Insurance clients turn to James when they need highly skilled counsel to handle complex, high-stakes first-party property, third-party liability, and reinsurance coverage matters. Clients often say they deeply appreciate working with James because of his meticulous attention to detail, his willingness to go the extra mile, and his responsiveness. James thoroughly enjoys dissecting insurance policies, solving complex problems, and most of all, winning. James was drawn to Robins Kaplan because of the firm’s stellar reputation for obtaining pioneering court decisions in his practice area.
Insurance and Reinsurance Litigation and Counsel
James has regularly secured favorable results for clients. James’s insurance practice varies, and he has experience representing clients in matters involving:
First-party property coverage: James represents clients in property and business interruption litigation arising from fire, explosion, flood, hurricane, mold, construction and design defect, and bad faith claims.
Third-party liability coverage: James represents clients in a variety of third-party liability disputes, including construction defect, intellectual property, and mass torts.
Subrogation: James maintains an active subrogation practice and he has secured a number of multi-million-dollar recoveries for clients.
Reinsurance: Before joining Robins Kaplan LLP, James focused on insurance-reinsurance dispute resolution at a national law firm. He has continued this work at Robins Kaplan, advising large international reinsurers on coverage issues, potential litigation, and reinsurance claims.
Arbitration: James represents insurance clients in arbitration proceedings. For example, an international insurance client was prematurely forced to arbitrate a dispute concerning a large, sophisticated construction matter. While the adversary attempted to rush to trial, James and his team proceeded to arbitration, marshalled a tremendous amount of evidence, and through careful and strategic preparation of the fact and expert witnesses, the client won in resounding fashion.
Upon graduation from law school, James represented the State of Georgia as an Assistant Attorney General in courts throughout the state, where he handled a varied and heavy caseload, representing the state and its employees in environmental torts, medical malpractice, catastrophic injury, transportation engineering, and other types of cases. James gained particular insight into the workings of government and represented the Departments of Public Safety, Transportation, Corrections, and Natural Resources, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, and other agencies.
James is co-editor of Insight, a publication of the firm’s Insurance Group. He has presented on insurance industry and litigation topics at various industry groups and at continuing education seminars including the Property & Liability Resource Bureau and the Loss Executives Association.
Pro Bono and Community Service
James has a strong commitment to community service. He organized the first annual community service project in which attorneys from his Atlanta office joined with clients and friends to volunteer for different causes. James was the chair of the Atlanta office’s pro bono efforts. Through his contacts with various pro bono organizations, James helps attorneys obtain pro bono matters, including landlord-tenant, domestic violence, adoption, truancy, and children’s rights cases. He has worked with the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation, Atlanta Legal Aid, and other pro bono organizations.
James is married to Jamie, also a lawyer, and they have three children. James is a native of Richmond, Virginia, an avid reader, and a lifelong fan of the Boston Celtics.
Obtained settlements for insurer and paper mill in subrogation litigation concerning an explosion in Maine with losses of more than $350 million.
Obtained successful award for insurer in Massachusetts insurance Reference proceeding regarding a builder’s risk claim.
Obtained dismissal of a class action in Oregon litigation regarding coverage for Covid-19 business interruption. (North Pacific v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Company (D. Or. Sept. 7, 2021)).
Obtained dismissal of litigation in Massachusetts regarding coverage for Covid-19 business interruption. (United Textile v. Lloyds’s Underwriters (Ma. Super. Sept. 28, 2021)).
Obtained summary judgment for insurer in Massachusetts concerning a claim for storm damage. (Lakeshore v. Affiliated FM Insurance Company (Ma. Super. Oct. 26, 2021)).
Represented Liberty Mutual in a coverage dispute involving a sewage backup that damaged an insured’s home in Maine. The case, which included bad faith claims, concerned a water damage exclusion that used the phrase “escape or overflow” in lieu of the more common “backup”. Such an exclusion had not yet been interpreted by any court in the nation. The U.S. District Court, District of Maine, granted summary judgment in favor of our client on all claims. (Pinkham v. Liberty Insurance Corporation (D. Me. May 7, 2019)).
Represented the State of Georgia and the Georgia Ports Authority in an action to recover for the destruction of a large gantry crane and other damages. The Georgia Ports Authority sustained severe property damage when its crane tipped over as stevedores were using the crane to unload cargo from a ship in Savannah. The Ports Authority’s cranes are essential to the functioning of the State’s ports. The litigation involved complex issues of maritime law and multiple appeals. The case concluded successfully for our clients in 2013.
Obtained dismissal of the plaintiff’s $39 million business interruption insurance claim based on the plaintiff’s destruction of electronic documents and other discovery misconduct. The Court also ordered an adverse inference instruction against the plaintiff and attorneys' fees to our client. (Felman Prod. v. Indus. Risk Insurers, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112161 (S.D. W. Va. Sept. 29, 2011)).
Obtained summary dismissal of the plaintiff's $39 million business interruption insurance claim for failure to prove an actual loss of income. The Court stated: "In support of their motion, Defendants filed a detailed, annotated Statement of Facts, a painstaking examination of the hundreds of documents and lengthy depositions the parties have assembled through discovery. . . . Mindful that the evidence must be taken in the light most favorable to the Plaintiff, the Court reaches this conclusion somewhat surprised, but nonetheless certain, that the uncontroverted evidence produced through discovery and identified in the Statement of Facts obliterates Plaintiff's claim of actual loss." (Felman Prod. v. Indus. Risk Insurers, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112156 (S.D. W. Va. Sept. 29, 2011)).
Obtained summary judgment for insurers in Georgia bad faith case involving equipment breakdown claim for industrial machinery.
Obtained summary judgment for state trooper in Georgia catastrophic injury case. (Prior to joining Robins Kaplan LLP)
Obtained summary judgment for reinsurer in Georgia case involving ERISA claims. (Prior to joining Robins Kaplan LLP)
- Atlanta Pro Bono Roundtable
- Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation
- Insurance Practice Group Community Service Event
- Temple Emanuel, Board of Governors
- The Galloway School and The Temple, Volunteer
- Truancy Intervention Project Georgia, Inc., Board of Directors
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