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Michael S. Nelson

Fax +1.412.355.6501
Mr. Nelson practices in the area of complex commercial litigation, with a focus on commercial disputes, insurance coverage and consumer class action defense. Since he joined the Firm in 1996, Mr. Nelson has represented clients in a variety of Uniform Commercial Code disputes, as well as contract actions and claims alleging business torts. Mr. Nelson has also represented policyholders in litigation over coverage for environmental and toxic tort liabilities and has worked to secure coverage in connection with mass tort bankruptcies. Mr. Nelson also represents manufacturers in the defense of consumer class action lawsuits and has significant experience representing clients in mediations and arbitrations, including NYSE, NASD and FINRA arbitrations.

Professional/Civic Activities

  • American Bar Association
  • Allegheny County Bar Association
  • University of Pittsburgh Law Alumni Association Board of Governors (President-Elect)
  • Woodland Hills Aquatic Team Board of Directors (Vice President)

Speaking Engagements

  • Speaker, LITIGATING, SETTLING & MANAGING ASBESTOS CLAIMS CONFERENCE, Preparing for the Onslaught of Silica Litigation, June 2006
  • Speaker, NATIONAL SILICA CONFERENCE, Insurance Coverage for Silica Liabilities, September 2004

Commercial Disputes

  • Dexon Computers, Inc. v. American Eagle Outfitters (Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, Pittsburgh). Lead counsel in a dispute under the UCC arising out of the sale of non-conforming computer equipment that was settled after dispositive motions were filed.
  • Allegheny County Airport Authority v. Stewart & Stevenson Power, Inc. (Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, Pittsburgh). Lead counsel in a dispute between the Airport Authority and a Texas-based manufacturer of runway sweeper brooms that was successfully resolved following summary judgment.
  • Genrone v. Styling Technology Corp. (Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, Pittsburgh). Represented majority shareholders in lawsuits brought by minority shareholders alleging breach of fiduciary duty arising out of majority shareholders sale of their stake in a closely held corporation.
  • Rhome Management Co. v. Johnstown Steel Acquisition Corporation (Cambria Country Court of Common Pleas). Successfully defended claim for breach of indemnity obligations arising out of purchase and sale agreement. 
  • Represented Fortune 50 company in a series of contract disputes with customers that arose as a result of improperly terminated license agreements. All matters were resolved consensually without the need to commence litigation.
  • Defended brokerage firms and financial advisors in NYSE, NASD and FINRA broker-dealer arbitrations.

Insurance Coverage Disputes

  • Air Liquide America L.P. v. U.S. Fire Ins. Co. (Harris County District Court, Texas) Lead counsel in an insurance coverage action commenced against historical insurers of Air Liquide America L.P. and related entities. Negotiated favorable settlements that resolved the dispute over coverage for long-tail silica liabilities.
  • United Technologies Corp. v. American Home Assurance Co. (District of Conn.) Obtained $16.3 million jury verdict following six week trial in suit seeking first-party insurance coverage for environmental property damage; also obtained bad faith jury verdict against insurer following bifurcated three week trial, which led to a $16 million punitive damages award and a $2.6 million award of attorneys’ fees.
  • Alcoa Inc. v. Accident & Indemnity Ins. Co., et al. (King County Superior Court, Wash.) Represented policyholder in suit seeking first-party insurance coverage for environmental property damage at numerous sites located throughout the country. Following first phase jury trial, appeal to the Washington Supreme Court and discovery in preparation for re-trial, the case settled favorably.
  • Allegheny Energy v. AEGIS, et al. (Pittsburgh, PA) Served as lead counsel in appraisal hearing for policyholder seeking coverage for first-party property loss relating to a damaged electrical generator.

Asbestos Bankruptcy

  • In re Pittsburgh Corning Corporation. (Western District of North Carolina). Engaged in mediation that culminated in a settlement whereby more than forty insurers agreed to contribute in excess of $1.7 billion to the 524(g) trust.
  • In re United Gilsonite Laboratories. (Middle District of Pennsylvania). Negotiated consensual settlements with liability insurers that collectively called for proceeds in excess of occurrence limits of liability policies to be contributed to the 524(g) trust.

Consumer Class Actions

  • Cherry v. Electrolux Home Products, Inc. (Western District of North Carolina). Lead counsel on a consumer class action lawsuit that was dismissed with prejudice after the Court issued favorable rulings in response to a motion to dismiss.
  • Rice v. Electrolux Home Products, Inc. (Middle District of Pennsylvania). Lead counsel on a consumer class action lawsuit alleging breach of warranty claims on behalf of a purported nationwide class of consumers.