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James is a partner in Taft’s Commercial Litigation practice group. Working with businesses and individuals in various industries, including the construction, energy, real estate and finance sectors, James counsels clients on complex litigation matters through mediation and international arbitration. His practice touches on areas including:
- Construction cases involving bond claims, title disputes and landlord-tenant disputes.
- Real estate development.
- Business transactions.
- Shareholder and contract disputes.
- Business torts such as fraud, conversion and tortious interference.
- Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) disputes.
Prior to joining Taft, James was a partner at a national law firm. He earned his J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School and his bachelor’s degree in history and political science from the University of Pennsylvania.
Honoree, Illinois Super Lawyers, Business Litigation (2019 - 2022)
All Service Areas
- University of Wisconsin Law School (2003)
- University of Pennsylvania (2000)
Bachelor's degree in history and political science
- State - Illinois
- State - Wisconsin
Notable Trial Victories
- RyKrisp, LLC v. Distinctive Foods, LLC, et al., Cook County Case No. 2016-L-050685. Won $8.3 million jury verdict, including $6 million in punitive damages, for client, RyKrisp™, in a case involving a food manufacturer’s tortious actions against RyKrisp.
- Dalton v. Prominence Advisors, Inc., et al., American Arbitration Association (2017). Successfully defended claim by former member of software and consulting company seeking a buyout of more than $3 million for his equity interest in the company. Served as lead arbitration counsel and prevailed after a week-long arbitration hearing involving nearly a dozen fact and expert witnesses.
- Great River Property Development, LLC v. Omega Financial Group, Ltd., et al., Circuit Court of Cook County Case No. 16 L 8269. Successfully represented hotel developer in fraud lawsuit against financing broker. Obtained $1,380,572 fraud judgment against individual brokers and their company, jointly and severally, after a bench trial in the Circuit Court of Cook County (Law Division).
- In re Energy Conversion Devices, Inc., No. 12-43166, 2020 WL 5883406, at *5 (Bankr. E.D. Mich. Oct. 1, 2020). Obtained complete dismissal of all claims in adversary complaint filed against former founder and CEO of computer memory technology company. The Court entered a 146 page opinion adopting Defendant Lowrey’s arguments and dismissing multi-million dollar claims for breach of royalty agreement and right of first refusal to purchase company shares brought by bankruptcy trustee represented by Quinn, Emanuel, Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP.
- Won arbitration award in excess of $1 million for a multi-billion dollar international corporation against the former stockholders of a company it acquired. Succeeded on indemnification claims related to state and local taxes that were accrued but unpaid at closing.
- Won half million dollar arbitration award involving failure of an insurance agent to provide contingent commissions to insurance company client. Judgment entered confirming award in Legion Indem. Co. (in liquidation) v. Underwriting Managers, Inc., No. 6:08-CV-340, 2009 WL 3682601, at *2 (E.D. Tex. Oct. 30, 2009).
Notable Appellate Court Victories
- Grice Eng’g, Inc. v. Innovations Eng’g, Inc., 2010 Wisc. App LEXIS 764. Successfully represented Fifth Third Bank in appeal of order granting summary judgment for borrower, which resulted in published decision affirming the enforceability of standard loan documents routinely used by large banks in business acquisition financing transactions. In reversing, the Appellate Court held the stock pledge agreements at issue were covered by the standstill clause in the subordination agreement signed by the borrower/seller and that the subordination agreement was not unconscionable. The Appellate Court also reversed the trial court’s order denying the bank’s motion to dismiss borrower’s counterclaims and third-party claims and remanded “with instructions to grant the motions.”
- MI Mgmt., LLC v. Proteus Holdings, LLC, 2018 IL App (1st) 160972, ¶¶ 68-71, 116 N.E.3d 291, 303–04. Successfully represented judgment creditor in investor dispute and obtained appellate court order: 1) reversing trial court’s order quashing various garnishment summonses; 2) remanding with instructions to reinstate garnishment judgment against solvent affiliate of judgment creditor; 3) vacating order granting adverse claim to judgment creditor’s account; and 4) remanding with instructions to dismiss adverse claim.
- Won appellate court order vacating a temporary restraining order that had frozen $20 million in client assets.
Speeches and Publications
- Co-author, chapter 11, “Motions, Affidavits, and Orders,” Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education’s Civil Practice: Opening the Case, 2009 Edition
- Speaker, “Ethics and Governance Best Practices for Non-Profit Corporations,” Association of Financial Crimes Investigators (2015)
- Speaker, “Recent Changes in Illinois Law and Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,” Illinois Paralegal Association (May 2011)
- Speaker, “Corporate and Personal Guarantees,” National Association of Credit Managers’ Midwest Conference (Oct. 2010)
- Speaker, “Third Party Rights Overview,” and “Settlement Strategies and Alternatives,” National Cement Credit Association Conference (Oct. 2009)
- Speaker, “Electronic Data in Credit and Collections,” National Association of Credit Managers’ Midwest Conference (Oct. 2009)
Twenty-One Taft Attorneys Recognized as 2022 Illinois Super Lawyers
Nineteen Taft Attorneys Selected for Inclusion in Illinois Super Lawyers 2021
Taft Chicago’s Litigation Practice Grows With Addition of Oakley and Rowden