Overview

Nicole Benjamin is a litigator with more than a decade of courtroom experience who has been recognized for her successes in complex commercial litigation matters.

Nicole has represented public and private companies, state departments, state general officers and municipalities in high-stakes litigation.  Her cases have included complex contractual disputes, as well as business tort, products liability and toxic tort, employment and constitutional claims.  Her cases have also included litigation related to mergers and acquisitions, securities laws, intellectual property and banking laws.

Nicole also defends class actions in state and federal court and is currently working with an international law firm to defend a pharmaceutical company in an antitrust multi-district litigation case in the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island.

At AP&S, Nicole spearheads the firm’s use of cutting-edge technology to efficiently manage complex litigation from pre-suit to trial.

In addition to her trial court practice, Nicole handles appellate matters utilizing her previous experience as lead law clerk to the Honorable Frank J. Williams during his tenure as Chief Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court.  Nicole has successfully briefed and argued cases in the First Circuit and the Rhode Island Supreme Court.

Education

  • Roger Williams University School of Law (J.D., magna cum laude, 2006)
  • University of Rhode Island (B.A., magna cum laude, 2003)

Admissions

  • Rhode Island
  • Massachusetts
  • Connecticut
  • U.S. District Court, District of Rhode Island
  • U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts
  • U.S. District Court, District of Connecticut
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court
Representative Matters

Trial Court Matters

  • In the wake of the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Murphy v. NCAA, 138 S. Ct. 1461 (U.S. 2018), Nicole and her colleagues advised the Rhode Island Lottery as it became the first New England state to implement sports wagering and one of the first in the country to implement online sports wagering. Nicole and her colleagues defended the RI Lottery subsequent litigation challenging the constitutionality of both forms of wagering.
  • Nicole and her colleagues successfully defended a United States defense contractor in litigation brought by a Saudi Arabian company that claimed a right to commissions on the sale of military weapons to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Arabian Support & Servs. Co. v. Textron Sys. Corp., 368 F. Supp. 3d 211 (D. Mass. 2019).
  • Along with the antitrust litigation team of a “Global Elite”-ranked international law firm, Nicole represents a leading specialty pharmaceutical company in a multi-district litigation antitrust case.
  • Nicole and her colleagues are defending the world’s largest toy manufacturer against trade secrets claims brought under state and federal law.
  • Nicole represents an American manufacturer of aircraft engines in multi-jurisdictional products liability actions.
  • Along with the Office of the Attorney General, Nicole and a team at AP&S are defending against constitutional challenges brought by the American Trucking Association to the state’s implementation of truck tolls on the interstate. The United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island dismissed the case and it is now pending appeal before the First Circuit. 
  • Nicole and her colleagues represented the State of Rhode Island in litigation against a multinational enterprise information technology company, obtaining dismissal of a number of counterclaims and resulting in a settlement that required the completion of a new DMV computer system for the citizens of Rhode Island.
  • Nicole successfully briefed and argued a motion for summary judgment, resulting in a declaration that, under Rhode Island law, zoning certificates are not legally binding and, therefore, are not appealable. The decision was identified by Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly as one of the most important decisions in 2016. Little Compton Resorts, Inc. v. Zoning Bd. for Little Compton, NC-2016-0262, 2016 R.I. Super. LEXIS 133 (R.I. Super. Ct. Nov. 22, 2016).
  • Since 2010, Nicole and her colleagues have represented the Governor, the General Treasurer and the Employees’ Retirement System of the State of Rhode Island in multiple cases and a class action challenging the constitutionality of pension changes made by the Rhode Island legislature in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Nicole successfully briefed and argued a motion for summary judgment on a claim brought by a group of retirees. In re Pension Cases, KC-14-0345, 2015 R.I. Super. LEXIS 10 (R.I. Super. Ct. Mar. 26, 2015).  Six of ten cases resulted in a settlement, which retained approximately 92 percent of the pension savings the state obtained through the challenged legislation.  The settlement was approved after a three-day fairness hearing and in 2018, the Rhode Island Supreme Court affirmed the Superior Court’s approval of the settlement.  Clifford v. Raimondo, 184 A.3d 673 (R.I. 2018).  Three other cases were dismissed and one remains pending before the Superior Court.  
  • Nicole defended an international company listed on the London Stock Exchange in five years of contentious litigation, including two trial court cases and an appeal, brought by a competitor alleging breach of contract, unfair trade practices, computer crimes, securities fraud and misappropriation of trade secrets in connection with the company's bid to purchase a billion-dollar public company.

Appellate Matters

  • On behalf of the Governor, the General Treasurer and the Employees’ Retirement System of the State of Rhode Island, Nicole successfully briefed and argued in the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, obtaining affirmance of the district court’s dismissal of constitutional challenges brought by a municipality’s public safety employees to significant pension reform legislation enacted by the Rhode Island General Assembly in 2011. Cranston Firefighters, IAFF Local 1363 v. Raimondo, 880 F.3d 44 (1st Cir. 2018).
  • Nicole successfully briefed and argued an issue of first impression in the Rhode Island Supreme Court, resulting in the recognition of a statutory right for trustees to recover their attorneys’ fees when a trust beneficiary refuses, without any basis, to release the trustee of his or her fiduciary duties. In re Bagdis Living Trust Agreement, 136 A.3d 1122 (R.I. 2016).
  • On behalf of the Rhode Island Bar Association, Nicole drafted amicus curiae briefs on issues of first impression related to the unauthorized practice of law.
  • In $60 million litigation, Nicole and her colleagues defended charitable corporations that had been sued, in three separate lawsuits, for alleged undue influence and fraud in connection with charitable donations that had been made to the charitable corporations via will, trusts and lifetime gifts. Obtained summary judgment on behalf of AP&S' clients in the trial court in all three cases and successfully defended those judgments on appeal before the Rhode Island Supreme Court.

Other Matters

  • Nicole regularly advises a regional sports association that serves as the governing body for youth and adult clubs on its legal obligations and players’ rights.
Seminars / Publications

Publications

  • Five Things the Rhode Island Supreme Court Wants You To Know About Civil and Appellate Practice, Rhode Island Bar Journal (May/June 2017).
  • Rhode Island chapter of Survey of State Class Action Law (American Bar Association, 2015).
  • Rhode Island chapter of Survey of State Class Action Law (American Bar Association, 2014).
  • Roger Williams University School of Law: The First Twenty Years - The Rise of Rhode Island's Law School, 19 Roger Williams U. L. Rev. 638 (2014) (co-author).
  • Closing Argument – Reflections on the First Twenty Years, RWU Law Magazine (Jan. 2014).
  • Rhode Island chapter of Survey of State Class Action Law (American Bar Association, 2013) (co-author).
  • Rhode Island chapter of Fifty-State Survey, The Law of Class Action (American Bar Association 2012) (co-author).
  • Rhode Island chapter of State-by-State Survey of the Statutes of Limitation and Repose Applicable to Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Litigation (American Bar Association, 2012) (co-author).
  • “Military Trials of Terrorists: From the Lincoln Conspirators to the Guantanamo Inmates,” 39 Northern Kentucky L. Rev. 609 (2012) (co-author).
  • “Introduction of International Law,” World History Encyclopedia, ABC-CLIO, 2011.
  • Rhode Island chapter of A Practitioner’s Guide to Class Actions (American Bar Association 2010) (co-author).
  • “Close-Hauling Toward Simplified Eligibility Under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act,” 35 Tulane Maritime Law J. 45 (Winter 2010) (co-author).
  • “Still a Frightening Unknown: Achieving a Constitutional Balance between Civil Liberties and National Security during the War on Terror,” 12 Roger Williams U. L. Rev. 675 (2007) (co-author).
  • “Unlocking America’s Courthouse Doors: Restoring a Presumption of First Amendment Access as a Means of Reviving Public Faith in the Judiciary,” 11 Roger Williams U. L. Rev. 193 (2005).

Seminars

  • Recent Developments in the Law - Courts and Civil Procedure 2019, Rhode Island Bar Association CLE (forthcoming November 2019).
  • You Can Bet On It! Sports Wagering in Rhode Island, Pawtucket Bar Association CLE (September 25, 2019)
  • Don't Get Caught in the Regulatory Web! Lessons for In-House and Government Attorneys from Mistakes Made by Domino's, Amazon, Nike and Others About Website ADA Compliance, Adler Pollock & Sheehan, May, 2019.
  • Ethics in eDiscovery: A View from the Parties, CLE, February 2019.
  • Electronic Discovery for Colleges and Universities, January 2019.
  • Recent Developments in the Law - Courts and Civil Procedure 2018, Rhode Island Bar Association CLE, October 2018.
  • Ethical Considerations in the Global Data Environment, Safeguarding Client Information in 2018 CLE, May 2018.
  • Voir Dire and Jury Selection, Social Media Use and Other Complex Jury Issues, NBI, May 2018.
  • Recent Developments in the Law - Courts and Civil Procedure 2017, Rhode Island Bar Association CLE.
  • ESI for Plaintiffs, Solo Practitioners and Small Firms – How to Catch Up Electronically With the Big Guys, Rhode Island Bar Association Annual Meeting, June 2017 (panelist).
  • Legal Considerations for the “Smart” Workplace, Adler Pollock & Sheehan CLE, April 2017.
  • E-Discovery Basics, Rhode Island Bar Association Government Lawyers Committee CLE, November 2016.
  • Recent Developments in the Law - Courts and Civil Procedure 2016, Rhode Island Bar Association CLE, November 2016.
  • Women's Leadership Network Seminar, Roger Williams University School of Architecture, Art History and Historic Preservation, October 2016 (panelist).
  • How to Get Your Social Media, Email and Text Evidence Admitted (and Keep Theirs Out), NBI, June, 2016 (co-presenter).
  • When Courts of Law and Public Opinion Collide, RI Bar Association Annual Meeting, June 2016 (co-presenter).
  • Adding New Sources of E-Discovery to Your Litigation Toolkit, CLE hosted by the Rhode Island Department of Attorney General, May 2016.
  • Social Media and the Practice of Law: How Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter Can Help You Fulfill Your Duty of Competency, Federal Bar Association, Rhode Island Chapter, Lunch and Learn Series, April 2016.
  • Representing Your Client in Federal Court, NBI, November 2015 (co-presenter).
  • Recent Developments in Courts and Civil Procedure 2015, Rhode Island Bar Association CLE, October 2015.
  • Supreme Ghostbusting, Email Gatekeeping and Other Issues of First Impression, July 2015.
  • Voir Dire and Jury Selection, NBI, February 2015 (co-presenter).
  • Recent Developments in Courts and Civil Procedure 2014, RI Bar Association CLE, October 2014.
  • Everything You Don't Know About E-Discovery (But Wish You Did), NBI, June 2014 (co-presenter).
  • Appellate Practice CLE, RI Bar Association Annual Meeting, June 2014 (co-presenter).
  • Premises Liability Update, Rhode Island Bar Association Title Standards and Practices Committee, December 2013.
  • Incorporating Social Media into Your Marketing Plan – An Introduction to Connecting, Tweeting, Friending and Blogging, The Environmental Business Council of New England RI Chapter Program, May 2013 (panelist).
  • Moderator, Civil Liberties and Wartime, Rhode Island Bar Association Annual Meeting, June 2012.
  • Keeping it Local: From Coffee Milk to Del’s Lemonade, Tips on Finding a Local Audience, National Conference of Law Reviews, March 2012 (co-presenter).
  • May It Please The Court: Best Practices for Rhode Island Supreme Court Appeals, CLE, September 2011, March 2012 (co-presenter).
  • Rhode Island Appellate Practice: Some Tips and Pitfalls, CLE, April 2011 (co-presenter).
  • Electronic Discovery: Unraveling Email Strings and Strands, CLE, April 2011 (co-presenter).
Honors
  • Selected by her peers for inclusion in the 2019 and 2020 editions of The Best Lawyers in America® in the field of Commercial Litigation.
  • Recognized by Chambers USA America’s Leading Business Lawyers 2019 in the area of Litigation: General Commercial.
  • Professional Excellence in the Law, Appellate, Rhode Island Monthly, 2019.
  • Named Rhode Island Rising Star 2012 - 2019, by the publishers of Super Lawyers.
  • Named 40 Under Forty by Providence Business News.
  • Recipient of the 2017 Rhode Island Bar Journal Lauren E. Jones, Esq. Writing Award.
  • Recipient of the Roger Williams University School of Law 2016 Alumni Service Award.
  • Magna cum laude graduate of Roger Williams University School of Law and the University of Rhode Island

 

Best Lawyers 2020
Super Lawyers
Professional Affiliations
  • Rhode Island Bar Association
    • Editor-in-Chief, Rhode Island Bar Journal (2019 – present).
    • Executive Committee, Rhode Island Bar Association (2016 – present).
    • Co-Chair, Rhode Island Bar Association Strategic Planning Committee (2017).
    • Delegate, Rhode Island Bar Association House of Delegates (2010 – present).
    • Member (2006 – present).
  • Fellow, Rhode Island Bar Foundation (2011 – present).
  • Federal Bar Association (R.I. Chapter)
    • Treasurer (2017 – 2019)
    • Secretary (2016-2017).
  • Chair, Rhode Island Superior Court Business Calendar Commercial Litigation Subcommittee (2019 – present).
  • Member, First Women Steering Committee (2019 – present).
  • Co-chair, 2017 District Conference for the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island, “The eLawyer Era and the Court – Challenges for the Future.”
In the Community
  • Board of Directors, Roger Williams University School of Law (2014 – present).
  • Board of Governors, Leadership Rhode Island
    • Chair (forthcoming 2020)
    • Secretary (2014 – 2019)
    • Member, Iota II Class (2013).
  • Board of Directors, Women’s Resource Center
    • President (2018 – 2019)
    • Vice President (2017-2018)
    • Secretary (2015-2017)
    • Chair, Development Committee (2017-2018).
  • Board of Governors, The University Club (2019 – present).
    • UClub Women Committee (2019 – present).
  • Co-chair, Roger Williams University School of Law 20th Anniversary Honorary Committee (2013 – 2014).
  • Roger Williams University School of Law Alumni Association
    • President (2010-2012)
    • Vice President (2008-2010).
  • Ex Officio Member, Roger Williams University School of Law Advisory Board (2010 – 2012).
  • Member, Rhode Island Supreme Court Bridge the Gap Working Group (2010 – 2011).
  • Board of Directors, Poverello Center (2011).
  • Volunteer judge for various Roger Williams University student competitions, including moot court and mock trial competitions.

 

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