Attorney Bio

Tribal Law. Tribal Solutions.

FRANCES

FRANCES C. BASSETT
Partner

Louisville, CO
P: 303.815.1721
F: 303.673.9155
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Ms. Bassett joined the firm as a partner in 2008.

Tribal Affiliation: 
Member, Cherokee Nation.

PRACTICE AREAS:
Natural resources, oil and gas, water and environmental law, commercial transactions, civil litigation and appellate advocacy.

ADMISSIONS:
New Mexico and Colorado; U.S. Courts of Appeal for the Tenth Circuit and the District of Columbia; U.S. District Courts in New Mexico and Colorado.

EDUCATION:
University of New Mexico (J.D., 1980); Board of Editors, Natural Resources Journal (1978-1980); University of New Mexico (B.A. 1974).

PRIOR LEGAL EXPERIENCE:
Assistant Attorney General, New Mexico Attorney General′s Office, Division of Water, Environment and Utilities (2003-08), and Division of Special Prosecutions (1987-88); Special Assistant Attorney General, New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission (2002-2003); private practice in New Mexico (1995-2002); Staff Attorney, Colorado Court of Appeals (1988-1995); Staff Attorney, New Mexico Court of Appeals (1985-1987); Atlantic Richfield Company (1980-1985); law clerk at the United States Department of Interior, Field Solicitor′s Office, Window Rock, Arizona (1979).

REPRESENTATIVE CASES:
Ms. Bassett has been involved in general civil and commercial cases, as well as complex environmental and endangered species litigation. QEP Field Services Co. v. Ute Indian Tribe, ___ F. Supp.2d ___, 2010 WL 3069832 (D. Utah 2010); U.S. v. Questar Gas Management Co., 2010 WL 267332; Jones v. Norton, 2010 WL 2990829; Ute Indian Tribe v. Ute Development Corporation, 2010 WL 956905; Rio Grande Silvery Minnow v. Bureau of Reclamation, 601 F.3d 1096 (10th Cir. 2010); New Mexico ex rel. Richardson v. Bureau of Land Management, 459 F. Supp.2d 1102 (D.N.M. 2006); U.S. v. Sackett, 114 F.3d 1050 (10th Cir. 1997); Chappell v. Cosgrove, 916 P.2d 836 (N.M. 1996); Cafeteria Operators, L.P. v. Coronado-Santa Fe Associates, L.P., 952 P.2d 435 (N.M. App. 1997); Las Campanas Ltd. Partnership v. Pribble, 943 P.2d 554 (N.M. App. 1997).

ASSOCIATIONS:
New Mexico and Colorado State Bars, New Mexico and Colorado Indian Bar Associations; and Cherokee South West Township, a satellite community of the Cherokee Nation; Board of Directors, Denver Indian Family Resource Center.

LEGAL AUTHORSHIP: Constitutional Limitations on State Severance Taxes, 20 Natural Resources Journal 887 (1980); The State and Federal Quandary Over Billboard Controls, 19 Natural Resources Journal 711 (1979).


Ms. Bassett is experienced in transactional work, litigation and appellate advocacy. She was appointed by the New Mexico Supreme Court to the court′s Appellate Rules Committee from 2001-06, and was Chair of the Appellate Practice Section of the N.M. Bar Association in 2004.

Ms. Bassett has broad experience in water, natural resources and environmental law. At the New Mexico Attorney General′s Office Ms. Bassett drafted portions of the State′s brief-in-chief, reply brief and other pleadings, and argued before the Tenth Circuit in the State′s successful appeal in Rio Grande Silvery Minnow v. Bureau of Reclamation, 601 F.3d 1096 (10th Cir. 2010), a case under the Endangered Species Act. She also coordinated the work of state agencies and outside counsel in preparing a defense to interstate litigation threatened by the State of Texas over the waters of the Lower Rio Grande.

At the N. M. Attorney General′s Office, Ms. Bassett monitored negotiations and drafted recommendation memoranda for the State′s settlement of Indian water rights claims in three separate adjudications, the Navajo Nation settlement in New Mexico v. United States (N.M. State District Court, San Juan County, N.M.); the Taos Pueblo settlement in New Mexico v. Abeyta (U.S. District Court), and a settlement of claims for the Pueblos of Nambe, Pojoaque, Tesuque and San Ildefonso in New Mexico v. Aamodt (U.S. District Court).

At the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission, Ms. Bassett worked with technical staff in developing and implementing the State of New Mexico′s water rights acquisition program in the Pecos River Basin. Under that program New Mexico purchased and fallowed 18,000 acres of farmland and appurtenant water rights and developed an augmentation well field to achieve compliance with the Pecos River Compact and the amended decree and injunction entered by the U.S. Supreme Court in Texas v. New Mexico, 485 U.S. 288 (1988).

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