John Nelson


John is a partner in the Indian Wells office of Lewis Brisbois and a member of the Real Estate, Land Use & Environment Practice. His practice focuses on environmental law, complex litigation, water rights and quality, land use and real estate. 

He has represented public and private clients in a range of industries in litigation, permitting and compliance counseling. He handles the following types of matters:

  • Complex environmental litigation (Superfund, water rights)
  • Large-scale mining and real estate project permitting and litigation
  • Natural resource permitting and regulatory compliance 
  • Real estate litigation
  • Surface Transportation Board and Federal Railroad Administration regulatory and compliance work on behalf of railroad and industrial clients
  • California Environmental Quality Act compliance and litigation 
  • Clean Water Act and Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act litigation and compliance
  • Regulatory and general counsel for agribusiness, biotech, water agency and construction industry clients

Prior to joining Lewis Bribsois, Mr. Nelson was in-house counsel for Ash Grove Cement Company and Monsanto Company.

Primary Area(s) of Practice

  • Real Estate, Land Use & Environment
  • Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (“PFAS”)
  • Environmental & Administrative Law
  • Sustainability and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Practice

Additional Experience





  • California Bar, Environmental Section
  • Missouri Bar
  • Desert Bar Association
  • Riverside County Bar Association

Professional Presentations

Panelist, National eDiscovery Leadership Institute (2015)



Juris Doctor, 2001

Claremont McKenna College

Bachelor of Arts, 1998

Prior Experience

  • Assistant General Counsel, Ash Grove Cement Company
  • Assistant General Counsel, Monsanto Company

Published Opinions

  • State Water Resources Control Bd. Cases, 136 Cal.App.4th 674 (2006)
  • Kansas v. Colorado, 543 U.S. 86 (2004)(assisted U.S. Supreme Court Special Master)

Representative Experience

  • Ameripride Svc. Inc. v. Valley Industrial et al. 2:00-cv-00113, Eastern District of California (2006)(favorable Superfund settlement for client Huhtamaki Foodservices, Inc.)
  • United States v. Ash Grove Cement, Case No. 2:13-cv-02299 (Clean Air Act Consent Decree requiring extensive cement plant upgrades and pollution control technology)
  • Tar Creek Superfund site and related toxic tort cases (Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma federal and state courts)
  • Lower Duwamish Superfund site (Seattle,WA)
  • United States v. Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District, (negotiated $4.7 billion Clean Water Act Consent Decree for sewer overflows)