Nelson is a partner of the firm. He represents railroad and maritime employees in personal injury and death cases under the FELA and Jones Act, as well as under the federal Whistleblower Protection Act. He also represents individuals poisoned by hazardous chemicals, including hundreds of children who have suffered brain damage from industrial smelting operations. He has represented numerous employees of large corporations in claims brought under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”) arising from mismanagement of 401k retirement plans, in addition to helping individuals who sustained massive economic damages from fiduciary mismanagement of a family trust.
Nelson served on the Board of Governors of the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys from 2004-2015. The National Trial Lawyers magazine named Nelson a Top 100 Trial Lawyer every year since 2014. He has consistently received the highest possible rating in both Legal Ability & Ethical Standards from Lawyers.com.
For many years, Nelson has been a member of the Academy of Rail Labor Attorneys, whose mission is to promote rail safety for the traveling public and safe working conditions for railroad employees.
As an example of his work, Nelson represented an injured railroad worker who was partially paralyzed when he fell from a railroad car during his first day on the job and obtained a $20 million judgment. He obtained a $12.5 million verdict for a BNSF train worker whose suffered a leg amputation due to unsafe working conditions and multiple jury verdicts of $5 million on behalf of other injured workers. Nelson was the lead trial lawyer in the first 401k excessive fee class action trial, Tibble v. Edison, on which the United States Supreme Court ultimately ruled in favor of Schlichter Bogard & Denton’s clients. He has also been recognized in the Waterways Journal for his successful representation of a widow for the death of her husband, a chief engineer who suffered a heart attack while working for American Commercial Barge Line Company, in which she received over $1 million following a jury verdict. This case was the subject of a FOX television story. He has additionally successfully handled a maritime case challenging the longstanding but dangerous industry practice of “jerking wires” and obtained a precedent-setting jury verdict.
Nelson is a co-founder and benefactor of the D.L. Wolff Scholarship Fund at the University of Missouri School of Law, which is a tribute to his father, a renowned Civil Rights attorney who fought for criminal justice reforms during his 55-year career. This Fund supports the establishment of a diverse student body. Additionally, he has been a long term supporter of Mission: St.Louis, a non-profit committed to building relationships that transform the lives of marginalized residents. Nelson has served as a mentor for its Job & Leadership Training program. His other long term charitable associations include Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri, Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, and Arch Grants.
- B.A., Emory University, 1988
- J.D., University of Missouri, 1992; law review; two-time winner of the National Moot Court Prize for Appellate Advocacy
- State of Arkansas
- State of Illinois
- State of Missouri
- U.S. Supreme Court
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
- U.S. District Court, S.D. Ark.
- U.S. District Court, W.D. Ark.
- U.S. District Court, C.D. Cal.
- U.S. District Court, C.D. Ill.
- U.S. District Court, N.D. Ill.
- U.S. District Court, S.D. Ill.
- U.S. District Court, E.D. Ky.
- U.S. District Court, E.D. La.
- U.S. District Court, E.D. Mo.
- U.S. District Court, W.D. Mo.
- U.S. District Court, D. Mont.
- U.S. District Court, W.D. Tenn.