New Mexico

Benchmark Litigation Reviews

Dispute resolution
Modrall Sperling

Modrall Sperling has tailored a range of services for clients for over 80 years. With offices in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, the firm has about 60 lawyers who handle issues that arise in the Southwest as well as across the country. A client praises the law firm for its litigation skills: “Modrall Sperling is a trusted firm in the state and (my company) felt they would give us the best opportunity for a successful lawsuit.” Another client adds, “The firm provided us great representation that was aggressive and professional. They were responsive, kept us informed and were always prepared.”

     Albuquerque’s Brian Nichols attends to a commercial practice that features a pronounced energy and Native American element. This niche was prominently on display in his high-stakes representation of Wells Fargo when the bank has was sued by the Navajo Nation, in Navajo district court, alleging that the bank improperly opened accounts and took other actions causing fees and charges without consumer consent. After assessing possible defense strategies, Wells Fargo moved to dismiss, on bases similar to a previously successful motion in federal court. Along with Tim Fields, Nichols is also representing Harris Medical Associates, a physician and medical provider referral service, who referred a physician to a medical center on the Navajo Nation through the federal Indian Health Services. The physician allegedly provided negligent medical treatment to an infant, causing death. Harris has been sued in Navajo district court. Nichols and Fields are defending based on the statute of limitations (two years), lack of subject matter and personal jurisdiction. The pair is also defending on the merits. Lynn Slade attends to a similar practice. She leads a Modrall team that serves as lead counsel in defense of litigation filed initially by the United States seeking to enjoin construction of a major wind energy electric generation facility in Osage County, Oklahoma. The Osage Nation's Minerals Council claims the wind project “invaded” the Tribes' mineral estate. The Tenth Circuit The Court of Appeals reversed the district court decision that excavation for construction is not “mining.”

Labor and employment
Modrall Sperling

New Mexico-based law firm Modrall Sperling maintains a labor and employment practice that is predominantly operating out of the firm’s Albuquerque office. The group is comprised of lawyers experienced in handling disputes involving both traditional labor issues and employment-related claims. The firm’s clients continue to share their satisfaction with the practice’s labor and employment work. One client says the firm was “very responsible and easy to work with.” The client also mentions Brian Nichols, who they describe as “very knowledgeable.” Nichols has a specialty in Indian law and litigation and he has recently handled a wide array of labor and employment disputes. He is defending Dine Development Corporation, an entity formed under the Corporate Code of the Navajo Nation and does business off of the Navajo Nation in Albuquerque. The case was filed by the former CEO, John Snider, who worked from Pennsylvania. After he was fired for misconduct, he sued the client in Navajo district court. Nichols is lead lawyer in the case and challenged the subject matter jurisdiction of the Navajo Courts over employment actions occurring in Pennsylvania and Albuquerque. The district court ruled in favor of jurisdiction and the case is on appeal in the Navajo Nation Supreme Court. Nichols also serves as spokesperson for the City of Albuquerque in negotiations with five bargaining units of employees represented by the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees after a new administration won the mayoral election. The unions sought substantial economic and non-economic changes to the collective bargaining agreements with the previous administration.

Also within the Albuquerque office is Jennifer Anderson, currently the lead lawyer defending Chevron Mining after an employee and wife filed a complaint seeking damages from the death of the employee’s coworker. The team moved for dismissal on the basis that the plaintiffs’ claims were barred by New Mexico’s Worker’s Compensation Act. The court agreed, but allowed the plaintiffs to amend the complaint. Again, the team moved for dismissal and the court agreed, dismissing the complaint with prejudice. The case is on appeal.
Rodey Law Firm

Rodey Law Firm’s labor and employment lawyers practice out of the firm’s Albuquerque office. The practice is recognized as a top-tier law firm active in labor and employment litigation. The firm is equipped with experienced lawyers able to handle traditional labor disputes in addition to employment-related litigation. Thomas Stahl specializes in defending employers and management in disputes not only with employees, but labor unions as well. He recently defended an industrial minerals company engaged in an arbitration against a union. Stahl successfully resolved the case, which resulted in an arbitration award upholding the client’s discipline of the Union president for inappropriate behavior. Scott Gordon has also recently been involved in an employment dispute on behalf of Intel. He defends the client after a long-term employee alleged that she was terminated in retaliation for having complained about sex discrimination. The plaintiff further alleged a hostile work environment claim against the client and sought over $1 million in economic damages and unspecified emotional distress damages. The Federal District Court for the District of New Mexico granted Gordon’s summary judgment motion, dismissing all the plaintiff’s claims with prejudice. The plaintiff appealed to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. Jeffrey Lowry leads the labor and employment group at the firm.