Mr. Nicholas is a senior and managing partner of the firm and widely recognized as one of the leading securities litigators in the country. He has extensive experience representing private and public institutional investors in high-stakes actions involving federal and state securities laws, accountants’ liability, market manipulation, and corporate governance matters. Mr. Nicholas has recovered billions of dollars in courts all across the nation on behalf of some of the largest mutual funds, investment managers, insurance companies, public pension plans, and hedge funds in North America and Europe.
On behalf of institutional investor clients, Mr. Nicholas currently serves, and has served in prior litigation, as lead counsel in a wide variety of high-profile actions. Select representations include the following:
- Tyco Direct Action - Lead Counsel on behalf of prominent mutual funds, hedge funds and a public pension fund in a direct action against Tyco International and certain of its former officers, which was successfully resolved for over $105 million.
- International Rectifier Securities Litigation – Co-Lead Counsel in securities fraud action resolved for $90 million.
- AXA Rosenberg Breach of Fiduciary Duty Action - Recovered over $65 million for investors in AXA Rosenberg’s funds and strategies who incurred losses as a result of an error in the company’s quantitative investment model.
- Maxim Integrated Securities Litigation –Lead Counsel in a stock options backdating action which resulted in $173 million cash for investors – the largest backdating recovery in the Ninth Circuit.
- Dendreon Securities Litigation – Lead Counsel in securities fraud action resulting in $40 million settlement and is currently pending final court approval.
- Qwest Direct Action – Represented prominent mutual funds in a direct action which resulted in significant and confidential recovery.
- Legato Securities Litigation – Lead Counsel in securities fraud action resolved for $85 million.
- Gemstar Securities Litigation – Lead Counsel in a securities fraud action which was successfully resolved for $92.5 million.
- Countrywide Equity Direct Action – Represented seventeen prominent institutional investors, including many of the largest in the world, in a direct action that was successfully and confidentially resolved against Countrywide Financial, certain of its former executive officers, and KPMG LLP.
- Williams Securities Litigation –Lead Counsel in a securities fraud action resolved for $311 million.
- Pfizer Direct Action – Currently representing twelve prominent institutional investors in a direct action pending in the Southern District of New York to recover damages arising out of the well-documented securities fraud involving the pain-relieving drugs Celebrex and Bextra.
- Marsh & McLennan Direct Action – Successfully resolved direct securities action against Marsh & McLennan on behalf of several prominent mutual funds.
- Informix Securities Litigation –Co-Lead Counsel in securities fraud action resolved for $142 million.
- Toyota Securities Litigation – Lead Counsel in securities fraud action resulting in $25.5 million settlement arising out of Toyota’s concealment of unintended acceleration.
- Clarent Securities Litigation – Co-Lead Trial Counsel in a securities fraud action prosecuted in the Northern District of California. After a four-week jury trial, in which Mr. Nicholas delivered the closing argument, the jury returned a rare securities fraud verdict in favor of the shareholders against the Company’s former CEO.
- Countrywide RMBS Direct Action - Represented prominent institutional investors, including money managers and insurance companies, in a direct action that was successfully and confidentially resolved against Countrywide Financial.
- LIBOR Manipulation Actions – Currently representing the Los Angeles County Employees' Retirement Association and the County of Riverside in actions on behalf of investors and municipalities who were damaged by the LIBOR rate-setting banks conspiracy to manipulate this critical financial benchmark.
- Morgan Stanley RMBS Direct Action - Currently representing two prominent insurance companies against Morgan Stanley arising out of its fraudulent sale of residential mortgage-backed securities.
- Network Associates Securities Litigation – Lead Counsel in securities fraud action resolved for $70 million.
- J.P. Morgan RMBS Direct Action – Representing a prominent insurance company in an action alleging fraud claims arising from J.P. Morgan's sale of residential mortgage pass-through certificates.
- Finova Securities Litigation – Lead Counsel in securities fraud action resolved for $42 million.
- Deutsche Bank RMBS Direct Action – Currently representing a prominent institutional investor in a securities fraud action against Deutsche Bank arising out of its fraudulent sale of residential mortgage-backed securities.
Awards and Recognitions
- “2010 Attorneys of the Year” - The Recorder- Mr. Nicholas received this honor for his impressive legal achievements and “blockbuster” recoveries on behalf of investors. Winners were “marked by their perseverance – whether fighting long odds, persuading courts to reconsider their own rulings, or getting great trial results in high-profile, high-pressure situations.”
- "Litigation Star” in securities - Benchmark Litigation: The Definitive Guide to America’s Leading Litigation Firms & Attorneys
- “Leading Lawyer” in commercial litigation - The Best Lawyers in America
- “100 Securities Litigators You Need to Know” - Lawdragon
- “500 Leading Lawyers in America” - Lawdragon
- “Top 500 Rising Stars,” Lawdragon
- “Recommended Lawyer” in M&A-related shareholder litigation - Legal 500
- “San Diego Super Lawyer” - SuperLawyers
- “Fab Fifty Young Litigators” - The American Lawyer - Mr. Nicholas was featured as one of its top 50 young litigators in the country, who have “made their marks already and whom they expect to see leading the field for years to come” in 2007.
- “20 under 40” - Daily Journal - The prominent California legal periodical honored him as one of its top “20 under 40” for “racking up a string of multi-million dollar victories for investors” in 2007.
Mr. Nicholas frequently lectures at institutional investor and continuing legal educational conferences throughout the United States. He has written numerous articles relating to the application of the federal and state securities laws, including:
- “Concerns Rise with Foreign Litigation: Action May Be Only Way to Recoup Losses,” Pensions & Investments (January 2013) (co-author)
- “Regulations Needed for Healthy Market,” The Recorder (March 2011)
- “Why Institutional Investors Opt-Out of Securities Fraud Class Actions and Pursue Direct Individual Actions,” Securities Litigation and Enforcement Institute (PLI, July 2009) (co-author)
- “Credit Rating Agencies: Out of Control and in Need of Reform,” Securities Litigation & Regulation Reporter (June 30, 2009) (co-author)
- “Ruling Warns Funds to Follow Class Actions,” Pensions & Investments (December 2008) (co-author)
- “South Ferry: Applying Tellabs, 9th Circuit Lowers The Bar for Pleading Scienter Under the PSLRA,” Securities Litigation & Regulation Reporter (October 2008)
- “The 7th Circuit Sends a Strong Message: Institutions Must Monitor Securities Class Actions Claims,” The NAPPA Report (August 2008)
- “Industry-Wide Collapse Defense Falls Flat in Recent Subprime-Related Securities Fraud Decisions,” Securities Litigation & Regulation Reporter (July 2008) (co-author)
- “Auditor Liability: Institutional Investors Pursue Opt-Out Actions To Maximize Recovery of Securities Fraud Losses,” Securities Litigation and Enforcement Institute (PLI, 2007) (co-author)
- “Reforming the Reform Act and Restoring Investor Confidence in the Securities Markets,” Securities Reform Act Litigation Reporter (July 2002)
Boards and Other Professional Affiliations
Mr. Nicholas served as Vice President on the Executive Committee of the San Diego Chapter of the Federal Bar Association and is an active member of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers of San Diego, Consumer Attorneys of California, Litigation Section of the State Bar of California, and the San Diego County Bar Association.