Brett E. Nelson Who We Are
 

Brett E. Nelson, Partner Back to Attorney List
   

Brett is an experienced trial and appellate lawyer with a particular interest in technical and complex litigation.  He represents both plaintiffs and defendants in a range of environmental, insurance coverage, intellectual property, pharmaceutical, commercial litigation and other matters.  Brett enjoys solving challenging problems, managing complex tasks and helping clients to make the most of every opportunity.

Favorite representations include helping a dying, retired bus driver obtain his disability pension and preserve it for his widow; requiring a client’s competitor to compete on a level playing field by complying with the Clean Air Act in the manufacture of an aerosol product and establishing a competitor’s right to recover attorney fees in bringing a successful citizen’s suit under the Clean Air Act; and obtaining a $16 million judgment against the Indiana Department of Environmental Management for reneging on an agreed order for a risk-based PCB cleanup (sadly, reversed on appeal).  Brett's cases also include numerous successful resolutions of policyholders’ claims for environmental and commercial insurance coverage, and trial victories in environmental and insurance coverage litigation.

Brett received his B.S. (Biology) from Indiana University, Bloomington in 1992.  He earned his J.D., cum laude, from the Indiana University Bloomington - Maurer School of Law in 1999.  Brett is licensed to practice in Indiana, in the Seventh and Tenth Circuit Federal Courts of Appeals, in the United States Supreme Court and before the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.  Brett joined the firm in 1999 and was made a partner in 2005.


Practice Areas

  • Environmental
  • Insurance Coverage
  • Complex Litigation

Significant Cases, Administrative Matters & Transactions

SAMS Hotel Group LLC d/b/a Homewood Suites Hotel v. Auto Owners Ins. Co., Cause No. 49D14-0910-PL-049045 (Marion Co. Superior Ct., Sept. 21. 2012) (Summary judgment order holding that insurance and “waiver of subrogation” provisions of AIA General Conditions to AIA agreement between Owner and Contractor do not preclude claims against subcontractor who signed non-AIA contract).

 

The Netherlands Ins. Co. v. Triplett Striping, Inc., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26966 (W. D. Ky. Feb. 29, 2012) (Order dismissing first-filed federal declaratory judgment action regarding insurance coverage for pollution claim in favor of later-filed Indiana state court action based on doctrine of abstention).

 

English Ave. Props., LLC v. Gillette Co., Cause No, 49F12-0401-PL-00001 (Marion Co. Superior Ct., June 17, 2011) (Summary judgment order holding ten-year statute of limitations applies to claims under Indiana’s Environmental Legal Action and Illegal Dumping statutes).

 

Pound v. Airosol Co., Inc., 498 F.3d 1089, (10th Cir. 2007) (Addressing penalty and attorney fee issues in the context of a Clean Air Act citizen’s suit brought by a competitor and holding that a successful plaintiff is entitled to an award of attorney fees).

 

Raybestos Prods. Co. v. Ind. Dep’t. Envtl. Mgmt., Cause No. 49D12-0209-PL-001553 (Marion Co. Superior Ct., Judgment Entries following bench trial dated June 12 & Oct. 30, 2006) awarding $16,363,012.91 for damages incurred by manufacturer in performing cleanup in excess of the costs of the risk-based cleanup mandated by agreed order between manufacturer and IDEM (reversed by  Ind. Dept. Envtl. Mgmt. v. Raybestos Prods. Co., 897 N.E.2d 469 (Ind. 2008), reh’g granted, in part, by Ind. Dep’t of Envtl. Mgmt. v. Raybestos Prods. Co., 903 N.E.2d 471 (Ind. 2009) (correcting misstatement of standard of review applicable to administrative review of agency actions), cert. denied, Raybestos Prods. Co. v. Ind. Dep’t of Envtl. Mgmt., 130 S. Ct. 196 (U.S. 2009)).

 

Lummis v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co., Cause No, 1:04cv0080 DFH-VSS (S.D. Ind., Dec. 14, 2005) (Jury verdict awarding policyholder damages for insurer’s improper failure to pay fire loss claim).


Pound v. Airosol Co., Inc., 316 F. Supp. 2d 1079 (D. Kan. 2004) (Summary judgment order holding manufacturer and sellers of aerosol pesticide violated the Clean Air Act through illegal use of HCFCs).

 

Pound v. Airosol Co., Inc., 2003 WL 22102142, 2003 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15869, (D. Kan., Aug. 21,  2003) (Order denying defendants’ motion to dismiss and applying “but for” test, which requires a causal connection between the defendant’s forum activities and the plaintiff’s injuries, to confer personal jurisdiction over out-of-state defendant distributors that purchased illegal product from Kansas manufacturer for resale).

Publications & Speaking Engagements

2009
Publication
  Author, "Indiana Supreme Court Decision Emphasizes Importance of Prompt Notice to Insurance Carriers," Indiana State Bar Association Environmental Law Section Newsletter, Fall 2009
 
2004
Publication
  Author, "Venomous Reptiles and the Law," Reptiles Magazine, September 2004, Vol. 30
 
2004
Publication
  Author and Speaker, "Endangered Species Regulations and How They Impact the Utility Industry," International Right of Way Association Environmental Seminars
 
2002
Publication
  Author and Speaker, "Endangered Species Regulations and How They Impact the Utility Industry," International Right of Way Association Environmental Seminars
 
2001
Publication
  Author, "Recent Developments in the Seventh Circuit Impacting the Litigation and Funding of Complex Environmental Matters," ICLEF Seventh Circuit Roundup
 

Associations & Memberships

Member, Indiana State Bar Association, Environmental Law, Litigation, Appellate Procedure and Intellectual Property (Former Chair) Sections

Chair, Indiana State Bar Association, Intellectual Property Section (2004-2005)

Member, Indianapolis Bar Association, Litigation, Environmental Law, and Intellectual Property Sections

Member, American Bar Association, Section of Intellectual Property, Section on Natural Resources, Energy, and Environmental Law, Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section, Animal Law Committee

Honors

2017   Selected for inclusion in Indiana Super Lawyers -- Insurance Coverage
 
2016   Listed in Best Lawyers in America®
 
2016   Selected for inclusion in Indiana Super Lawyers -- Insurance Coverage
 
2016   Listed in Best Lawyers in America®
 
2015   Selected for inclusion in Indiana Super Lawyers -- Environmental Litigation
 
2014   Selected for inclusion in Indiana Super Lawyers -- Environmental Litigation 
 
1999   Dean’s Honors at Indiana University School of Law
 
1998   Dean’s Honors at Indiana University School of Law
 

Employment History

2005-Present   partner, Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP

2000-2004   Associate, Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP

1999-2000   Law Clerk, Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP

1998-1999   Law Clerk, Legal Services Organization

Client Alerts

Practice Areas

  • Environmental
  • Insurance Coverage
  • Complex Litigation

Significant Cases, Administrative Matters & Transactions

SAMS Hotel Group LLC d/b/a Homewood Suites Hotel v. Auto Owners Ins. Co., Cause No. 49D14-0910-PL-049045 (Marion Co. Superior Ct., Sept. 21. 2012) (Summary judgment order holding that insurance and “waiver of subrogation” provisions of AIA General Conditions to AIA agreement between Owner and Contractor do not preclude claims against subcontractor who signed non-AIA contract).

 

The Netherlands Ins. Co. v. Triplett Striping, Inc., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26966 (W. D. Ky. Feb. 29, 2012) (Order dismissing first-filed federal declaratory judgment action regarding insurance coverage for pollution claim in favor of later-filed Indiana state court action based on doctrine of abstention).

 

English Ave. Props., LLC v. Gillette Co., Cause No, 49F12-0401-PL-00001 (Marion Co. Superior Ct., June 17, 2011) (Summary judgment order holding ten-year statute of limitations applies to claims under Indiana’s Environmental Legal Action and Illegal Dumping statutes).

 

Pound v. Airosol Co., Inc., 498 F.3d 1089, (10th Cir. 2007) (Addressing penalty and attorney fee issues in the context of a Clean Air Act citizen’s suit brought by a competitor and holding that a successful plaintiff is entitled to an award of attorney fees).

 

Raybestos Prods. Co. v. Ind. Dep’t. Envtl. Mgmt., Cause No. 49D12-0209-PL-001553 (Marion Co. Superior Ct., Judgment Entries following bench trial dated June 12 & Oct. 30, 2006) awarding $16,363,012.91 for damages incurred by manufacturer in performing cleanup in excess of the costs of the risk-based cleanup mandated by agreed order between manufacturer and IDEM (reversed by  Ind. Dept. Envtl. Mgmt. v. Raybestos Prods. Co., 897 N.E.2d 469 (Ind. 2008), reh’g granted, in part, by Ind. Dep’t of Envtl. Mgmt. v. Raybestos Prods. Co., 903 N.E.2d 471 (Ind. 2009) (correcting misstatement of standard of review applicable to administrative review of agency actions), cert. denied, Raybestos Prods. Co. v. Ind. Dep’t of Envtl. Mgmt., 130 S. Ct. 196 (U.S. 2009)).

 

Lummis v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co., Cause No, 1:04cv0080 DFH-VSS (S.D. Ind., Dec. 14, 2005) (Jury verdict awarding policyholder damages for insurer’s improper failure to pay fire loss claim).


Pound v. Airosol Co., Inc., 316 F. Supp. 2d 1079 (D. Kan. 2004) (Summary judgment order holding manufacturer and sellers of aerosol pesticide violated the Clean Air Act through illegal use of HCFCs).

 

Pound v. Airosol Co., Inc., 2003 WL 22102142, 2003 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15869, (D. Kan., Aug. 21,  2003) (Order denying defendants’ motion to dismiss and applying “but for” test, which requires a causal connection between the defendant’s forum activities and the plaintiff’s injuries, to confer personal jurisdiction over out-of-state defendant distributors that purchased illegal product from Kansas manufacturer for resale).


Publications & Speaking Engagements

2009
Publication
  Author, "Indiana Supreme Court Decision Emphasizes Importance of Prompt Notice to Insurance Carriers," Indiana State Bar Association Environmental Law Section Newsletter, Fall 2009
 
2004
Publication
  Author, "Venomous Reptiles and the Law," Reptiles Magazine, September 2004, Vol. 30
 
2004
Publication
  Author and Speaker, "Endangered Species Regulations and How They Impact the Utility Industry," International Right of Way Association Environmental Seminars
 
2002
Publication
  Author and Speaker, "Endangered Species Regulations and How They Impact the Utility Industry," International Right of Way Association Environmental Seminars
 
2001
Publication
  Author, "Recent Developments in the Seventh Circuit Impacting the Litigation and Funding of Complex Environmental Matters," ICLEF Seventh Circuit Roundup
 

Associations & Memberships

Member, Indiana State Bar Association, Environmental Law, Litigation, Appellate Procedure and Intellectual Property (Former Chair) Sections

Chair, Indiana State Bar Association, Intellectual Property Section (2004-2005)

Member, Indianapolis Bar Association, Litigation, Environmental Law, and Intellectual Property Sections

Member, American Bar Association, Section of Intellectual Property, Section on Natural Resources, Energy, and Environmental Law, Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section, Animal Law Committee


Honors

2017   Selected for inclusion in Indiana Super Lawyers -- Insurance Coverage
 
2016   Listed in Best Lawyers in America®
 
2016   Selected for inclusion in Indiana Super Lawyers -- Insurance Coverage
 
2016   Listed in Best Lawyers in America®
 
2015   Selected for inclusion in Indiana Super Lawyers -- Environmental Litigation
 
2014   Selected for inclusion in Indiana Super Lawyers -- Environmental Litigation 
 
1999   Dean’s Honors at Indiana University School of Law
 
1998   Dean’s Honors at Indiana University School of Law
 

Employment History

2005-Present   partner, Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP

2000-2004   Associate, Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP

1999-2000   Law Clerk, Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP

1998-1999   Law Clerk, Legal Services Organization


Client Alerts

March 21, 2017   Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP tops 2017 Indiana Super Lawyers Magazine list with the most lawyers named in the Insurance and Environmental categories
By Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP
 
August 17, 2016   Twelve PSRB Attorneys Selected for Inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2016
By Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP
 
February 16, 2016   Eighteen PSRB Attorneys Selected for Inclusion on the 2016 Indiana Super Lawyers and Rising Stars Lists
By Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP
 
December 31, 2015   Brett E. Nelson Elected PSRB Managing Partner
By Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP
 
August 18, 2015   Thirteen PSRB Attorneys Selected for Inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2016
By Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP
 
April 1, 2015   Brett Nelson named President of Paws and Think, Inc.
By Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP
 
February 27, 2015   Two-Thirds of PSRB Lawyers are Super Lawyers
By Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP
 
February 14, 2014   20 Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP attorneys have been recognized for their professional accomplishments as lawyers
By Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP
 
September 12, 2013   Two PSRB Partners Drop into The Indiana Lawyer
By Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP
 
May 12, 2011   Indiana passes a new statute of limitations for environmental lawsuits brought under the Environmental Legal Action (ELA) statute and the Underground Storage Tank Act (USTA)
By Brett Nelson
 
September 30, 2010   Class Action Air Pollution/Nuisance Lawsuit Dismissed
By Brett E. Nelson
 
September 16, 2010   US News & World Report Annual Ranking of Best Law Firms: Firm's Environmental and Insurance Practice Areas Ranked Tier 1
By Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP
 
December 18, 2009   Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP Successfully Excludes Purported Expert Testimony
By Greg Gotwald and Brett Nelson
 
May 5, 2009   Indiana Supreme Court Decision Emphasizes Importance of Prompt Notice
By Brett E. Nelson
 
 
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