Derek D. Lick
Derek is a seasoned litigator, with more than 20 years of representing clients in a variety of complex legal matters, including business, real estate, construction, and property tax disputes, and suits involving personal injury and product liability claims. Derek has represented clients in federal court, in all eleven of the state’s superior courts, as well as multiple times before the New Hampshire Supreme Court. He also represents clients throughout the State of New Hampshire in land use matters before local Planning Boards and Zoning Boards of Adjustment.
- Prevailed before the NH Supreme Court in securing the dismissal of claims against his client, a large commercial property developer. Had the opposing party prevailed, Derek’s client would have been precluded from undertaking a significant expansion of its retail complex that included the construction of a large grocery store that had been sought for years in the community served by the client. Derek initially obtained dismissal of the claims against his client in the trial court. The opposing party appealed. Derek’s client prevailed on appeal, with Derek having briefed and argued the case before the NH Supreme Court.
- After preparing a detailed suit that was filed in federal court and withstood a vigorous effort to dismiss by opposing counsel from Boston and Washington, D.C., successfully resolved claims on behalf of a local utility relating to its purchase of more than 83,000 smart meters that the client claimed to be defectively designed and manufactured.
- Working with a colleague who focuses on property title standards, prevailed at trial in Superior Court on behalf of a husband and wife who were defending their lakefront property rights from abutting neighbors who claimed a right to use the clients’ lake-front beach area and to drive over the clients’ property. After both parties presented expert surveyor testimony and explained their respective interpretations of more than 150 years of deeds in a seven-day trial, the trial court ruled in favor of Derek’s clients. The abutting neighbors appealed to the NH Supreme Court. After the parties filed extensive briefs, the NH Supreme Court upheld the trial court’s decision in favor of Derek’s clients.
- Successfully obtained summary judgment for a real estate developer client in a property dispute in Superior Court involving the scope of a restrictive covenant over commercial land in the heart of North Conway’s busy shopping district. Derek filed a summary judgment motion asking the court to rule in their client’s favor considering the language of the restriction as found on record in the Registry of Deeds, the circumstances of its creation, and New Hampshire law interpreting similar agreements. After a hearing in which Derek argued the case on the client’s behalf, the court granted the motion and ruled for the client. The client was then free to move forward with his multi-million dollar plans for development, including the construction of a restaurant that will serve the customers of his planned expansion of outlet stores.
- Obtained and successfully preserved a jury verdict in favor of his client, a well-established New Hampshire property developer, before the NH Supreme Court. The plaintiff in the case, a neighboring property owner, brought multiple claims, including slander of title, breach of contract, and breach of easement against Attorney Lick’s client. The other party asked the jury to award it in excess of $6 million, plus other damages such as attorneys’ fees. The jury rejected each of the other party’s claims in the entirety and instead awarded Derek’s client damages on each of its counterclaims in the exact amount sought by Derek. After briefing and oral argument by Derek on behalf of his client in support of the verdict and the multiple trial court pre- and post-trial orders that had been challenged, the NH Supreme Court affirmed the verdict and the actions of the trial court judge.
- Taking an interdisciplinary approach and collaborating with a colleague focusing on real estate title work, prevailed at trial in Superior Court in a contentious property line dispute on behalf of a timberland and forestry management company client. The client asserted that a wind energy developer was failing to make payment to it with respect to a particular commercial wind turbine as required under a long-term lease. The developer claimed that the wind turbine, which was part of a large wind farm, was located not on the client’s property, but on an adjacent parcel of land owned by a third party. Derek filed suit on behalf of the client and presented expert testimony at trial from a well-respected surveyor who explained that the wind turbine straddled the historical boundary line along the ridge line at issue in the case. The trial court determined that the boundary line was located where Derek’s client claimed it to be.
- As part of a two-person trial team, successfully defended before the NH Supreme Court a favorable trial court ruling awarding his client, a local utility company, a judgment in excess of $7.3 million in a property tax appeal. The dispute centered on the value of the Merrimack Station power plant and the transmission and distribution assets in Bow, NH. After a six-day trial, the Merrimack County Superior Court ruled in favor of Derek’s utility company client and concluded that the Town’s assessments of both the plant and the transmission and distribution system were excessive and disproportional. On appeal, the NH Supreme Court affirmed the decision.
- Prevailed before the NH Supreme Court on behalf of a long-time client top preserve Planning Board approval for a large retail development. Derek prepared the lead brief to which the Town joined. The Supreme Court ultimately ruled in favor of Derek’s client concluding that the development met the Town’s requirements and that the Planning Board acted appropriately in approving the project.
- Successfully resolved a federal court case on behalf of a firm client, resulting in an award of $1.5 million to compensate the client for damages it sustained relating to the improper design of the client’s landfill gas-to-energy processing plant. Derek sued the client’s design/build contractor, alleging, among other things, breach of contract, breach of warranty, negligence, and violation of the New Hampshire Consumer Protection Act. After engaging in extensive document production involving hundreds of thousands of pages of documents from the ten parties to the lawsuit, undertaking numerous depositions, and gathering key expert testimony, Derek was able to marshal keys facts in support of their client’s position at mediation before a retired judge to obtain the $1.5 million settlement payment to allow their client to replace the key components of the processing facility that were failing and to reimburse the client for lost gas sales.
- Successfully defended personal injury suits at jury trial for the operator of Verizon Wireless Arena (now the SNHU Arena) and the association promoting Laconia Motorcycle Week, a high-profile case that garnered daily media coverage.
- As part of a two-person litigation team, successfully defended a client at jury trial from claims of negligence with respect to a downhill skiing accident for which the plaintiff claimed more than $500,000 in damages.
- Successfully defended physician group at the Superior Court and then on appeal at the NH Supreme Court from claims of breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and conversion brought by former members of the practice group seeking recovery of refunded medical insurance premiums in excess of $800,000.
Professional & Community Involvement
- Appointed by the New Hampshire Supreme Court to the Court’s Rules Advisory Committee.
- Appointed by the New Hampshire Bar Association President as Chairperson of the New Hampshire Bar Association’s Committee on Cooperation with the Courts.
- Former elected Member of the New Hampshire Bar Association’s Board of Governors.
- Former Press Secretary in the Washington, D.C. Capitol office of a long-serving, senior member of the U.S. House of Representatives, handling press inquiries from the Congressman’s top-20 media-market district, as well as from national media outlets such as CNN, NBC News’ Meet the Press, National Public Radio, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal.
- Moderator, Town of Sutton
- Moderator, Kearsarge Regional School District
- Chair, Sutton Zoning Board of Adjustment
- Board Member, Sugar River Bank
- Board Member, Plan NH
- Founding Board Member, Concord-Lake Sunapee Rail Trail
- Served as Governor John Lynch’s designee on the New Hampshire Transportation Enhancement Advisory Committee
- Former Chair, Board of Directors of the Kearsarge Area Council on Aging
- Former Member, Board of Directors, League of New Hampshire Craftsmen
- Former Member of the program committee of Leadership New Hampshire
- Decade-long volunteer, Warner Fall Foliage Festival
- Former youth baseball coach
- Former leader of local Cub Scout pack
- Graduate of Leadership New Hampshire
Honors & Distinctions
- Cited in The Best Lawyers in America for Appellate Practice, Litigation-Tax, Litigation-Insurance, Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants, and Product Liability Litigation – Defendants, since 2022.
- After an extensive vetting and peer review process, elected as a Member of the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel. Membership is by invitation only, and currently the only New Hampshire member.
- Awarded a Martindale- Hubbell Distinguished rating from the nation’s preeminent independent legal review organization.