James A. Kitces

617.267.2300

Experience

James Kitces helps clients manage and control risks associated with complex litigation.  His practice focuses on representing large business insurers in first-party coverage and industrial subrogation claims.  James also focuses his practice on representing insurers in third-party liability disputes concerning construction defect claims, environmental claims, intellectual property disputes, and other liability matters as well as bad faith claims.  James also represents insurers in cases alleging negligent inspection.  James spent 17 years in Atlanta and maintains an active practice in the southeast.  James has a keen understanding of litigation and the business issues that make litigation successful.  He has represented clients through every stage of litigation, from pre-suit evaluations to trial and appeal.  He has extensive experience in first-party and third-party insurance litigation arising from fire, explosion, flood, hurricane, mold, construction and design defect, and other losses

James has represented clients in many jurisdictions, including state and federal courts in Georgia, Alabama, California, Florida, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Before joining Robins Kaplan LLP, James focused on insurance-reinsurance dispute resolution at a national law firm.  He appeared before the Georgia Office of the Insurance Commissioner on numerous occasions.  Upon graduation from law school, James had the privilege of representing the State of Georgia as an Assistant Attorney General in courts throughout the State.  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 DecPage, 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.

James has a strong commitment to community service. He organized the first annual community service project in which attorneys from the 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.

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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.

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.

Felman Prod. v. Indus. Risk Insurers, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112161 (S.D. W. Va. Sept. 29, 2011): 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 112156 (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."

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)

  • Named a "Georgia Rising Star," Super Lawyers (2009, 2014-2015)
  • Recipient of the “Glenda Hatchett Volunteer of the Year Award,” Truancy Intervention Project of Georgia (2013)
  • 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
Bar Admissions
  • Court of Appeals Georgia
  • Georgia
  • Massachusetts
  • Supreme Court, Georgia
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts
  • U.S. District Court, Middle District of Georgia
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of New York
Education
  • University of Texas School of Law, J.D. (2001)
  • Emory University, B.A. (1998)                                                                   
Professional Associations
  • American Bar Association, Property Insurance Law Committee and Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee
  • Atlanta Pro Bono Roundtable
  • Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation
  • Atlanta Bar Association
  • Boston Bar Association
  • Massachusetts Reinsurance Bar Association
  • Southern Loss Association
  • State Bar of Georgia, Litigation Committee 
  • Truancy Intervention Project Georgia, Inc., Board of Directors
  • De Risk Business Process Automation
    Genus Technologies, Webinar (April 25, 2019)
  • 2019 Property Case Developments Commercial Lines
    PLRB (Property & Liability Research Bureau) Claims Conference, Indianapolis, Indiana (March 31, 2019)
  • Recent Property Case Law Update
    PLRB 2018 Regional Adjusters Conference, Hartford, Connecticut (October 30, 2018)
  • Property Case Law Developments 2017
    PLRB Claims Conference & Insurance Services Expo, Orlando, Florida (April 15, 2018)
  • First-Party Bad Faith in the Southeast States
    Southeastern Claim Executives Association, St. Augustine, Florida (April 20, 2009)
  • Suing the Inspector/Designer: Legal Theories and Protections
    Society of Fire Protection Engineers Greater Atlanta Chapter (March 18, 2008)
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