Brett E. Nelson


Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP
1346 N. Delaware St.
IN 46202-2415

Tel: 317-637-0700 x225


Brett is an experienced trial and appellate lawyer with a particular interest in technical and complex litigation. He represents clients in a broad range of construction, environmental, insurance coverage & recovery, commercial and intellectual property disputes.

His practice also includes copyright and trademark prosecution/registration and property tax litigation. Clients range from individuals and small companies to Fortune 250 companies.

  • J.D., 1999, cum laude, Indiana University – Bloomington, Maurer School of Law
  • B.S., 1992, Biology, Indiana University – Bloomington
Bar Admissions
  • State of Indiana, 2000
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, 2000
  • United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, 2000
  • United States Patent & Trademark Office, 2001
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, 2004
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, 2006
  • United States District Ct., District of Maryland, 2020
  • Supreme Court of the United States, 2009
Professional Affiliations
  • Member, Indiana State Bar Association, Appellate Practice, Environmental Law, Litigation and Intellectual Property  Sections
  • Chair, Indiana State Bar Association, Intellectual Property Section (2004-2005)
  • Member, Indianapolis Bar Association, Appellate Practice, Litigation, Insurance Coverage and Tax Litigation, and Environmental Law Sections
  • Member, American Bar Association, Section of Litigation; Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee and Construction Litigation Committee
  • 2016-2024, Listed in Best Lawyers in America ®
  • 2016-2023, Selected for inclusion in Indiana Super Lawyers – Insurance Coverage
  • 2014-2015, Selected for inclusion in Indiana Super Lawyers – Environmental Litigation
  • 2022, Recognized by Premier Appellate Lawyers as a Leading Appellate Lawyer in Indianapolis
  • 2022, Recognized by The Tax Lawyers for the State of Indiana
We have significant experience with construction defects, architectural errors and omissions, land use and stigma damages claims. We have successfully represented owners, contractors, agricultural cooperatives, developers, landfill operators and neighbors. We have also served as counsel in multi-plaintiff and class-action construction claims. Our clients benefit with our experience because this area of focus dovetails with our insurance-recovery practice, as insurance claims are nearly always implicated.

Our range of legal services for our real estate development and construction clients includes:

  • Acquisition, Disposition and Financing
  • Master Development Agreements
  • Land Use and Zoning
  • Property Management and Leasing
  • Environmental Risk Assessments
  • Natural Resource Protection and Permitting
  • Contract Formation and Performance
  • Contract Defaults and Terminations
  • Dispute Resolution
  • Employment Law
  • Licensing for Engineers and Other Design Professionals
  • Property Damage Claims
  • Insurance Coverage and Claim Disputes
  • Performance and Maintenance Surety Bonds
  • General Litigation

In 1988, our founders created a different kind of law firm. A law firm where attorneys provide high quality, cost-effective legal work with creative, innovative solutions to clients’ complex matters. A law firm on the cutting edge of the law that emphasizes legal knowledge and innovation. A law firm that takes on hard cases because it values shaping the law. A law firm committed to helping businesses, large and small, thrive.

Originally founded as an environmental boutique law firm offering full-service environmental counseling and complex litigation services, our work has organically grown into one of the largest policyholder insurance coverage practices in the Midwest. Today, our breadth and depth of experience and technical knowledge allow us to handle complex issues and everyday client matters in sectors of manufacturing, energy, technology, life sciences, petroleum and energy, health care and waste services. Our attorneys are entrepreneurial, purpose driven, and committed to working with clients in all stages of their business growth or succession planning.

Our attorneys are committed to finding creative, cost-effective solutions that will deliver the best outcomes for our clients. Our firm culture encourages collaboration and respect among colleagues. We embrace a team approach to help shape winning strategies.