John R. Cooney

Direct: 505.848.1822
Main: 505.848.1800
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Fax: 505.848.9710
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Email: john.cooney@modrall.com

Overview

John Cooney is an experienced practitioner in the areas of natural resources law, antitrust law, class action defense, eminent domain and other areas of complex commercial litigation and arbitration.  John has more than forty years experience, and has served as lead counsel in a wide variety of matters including natural gas contract disputes, mineral title disputes, royalty disputes, class actions, taxation of natural resources, and antitrust cases.  He has represented clients including small independent oil and gas producers, and large international corporations, and has presented oral arguments in the United States Supreme Court.  John is certified as a specialist in Natural Resources Law - Oil and Gas.

A Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, and former President of the State Bar of New Mexico, John was named 2016 Energy Law "Lawyer of the Year" in Albuquerque by Best Lawyers in America®, where he has been recognized in the areas of Antitrust Law, Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Energy Law, Mining Law, Natural Resources Law, and Oil & Gas Law. Chambers USA reports, "John Cooney is a 'top-notch lawyer' who is 'well versed in contentious mining issues, handling both litigation and arbitration.'" He focuses his practice on issues in the natural resources arena, with a strong dispute resolution component. Sources say he is a "great attorney who is very knowledgeable in this space." John is among those listed in Southwest Super Lawyers® and one of the "Top 25 Lawyers in New Mexico" 2007-2016. 

John was admitted to law school as a junior in college and received dual degrees in 1965.  He served as President and Chair of the Executive Committee of Modrall Sperling from 1993-2000.  He serves as Co-Chair of the Oil and Gas Industry Service Group and is a member of the Firm's Natural Resources & Environment Practice Group. 

Education

  • University of New Mexico School of Law, J.D. magna cum laude, 1965, Order of the Coif
  • University of New Mexico, B.A. in Economics, 1965

Bar Admissions

  • New Mexico
  • U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
  • United States Supreme Court

Practice Areas

Recognition

Experience

John has been lead counsel in many commercial litigation and arbitration matters, including: 

  • Represented Santa Fe Industries and related companies defending against claims of federal and state antitrust violations and fraud, settled after summary jury trial in 1990 after eleven years of litigation in federal courts in New Mexico and Texas. Texas Utilities Company, et al. v. Santa Fe Industries, Inc., et al.

  • Represented Conoco Inc., Chevron USA Inc., and other oil companies defending title claim to 70-year old oil producing property, obtained summary judgment for defendants, affirmed.  See Fred R. Skaggs, et al. v. Conoco Inc., et al., 125 N.M. 97, 1998-NMCA-061.

  • Represented national associations, local suppliers and contractors challenging City of Albuquerque's "Green Building Code" based on claims of federal preemption, case pending.  See The Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute, et al. v. City of Albuquerque, No. CIV-08-633, United States District Court, District of New Mexico.

  • Represented natural gas producers in natural gas contract arbitration, Conoco Inc. and Amoco Production Co. v. Sunterra Gas Gathering Company, et al., U.S.D.C. N.M. CIV 90-214.

  • Represented condemnor in eminent domain case, Colfax County District Court, New Mexico, two week jury trial in January, 1996, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc. v. King et al.

  • Represented Amoco Production Company and other companies in case involving power of Tribes to tax natural resources production; argued in United States Supreme Court, Merrion v. Jicarilla Tribe, 455 U.S. 130.

  • Represented Amoco Production Co. in putative class action alleging underpayment of royalties, obtained summary judgment for Defendants, appeal dismissed.  See San Juan 1990-A et al. v. Amoco Production Co., 2002-NMCA-041, 132 N.M. 73, 43 P.2d 1083. 

  • Represented Amoco Production Company in class action alleging underpayment of royalties, 3 week trial in 2002, settled after trial.  See Parry et al. v. Amoco Production Co., State of Colorado, County of La Plata, District Court No. 94 CV 105.

  •  John has acted as an arbitrator in commercial arbitration matters.

Activities

Professional Activities

  • American Bar Association, Section of Environment, Energy and Resources, Chair, Energy and Natural Resources Litigation, 2003-2005
  • State Bar of New Mexico, former President; Board of Legal Specialization, 1998-2002; Member, Civil Trial Specialty Committee, Chair 2000-2002; Member, Commercial Litigation and Antitrust Section, Director, 1993-1998; Member, Task Force on Minorities in the Profession, 1995-1997
  • Federal Bar Association of the United States District Court, New Mexico, Member, Management Committee, 1997-1999
  • Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, Board of Trustees, 1995-1997
  • Advisory Group for Civil Justice Reform for the United States District Court, District of New Mexico, 1994-1996

Discourse

Articles

Publications

  • "State Antitrust Practice and Statutes," American Bar Association , New Mexico Editor
  • "Recent Developments Concerning Joint Operating Agreements--Preferential Rights and Exculpatory Clauses," Institute for Energy Law, 55th Institute On Oil and Gas Law , 2004
  • "Oil and Gas Litigation--Class Action Issues," 10th Section Fall Meeting, American Bar Association Section of Environments Energy and References , 2002
  • "Preferential Purchase Rights in Mineral Agreements", 37 Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute , 1991 (co-authored with Larry P. Ausherman)

Presentations

  • "Development in New Mexico Eminent Domain," Lorman Education Services, Albuquerque, New Mexico May 25, 2005
  • "Recent Developments Concerning Joint Operating Agreements--Preferential Rights and Exculpatory Clauses," Institute for Energy Law, 55th Institute On Oil and Gas Law, 2004

Honors

  • American College of Trial Lawyers, Fellow
  • Albuquerque The Magazine, Albuquerque's Top Lawyers, July 2006 peer survey:  listed among top five in answer to question, "Which individual lawyer in the City of Albuquerque would you most want representing you in a courtroom setting, based on their passion, skills and desire to win case?"
  • Best Lawyers® 2016 Energy Law "Lawyer of the Year" in Albuquerque
  • Best Lawyers® 2013 Mining Law "Lawyer of the Year" in Albuquerque
  • Best Lawyers® 2012 Bet-the-Company Litigation "Lawyer of the Year" in Albuquerque
  • Best Lawyers in America® in Antitrust Law, Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Energy Law, Mining Law, Natural Resources Law, and Oil & Gas Law, 1993-present
  • Chambers USA Directories of America's Leading Lawyers for Business in Environment, Natural Resources & Regulated Industries, 2004-present
  • The Lawdragon 500 Leading Litigators in America, 2007
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV® Preeminent Peer Review Rated
  • New Mexico Board of Legal Specialization, Board Certified Specialist in Natural Resources Law
  • New Mexico Business Weekly, "Best of the Bar in Energy and Natural Resources," 2009
  • Southwest Super Lawyers® (derived from a lawyer survey), 2007-present; "Top 25 Super Lawyers in New Mexico," 2007-present

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