Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP
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Denton Nichols is a Senior Associate in Norton Rose Fulbright's Houston office. Focusing on complex and high-value cases, Denton has handled international arbitrations, international litigation in US courts, and investor-state disputes. Denton is well-known for his representation of clients in the energy, petrochemical, manufacturing, and mining sectors. His extensive experience encompasses international and domestic purchase and sale agreements, energy contracts, joint operating agreements, sales of goods, and investment agreements.
Before joining Norton Rose Fulbright in 2015, Denton specialized in domestic and international disputes in the Houston office of a large international firm, advising on a broad range of litigation and arbitration matters pending in federal, state and arbitral forums. Denton completed a dual JD in law and MA in Latin American Studies at the University of Texas, where he served on the Texas Law Review.
Denton is admitted to practice in the State of Texas and before the US Courts of the Southern District of Texas, Northern District of Texas and Eastern District of Texas. He is an Advisory Board Member of the Institute for Transnational Arbitration and remains active in the international arbitration community.
JD, with honors, The University of Texas School of Law, 2011
MA, Latin American Studies, The University of Texas at Austin, 2011
BA, summa cum laude, Sociology and Hispanic Studies, Rice University, 2006
During law school, Denton interned at the Panama Canal Authority, studied civil law at the University of Buenos Aires, and served as a judicial intern to Justice Dale Wainwright of the Texas Supreme Court. After law school, he served as a law clerk to Justice Michael Massengale of the Texas First Court of Appeals in Houston and as a staff attorney to Justice Harvey Brown of the same court.
- Texas State Bar
- Defending international energy company in an arbitration under CPR Non-Administered Arbitration Rules arising from the purchase and sale of a gasification technology and related assets.
- Defending US energy company in an ongoing ad hoc arbitration concerning indemnity obligations contained in a purchase and sale agreement for a portfolio of offshore assets.
- Defending South American oilfield operator in ongoing arbitration under ICC Rules brought by East Asian joint venture partners concerning the allocation of environmental remediation costs under joint operating agreement.
- Representing MENA oilfield services company seeking recognition and enforcement in the US of an arbitral award rendered in Middle Eastern country.
- Represented an international oilfield operator in successfully compelling arbitration of multiple contract and tort claims by former interest holder demanding US$100 million in damages.
- Defended a US financial institution serving as trustee of overriding interest unitholders in related putative derivative actions. The unitholders alleged breach of fiduciary duty and other claims and claimed approximately US$ 60 million in damages. An attempted arbitration under AAA rules was successfully dismissed on jurisdictional grounds. Later, after suit was filed in Texas district court, the court of appeals granted mandamus in favor of the client which led to dismissal of all claims.
- Representing international energy company in an ongoing NAFTA arbitration against the Government of Canada under ICSID Arbitration Rules. The tribunal has rendered a decision rejecting Canada's objections to jurisdiction and admissibility of the claim.
- Represented CIS sovereign opposing recognition and enforcement in the US of an award rendered under SCC rules.
- Advised East Asian mining company in connection with multiple tax and regulatory disputes with South American sovereign in connection with a major mining investment.
- Advised international energy company on optimal investment structure for multi-billion dollar investment in high-risk MENA country.
- Representing European manufacturer of high grade steel chains in high profile lawsuit in federal court in Houston. The plaintiffs alleged over US$500 in damages. The trial court granted our client's motion for summary judgment and dismissed all claims.
- Represented a global manufacturer of umbilical cables used in connection with remotely operated vehicles used in offshore energy exploration in a suit filed in federal court in New Orleans. The suit settled favorably shortly before trial.
- Represented a US manufacturer of offshore riser buoyancy modules against claims of breach of warranty and products liability asserted by an East Asian customer. The claims were amicably settled.
- Represented a US automobile manufacturer in multiple appeals involving accidental deaths.
- Represented US manufacturers of industrial components in multiple personal injury actions alleging asbestos contamination.
Additional Highlighted Experience
- Defended a leading paper manufacturer in a high-profile environmental dispute with local Texas government. The plaintiff sought US$1.6 billion for alleged violations of various Texas environmental statutes, claiming penalties for alleged contamination of the San Jacinto River. Following an eight week jury trial in state court in Houston, the jury rendered a zero liability verdict. The judgment was later affirmed on appeal.
- Represented international industrial manufacturer against insurer in action for bad faith refusal to indemnify and defend. The dispute was tried in federal court in Pittsburgh and was settled favorably before judgment was rendered.
- Advised international petrochemical company in separate disputes arising from purchase of petrochemical businesses in India. The dispute was settled amicably as steps to initiate arbitration were taken under LCIA-India Arbitration Rules.
- Represented US real estate owner in fast-track arbitration under AAA Construction Industry Rules. The dispute was settled favorably shortly before the final hearing.
- Advised South American firm under investigation by US government in connection with alleged payments to government officials in multiple countries.
- Tried, as first-chair prosecutor, multiple jury trials for the City of Houston.
- Legal 500 US, recommended lawyer, International Arbitration, The Legal 500, 2019
- The Best Lawyers in America, Ones to Watch, Best Lawyers, 2021
- Co-author, "Certain Automotive Sales Exempt from Value-Added Tax," Latin American Legal Developments, ABA Section of International Law, June 2005
- Co-Presenter, Ten Developments You Need to Know in International Arbitration, Association of Corporate Counsel, July 2018
- Panelist, Third-Party Funding in International Arbitration, International Centre for Dispute Resolution's Young & International Group, June 2017
- Instructor, HMAA Arbitrator Training Seminar, Houston Maritime Arbitrators Association, January 2017
- Panelist, International Law Careers, South Texas College of Law Houston, February 2016
- Advisory Board Member of the Institute for Transnational Arbitration
- Houston International Arbitration Club
- Houston Bar Association
- Houston Young Lawyers Association