Daniel W. Nelson is the co-partner in charge of the Washington, D.C. office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP. He practices in the Firm’s Litigation Department, and he is a member of the Firm’s Class Action and Complex Litigation, Environmental Litigation and Mass Tort, Antitrust and Trade Regulation, and Appellate and Constitutional Law Practice Groups.
Mr. Nelson has a national complex litigation practice. He has served as the lead defense counsel for clients in the courts of more than 25 states, and he has defended more than 50 class action lawsuits. He has represented clients at the trial and appellate levels in cases that span a wide range of areas, with a particular focus on environmental and mass tort litigation, complex business litigation, antitrust litigation, and insurance litigation.
Mr. Nelson’s litigation expertise and client service are widely recognized. In both 2011 and 2010, based on surveys of corporate counsel, BTI Consulting Group named Mr. Nelson as a BTI Client Service All-Star. In 2011, Mr. Nelson was one of only 24 lawyers nationwide who was ranked as a “Client Service MVP.” BTI recognized Mr. Nelson for his “true thought leadership; innovation; creativity applied to the client; focused, practical problem-solving; valued counsel; responsiveness and accessibility; total commitment to the client.”
Representative environmental litigation experience:
- Defeated class certification in a 1500+ member putative class action alleging that ongoing air emissions from an Alabama pulp and paper mill caused various personal injuries and property damages.
- Secured a defense verdict for a national construction company in a Florida state court toxic tort case alleging personal injuries from airborne chemical exposure.
- Obtained summary judgment in favor of an international manufacturer in a toxic tort class action in federal court in St. Croix after mounting a successful Daubert challenge to plaintiffs’ experts.
- Lead defense counsel in a series of ongoing toxic tort class and mass action cases pending in federal and state courts in Alabama, Louisiana and South Carolina. These cases allege that air emissions from several of a major pulp & paper company’s mills have caused personal injuries and property damages.
- Lead defense counsel in a mass action toxic tort case pending in federal court in Nebraska that alleges that a manufacturer’s historic waste disposal practices contaminated the groundwater and caused personal injuries and property damages.
Representative commercial litigation experience:
- Obtained a $93.6 million award in favor of clients in a breach of contract arbitration.
- Defended a national REIT in a breach of contract arbitration that resulted in an award of only $1 in nominal damages for several multi-million dollar breach claims.
Representative class action and insurance litigation experience:
- Achieved dismissal of all claims against various insurance companies in more than a dozen putative class actions arising out of Hurricane Katrina. Several of these cases involved successful appeals to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, including Hibbets v. Lexington Insurance Co., 2010 WL 1778953 (5th Cir. 2010 May 4, 2010); In re Katrina Canal Breaches Lit., 295 F.3d 191 (5th Cir. 2007); Chauvin v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co., 495 F.3d 232 (5th Cir. 2007). In addition to these class action victories, Mr. Nelson also secured the Fifth Circuit’s reversal of a $20 million judgment for business interruption losses and bad faith penalties in Conco v. Lexington Insurance Co., 2010 WL 3223137 (5th Cir. Aug. 17, 2010).
- Lead defense counsel in federal and state court class actions in Connecticut and Maryland against a large national managed care company. Each of the cases was successfully resolved on favorable terms.
Representative antitrust litigation experience:
- Achieved dismissal of all claims against a major paper and forestry products manufacturer in more than a dozen federal and state price-fixing class actions.
- Obtained dismissal of all claims against a large pharmaceutical manufacturer charged with participating in an unlawful conspiracy and attempt to monopolize the “secondary market” for drug distribution.
Mr. Nelson earned his law degree cum laude in 1993 from the University of Michigan Law School. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree magna cum laude from Colgate University in 1990. He is a member of the bar associations of the District of Columbia and New York State, and he is admitted to practice before numerous federal district and appellate courts.