Modrall Sperling Announces New Department Heads

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Donald A. DeCandia and Maria O'Brien have been named as Modrall Sperling's new Heads of the Litigation Department and the Natural Resources and Environment Department, respectively. Ruth M. Schifani remains as Transactions Department Head.

Mr. DeCandia's primary practice areas include products liability, tort and personal injury, and ERISA litigation. He has been in practice for more than 25 years, has litigated complex commercial cases and class actions and has a depth of experience in appellate work. His extensive experience in ERISA litigation includes representation of life, health and disability insurers, HMOs, self-funded plans, plan sponsors, plan administrators, pension plans, and third-party administrators. 

The vast majority of his tort/ products liability cases involve claims for wrongful death and/or serious personal injury. He has significant experience in tire failure litigation, insurance matters and premises liability cases. 

DeCandia has an AV® rating, the highest rating for professional ethics and legal ability, from Martindale-Hubbell, based on peer review and is recognized by Southwest Super Lawyers®.

Ms. O'Brien's primary focus is on water resources, water quality, and related regulatory matters including National Environmental Policy Act and Endangered Species Act compliance. She also assists municipalities and other water suppliers in securing sustainable rights to both ground and surface water and advises energy and extractive industry clients regarding all aspects of water-related operations from assessing demand to disposal. Heavily involved in interstate issues dealing with rights to both ground and surface water, O'Brien represents a variety of diverse stakeholders in the context of Indian water rights settlements and adjudications involving tribal water claims. 

"[Maria] O'Brien is renowned for her water resources, water quality and related regulatory practice," and is considered "the go to" lawyer for water supply litigation, states Chambers USA. Maria was selected as 2013 "Lawyer of the Year in Water Law – Albuquerque" by Best Lawyers of America® and has been recognized by Benchmark Litigation and Southwest Super Lawyers®.