Dustin M. Paul

Office Location: Norfolk, VA.

  • B.A. Political Science, Duke University
  • J.D., Vanderbilt University
Courts & Administrative Bodies
  • 4th Circuit
  • U. S. District Court for the Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia
  • U.S. Supreme Court
Professional & Community Activities
  • Southeast Admiralty Law Association
  • Maritime Law Association of the United States
  • Hampton Roads Global Commerce Council, Board Member
  • Norfolk and Portsmouth Bar Association
  • Virginia Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • Federal Bar Association, Tidewater Chapter, Board Member
Notable Accomplishments
  • Virginia Business, “Legal Elite” Young Lawyer (under 40) (2014); Appellate Law (2020-present)
  • Coastal Virginia Magazine, “Top Lawyers” – Appellate Law (2016-present)
  • Thomson Reuters, “Virginia Super Lawyers Rising Star” (2013-present)

Dustin is a skilled litigator who finds creative solutions for his clients in Virginia state and federal courts.  He excels in using the depth and breadth of his knowledge to achieve cost-effective resolution of disputes.  Some of the nation’s most successful companies have trusted him to represent their interests throughout Virginia, at the Fourth Circuit, and at the U.S. Supreme Court.  His varied practice includes:

Transportation Litigation
Because of his representation of marine terminals, trucking companies, railroads, transportation suppliers, and an airport, Dustin appreciates the complexities of intermodal transportation.  His membership and participation in the Hampton Roads Global Commerce Council, the Transportation Lawyers Association, the Maritime Law Association, the Southeast Admiralty Law Institute, the Virginia Maritime Association, and the Virginia Bar Association Transportation Law Section allow him to keep abreast of the current legal landscape and other changes in the transportation industry.  He has authored articles in the “The Transportation Lawyer” and the “Maritime & International Trade Guide.” 

Career highlights include:
Personal Representative of Coutlakis v. [Railroad], Record No. 160277 (Va. Sup. Ct.): argued before the Supreme Court of Virginia on behalf of one of the nation’s largest railroads on a unique issue under Virginia tort law.  His oral argument audio is here. 

Bulk Juliana, Ltd., et al., v. [Fortune 500 Company], Case No. 16-26 (U.S. Sup. Ct.): was the primary author of the Brief in Opposition to a Petition for a Writ of Certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court in a case in which the Court requested briefing from the U.S. Solicitor General.

Rabenstine v. National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, Inc. et al., Case No. 4:14-cv-78, 2015 WL 3470191 (E.D. Va. 2015): authored brief obtaining summary judgment on behalf of law enforcement officer asserting unique application of qualified immunity doctrine.

[Fortune 500 Company] v. M/V Hebei Shijiazhuang, 783 F.3d 507 (4th Cir. 2015): primary author in briefing which resulted in affirmance of a grant of summary judgment on maritime lien law issues.

Commercial Litigation
Both Virginia-based small businesses and some of the nation’s largest companies have relied upon Dustin’s advice to resolve commercial disputes.  He has an aptitude for understanding the business realities of a conflict and seeking creative resolutions in lieu of prolonged litigation.  But when litigation is the only choice, Dustin has the experience to bring the case to verdict, through appeal, and beyond. 

Career highlights include:
[General Contractor] v. Rummel, Klepper & Kahl, et. al, Case No. 18-1529 (4th Circuit):  was engaged as appellate counsel to prepare the briefing before the Court of Appeals after the trial court made an unfavorable summary judgment ruling, and then argued the case to the Fourth Circuit panel.  His oral argument audio is here.

[Car Dealership] v. Voltin, Case No. CL11-1065 (Norfolk Circuit):  Obtained more than a $800,000 verdict in a fraud case against the plaintiff’s Chief Financial Officer and defended the verdict through appeals and a bankruptcy proceeding. 

JAAAT Technical Services, LLC, v. [Fortune 1000 Defendant], Case No. 3:15-cv-00235-MHL (E.D. Va.): defended and prosecuted claims related to five government contracts in multi-state litigation, including obtaining dismissal of this case through unique jurisdictional arguments related to federal enclave jurisdiction. 

Corbin Bernsen v. [Advertising Agency], 885 F.Supp.2d 830 (Ed. Va. 2012), defended, through jury trial, an advertising company against breach of contract claims brought by Hollywood actor.

EDVA Local Counsel
Working with some of the nation’s largest firms and companies as a key resource for cases in the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA), Dustin has appeared in more than 50 cases covering a wide variety of topics including patent, antitrust, maritime, employment, and contract matters.  He has also provided advice in countless other cases for which he has not entered an appearance.  As the editor of www.edvanorfolk.com, a blog dedicated to studying and monitoring the actions of the EDVA’s District Court in Norfolk, he is well-prepared to advise counsel throughout the country on how to file, prosecute, and try cases in the “Rocket Docket.”  He also serves on the Board of the Tidewater Chapter of the Federal Bar Association.  

Career highlights include:
G.D. Searle LLC et al v. Lupin Pharmaceuticals, Inc. et al, 2:13-cv-00121-AWA-LRL: served as local counsel for an AMLAW100 firm and a generic pharmaceutical company in patent litigation regarding Celebrex®.

In Re: Zetia (Ezetimibe) Antitrust Litigation, 2:18-md-02836-RBS-DEM, in which he served as local counsel for a different AMLAW 100 firm and a different generic pharmaceutical company in patent litigation.

[Government Contractor] v. United States of America, 4:18-cv-00148-HCM-LRL, in which he served as local counsel for an AMLAW 200 firm in obtaining an emergency temporary restraining order and temporary injunction after his client was improperly denied renewal of its government contract.  

U.S Court of Appeals victory for West’s Defence Member in defeating a contractual bunker supplier’s claim for payment – WRVB’s Powers and Paul acted in the case for Memebers
/ Firm News
From West of England – https://www.westpandi.com/  >> Owners, the Club’s Member, time chartered their vessel to Bostomar Bulk Shipping Pte Ltd. As is usual under the terms of a time charter party, charterers were responsible for supplying and paying for bunkers and the charter (which was subject to Singapore arbitration) ...
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Vandeventer Black Attorneys Recognized as 2022 Top Lawyers of Coastal Virginia
/ Firm News
Attorneys from the Norfolk-based business and litigation law firm, Vandeventer Black, have been recognized as Top Lawyers of Coastal Virginia for 2022. This distinction is a peer-rated nomination given to those lawyers who exemplify excellence in their specialty. “We feel very proud of our legal team accomplishments for the high ...
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29 Vandeventer Black Attorneys Listed as 2021 Legal Elite
/ Firm News
Twenty-nine Vandeventer Black attorneys have been recognized as ‘Legal Elite’ for 2021 by Virginia Business magazine. The magazine partners with the Virginia Bar Association to grant this award to attorneys nominated by their peers for this recognition every year. The selected attorneys are: Christopher Ambrosio, Business Law Anne G. Bibeau, ...
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11 tips to survive your freshman year as an associate
/ Litigation
Article published by the ABA Journal on April 8, 2021 ...
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Does the standard Virus Exclusion in an all-risk policy cover government-ordered COVID-19 shutdowns? Judges in the EDVA disagree.
/ Legal Alert
When the wave of shutdown orders hit small businesses in the Spring and Summer of 2020, many owners looked at their insurance policies to see if they had insurance coverage for their business losses.  Buried in the standard policy was a provision that looked daunting: “Fungi”, Wet Rot, Dry Rot, ...
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Magistrate Judge Leonard holds that the FRCP Require Parties to Sign Authorizations
/ Legal Alert
As if subpoena practice is not expensive and time-consuming already, there are times in which even a subpoena will not suffice to obtain a third-party’s records.  Federal statutes may create confidentiality issues, or a state agency may require a Court order for the production of documents.  And there have been ...
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