Nicholas A. Duston focuses on complex commercial litigation in the state and federal courts of New Jersey and New York, as well as arbitrations with the American Arbitration Association (AAA), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and other arbitration organizations. His practice is primarily focused on disputes involving business owners, their managers, and their employees. This includes shareholders, members, partners, officers, managers, employees and other agents of corporations, LLCs, partnerships, and other types of business entities. Nick has extensive experience litigating fraud and breaches of fiduciary duty and regularly handles cases with related issues such as employee theft of trade secrets, diversion of corporate opportunities, or breaches of restrictive covenants or non-compete obligations. He is adept at unwinding complex fact patterns such as those arising from complicated financial instruments, complex multi-entity business structures, or large amounts of electronically stored information (ESI).
In representing companies, company owners, and officers/managers, Nick’s practice also includes white-collar criminal matters, such as conducting internal investigations or defending companies and individuals during internal or government investigations into alleged securities fraud, money laundering, and other financial crimes. He has also handled many matters at the intersection of white-collar and civil litigation. For example, Nick has successfully litigated Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (“RICO”) Act claims as both defense counsel and plaintiff’s counsel. He also regularly handles issues relating to government seizure of property, particularly on behalf of secured lenders, including defense against civil and criminal asset forfeiture, as well as civil rights litigation under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 when the government seizes property without due process or in violation of other constitutionally-protected rights. He is adept at preserving lienholders’ rights and securing possession of collateral in a variety of civil contexts
Nick recognizes above all that the reason clients need him to handle this type of matter is that something has gone wrong, often in a complicated and completely unforeseen way. A client dealing with such an issue needs not only an experienced litigator who can “win,” but also an attorney who understands their goals and can expertly guide them through each of their options from start to finish. Every dispute has a spectrum of solutions, from an efficient and pragmatic deal to an all-out, knock-down fight through trial and beyond, and everything in between. Some clients focus exclusively on monetary cost and gain, while others seek to avoid repeat litigation, want to make an impact on the law, or have reputational or other broad, non-monetary agendas. Nick can handle each dispute as the situation warrants, but more importantly, he remains laser-focused on his client’s goals (which are almost always more nuanced than “win” or “settle”) to help the client make informed decisions about each possible path to resolution.
Prior to joining Norris McLaughlin, Nick was a commercial litigation associate in the white-collar investigation and litigation practice group of Debevoise & Plimpton, LLP, in New York City. At Columbia University School of Law, he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, a member of the Columbia Journal of European Law, and in the Non-Profit Organizations/ Small Business Clinic.