People: Scott M. Nelson, Partner

Photo of Scott M. Nelson, Partner

Scott M. Nelson

Partner

Houston
Direct: (713) 238-1845
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Scott M. Nelson is a partner in the Labor and Employment Practice Group of Seyfarth Shaw LLP's Houston office.  Scott has significant experience with high-profile domestic and international labor and employment matters, as well as complex commercial litigation.  Legal 500 has recognized him as a leading US lawyer in three categories:  Labor & Employment Litigation, Workplace & Employment Counseling, and ERISA Litigation.  Texas Monthly magazine has recognized him as a Texas Super Lawyer.  Additionally, he is board certified in labor an employment law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

A veteran litigator, Scott has prevailed for clients in a wide variety of cases before trial courts, appellate courts, arbitrators, and government agencies.  He has litigated all major types of employment law claims, including:  discrimination, harassment, and retaliation claims, wage and hour claims, ERISA claims, non-compete and employee trade secrets cases, ADA claims, FMLA claims, Pregnancy Discrimination Act claims, whistleblower claims (including Dodd-Frank and SOX whistleblower, among others), employment contract claims, employee defamation claims, negligent hiring/retention/supervision claims, OSHA retaliation claims, Sabine Pilot claims, class actions, collective actions, traditional labor law matters, and workers’ compensation retaliation claims.

While his record on summary judgment is impressive, Scott is a trial lawyer at heart.  Comfortable and compelling in the courtroom, Scott has prevailed for clients in cases ranging from simple labor arbitrations to jury and bench trials with hundreds of millions of dollars in potential liability exposure.  He is known for his ease in working with clients, his thoughtful strategic approach, his artful use of diplomacy, and his relentless pursuit of victory.

Among his more notable cases, Scott successfully defended multinational chemical companies in one of the largest employee trade secrets cases to go to a jury trial, a case in which plaintiffs sought $800 million through economic espionage-type trade secrets claims.  He also achieved a total bench trial victory for a multinational mining and chemical company in a large ERISA class action in which plaintiffs sought in excess of $200 million.  In arbitration, he recently won over $3.2 million, including $1.2 million in attorneys’ fees, for an employer seeking to claw back signing bonuses from energy traders.

On the advice side, Scott is a seasoned, trusted, and regular advisor to many clients on compliance and strategy issues.  He gets to know his clients, their business, and their industry.  He offers business-practical advice on everything from sensitive employee terminations to leave law issues, complicated ADA accommodation issues, sensitive employee investigations, difficult employee discipline and counseling, workplace safety issues, reductions in force, restructurings, post-acquisition integration matters, international employment law issues, WARN Act issues, OWBPA compliance, employee background check issues, drug testing issues, employee agreements, pay discrimination matters, independent contractor issues, joint employer matters, contingent worker/gig economy issues, staff leasing services agreements, master service agreements, employee privacy issues, employee hotline issues, wage and hour law compliance, tip pooling issues, and workplace policies.  Because of his mastery of the subject matter, his business-practical approach, and his dynamic presentation style, he is often asked to train groups of executives and legal professionals.  Scott gets to the heart of the issue quickly and provides sound, practical advice that clients can trust.

Scott M. Nelson is a partner in the Labor and Employment Practice Group of Seyfarth Shaw LLP's Houston office.  Scott has significant experience with high-profile domestic and international labor and employment matters, as well as complex commercial litigation.  Legal 500 has recognized him as a leading US lawyer in three categories:  Labor & Employment Litigation, Workplace & Employment Counseling, and ERISA Litigation.  Texas Monthly magazine has recognized him as a Texas Super Lawyer.  Additionally, he is board certified in labor an employment law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

A veteran litigator, Scott has prevailed for clients in a wide variety of cases before trial courts, appellate courts, arbitrators, and government agencies.  He has litigated all major types of employment law claims, including:  discrimination, harassment, and retaliation claims, wage and hour claims, ERISA claims, non-compete and employee trade secrets cases, ADA claims, FMLA claims, Pregnancy Discrimination Act claims, whistleblower claims (including Dodd-Frank and SOX whistleblower, among others), employment contract claims, employee defamation claims, negligent hiring/retention/supervision claims, OSHA retaliation claims, Sabine Pilot claims, class actions, collective actions, traditional labor law matters, and workers’ compensation retaliation claims.

While his record on summary judgment is impressive, Scott is a trial lawyer at heart.  Comfortable and compelling in the courtroom, Scott has prevailed for clients in cases ranging from simple labor arbitrations to jury and bench trials with hundreds of millions of dollars in potential liability exposure.  He is known for his ease in working with clients, his thoughtful strategic approach, his artful use of diplomacy, and his relentless pursuit of victory.

Among his more notable cases, Scott successfully defended multinational chemical companies in one of the largest employee trade secrets cases to go to a jury trial, a case in which plaintiffs sought $800 million through economic espionage-type trade secrets claims.  He also achieved a total bench trial victory for a multinational mining and chemical company in a large ERISA class action in which plaintiffs sought in excess of $200 million.  In arbitration, he recently won over $3.2 million, including $1.2 million in attorneys’ fees, for an employer seeking to claw back signing bonuses from energy traders.

On the advice side, Scott is a seasoned, trusted, and regular advisor to many clients on compliance and strategy issues.  He gets to know his clients, their business, and their industry.  He offers business-practical advice on everything from sensitive employee terminations to leave law issues, complicated ADA accommodation issues, sensitive employee investigations, difficult employee discipline and counseling, workplace safety issues, reductions in force, restructurings, post-acquisition integration matters, international employment law issues, WARN Act issues, OWBPA compliance, employee background check issues, drug testing issues, employee agreements, pay discrimination matters, independent contractor issues, joint employer matters, contingent worker/gig economy issues, staff leasing services agreements, master service agreements, employee privacy issues, employee hotline issues, wage and hour law compliance, tip pooling issues, and workplace policies.  Because of his mastery of the subject matter, his business-practical approach, and his dynamic presentation style, he is often asked to train groups of executives and legal professionals.  Scott gets to the heart of the issue quickly and provides sound, practical advice that clients can trust.

Education

  • J.D., Creighton University, cum laude (1996)
    Assistant Editor, Creighton Law Review
    Secretary, International Moot Court Board

  • B.S.B.A. Finance, Creighton University (1993)
    magna cum laude

Admissions

  • Texas

Courts

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky

Affiliations

  • Houston Bar Association - Labor & Employment Section, International Section
  • State Bar of Texas - Labor & Employment Law Section, Litigation Section
  • Mensa - Member

Representative Engagements

  • Bench trial victory in large ERISA § 204(h) notice class action in which plaintiffs sought a recovery in excess of $200 million.
  • Jensen v. Solvay Chems., Inc., 625 F.3d 641 (10th Cir. 2010) (affirming summary judgment victory dismissing large ADEA collective action related to conversion of pension plan to cash balance formula)
  • Successfully defended multinational chemical companies in one of the largest employee trade secrets cases to ever go to a jury trial, a case in which plaintiffs sought $800 million through economic espionage-type trade secrets claims.
  • Won multi-million dollar arbitration award, including seven-figure recovery of attorneys’ fees, in favor of energy trading firm in breach of contract action against former executives.
  • Successfully defended multinational energy companies against claims seeking $440 million arising out of a $6 billion LNG project in Indonesia.
  • Neiddu v. Lifetime Fitness, Inc., 977 F. Supp. 2d 686 (S.D. Tex. 2013) (defeated conditional certification of FLSA collective action for a national fitness club chain)
  • Bourgeois v. The Pension Plan for the Employees of Santa Fe Int’l Corp., 215 F.3d 475 (5th Cir. 2000) (obtained favorable Fifth Circuit opinion on ERISA exhaustion of administrative remedies doctrine)
  • Bourgeois v. The Pension Plan for the Employees of Santa Fe Int’l Corp., 308 F. Supp. 2d 761 (S.D. Tex. 2004) (won summary judgment for defendants in ERISA enhanced pension benefits litigation in which former Managing Director sought seven-figure recovery)
  • Tiemeyer v. Quality Publ’g, Inc., 144 F. Supp. 2d 727 (S.D. Tex. 2001) (summary judgment victory for magazine publishing company in executive’s age discrimination case)
  • Simien v. Chemical Waste Management, Inc., 30 F. Supp. 2d 939 (W.D. La. 1998), aff’d, 174 F.3d 199 (5th Cir. 1999) (obtained summary judgment and subsequent Fifth Circuit affirmance for defendant in race discrimination case)

Presentations