David W. Peterson

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David W. Peterson

Dave is an experienced litigator who works with clients in matters related to Tribal/Indian law, insurance defense, commercial litigation involving antitrust issues and employment litigation.

Tribal/Indian Law
For years, Dave has been involved in litigating Tribal/Indian law matters in tribal, state, and federal courts.  Many of the cases he has handled involve jurisdictional issues including the extent of tribal, state, and federal civil adjudicatory authority and the extent of tribal authority to tax.  Other Tribal/Indian law cases he is regularly involved with include defense of individuals, corporations, and tribes against claims of wrongful death, personal injury, violation of constitutional rights and claims of civil rights violations, employment law matters related to claims of discrimination and wrongful termination, as well as wrongful banishment.

Dave is a member of the Navajo Nation Bar Association and has practiced in other tribal courts in New Mexico and Arizona, including the courts of the Hopi Tribe, the Yavapai Apache Nation, Jicarilla Apache Nation, Mescalero Apache Tribe and the Pueblos of Acoma, Isleta, Laguna, Ohkay Owingeh, Pojoaque, Santa Ana, Santa Clara, Santo Domingo, Tesuque, and Zuni.

Insurance Defense
Dave also represents clients in cases involving tort claims of wrongful death and serious personal injury cases, including electrocution, acid burns and carbon monoxide poisoning.  He has also defended cases involving slip and fall personal injury claims and property damage subrogation claims.

Commercial Litigation
Dave’s commercial litigation practice includes handling matters involving breach of contract claims, insurance coverage and bad faith insurance practices claims, antitrust claims, and attorney malpractice defense.

Bar Admissions

New Mexico

Navajo Nation


University of Utah College of Law, J.D. (1992)

Utah State University, M.A. (1990)

Utah State University, B.A., cum laude (1988)

State Bar of New Mexico, Member

  • Indian Law Section

Navajo Nation Bar Association, Member

  • Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® in the following areas:
    • Bet-the-Company Litigation (2024)
    • Commercial Litigation (2011–2024)
    • Native American Law (2011–2024)
  • Listed in Best’s Recommended Insurance Attorneys

New Mexico Philharmonic and Foundation, Board Member


El Ranchito de los Niños, Past Board Member


Jennings Haug Keleher McLeod expands by adding the talented lawyers of Waterfall, Economidis, Caldwell, Hanshaw & Villamana. Now with offices in Albuquerque, New Mexico as well as Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona, the Firm will continue to serve its clients across the Southwest under the name Jennings Haug Keleher McLeod Waterfall LLP.