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David K. Nelson

David Nelson is a partner in the Baton Rouge office of Kean Miller. He joined the firm in 1985 and practices in the construction and commercial litigation groups.  David was selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America in the fields of Construction Law and Construction Litigation (2010-2016).  For over 25 years he has represented construction clients in a wide variety of construction disputes including litigation, contract negotiation and interpretation, arbitration and mediation, lien rights and remedies under the Public Works Act and the Private Works Act, performance, payment, bid and retainage bond rights, and liability and responsibility issues.

David's knowledge of the construction process began long before law school.  He worked in the construction industry during high school and college.  This "from the ground up" understanding of the nuances of the construction industry enables David to proactively work with clients and their workforce to recognize and prevent problems before they occur.

David represents engineers, contractors, industrial concerns, building owners, architects and engineers in a wide variety of matters including improper construction and design issues. He has extensive experience in water intrusion cases.  David has handled significant cases for Arkel Construction Company, The Louisiana Municipal Association, The Louisiana Association of Educators, The Rapides Regional Medical Center, ARCO, DSM Copolymer, Inc., Nalco Chemical Company, Albertson's, BASF Corporation, IBM and Credit Suisse First Boston. He also provides construction contract review services for clients in the electrical, instrumentation, mechanical and roofing industries.

David is listed in The Best Lawyers in America (Woodward/White, Inc.) and in Louisiana Super Lawyers 2011-2016.  He is Chair of the Construction and Commercial Litigation Practice Group for the Louisiana Association of Defense Counsel. 

Representative Experience

  • Defense of an electrical contractor against a multi-million dollar claim related to a multi-story commercial construction project involving design, installation, and code compliance issues for both low and regular voltage
  • Representation of one of nation's largest electrical contractors on Louisiana contractor licensing issues
  • Representation of environmental emergency response company in defense of property damage, and personal injury claims, including class action claims, and commercial litigation claims stemming from multi-million dollar warehouse fire
  • Representation of a large industrial client with regard to electrical and instrumentation issues and in the defense of delay claims
  • Representation of several small residential construction companies in cases involving electrical installation practices, water penetrations, roofing, structural design and HVAC issues
  • Representation of a church in construction defect case involving water intrusion caused by design and construction errors
  • Defense of a large industrial client in a complex arbitration concerning breach of a sellers warranty as to environmental issues and fitness of equipment including electrical panels and transfer switches
  • Defense of industrial clients in defense of toxic exposure claims, hearing loss claim, and asbestos claim
  • Defense of large manufacture in defense of class action claims relating to premature corrosion of vessels
  • Defense of international software developer in breach of warranty claims relating to defective design and implementation of software
  • Defense of general contractor in a multi-story hotel project in defense of property damage and personally injured claims arising out of alleged construction defects causing mold


David earned his B.S. from Louisiana State University in 1982. He earned his J.D. from the LSU Law Center in 1985. David is a graduate of the Masters Advocacy Program at the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (1992) and is a faculty member for the Gulf Coast Regional Trial Advocacy Program and the LSU Law Center Trial Advocacy program.


  • Admitted, Louisiana, 1985


  • Baton Rouge, Louisiana State and American Bar Associations; Louisiana Association of Defense Counsel; American Bar Association Litigation Committee; American Bar Association Construction Committee

Articles, Publications and Presentations

  • Instructor: National Institute of Trial Advocacy, Gulf Coast Regional Program, 1990 to present
  • Instructor: National Institute of Trial Advocacy, Deposition Program, 2002
  • Arbitration Rulings are Final, Even When the Arbitrators Get It "Wrong on the Law", Louisiana Law Blog, August 13, 2015
  • Technical Presenter: Louisiana State Bar Association, Environmental Law Section, Topic: Toxic Mold: Modern Plaque or Ancient Nuisance, November 2002
  • Author, Ruling the Unruly: Case Management Order for Complex Litigation in State Court, 1998
  • Author, Legal Considerations for the Health and Safety Professional, 1995
  • Instructor: Louisiana State University Law Center Trial Advocacy Program, 1995-present
  • Technical Presenter: International Technology Corporation Technical Exchange, American Industrial Hygiene Conference,  Topic: Identification of Risk in Cause and Origin Investigation, 1993
  • Author, The World of the Construction Attorney: The Good, The Bad, and The Lawyer. Aspatore Books, 2006
  • Technical Presenter for American Institute of Architects Louisiana section. Topic: Contractor Delay Claims and the Design Professional, 2006
  • Technical Presenter a the Construction Super Conference in San Francisco, California. Topic: Equitable Adjustment Clauses, 2008
  • Technical Presenter for the Louisiana Dental Association in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Topic:  Four Hours With a Lawyer versus a Root Canal Without Anesthesia...Tough Choice Ain't It? 2008
  • Partial Certificates of Substantial Completion - a "Trap for the Unwary", Louisiana Law Blog, July 29, 2016

Community Service

  • Lecturer, Louisiana Association of Educators, 1987-present
  • President, St. Jude the Apostle School Advisory Council, 2001-2002; Vice President, 2000-2001; Member, 1995-2000
  • Board of Directors, St. Josephs Academy, 2003-2006
  • Board of Directors, Attorney, Louisiana Council on Child Abuse,1987-1988
  • Co-Moderator, Catholic High School Mock Trial, 1998 to 2002
  • Legal Director, Mock Trial Competition of Baker High School, 1991
  • Participant, Baton Rouge Bar Association's "Lawyer in the Classroom" Program
  • Lector, St. Jude the Apostle Church, 2005-present
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