Robert R. Rothstein

Bob Rothstein was a founding partner of the firm in 1976.  His practice focused on complex civil and criminal litigation, with an emphasis on civil rights, catastrophic injury, commercial and business torts, and white-collar criminal law.  He was a frequent speaker and instructor on topics of trial practice and substantive law. 

All of us at Rothstein Donatelli will forever miss Bob's presence, but his spirit and his legacy live on.


  • University of California, B.A., 1966
  • UCLA,  M.A. in political science, 1967
  • UCLA,  C. Phil. in political science,  1970
  • University of California (Boalt Hall), J.D.,  1974.
  • Completed two years of advanced study at the Center for the Study of Law and Society at the University of California.


  •  "Best Lawyers in America" in Personal Injury, Labor and Employment Law and Criminal Law (since 1987);
  • "Super Lawyers" in Civil Rights/First Amendment, Personal Injury and Criminal Defense (since 2007);
  • American Trial Lawyers Association Top 100 Trial Lawyers (since 2007);
  • NAACP Award for Dedicated Service in the Cause of Justice;
  • IMAGE de Nuevo Mexico Award for Contributions to the Cause of Civil Rights.


  • The American Association for Justice
  • American Board of Trial Advocates
  • The New Mexico Trial Lawyers Association (past-Board Member)
  • The Arizona Trial Lawyers Association
  • The American Trial Lawyers Association
  • The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • The New Mexico Criminal Defense Lawyers' Association (past-President)
  • Oliver Seth American Inns of Court (Master Bencher)
  • Member and Chair of the New Mexico Supreme Court Rules of Evidence Committee
  • Member of the Supreme Court Rules of Civil Procedure Committee
  • Melvin L. Belli Society
  • Academy of Catastrophic Injury Attorneys.


Civil Rights/Government Misconduct

  • A.L.A., et al. v. Board of Education of the Las Vegas City Schools, et al. ($5.25 million settlement in brutal sexual assault on younger students by older students at off-campus football camp);
  • Montoya v. City of Las Vegas, N.M. ($4.2 million settlement in police shooting case);
  • Archuleta v. New Mexico State Police ($1.8 million verdict in police shooting case);
  • Sherwood v. Santa Fe County ($1.8 million settlement in jail attempted suicide case);
  • Teschner v. Woods ($1.5 million settlement in shooting by park ranger);
  • Saenz v. City of Raton, N.M. ($1 million settlement in police wrongful death, asphyxiation and tasering case).

Class Actions

  • Barber v. Regents of the University of California ($16.4 million recovery in pay disparity and discrimination case brought by female and Hispanic employees of Los Alamos National Laboratory);
  • Leyba v. County of Santa Fe ($8.5 million recovery in jail strip search case);
  • Lira v. Dona Ana County ($5 million recovery in jail strip search case);
  • Allison v. Lincoln County ($1 million recovery in jail strip search case);
  • Torres v. Valencia County ($3.3 million recovery in jail strip search case);
  • Garcia v. Santa Cruz County, AZ ($3.187 million recovery in jail strip search case);
  • Shannon v. Hidalgo County ($1 million recovery in jail strip search case).

Other Significant Cases

  • Terry Seaton Litigation (Spent 7 years establishing Seaton's innocence and gaining his release from prison.  Seaton was ultimately vindicated by a substantial civil rights verdict in his favor against those responsible for the frame-up);
  • Counsel for plaintiff class in long-running Duran prison conditions litigation;
  • Special Prosecutor for the Navajo Nation (Successful government corruption prosecutions of Tribal officials);
  • Shuttlejack School Bus Crash Case (Served as part of the plaintiffs' committee in recovering approximately $15 million settlement in a case arising from failure to inspect and maintain a bus leased to carry school children to a ski program);
  • Chaky v. NM DOT (Jury verdict of $3.7 million in wrongful death claims resulting from failure to maintain icy highway).

Reported Appellate Decisions (Partial List)

  • GEICO v. Welch, 2004-NMSC-14, 135 N.M. 452, 90 P. 3d 471;
  •  Valdez v. State, 2002-NMSC-028, 132 N.M. 667, 54 P.3d 71;
  • Federal Express Corp. v. USA, 228 F. Supp. 2d 1267 (D.N.M. 2002)
  • AFSCME v. Silva, 2001-NMSC-038, 37 P.3d 81;
  • Archuleta v. LaCuesta, 1999-NMCA-113, 128 N.M. 13, 988 P.2d 883;
  • Padwa v. Hadley, 1999-NMCA-067, 127 N.M. 416, 981 P. 2d 1234;
  • Radecki v. Barela, 146 F. 3d 1227 (10th Cir. 1998);
  • Archuleta v. LaCuesta, 131 F.3d 1359 (10th Cir. 1997);
  • Navajo Nation v. McDonald, Jr., 7 Nav. R.1, 19 Ind. L.R. 6079 (Nav. Sup. Ct. 1992);
  • Tracy v. Superior Court of Maricopa County, AZ., 168 Ariz .23, 810 P.2d 1030 (1991); 
  •  Navajo Nation v. McDonald, Sr., 6 Nav. R. 463, 19 Ind. L. R. 6053 (Nav. Sup. Ct. 1991);
  • Arrow v. Dow, 636 F.2d 287 (10th Cir. 1980), on remand, 544 F. Supp. 458 (D.N.M. 1982).