30. Blenden, who has been a trial lawyer since the early 1960s, discussed the role of a lawyer in civil rights litigation.
He also shared with faculty, staff and students the captivating story of Bill Dixon, a leading defender of the First Amendment and public rights under the New Mexico Open Meetings Act and Inspection of Public Records Act. Dixon died in 2003 after a long battle with cancer.
Blenden has worked on the side of plaintiffs since opening his practice in Carlsbad in 1962. In the early 1980s, driven by diligence and a personal conviction, he began a civil rights practice. Since then he has tried many cases across New Mexico in that field. In fact, he has won so many cases in Chaves County alone that the sheriff and a judge presented him with a badge designating him as “the conscience of Chaves County.” He passed around the badge during his talk.
Blenden also provided fascinating and inspiring stories about his cases through the years, emphasizing the importance of professionalism.
In the 2000s, he successfully negotiated a healthy settlement in a case that stemmed from a 2000 natural gas pipeline explosion outside Carlsbad. The blast killed 12 members of one family who was camping and fishing in the area.
Blenden has served on the state’s Uniform Jury Instruction Committee is a member of the New Mexico Trial Lawyers Association.
November 7, 2012