Nicholas J. Bullard
PEOPLE

Nicholas J. Bullard

Associate
bullard.nick@dorsey.com

Overview

NICK IS A FIERCE ADVOCATE IN HIGH-STAKES COMMERCIAL DISPUTES, WITH PARTICULAR EXPERTISE IN ERISA LITIGATION.

Nick represents clients in high-stakes commercial disputes at the trial and appellate levels. Nick has particular expertise in ERISA litigation, and he has defended clients in a variety of ERISA class actions involving both retirement and health plans. Nick also has an active appellate practice, and has successfully prosecuted appeals in several state and federal appellate courts.

In recent years, Nick was the lead associate on teams that persuaded the Eighth Circuit to affirm dismissal of an $840 million ERISA class action, convinced a state appellate court to uphold the constitutionality of a Minnesota statute, and secured complete dismissal of an ERISA class action against a Fortune 50 company at the initial pleading stage.

Before joining the firm, Nick served as a law clerk to the Honorable James B. Loken of the U.S. Court of the Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. He graduated first in his class, summa cum laude, from the University of Wisconsin Law School. Nick received his undergraduate degree, with distinction in three majors, from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

Education & Admissions

University of Wisconsin Law School (J.D., 2015), summa cum laude; graduated first in class; Wisconsin Law Review; Order of the Coif

University of Wisconsin - Madison (B.A., 2012), with distinction

Admissions

  • Minnesota
  • Wisconsin
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin

Clerkships

  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, Honorable James B. Loken, 2015-2016

Experience

Representative Litigation

ERISA

  • Representing a pharmacy benefit manager in an ERISA action alleging fiduciary breaches related to EpiPen prices.  The district court denied certification of a nationwide class of EpiPen purchasers.  In re EpiPen ERISA Litig., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 139066 (D. Minn. Aug. 5, 2020).
  • Representing one of the nation’s largest food and beverage companies in a class action alleging ERISA fiduciary breaches in the management of a $1+ billion 401(k) plan.
  • Representing a hospital system in a class action alleging ERISA fiduciary breaches in the management of the company’s 401(k) and 403(b) retirement plans.
  • Represented one of the nation’s largest employee-owned companies in an ERISA class action alleging $840 million in losses from mismanagement of an employee stock option plan.  The district court dismissed all the claims with prejudice at the pleading stage—a result that was affirmed on appeal.  Vigeant v. Meek, 352 F. Supp. 3d 890 (D. Minn. 2018).
  • Represented a Fortune 50 company in a class action alleging ERISA fiduciary breaches in the management of a $35 billion 401(k) plan.  The district court dismissed all the claims with prejudice at the pleading stage—a result that was affirmed on appeal.  Meiners v. Wells Fargo & Co., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 80606 (D. Minn. May 25, 2017).

Appellate

  • Represented a media organization in an appeal from a defamation action alleging false statements in connection with news reporting.  The Eighth Circuit affirmed judgment in our client’s favor.  Nelson Auto Ctr., Inc. v. Multimedia Holdings Corp., 951 F.3d 952 (8th Cir. 2020).
  • Represented a utility company in an appeal defending the constitutionally of a Minnesota utility statute.  The Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld the statute.  In re Petition by Qwest Corp., 918 N.W.2d 578 (Minn. Ct. App. 2018).
  • Represented one of the nation’s largest employee-owned companies in an appeal concerning the dismissal (mentioned above) of an ERISA class action alleging $840 million in losses from mismanagement of employee stock option plan.  The Eighth Circuit affirmed judgment in our client’s favor.  Vigeant v. Meek, 953 F.3d 1022 (8th Cir. 2020).
  • Represented media defendants in an appeal before the Minnesota Supreme Court concerning the fair report privilege’s protection of the press against defamation claims.  The Minnesota Supreme Court held, for the first time, that the privilege applies to press reports of official statements by law enforcement agencies, and remanded for new trial on the privilege.  Larson v. Gannett Co., 940 N.W.2d 120 (Minn. 2020).

News & Resources

Events & Speaking Engagements

Webinar Playback: Annual Forum on Retirement Plan Benefits

Legal Writings

  • A Doctrine Adrift: Wisconsin’s Public Trust, 22 U. Denv. Water L. Rev. 1 (2018)
  • Judicial Capacity and Executive Power, 102 Va. L. Rev. 765 (2016) (co-author, Andrew Coan)
  • Policing Executive Power, Daily Journal (2014)
  • Pushing the Reset Button on Wisconsin’s Governmental Immunity Doctrine, 2014 Wis. L. Rev. 801 (2014)
    • Cited by the Wisconsin Supreme Court in Engelhardt v. City of New Berlin, 921 N.W.2d 714 (Wis. 2019) and Melchert v. Pro Elec. Contractors, 892 N.W.2d 710 (Wis. 2017)
  • Contributing Author, ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law, Employee Benefits Law, 2nd Ed. 
  • Contributing Author, Media Libel Law 50-State Survey (2018-2019)

Accolades

North Star Lawyer logo
  • MSBA North Star Lawyer, 2017-2019
Nicholas J. Bullard