James R. Safley



Trial and appellate experience in a variety of areas of business litigation, including defense of major class actions, plaintiff and defendant antitrust lawsuits, RICO, trade associations, real estate, lender liability, securities law, healthcare and other complex disputes.

Has tried or settled many cases, including antitrust, throughout the United States over the past 40 years. 

Actively represented the casualty and health insurance industry in antitrust and RICO class actions, constitutional challenges and regulatory proceedings.

Representation of trade associations in advocating changes in real estate and licensing laws in Minnesota.

Representation of numerous clients in pro bono matters, including Native Americans, and most recently a guardian ad litem obtaining a termination of parental rights in a severe child abuse case.

Other Experience:

Law Clerk to the Honorable Miles Lord, U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota (1968-1969)

Past Director: Legal Advice Clinics, Ltd.

Lead counsel representing defendant health insurer in the Tow Distributing class action lawsuit in Minnesota state court. Settled a $400 million claim for $41 million (including $30 million previously approved for distribution by the Minnesota Commerce Department).

Defense counsel who argued motion to dismiss RICO class action lawsuit brought against workers compensation insurers in the Southern District of Florida (Miami Division), which resulted in dismissal of all RICO claims with prejudice.

Lead counsel in the Workers Compensation Refund case in a constitutional law challenge in Minnesota, which led to the recovery of $700 million.

Lead counsel prosecuting casualty insurer’s claim for injunctive relief against Minnesota Commissioner of Commerce to require adherence to bid process.

Defense of numerous insurance companies and corporate clients in antitrust, RICO and other class action litigation in federal and state courts throughout the country.

Defense of Minnesota health insurer in ERISA class action lawsuit.

Representation of a national leasing company in defending RICO class actions and other lawsuits before the MDL Panel and in multidistrict litigation in Tampa, Florida.

Lead counsel representing a corporate borrower in Minnesota prosecuting a lender liability suit against G.E. Capital.

Lead counsel prosecuting antitrust claims of a private for profit hospital against health insurer in Michigan.

Lead counsel defending a U.S. government agency in a lender liability lawsuit in Minnesota.

Lead counsel defending antitrust claims asserted in Penne vs. Minneapolis Association of REALTORS®, securing a defense verdict following nine week trial.

Lead counsel representing the largest unsecured creditor in the Flight Transportation Corporation securities litigation in Minnesota.

Prosecution of securities claims of several large mutual funds in the Central Bank case in Colorado and the Nakornthai Steel Mill case in Minnesota.

Lead counsel representing small dealers and distributors in wrongful termination antitrust lawsuits tried in Maine, California, Idaho, Montana, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Bar Admissions
  • Minnesota
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • Duke University School of Law, J.D. (1968); Student Editorial Assistant for Law and Contemporary Problems
  • University of Iowa, B.A., Political Science and Psychology, Phi Beta Kappa
Professional Associations
  • Duke University School of Law, Board of Visitors (2004 - Present)  
  • Has been a frequent lecturer and chaired Continuing Legal Education programs on various subjects related to complex business litigation.


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