Seth T. Cohen
Seth T. Cohen has had extensive experience and success litigating complex civil cases in state and federal courts. Most recently, in almost seven years working for the Attorney General of New Mexico, Mr. Cohen played a significant role in lawsuits against major corporate defendants that recovered approximately $50 million for the State of New Mexico.
Early in his tenure at the Attorney General’s Office, Mr. Cohen served as lead counsel in the State’s successful challenge to the Clean Air Act permit issued by the U.S. EPA for the proposed 1500 Megawatt coal-fired power plant known as Desert Rock. Partly as a result of the permit litigation, the power plant has never been built. The Attorney General named Mr. Cohen Attorney of the Year for 2009 for his work on the case.
In 2010, Mr. Cohen successfully briefed and argued a landmark New Mexico Supreme Court case, convincing the Court to strike down the State Land Commissioner’s controversial program to trade away over 14,000 acres of State Trust Lands valued at $22 million in the vicinity of White Peak. For this work, the New Mexico League United of Latin American Citizens awarded Mr. Cohen its Medal of Valor and Excellence, and the Hispanic Round Table of New Mexico awarded him its “Walking the Talk” Award.
In mid-2010, the Attorney General promoted Mr. Cohen to the position of Special Counsel with primary responsibility for all false claims or qui tam cases brought under the 2007 New Mexico Fraud Against Taxpayers Act. In this position, Mr. Cohen successfully litigated the first multi-million dollar fraud case under this new statute, recovering $5.2 million from Chevron Corporation for allegations that Chevron had improperly obtained state funds for cleanup of leaks from petroleum storage tanks.
Mr. Cohen began his legal career at Morrison & Foerster, a major international law firm perennially ranked by the American Lawyer magazine as among the top 20 law firms in the United States. At Morrison & Foerster, Mr. Cohen worked with some of the country’s best litigators representing some of the world’s largest corporations in lawsuits ranging from billion-dollar patent disputes to consumer class actions.
Mr. Cohen has also spent several years in private practice in Santa Fe, conducting all phases of civil litigation from discovery to trial. Among other successes, Mr. Cohen won summary judgment in a dispute over a $30 million commercial real estate development and—after extensive discovery and motion practice—obtained a favorable settlement for his client from a mining company in a royalty dispute.
Mr. Cohen graduated magna cum laude from Amherst College in 1994 and received his law degree from Stanford Law School in 2002. Before attending law school, Mr. Cohen completed a Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs, worked as a lobbyist in Washington, D.C., and, in 1998, helped now-Senator Tom Udall unseat an incumbent congressman in New Mexico’s 3rd Congressional District.