Michael J. Nelson

Michael J. Nelson is a member of the Litigation & Trial Department. His practice focuses on class action defense and other high-stakes litigation, particularly in the sports, oil and gas, and manufacturing industries.

Trial-experienced, Mr. Nelson has successfully litigated complex cases across the US, including mass tort, contract, antitrust, licensing, environmental, toxic tort, indemnity, insurance and business tort disputes. Representative examples include:

  • Won a landmark dismissal (with prejudice) of the first putative concussion class action in the nation against a statewide high school athletic association. Pierscionek v. Illinois High School Association, 2015 WL 6550826 (Ill. Cir. Ct. (Cook Cty.) Oct. 27, 2015)
  • Defeated a “divisibility” defense to joint and several liability in a CERCLA case that Law360 profiled as one of the “biggest environmental cases of 2015.” See USA v. NCR Corp., 2015 WL 6142993 (E.D. Wis. Oct. 19, 2015)   
  • Won a dismissal (with prejudice) of Oil Pollution Act and other claims based on assumption of liability agreement. Gary/Chicago Int’l Airport Authority v. Zaleski, --- F. Supp. 3d ----, 2015 WL 7273206 (N.D. Ind. Nov. 17, 2015)   

Prior to joining Latham & Watkins, Mr. Nelson served as a law clerk to the Hon. Daniel Manion of the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and the Hon. Paul Gadola of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Mr. Nelson serves on the board of a nonprofit arts organization in the Chicago suburbs and is active in the Chicago Sports Commission. He also serves on the firm’s Training and Career Enhancement Committee. He has represented a variety of pro bono clients in appellate, nonprofit, civil rights and immigration matters.