Brett E. Nelson

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Insurance Coverage Attorney in Indianapolis, IN

Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP
1346 North Delaware Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202
Phone: 317-637-0700
Fax: 317-637-0710
Selected to Super Lawyers: 2014 - 2021
Licensed Since: 2000
Practice Areas: Insurance Coverage (30%), Environmental Litigation (30%), Appellate (10%), Construction Litigation: Business (10%), General Litigation (10%), Tax: Business (10%)
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Attorney Profile

Attorney Brett E. Nelson is a partner with Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP law firm, which has law offices in Indianapolis and South Bend, Indiana. A top-ranked trial and appellate lawyer with more than 20 years of legal experience, Mr. Nelson provides exceptional counsel and support to clients throughout the state who have legal needs involving any of the following:

·        Insurance coverage and recovery for policyholders or other insureds.

·        Environmental litigation

·        General civil litigation

·        Construction litigation

·        Appellate litigation

·        Indiana property tax and income tax disputes

Mr. Nelson has achieved considerable success advocating on behalf of a diverse range of clients in a variety of subject areas. He has represented individuals and families as well as business owners and Fortune 500 companies with both general and complex litigation. From his efforts, he has secured many favorable resolutions for his clients, and has gained a reputation for cost-effective and practical advice. 

Mr. Nelson has also been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© from 2016-2021.

A 1992 graduate of Indiana University, Bloomington, with a Bachelor of Science in biology, Mr. Nelson obtained his Juris Doctor cum laude from Indiana University, Bloomington's Maurer School of Law in 1999. His bar admissions are as follows: June 2000, Indiana Supreme Court, U.S. District Courts, Northern and Southern Districts of Indiana; Sept. 2001, U.S. Patent & Trademark Office; July 2004, Seventh Circuit Federal Court of Appeals; Sept. 2006, Tenth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals; June 2009, Supreme Court of the United States; July 2020, U.S. District Court, District of Maryland.

Mr. Nelson served as chair of the Indiana State Bar Association's Intellectual Property Section, and is a member of the organization's Environmental Law, Litigation Appellate Practice and Intellectual Property  Sections and the Indianapolis Bar Association's  Insurance coverage, Litigation and Environmental sections.  He is also a member of the American Bar Association's Litigation Insurance Coverage Section.

Mr. Nelson is also a board member of former president of Paws and Think, Inc.. He is a member of the Bloomington Bicycle Club and the United State Parachute Association. Mr. Nelson enjoys hiking, camping, fishing and almost anything outdoors.

Best Lawyers® and The Best Lawyers in America© are registered trademarks of BL Rankings, LLC d/b/a Best Lawyers and Co., LLC. The names, logo, and database are protected under the trademark, copyright, and fair use laws of the United States of America. Any use of name, including in electronic form, must be made only by permission and under the guidelines of BL Rankings, LLC d/b/a Best Lawyers and Co., LLC.

Practice Areas
  • 30%Insurance Coverage
  • 30%Environmental Litigation
  • 10%Appellate
  • 10%Construction Litigation: Business
  • 10%General Litigation
  • 10%Tax: Business
Focus Areas

Insurance, Appeals, Construction Defects, Litigation, Tax Law


8 Years Super Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers: 2014 - 2021

About Brett E. Nelson

Admitted: 2000, Indiana

Professional Webpage:


  • 2016-2021, Listed in Best Lawyers in America ®
  • 2016-2020, Selected for inclusion in Indiana Super Lawyers – Insurance Coverage
  • 2014-2015, Selected for inclusion in Indiana Super Lawyers – Environmental Litigation

Representative Clients

  • 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)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • 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))
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • TBD Capital LLC v. Seneca Ins. Co., Cause No. 49D02-1309-PL-034683 slip op. (Marion Co. Superior Ct., Sept. 21. 2012) ($2.3M Judgment in favor of mortgage holder under first party property policy. Insurer denied claim based on alleged fraud in the application for insurance. Judgment included $1,239,718.88 in attorney fees for insurer’s unreasonable litigation.)

Pro bono/Community Service

  • Member, Board of Directors, Paws and Think, Inc. 2014 – present (President 2015-Present)
  • Member, United State Parachute Association, 2004 – present
  • Member, Bloomington Bicycle Club, 2012 – present (Grants Committee Chair 2013 – 2017)

Bar/Professional Activity

  • Member, American Bar Association, Section of Intellectual Property, Section on Natural Resources, Energy, and Environmental Law, Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section, Animal Law Committee
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, 2006
  • Member, Indianapolis Bar Association, Litigation, Environmental Law, and Intellectual Property Sections
  • Chair, Indiana State Bar Association, Intellectual Property Section (2004-2005)
  • Member, Indiana State Bar Association, Environmental Law, Litigation, Appellate Procedure and Intellectual Property (Former Chair) Sections
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, 2004
  • United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, 2000
  • United States Patent & Trademark Office, 2001
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, 2000
  • State of Indiana, 2000

Educational Background

  • Indiana University, Bloomington, B.S. 1992 (Biology) Core Degree Program, 1992

Scholarly Lectures/Writings

  • Author and Speaker, “Endangered Species Regulations and How They Impact the Utility Industry,” International Right of Way Association Environmental Seminars, 2002
  • Author, “Recent Developments in the Seventh Circuit Impacting the Litigation and Funding of Complex Environmental Matters,” ICLEF Seventh Circuit Roundup, 2001
  • Speaker, “Environmental Insurance Coverage – Case Law Update” Indiana State Bar Association Annual Meeting. Sponsored by the Environmental Law Section, 2015
  • Author, “Venomous Reptiles and the Law,” Reptiles Magazine, September 2004, Vol. 30, 2004
  • Author and Speaker, “Endangered Species Regulations and How They Impact the Utility Industry,” International Right of Way Association Environmental Seminars, 2004
  • Author, “Indiana Supreme Court Decision Emphasizes Importance of Prompt Notice to Insurance Carriers,” Indiana State Bar Association Environmental Law Section Newsletter, Fall 2009, 2009


  • Meijer Stores Limited Partnership v. Boone County Assessor, Indiana Board of Tax Review, Petition Nos.: 06-021-14-1-4-1023 7-15, 06-005-15-1-4-01987-17, 06-005-16-1-4-01988-17. 06-005-17-1-4-02182-17. Final Determination on a "Big Box" Property Tax appeal. I represented the Boone County Assessor, 2019
  • TBD Capital v. Seneca Ins. Co., Inc. and Seneca Specialty Ins. Co., Marion Superior Court, (Indiana), Cause No. 49D02-1309-PL-034683. Bench trial involving copper theft and alleged bad faith by the insurer. Judgment for the policyholder in the amounts of $785,829.80 in damages plus $1,123,022 in attorney fees for the insurers' "unreasonable" litigation plus $116,696.88 in costs, plus interest, 2017
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Office Location for Brett E. Nelson

1346 North Delaware Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202

Phone: 317-637-0700

Fax: 317-637-0710

Last Updated: 12/29/2020

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