David H. Johnson

David H. Johnson


DAVID H. JOHNSON has represented healthcare providers throughout New Mexico in regulatory, operational, transactional, and fraud and abuse matters for more than 25 years. During his lengthy tenure serving the health law needs of our state, his clients have included hospitals, medical groups, community clinics, clinical laboratories, home care and long term care organizations, as well as individual healthcare professionals. Today, David limits his practice to consulting on healthcare matters with his Sutin colleagues, providing a direct benefit to both clients and the Firm.

Active in a variety of professional groups, David is a current member and past chair of the American Bar Association Health Law Section and is a Life Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. He is also past chair of the State Bar Health Law Section and is a member of the American Health Lawyers Association. It is this long-term engagement with the ABA, particularly the Health Law Section, that continues to benefit both our clients and colleagues within the firm. Because David remains in a consultative role, he is able to expedite legal research and offer our other lawyers access to his wealth of contacts within the health care law industry across the nation.

Other professional alliances remain important. Since 2003, he has been a member of the Board of the New Mexico Health Professionals Wellness Program, a nonprofit organization offering services to impaired healthcare providers. David is listed in Best Lawyers in America, Top Rated Lawyers in New Mexico, and Southwest Super Lawyers, and is AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell. In 2015, 2020, and 2022, he was selected as Lawyer of the Year for Health Law – Albuquerque by Best Lawyers in America.

David began his law career as a healthcare lawyer in litigation practice, focusing on medical malpractice defense and complex litigation involving ERISA and healthcare class action lawsuits. He has been a faculty member of the UNM School of Medicine and adjunct faculty at the UNM School of Law, UNM College of Nursing and the Stanford University Primary Care Associate Program.

Before attending law school, David practiced for 11 years as a family nurse practitioner for a community health clinic, a county health department and two academic medical centers in New Mexico. He has published many articles and a book chapter on a variety of health law topics and speaks frequently to attorneys and industry groups on healthcare issues.


  • New Mexico, 1994
  • U.S. District Court of New Mexico, 1994
  • 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, 1995


  • University of New Mexico Law School, 1994, J.D.; Dean’s List, Honor Roll, Health Law Scholar Award, Don McCormick Endowed Writing Prize, National Health Law Moot Court Team
  • Yale University School of Nursing, 1980, M.S.N. in Community Health Nursing, Nurse Practitioner Specialization
  • San Francisco State University, 1975, M.S., Rehabilitation Counseling
  • Yale University, 1970, B.A. in African Studies, Departmental Honors

Publications & Speeches


  • Corporate Practice of Medicine: A 50 State Survey, Second Edition, New Mexico chapter (American Health Lawyers Association), 2020 (co-authored with Jesse D. Hale and Robert J. Johnston)
  • The Institute of Medicine Report on Reducing Medical Error and Its Implications for Healthcare Providers and Attorneys, The Health Lawyer (American Bar Association Health Law Section), v. 12, n. 5, p. 1, June 2000 (co-author with David Shapiro, M.D., J.D.).
  • Financial Incentives to Physicians, in Managed Care: Financial, Legal and Ethical Issues, (David Bennahum, M.D., Editor), 2000.
  • Illinois Appeals Court Says HMO Physician Had Fiduciary Duty to Disclose to Patient Financial Incentives That Might Lead to Withholding of Care. AHLA Health Law Digest, v. 27, n. 6, p. 28, June 1999.
  • ERISA Fiduciary Duty Claims and Managed Care Liability: Implications of Herdrich v. Pegram, The Health Lawyer (American Bar Association Health Law Section), v. 11, n. 4, p. 1, May 1999.
  • Managed Care and Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claims: Taking a Close Look at Herdrich v. Pegram, NM Defense Lawyers Association Defense News, v. 8, n. 1, p. 1, Spring 1999.
  • Homecare and Violence Prevention: The New OSHA Guidelines, NM Association for Home Care News, Supplement, March/April l996.
  • Neither Panacea nor Pandora’s Box: Medical Practice Guidelines and Their Effect on Malpractice Litigation, NM Bar Bulletin, Vol. 33, No. 31, p. 1, August 4, 1994,
  • Coda: Thoughts on Multiculturalism, Medicine and the Practice of Female Circumcision, Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, v. 3, p. 439 (1994).
  • Letter to the editor on the legal and ethical issues involved in terminating treatment in patients with acute quadriplegia (with David Bennahum, M.D.), New England Journal of Medicine, v. 329, p. 663 (1993).
  • Making Sense of Managed Competition: America’s Health Care System at the Crossroads, NM Bar Bulletin, Vol. 32, No. 24, p. 10, June 17, 1993.
  • Helga Wanglie Revisited: Medical Futility and the Limits of Autonomy, 2 Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, v. 2, p. 161 (1993). Reprinted in Clinical Medical Ethics: Cases and Readings (David C. Thomasma and Patricia A. Marshall eds., 1994).
  • Case Summary, The MedLaw Update, Defense Research Institute, p. 10, Summer 1999.



  • Presentations on the Opioid Epidemic: State Bar of New Mexico Health Law Symposium, Colorado Bar Association, State Bar of New Mexico Annual Meeting (2017-9).
  • Presentation, Basics of Healthcare Fraud & Abuse, ABA National Institute on Healthcare Fraud (April 2012 and 2016).
  • Presentations on various aspects of healthcare fraud and abuse, State Bar of New Mexico Health Law Symposium (2014-16); Albuquerque Bar Association (2016).
  • Moderator, Doing Business with the Tribes, ABA Health Law Section Annual Meeting (February 2015)
  • Taught course on healthcare fraud and abuse, UNM School of Law (Spring 2013).
  • Presentation, Physician Integration, NM HFMA Chapter (October 2012).
  • Presentations, Physician-Hospital Business Arrangements, Legal Education Institute, Colorado Bar Association (January 2012 and 2013).
  • Presentation, Healthcare Fraud Update, State Bar of New Mexico Health Law Symposium (October 2011).
  • Presentations, “Healthcare Liability Update,” Legal Education Institute, Colorado Bar Association (2006-2010).
  • Presentation on the Medicare Recovery Audit Contractor program, State Bar of New Mexico Health Law Section (April 2009).
  • Program Moderator, Advances in Telemedicine, American Bar Association Health Law Section Annual Meeting (February 2009).
  • Teleconference Moderator, “Health Care Facility Ethics Committees: New Issues in an Age of Transparency,” American Bar Association, Health Law Section (January 2008).


  • Martindale-Hubbell: AV Preeminent
  • Best Lawyers in America, Health Care Law
  • Best Lawyers, Lawyer of the Year, Health Care Law, 2022
  • Best Lawyers, Lawyer of the Year, Health Care Law, 2020
  • Best Lawyers, Lawyer of the Year, Healthcare, 2015
  • Southwest Super Lawyers, Healthcare
  • Martindale-Hubbell, Top Rated Lawyers in Healthcare

Listed Logo for David H. JohnsonBest Lawyers Award Badge Best Lawyers Award Badge

Professional & Community Involvement

  • American Bar Association Health Law Section, Vice Chair, Substance Use Disorders and Mental Health Group
  • American Bar Association Health Law Section, Past Chair
  • American Bar Foundation, Life Fellow
  • American Health Lawyers Association, Member
  • New Mexico Bar Health Law Section, Past Chair
  • New Mexico Monitored Treatment Program, Past Board President; Board Member

Representative Experience

For more than 25 years, represented healthcare providers throughout New Mexico in regulatory, operational, transactional, fraud and abuse, and litigation matters. Clients have included hospitals, medical groups, ASCs and imaging centers, home care organizations, long term care organizations, and individual healthcare professionals.

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