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Nelson Apjohn, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP Photo

Nelson G. Apjohn

Executive Committee / Boston

Overview

Nelson G. Apjohn is a partner in Nutter’s Litigation Department and a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. He regularly represents clients in civil litigation cases, focusing on business litigation and products liability claims. In addition, clients rely on Nelson’s extensive experience litigating a variety of matters such as eminent domain, insurance, executive compensation, legal malpractice defense, construction (both commercial and personal injury), trusts and estates, and various personal injury claims. Nelson has trial and appellate experience in both the state and federal courts, as well as experience in state regulatory proceedings and arbitration.

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Notable Experience and Client Impact

  • An automotive products liability trial in 2016 against Hyundai Motor America, involving a claim that the brake and accelerator pedal configuration of an automobile was conducive to simultaneous depression of the pedals and unintended acceleration, resulting in serious personal injuries. After a seven-day trial, the jury returned a defense verdict in favor of Nelson’s client, Hyundai Motor America.
  • An eminent domain trial involving the Sagamore Flyover Highway Project, which was one of the top ten verdicts in Massachusetts in 2011, according to Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. A jury awarded damages of $2.1 million to the plaintiff landowners after a two-week trial.
  • An eminent domain trial resulting in a $4.15 million verdict for the plaintiff landowner in a case involving the taking of land at the Sagamore Rotary; a verdict that Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly reported was among the top ten verdicts in Massachusetts in 2010. (A retrial in 2015 resulted in a verdict of $5.33 million for the plaintiff landowner.)
  • A trial in 2010 in the Business Session of the Massachusetts Superior Court resulting in a judgment in excess of $3 million on behalf of a bank, as a secured creditor, against a construction company. In addition to the trial, Nelson successfully argued the appeal and the bank’s cross-appeal before the Supreme Judicial Court, ultimately resulting in a judgment in excess of $7.6 million, including interest. Reading Co-operative Bank v. Suffolk Construction Company, Inc., 464 Mass. 543 (2013). Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly chose this decision as one of the most important commercial decisions of 2013.
  • Boone v. Commerce Insurance Company, 451 Mass. 192 (2008), which Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly selected as one of the most important insurance opinions of 2008. The case was an appeal that Nelson successfully argued before the Supreme Judicial Court, reversing a summary judgment and Appeals Court affirmance.
  • The successful appeal before the Supreme Judicial Court on behalf of a Massachusetts motor vehicle insurer in a putative class action, overturning a lower court summary judgment holding that the Massachusetts standard motor vehicle policy provided collision coverage for so-called "inherent diminished value," in Given v. Commerce Insurance Company, 440 Mass. 207 (2003). Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly ranked the decision as one of the ten most important decisions of 2003.

A leader in the legal industry, Nelson is involved in numerous professional organizations:

  • Standing Advisory Committee on the Rules of Civil and Appellate Procedure of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, chair
  • Boston Inn of Court, co-president for the 2015-2016 term and a member of its Executive Committee
  • New England Legal Foundation, member of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee
  • Boston Bar Association, member
  • International Association of Defense Counsel, member
  • Defense Research Institute, member

Nelson has lectured at continuing legal education programs for civil litigation and authored various legal works, including:

  • “Product Liability” chapter supplement in the Massachusetts Superior Court Civil Practice Jury Instructions (J. D. Lipchitz et al. eds., 3rd ed, 1st Supp. 2016), co-author with Superior Court Judge Hon. Maynard M. Kirpalani
  • “Dispositive Motions” chapter in the Massachusetts Superior Court Civil Practice Manual (Hon. T. P. Billings et al. eds., 3rd ed. 2013 and Supp. 2015), co-author with Superior Court Judge Hon. Patrick F. Brady
  • Further Discovery of Expert Witnesses Under Massachusetts Rule of Civil Procedure 26, 88 Mass. L. Rev. 197 (2004)
  • Expert Evidence, A Practitioner’s Guide to Law, Science, and the FJC Manual (Bert Black & Patrick W. Lee eds. 1997), contributing author
  • Post-“Daubert” Admissibility of Expert Testimony on Mechanical Design and Engineering Issues, 23 Prod. Safety & Liab. Rep. (BNA) 553 (1995), co-author with S. M. Quill 
  • “Consider Legal Issues in Software Buys,” Mass High Tech, author
  • “Internet Property Protection Derives from an Arcane Source,” Mass High Tech, author

During law school, Nelson served as the managing editor and articles editor of the Boston College Law Review.

Experience

Experience

  • Top ten verdicts of 2011

    After an approximately two-week trial in April 2011, a Barnstable Superior Court jury awarded damages of $2,100,000 to the plaintiff landowners in an eminent domain trial resulting from various takings at the former Sagamore Rotary. Nelson Apjohn and Robyn Maguire represented the plaintiffs. According to Lawyers Weekly, the verdict was among the top ten verdicts in Massachusetts in 2011.

    The takings were made in October 2004 in connection with the Commonwealth’s construction of the Sagamore Flyover Highway Project. The plaintiffs’ land consisted of approximately seventeen acres just west of the former Sagamore Rotary, which had historically been used in part for residential housing. The plaintiffs presented evidence at trial that the highest and best use of the land was a residential housing development pursuant to G.L. c. 40B, along with a commercial development on the commercially-zoned eastern portion of the property. The Commonwealth contended that the highest and best use of the property was for a nine-lot residential subdivision.

  • Summary judgment entered in putative class action alleging improper deductions from collision damage payments

    Nelson Apjohn defended The Commerce Insurance Company in a putative class action in which the plaintiff claimed that Commerce violated policy provisions for collision coverage by deducting for so-called betterments when paying collision claims. After briefing and a hearing, Nelson obtained summary judgment on behalf of Commerce from the Massachusetts Superior Court (Business Litigation Session).

  • Top ten verdicts of 2010

    After an approximately two-week trial in October 2010, a Barnstable Superior Court jury awarded damages of $4,150,000 to the plaintiff landowner in an eminent domain trial resulting from various takings at the former Sagamore Rotary. Nelson Apjohn and Robyn Maguire represented the plaintiff. According to Lawyers Weekly, that verdict was among the top ten verdicts in Massachusetts in 2010.

    This case involved the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ takings of commercial property near the former Sagamore Rotary in Bourne, Massachusetts. The takings were made in connection with construction of the Sagamore Flyover Highway. The property consisted of approximately eleven acres of commercial property, a portion of which had been used as a gas station since the 1960s. The Commonwealth took approximately 2.5 acres in fee and approximately an additional 7.5 acres of property as a five-year easement, for use as a commuter parking lot during construction.

  • Supreme Judicial Court rules in favor of The Commerce Insurance Company, reversing summary judgment and an Appeals Court affirmance

    Nelson Apjohn successfully argued an appeal before the Supreme Judicial Court, reversing summary judgment against Commerce and an Appeals Court affirmance of that decision. The lower court decisions held that an insurer could not terminate personal injury protection benefits under the applicable statute based on an independent medical examination by a practioner licensed under a medical specialty different from the specialty of the treating or billing practioner. Boone v. Commerce Insurance Company, 451 Mass. 192 (2008). Massachusetts Lawyer’s Weekly ranked the Supreme Judicial Court opinion as one of the most important insurance opinions of 2008.

  • Supreme Judicial Court victory leads to dismissal of putative class action against The Commerce Insurance Company

    Nelson Apjohn successfully argued an appeal before the Supreme Judicial Court on behalf of The Commerce Insurance Company in a putative class action, overturning a lower court summary judgment holding that the Massachusetts standard motor vehicle policy provided collision coverage for so-called "inherent diminished value." Given v. Commerce Insurance Company, 440 Mass. 207 (2003). Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly ranked the decision as one of the ten most important decisions of 2003.

  • After trial, bank obtains judgment in excess of $3 million against construction company

    Nelson Apjohn, Eric Magnuson, and Cynthia Guizzetti represented a bank that commenced suit as a secured creditor in the Business Litigation Session of the Massachusetts Superior Court against a construction company, claiming that the company had misdirected payments to a subcontractor in violation of contract and Article 9 of the UCC. In connection with a credit agreement with the bank, the subcontractor had assigned its payment rights to the bank, which the construction company acknowledged and agreed to. After an approximately 10-day trial, the jury returned a special verdict, finding that the construction company had misdirected payments—totaling $3,015,000.49—to the subcontractor.  On June 15, 2010, based on the special verdict, the Superior Court ordered entry of judgment for the bank in the amount of $3,015,000.49, plus prejudgment interest at a rate of 12% per annum from May 25, 2006, for distribution pursuant to the UCC provisions.

News & Insights

Speaking Engagements

Honors

Honors

  • Litigation Counsel of America, Fellow
  • Massachusetts Super Lawyers, 2004-2016
  • Top 100 Massachusetts Super Lawyers, 2014-2015
  • Top 100 New England Super Lawyers, 2014
  • The Best Lawyers in America, 2016-2017

Education & Admissions

Education

Boston College Law School, J.D., magna cum laude, Order of the Coif

Syracuse University, B.A., summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa

Admissions

  • Massachusetts

Notable Experience

Nelson succesfully represented the plaintiffs in an eminent domain trial involving the Sagamore Flyover Highway Project, which was one of the top ten verdicts in Massachusetts in 2011, according to Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. A jury awarded damages of $2.1 million to the plaintiff landowners after a two-week trial.

Noteworthy

Litigation Counsel of America, Fellow

The Best Lawyers in America, 2016-2017

Massachusetts Super Lawyers, 2004-2016

Top 100 Massachusetts Super Lawyers, 2014-2015

Top 100 New England Super Lawyers, 2014