Victor R. Ortega is the firm’s senior litigator. He has extensive experience in all aspects of litigation, both civil and criminal. Mr. Ortega’s experience includes trial practice in both federal and state courts, both jury and non-jury, and appeals in both federal and state courts.
Mr. Ortega presently practices primarily in the area of complex commercial litigation. In addition, he has experience in general tort and product liability defense, civil rights defense, employment litigation, insurance coverage litigation and the defense of complex environmental litigation, both civil and criminal. Mr. Ortega also has broad experience in the handling of complex white collar criminal litigation.
From 1978 to approximately 1990, Mr. Ortega was the lead litigator and trial lawyer defending Southern Union Company, the natural gas utility in New Mexico, in various aspects of the New Mexico Natural Gas Antitrust Litigation. Mr. Ortega was one of two lead trial lawyers representing Southern Union Company in the liability jury trial of the residential consumer class action brought as part of that litigation. Mr. Ortega was the lead New Mexico trial lawyer defending U S WEST in the Inside Wire Antitrust Litigation. Mr. Ortega has defended Arvin Industries, Inc. and Figgie International, Inc. in antitrust litigation. He has defended Southern Union Company and El Paso Natural Gas Company in major gas contract litigation. Mr. Ortega has also represented El Paso Natural Gas Company in major environmental litigation brought under the National Environmental Policy Act.
Mr. Ortega represented Ideal Basic Industries, Inc. (now Holnam, Inc.) in substantial litigation arising from the sale of the assets of its former division, Potash Company of America, including a major foreclosure action in federal court, problems relating to the bankruptcy of the purchaser, and an ERISA action by former employees of the division. Mr. Ortega represented Catholic Mutual Relief Society of America, a self-insurance arm of the Roman Catholic Church, in the defense of complex federal court insurance coverage litigation arising from alleged sexual molestation cases involving Roman Catholic clergy. Mr. Ortega was the lead attorney defending US WEST in major franchise ordinance litigation brought against it by the City of Albuquerque for the alleged underpayment of franchise taxes. Mr. Ortega has also represented Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company, Crum and Forster Insurance Group, Ticor Title Insurance Company and the AIG Insurance Group in major complex litigation. Recently, Mr. Ortega has defended corporate clients and individuals in suits brought under the False Claims Act. Recently, Mr. Ortega was the lead trial lawyer representing the Jacqueline Spencer Morgan Trust in complex trust and estate litigation. Recently Mr. Ortega has represented Occidental Permian LLC in quiet title litigation over ownership of oil and gas interests.
Mr. Ortega has broad and varied experience representing major corporate clients such as:
Southern Union Company
El Paso Natural Gas Company
Halliburton Services, Inc.
Arvin Industries, Inc.
Honeywell International, Inc.
Ideal Basic Industries, Inc. (now Holnam Inc.)
Figgie International, Inc.
Bank of America
Harvard Law School
A.B., magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi, 1954
Professional Memberships and Activities
State Bar of New Mexico, Antitrust and Litigation Sections of the American Bar Association
Former Member of the New Mexico Supreme Court Standing Committee on Rules of Civil Procedure
Chairman of Federal Magistrate Selection Panel from inception until 1994
Member, American Law Institute
United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico, 1969-1978
Assistant District Attorney, Second Judicial District, State of New Mexico 1959-1960
New Mexico Constitutional Revision Commission, 1968-1969
National Association of Former United States Attorneys (Founding Member)
Member, 1973-1978 and Chairman, 1977-1978 Attorney General’s Advisory Committee of United States Attorneys
A.B., Magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi