Stephen L. Nelson: Lawyer with Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP

Stephen L. Nelson

Of Counsel
San Francisco,  CA  U.S.A.

Peer Rating
AV® Preeminent

Client Rating

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Experience & Credentials Ratings & Reviews

Practice Areas

  • Aviation & Aerospace
  • e-Discovery
  • Insurance & Reinsurance Coverage
  • Product Liability
Contact InfoTelephone: 415.625.9300
Fax: 415.434.1370
University Western State University, B.S.L., 1974
Law SchoolThomas Jefferson School of Law, J.D., 1977
Admitted1977, California; U.S. District Court, Southern, Central, Northern and Eastern Districts of California; U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit; U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida

Memberships & Affiliations

Lawyer Pilots Bar Association
National Transportation Safety Board Bar Association
Aviation Insurance Association (Director - Attorney Division)


Stephen Nelson is a well-known and respected civil litigator in the aviation industry, an area in which he has focused for more than 30 years. He also holds an Airline Transport Pilot certificate with ratings to fly land and sea airplanes and helicopters, and was a certificated flight instructor for 25 years.

Since joining Wilson Elser in 2006, Stephen has established a strong West Coast presence to enhance the firm's national aviation platform. He previously served as chief operating officer and general counsel of Mather Aviation, an aircraft service company, and before that was managing partner of a boutique aviation law firm in Sacramento, CA.

A significant portion of Stephen's practice centers on the representation of aircraft operators and service providers in litigation arising from general, corporate, commercial and military aviation accidents, and related insurance coverage matters. His cases have involved a range of aircraft types and components, including ultra-lights, hot air balloons, civilian airplanes and helicopters of all types and sizes, military fighter jets, ejection seats, and skydiving equipment. Stephen is experienced in all facets of civil litigation, trial and appeal in state and federal courts, both in California and throughout the United States. He also counsels clients on FAA regulatory and enforcement matters, aviation insurance issues, and transactional and tax questions related to aircraft ownership, operation and business matters.

In order to reach a resolution in each matter that best serves the interests of the client, Stephen provides a high level of individual attention and at all times remains cognizant of the client's broader business issues.

Awards & Distinctions

AV Preeminent Rated by Martindale-Hubbell


Aviation Newsletter

Liability issues and venue decisions

July 2011

A roundup of decisions from several states that focus on liability issues, venue decisions and more. The Wilson Elser Spotlight features partner Stephen Nelson from our San Francisco office.


Nelson Prevails in Appellate Case Filed by Famous General

February 2014

Aviation Team Wins Summary Judgment in Suit Filed By Icon Chuck Yeager

November 4, 2011

General Yeager alleged that Wilson Elser's client, an internationally recognized airplane manufacturer that makes an airplane that Yeager has publicly stated he flies and loves, used his name and testimonial endorsement on its website allegedly without Yeagers permission.

Reported CasesRepresentative Matters: American Airlines Flight 191 : 1979 DC-10 takeoff accident at Chicago, IL, resulting from the separation and loss of one engine during the takeoff roll. USAF Thunderbirds T-38 Formation Accident : 1982 four-aircraft-formation crash during practice of the line abreast loop maneuver. Aeromexico Cerritos Mid-Air Collision : 1986 mid-air collision between an Aeromexico DC-9 and a Piper PA-28 over Cerritos, CA. Carson Helicopters S-61N : 2008 helicopter takeoff accident during fire fighter crew transportation with multiple deaths and injuries. Pilatus PC-12 : 2009 PC-12 landing approach accident at Butte, MT, resulting in 14 deaths. Stein v. So. Calif. Edison, 7 Cal.App.4th 565 (1992): One of the first cases to hold that electricity is a defective product when delivered to a consumer at an abnormally high voltage, subjecting the utility company supplier to strict liability standards. Edison's distribution transformer failed, sending 14,000 volts to the insured's property electrical panel resulting in a major fire.

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Office Information

Stephen L. Nelson

525 Market Street, 17th Floor
San FranciscoCA 94105-2725


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