Scott D. Nelson is a seasoned civil litigator and Orange County business attorney who focuses his practice on business and employment litigation.
In his employment practice, Mr. Nelson represents employers and employees in a wide variety of matters, including wage and hour compliance, class actions, federal and state wage and hour laws; California’s Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA); discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and wrongful termination; and trade secrets litigation.
Mr. Nelson has extensive experience defending and prosecuting single-plaintiff, multiple-plaintiff, and class action lawsuits. He handles lawsuits in California and federal courts. He is one of only a few attorneys who have tried multiple class action employment cases. His notable accomplishments include:
- Prevailing before the California Supreme Court in the matter of Ayala v. Antelope Valley Newspapers, Inc., 59 Cal.4th 522 (2014), where he established critical judicial precedent as to key issues regarding independent contractor versus employee classification and trying employment cases as class actions.
- Successfully trying a class action employment matter in San Diego County Superior Court, and which was affirmed on appeal. Espejo v. The Copley Press, Inc. 13 Cal.App.5th 329 (2017). The matter eventually settled and the defendant paid approximately $7.4 million in attorney’s fees and costs as well as a substantial payment to the class.
- Successfully defending an employer in Los Angeles County Superior Court in a bet-the-company case where the employee alleged she was harassed and wrongfully terminated and sought $3 million in damages along with punitive damages. After a three week trial, the jury returned a verdict in the employer’s favor in 2 hours. Allende v. Solari Enterprises, Inc., LA Sup. Ct. Case No. BC451677.
- Prevailing at the pleadings stage the claims of a former employee who sought millions in damages for purported wrongful termination and retaliation. Mangino v. First Foundation, Inc., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 128232 (C.D. Cal. Aug. 11, 2017).
Mr. Nelson also regularly counsels both employers and employees in negotiating severances from employment.
In his business litigation practice, Mr. Nelson has extensive experience representing clients in a wide variety of commercial disputes, including contract disputes, shareholder disputes, real estate disputes, and insurance coverage issues. Some of his recent notable cases include:
- Successfully defending a bank in a class action lawsuit where minority shareholders claimed they were not paid fairly for their shares and sought nearly $20 million along with punitive damages and their attorney’s fees. Dennis Wood, et al. v. Sunwest Bank, et al., LA Sup. Ct. Case No. BC479843.
- Successfully representing title company insureds in numerous quiet title actions across Southern California.
- Successfully representing an insurance company in a matter of first impression before the Ninth Circuit. Lexington v. Allianz Ins. Co., 2006 WL 10207013 (9th Cir. 2006).
Mr. Nelson has repeatedly been recognized as a Southern California Super Lawyer by the publishers of Los Angeles Magazine Law & Politics.
Mr. Nelson graduated from the University of California Davis School of Law, where he served as the Notes & Comments Editor for the U.C. Davis Law Review, and where his Law Review Note earned the Patrick J. Hopkins Memorial Award for the best-written student law review article. During law school, Mr. Nelson externed for the Honorable James N. Barr of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California.
Mr. Nelson obtained his Bachelor of Arts degrees with majors in both Law & Society and Spanish and graduated as a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
Mr. Nelson has published numerous articles, including:
- Who’s an Employer under the Labor Code Still Uncertain, Los Angeles Daily Journal, July 25, 2014.
- Working Out Burdens in Wage and Hour Actions, Los Angeles Daily Journal, September 30, 2015.
- Dynamex Isn’t Just About Wage Orders, Los Angeles Daily Journal, October 18, 2018.
- Who Is an Employee for Purposes of Asserting Claims Under the California Labor Code?, Orange County Trial Lawyers Association: the Gavel, Volume 19, No. 1, Winter 2016.
- Ayala vs. Antelope Valley Newspapers, Inc.: Employee’s Perspective, California Labor & Employment Law Review, Vol. 28, No. 5, September 2014.
- Lecturer, California’s Continuing Education of the Bar
Honors and Awards
- “Southern California Rising Star”, Los Angeles Magazine Law & Politics, 2005
- “Southern California Rising Star”, Los Angeles Magazine Law & Politics, 2006
- “Southern California Rising Star”, Los Angeles Magazine Law & Politics, 2007
- “Southern California Rising Star”, Los Angeles Magazine Law & Politics, 2009