• B.A. (Physics), Harvard University

  • J.D., University of California Hastings College of the Law


  • State Bar of California:
    - Business Law
    - Intellectual Property
    - Litigation

  • Bar Association of San Francisco
    - Founding member, Entertainment and Sports Law Section

  • San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association

  • Consumer Attorneys of California

  • ABA "Entertainment and Sports Lawyer"
    - Visual Arts Editor 1998-2001


  • U.S. Court of Appeal, 11th Circuit: 2012

  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California: 2009

  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California: 1990

  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California: 1985

  • State Bar of California: 1984


Opperman v. Path, Inc., 87 F.Supp.3d 1018 (N.D. Cal. 2015)

Stephanie Ford Stewart v. Screen Gems-EMI Music, Inc., 81 F.Supp.3d 938 (N.D. Cal. 2015)

In re Checking Account Overdraft Lit., MDL No. 2036, 674 F.3d 1252 (11th Cir. 2012)

USA Technologies, Inc. v. Doe, 713 F.Supp.2d 901 (N.D. Cal. 2010)


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With a passion for justice, tempered by decades of experience handling high profile cases, Nick is a versatile litigator and trial lawyer specializing in class actions, complex litigation and bet your company cases. Nick has recovered over $450 million for his clients in such areas as consumer rights, intellectual property (copyright, trademark, trade secrets, right of publicity), technology, entertainment, employment, financial fraud, business disputes, and catastrophic injury. 

Among his many achievements, Nick has handled the first high profile song infringement case to be extensively discussed on the internet and one of the largest consumer class action settlements in history. Nick was named a finalist for 2012 Consumer Attorney of the Year by the Consumer Attorneys of California for his work on the latter case. 

Nick's background as a technology entrepreneur, chess master and performing musician gives him a unique breadth of experience, perspective, judgment and common sense. A former registered US Patent Agent, Nick worked in Silicon Valley for several years as an entrepreneur and CEO of a technology company. Mr. Carlin is a US National Chess Master and an accomplished cellist who has played with Berkeley Symphony, Verismo Opera and many other Bay Area groups. 

Nick has served as vice chair of the San Francisco PUC Citizens Advisory Committee, and chair of the Civil Justice and National Security planks for the California Democratic Party Platform Committee. 

Nick has been a partner at Phillips, Erlewine, Given & Carlin since 2008. He is a 1983 graduate of Hastings College of the Law. He graduated from Harvard University in 1978 in Physics.  He has lectured at Hastings College of the Law, the University of California at Berkeley Law School, and the University of San Francisco School of Law. 


Busch v. Dulcich. Right of publicity action on behalf of model/actress Cyndra Bush against Javov Dulcich & Sons LLC, one of the largest grape producers in the country. Ms. Busch contended that Dulcich used her image for years without permission as the face of its “Pretty Lady” grapes marketing campaign.  After conducting preliminary discovery, the case settled on confidential terms.    

DCH Auto Group Cases. Mr. Carlin represents current and former workers of DCH Auto Group, recently acquired by Lithia Motors, Inc., in a number of related wage theft actions, for failing to provide its employees meal and rest breaks, falsifying time records and other Labor Code violations. In August 2016, DCH and Lithia Motors, Inc., agreed to a $ 4 million class wide settlement of claims by their auto mechanic employees. This is subject to final approval by the court. The litigation on behalf of the rest of the employees continues. 

Paley v. Twist Animation. Mr. Carlin represented Emmy and Grammy award winning composer Andy Paley in a copyright infringement action against Twist Animation, an Israeli company, for allegedly using his music in a series of animated children’s videos which had over 1 billion views on Youtube.  The parties ultimately reached a confidential settlement in December 2015.   

Stewart v. Screen-Gems-EMI Music, Inc. et al. Mr. Carlin represented Stephanie Ford (“Buffy”) Stewart against EMI Music Publishing, the world’s largest music publisher, challenging EMI’s practice of paying its own foreign affiliates 50% of foreign royalties before remitting the balance to itself, to split 50/50 with its legacy songwriters. Stewart, the widow of John Stewart, former member of the Kingston Trio and composer of hit tunes such as The Monkees’ classic "Daydream Believer," alleged that EMI's self-dealing results in a drastic reduction in her (and others') share of such royalties. The case settled on confidential terms shortly after the Court (US District Court for the Northern District of California) denied EMI's motion to dismiss the complaint

Given v. M&T Bank. Consumer class action against M&T Bank for unfair overdraft fee practices: $4 million settlement.

In Re Warner Music Group Corp. Digital Downloads Litigation. Class action on behalf of musical performing artists against Warner for underpayment of digital download royalties. $11.5 million settlement (subject to court approval).

Orallo et al. v. Bank of the West. Consumer class action against Bank of the West for unfair overdraft fee practices: $18 million settlement. 

Yourke et al. v. Bank of America. Consumer class action against Bank of America for unfair overdraft fee practices: $410 million settlement.

Restaurant workers v. Restaurant group (names confidential). Class action and PAGA action on behalf of minimum wage restaurant workers for wage and hour violations under the California Labor Code. $1.9 million settlement fund for 525 class members.

Pyramid Interactive v. Wayneco. Commercial lease dispute. Arbitration award of approximately $250,000 and defeat $300,000 counterclaim. 

Think Computer v. Facebook. Trademark cancellation proceeding on behalf of former Harvard classmate of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to cancel the Facebook trademark. 

Dunbar v. Gottwald. Represented songwriters for the pop group The Rubinoos in a lawsuit against pop superstar Avril Lavigne and her producer and co-writer Lukasz (“Dr. Luke”) Gottwald for copyright infringement, alleging that the Lavigne/Gottwald song “Girlfriend,” which was a No. 1 worldwide hit song for much of 2007, infringed on The Rubinoos’ 1979 hit song “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend." Case settled for a confidential amount. 

GPP v. Baerwald. Song authorship dispute. Represented estate of co-author of six time platinum hit song "Come What May" from hit film Moulin Rouge against co-author who falsely claimed sole authorship. Case settled for a confidential amount.

Vinyl v. Education Dynamics. Leaving employee/trade secrets case on behalf of employer, obtaining Preliminary Injunction against defendants; case settled shortly thereafter.

Potrero Media Corporation v. Matthew Jones et al. Represented Potrero Media Corporation against leaving employee and the employee’s new employer for misappropriation of trade secrets. Obtained Preliminary and Permanent Injunctions and Judgment of over $1,100,000. The action was subsequently settled. 


Firm opposes NRA’s efforts to move Cloud Gate case

Firm's Lithia Motor deal named top 20 class action settlement for 2017

Firm scores $630,000 victory against Cheesecake Factory

Firm files copyright infringement case for renowned sculptor against NRA

Panel agrees with firm on location of Facebook action

Firm files racketeering class complaint against Facebook and Cambridge Analytica

Firm opposes effort to force arbitration in employment dispute

Firm launches wage and hour case against the Charlie Palmer Group

State court will approve $6.5 million class settlement in wage case against DCH Auto

Federal court approves $7.35 million class deal with Honest Company

State court grants final approval to $1.3 million wage theft settlement

Jury returns unanimous verdict in firm client’s favor

Firm concludes successful infringement defense of Supreme

Court grants preliminary approval to settlement in wage theft class action

Firm launches data breach class action against Equifax

Firm announces $7.35 million settlement of class actions against The Honest Company

Court grants preliminary approval of second DCH class case

Court grants final approval for $4 million DCH mechanics settlement

Court preliminarily approves DCH mechanics settlement  

Firm moves for preliminary approval of DCH mechanics settlement

Firm launches class action over stock options promised to Uber employees

Firm wins significant victory in consumer class action against The Honest Company 

Firm sacks John Elway's car dealership in wage theft dispute

Firm files class action on behalf of Lithia Motors/DCH Auto employees

Lithia Motors/DCH Auto Group to pay mechanics $4 million to settle labor claims

Judge rejects attempt to keep internal Apple, Path documents secret

Judge holds hearing, sets dates, in Honest Company case

Judge rejects further delay, resets class certification motion against Apple, Path

Firm moves for class certification against Apple, Path in breach of privacy case

Press coverage prompts informational website on Honest Company lawsuit

Firm lawyers launch false advertising class action against The Honest Company