Jim’s practice is concentrated on complex civil business litigation, mediation and arbitration. His work on issues related to professional responsibility and legal ethics has been extensive.
Jim has been practicing law for 44 years. He first joined Bell, Davis & Pitt in 1984, and took a 6-year hiatus from the firm to serve as general counsel for a publicly listed company. Previously, he practiced for 13 years in Washington, D.C., where he was a partner in Howrey & Simon.
As a litigator, trial lawyer, arbitrator and mediator, Jim has focused his career on complex business litigation. A fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, among many other selective professional organizations, he has in the course of his career handled numerous disputes in the areas of antitrust, business torts, contracts, intellectual property, securities, shareholder controversies, trade secrets, unfair trade practices, employment, and a variety of regulatory matters. He appears frequently in the North Carolina Business Court and has extensive experience in other state and federal courts in North Carolina, as well as nationwide. He has served as general counsel and risk manager for a publicly listed company. As a result, he is experienced in dealing with a variety of corporate and regulatory matters confronting public companies.
Jim has been heavily involved in professional activities, serving on numerous boards and committees of the North Carolina State Bar and the North Carolina Bar Association. In 2011, he was elected president of the North Carolina State Bar.
Jim’s civic activities have been varied, including: Leadership Winston-Salem; the Winston-Salem Drug-Free Workplace Task Force; Board of Directors, Contact Helpline of the Triad; Board of Directors, West End Association; Alumni Council and Order of the Barristers, Duke University School of Law; Triad Leadership Council; and the William Preston Few Association of Duke University’s Trinity College.
Raised in western North Carolina, specifically rural Alexander County, he received both his undergraduate and law degrees from Duke University. His wife, Debbie, is an ordained United Methodist Church minister. They have two daughters – Alexandra, a social worker, and Victoria, an associate producer of a Nickelodeon television series for children. Jim’s hobbies include painting, reading, woodworking, and historical home renovation
Wilson Cook, Inc. vs. John Wilson et al. (United States Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of North Carolina) — Extremely hard fought and complex trade secret litigation. At various times this controversy ongoing in three different state and federal trial courts with three separate appeals to the fourth circuit. Very favorable result for client Wiltek, Inc after five and a half week trial in Adversary Proceeding in Bankruptcy Court.
Richard Childress Racing Enterprises vs. Mutual of Omaha et al. (North Carolina Superior Court — Case involved allegations of negligence, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duties and unfair trade practices stemming from failure of insurance company and its agents to honor coverage for large amount of key man insurance purchased by client , the Childress racing organization on the life of Dale Earnhardt, Sr. whose death in racing accident rendered his performance of racing contract impossible.
Strawbridge vs. Sugar Mountain Ski Resort, (United States District Court, Western District of North Carolina (2004) — Suit for negligence against a ski resort corporation arising from a ski accident which rendered the plaintiff a quadriplegic. Suit also sought relief from the resort corporation's principal stockholder on an alter ego theory, and in addition involved significant insurance coverage issues. Successful jury verdict obtained for client defendants.
Airflow Technolies vs. Kvaerner Pulping, Inc (North Carolina Superior Court) —
Suit to enforce certain provisions of a warehousing and distribution contract which was prematurely and improperly terminated. Case also involved issue of what level of proof is required to render evidence of lost future profits damages non-speculative. Successful verdict obtained after 3 week trial.
Staton vs. Brame et al. ( North Carolina Business Court) —
Suit involved representation of plaintiff, a member of a wealthy Colombian family whose assets were fraudulently misappropriate and mismanaged by North Carolina business agents. Defendants were certain North Carolina individuals and entities, entrusted with management of family's assets. Case also generate criminal proceedings against one of the defendants. Very large settlement negotiated as case was about to go to the jury after 5 week trial.