James M. Nelson - Greenberg Traurig, LLP

James M. Nelson

Listed in Best Lawyers since 2012
Phone: 916-442-1111

James M. Nelson is Chair of the firm's Sacramento Labor & Employment Practice. He represents employers and ERISA plan fiduciaries in matters concerning ERISA compliance, fiduciary responsibility, collective bargaining, wage and hour, employee benefits, safety, discrimination, wrongful termination, and other labor and employment issues. His experience includes complex litigation, class action defense, administrative proceedings and appeals, as well as advice and counseling to ERISA plan fiduciaries of single-employer and multi-employer plans. James has counseled clients in numerous industries, including construction, transportation, health care, hospitality, manufacturing and publishing.

University of ArizonaBA 1979University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of LawJ.D. 1981
Century City Bar AssociationArizona Bar AssociationCalifornia Bar AssociationArizona State Board of EducationAmerican Bar AssociationVoluntary Dispute Resolution, United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, 1997-PresentSacramento Medical Group Managers AssociationAmerican College of Employee Benefits Counsel

Case History

Other Court Admissions
  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California

Areas of Concentration
  • Labor and employment
  • Litigation
  • Collective bargaining
  • Wage and hour
  • Employee benefits litigation
Published Decisions
  • Counsel of Record, Concrete Pipe and Products v. Construction Laborers Pension Trust for Southern California, 508 U.S. 602, 124 L.Ed.2d 539 (1993), complex ERISA litigation involving fiduciary responsibility/actuarial disputes resulting from Multiemployer Pension Plan Amendments Act and dispute over constitutionality of various provisions and circumstances under which a collective bargaining relationship has ceased.
  • Lynn-Edwards Corp., 290 NLRB No.28 (1988); on remand from NLRB v. Lynn-Edwards Corp., 825 F.2d 413 (9th Cir. 1987), established the status of ESOP as retirement plan governed by ERISA and that employer did not violate LMRA by excluding union employees with collectively bargained retirement benefits from participation in ESOP.
  • Kentucky Association of Health Plans Inc. v. Miller, U.S. , 155 L.Ed.2d 468 (2003), Amicus counsel for Society of Human Resources Management on ERISA preemption of state “any willing provider” statutes regulating managed health care.
  • Wells v. One2One Learning Foundation, 39 C.4th 1164 (2006), applicability of Unfair Competition Law and False Claims Act to charter schools and their chartering school districts.
Multi-Plaintiff Non-Class Action
  • Race and age claims of six plaintiffs in four separate actions arising from same managers in a single facility, Alameda County.
  • Seven plaintiff sexual harassment and discrimination claims under California Fair Employment and Housing Act, Sonoma County.
  • Four plaintiff coordinated race discrimination and harassment cases, Sacramento County.
  • Five plaintiff, gender, age, sexual harassment and pregnancy discrimination claims, mediated Sacramento County.
  • EEOC pattern and practice gender discrimination claims in hotel restaurant setting, Maricopa County.
  • EEOC pattern and practice and separate class action sexual harassment claim involving minor employees, Maricopa County and D. Az.
Representative Class Action
  • WARN/COBRA class action involving plant closure and termination of health plans, E.D. Cal.
  • Multiple school district educational B&P Code 17200/False Claims Act class action involving Charter Schools, Sierra County.
  • Age Discrimination/ COBRA class action asserting discriminatory benefit structure, E.D. Cal.
  • Labor Code §2802 state wide class action and unfair competition action involving independent contractor classifications, Los Angeles County Superior Court.
  • ERISA litigation related to ESOP valuation with U.S. Dept. of Labor and assertion of settlement class of participants, E.D. Cal.
  • Labor Code 226.7/ Unfair Competition state wide class claim related to breaks and meal periods, Orange County Superior Court.
  • "Off the Clock" wages, failure to pay overtime and call back time class claim, Sacramento County Superior Court.
  • Rest and meal period/failure to pay overtime, failure to provide tools/incorrect payday statement unfair competition claim, San Bernardino County Superior Court.

Client Comments

"Jim Nelson has the legal and practical knowledge which I rely on for my most critical employment decisions. His counsel has proven time and time again the value of his guidance. Through the 25 plus years we have worked together, he has been and continues to be a coach, mentor, and a friend. Jim is also my first call when I have a need for a referral in any other area of law. I feel very confident in referring Jim to colleagues except when there may be a conflict of interest which is when I keep Jim for myself."

-Craig Ahlswede
President, Owner
Staff Resources, Inc.

Office Location

1201 K Street, Suite 1100
Sacramento, CA 95814
United States

Practice Areas

Employment Law - Management