Law Practice: Water Rights, Water Litigation, Administrative Contract Law and Land Use
Licensed: New Mexico 1990; Colorado 1994; U.S.District Court for the District of New Mexico; U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals; U.S. Supreme Court
Education: Stanford Law School, J.D., 1990; University of Virginia, B.A., 1987
Professional Background: Employment: Utton & Kery, P.A., since April 1, 2016, shareholder and director. Prior Employment: Sheehan & Sheehan, P.A. 1995-2016, shareholder, director & of counsel; Assistant New Mexico Attorney General, 1992-1995; Law Clerk to United States District Court Judge James A. Parker, 1990-1992. Member: U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, American Bar Association Water Resources and Land Use Committees, Western States Water Council. Certifications and Awards: Certified by the New Mexico Board of Legal Specialization as a Specialist in Natural Resources - Water Law; AV® Preeminent™ rating in Martindale-Hubbell®; Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® 2006 through present and Albuquerque Water Lawyer of the Year 2011 and Santa Fe Natural Resources Lawyer of the Year 2015 (see Tab A).
Water Litigation Experience: Mr. Utton’s litigation practice is devoted almost entirely to water law matters. Currently, he is representing clients in five stream system adjudication suits in New Mexico. For the last 20 years he has represented New Mexico State University in the adjudication of the Lower Rio Grande and is very familiar with that ongoing case. He has represented clients in dozens of State Engineer permit proceedings and has represented two irrigation districts in major Endangered Species Act and National Environmental Policy Act litigation in federal court. He has also represented clients in three Indian water rights settlements that have been approved by Congress. He is also representing CRRUA in State Engineer permitting matters.
Regional Water Systems: Mr. Utton is currently representing (or has completed projects for) a number of public clients participating in the following regional water systems:
Land Use: Mr. Utton also represents clients in planning and zoning determinations and other land use related matters. For six years he served as the Torrance County planning and zoning attorney.
Law Practice: Environmental Law, Water Law, Natural Resources, Regulatory Matters
Licensed: New Mexico 1988; Alaska 1985; Michigan 1984
Education: The University of Michigan Law School, J.D., 1983; University of Michigan, A.B.,
1980 (with honors)
Professional Background: Employment: Utton & Kery, P.A., since April 1, 2016, shareholder and director. Prior Employment: Sheehan & Sheehan, P.A. 1999-2016, shareholder and director; Self-Employed (Primary Contractor to Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), Carlsbad, New Mexico), 1997-1999; Attorney, Eaves Bardacke & Baugh, P.A., 1993-1997; Special Assistant Attorney General, New Mexico State Engineer Office (now known as the Office of the State Engineer), 1990-1993; Special Assistant Attorney General, Environmental Improvement Division (now known as the New Mexico Environment Department), 1989-1990; Office of Public Advocacy, Anchorage, Alaska, 1985-1988; Alaska Legal Services Corporation, 1983-1985. Member: U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. Certifications and Awards: Certified by the New Mexico Board of Legal Specialization as a Specialist in Natural Resources - Water Law; Distinguished rating in Martindale-Hubbell®.
Water Law and Environmental Law: For more than 25 years, the primary focus of Ms. Kery’s practice has been in the areas of water law and environmental law. From 1989-1993, in her capacity as a Special Assistant Attorney General, she focused on water adjudications for the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer (OSE), and provided guidance to the state agency now known as the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) on a wide range of environmental issues, with a particular emphasis on air and water quality matters. Ms. Kery has represented numerous public and private water users in the state. Her present and past clients include water planning Regions, including the Jemez y Sangre Water Planning Council, the Middle Rio Grande Council of Governments, and the Southwest and Mora-San Miguel Regions in their respective regional water planning efforts; Doña Ana County in issues relating to water rights and stormwater control; the State of New Mexico, Office of the State Engineer, in the Rio San José and Pecos River adjudications; the City of Santa Fe; the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority; the Jornada Water Company, and the Moriarty-Edgewood School District. Ms. Kery has also served as an adjunct faculty member at the UNM School of Law, teaching classes in water law and natural resources writing.
Administrative Law: Ms. Kery has provided representation to clients in connection with administrative and rulemaking proceedings in the environmental and water areas, including proceedings before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the New Mexico State Engineer, the New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission, and the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board. As an outgrowth of her work as a Special Assistant Attorney General on behalf of NMED and the OSE, Ms. Kery has insight into how best to approach and work within the regulatory framework to successfully resolve problems faced by her clients.
Water Litigation Experience: Ms. Kery’s litigation practice is devoted almost entirely to water law matters. Currently, she is representing the State of New Mexico in the Rio San José adjudication, with a focus on the adjudication of Pueblo water rights. She has also represented the State in the Pecos River adjudication, successfully defending against efforts to nullify hundreds of adjudication orders. She has also represented clients in State Engineer permit proceedings.
Areas of Law: Administrative Hearing Officer; Civil Litigation
Education: University of Oregon School of Law, Eugene, Oregon, J.D. – 1984; Law Review: Oregon Law Review, 1983 – 1984; University of Montana, Missoula, Montana, B.A. English/B.A. History (With Honors) – 1978
April 1, 2016 to Present
Utton & Kery, P.A., Shareholder and Director to the firm, representing a variety of small and large private and governmental clients in the fields of mold litigation, personal injury defense and other insurance defense, products liability, contract disputes, and other litigation.
In addition to the foregoing summary of Mr. Erickson’s work as a lawyer in civil litigation, since 2003, Mr. Erickson has been a hearing officer for the New Mexico Department of Health, conducting administrative hearings related to the licensure of health care facilities in New Mexico and their employees, as well as conducting rule promulgation hearings and other administrative hearings. He has also been an impartial due process hearing officer for the New Mexico Public Education Department since 2017.
Mr. Erickson discontinued his civil litigation practice in 2019, and now focuses strictly on his practice as an administrative hearing officer for the New Mexico Department of Health and the New Mexico Public Education Department.
November 1988 to March 31, 2016
Sheehan & Sheehan, P.A., Shareholder and Director to the firm, representing a variety of small and large private and governmental clients in the fields of complex litigation, products liability, mass torts, contract disputes, nursing home litigation, personal injury law, insurance defense, water law, and other litigation. Managing Director of the Firm, 1999 through 2003.
In addition to the foregoing summary of Mr. Erickson’s work as a lawyer in civil litigation, since 2003, Mr. Erickson has been a hearing officer for the New Mexico Department of Health, conducting administrative hearings related to the licensure of health care facilities in New Mexico and their employees, as well as rule promulgation and other administrative hearings. Further, he also conducted adjudicatory hearings for the New Mexico Department of Aging and Long-Term Services.
September 1985 – July 1988
Alaska Attorney General's Office, Anchorage, Alaska.
Assistant Attorney General - Oil, Gas, and Mining Section from September 1987 – July 1988. Representation of the Alaska Department of Revenue in complex litigation. Practice included working on a litigation team in a multimillion-dollar oil income tax case. Responsibilities included legal research and writing, briefing before the Department of Revenue and Alaska Superior Court, analysis of legal and factual issues relating to valuation of crude oil, working with oil pricing expert witnesses, participation in depositions, extensive document review and screening for discovery, and participation in large-scale organization of documents.
Assistant Attorney General - Human Services Section from September 1985 – August 1987. Representation of the Department of Health and Social Services in child protective actions, child support enforcement actions, and civil commitment actions at the Alaska Psychiatric Institute. This work included numerous successful trials, civil pleading and motion practice, and management of an open caseload of up to 210 cases. Primary responsibility for briefing a child protective case in the United States Supreme Court.
August 1984 – August 1985
Superior Court Judge Beverly W. Cutler - Alaska Trial Courts, Palmer, Alaska, Judicial Law Clerk. Responsibilities included making recommendations on pending civil matters; legal research; writing orders, decisions, and legal memoranda; sitting as an acting magistrate hearing arraignments, small claims trials, animal control board trials, and traffic violation trials.
United States Attorney's Office - District of Montana, Billings, Montana, Legal Intern.
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