James F. Bennett has a national practice of cases that are not expected to settle before trial or appeal. He is lead trial and appellate counsel in high-profile cases, and has tried to verdict many cases involving eight- and nine-figure amounts in dispute. He has also prevailed before trial in other, similar cases and has argued appeals in eight different appellate courts around the country. Three times in recent years, he was awarded the “largest” defense or plaintiff verdict award by Missouri Lawyers Weekly.
Mr. Bennett is a former law clerk to the Hon. Anthony M. Kennedy, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, and to the Hon. J. L. Edmondson, United States Circuit Judge for the Eleventh Circuit. He is a fellow with the American College of Trial Lawyers. He is also on the Executive Committee of the American Inns of Court Chapter in St. Louis and is a fellow with the Litigation Counsel of America. He has been recognized by various publications for his achievements. For instance, he was recently recognized by Best Lawyers® as the 2019 “Lawyer of the Year” for Bet-the-Company Litigation in the St. Louis area, and he has been selected by Missouri Lawyers Weekly as one of ten “Lawyers of the Year,” and the “Law Firm Leader of the Year.” He has been selected by the Riverfront Times as the Best Lawyer in St. Louis. He is annually identified as among the top 50 lawyers in St. Louis, the top 100 lawyers in Missouri, and among The Best Lawyers in America©. Currently, he is ranked as a “Tier One” counsel by U.S. News and World Report. Mr. Bennett is recognized in Chambers USA as a “Band 1” leading litigator.
- In 2018, Mr. Bennett was lead trial counsel in four cases. The first was a four-day hearing successfully representing an attorney before the Missouri Supreme Court’s hearing officers for lawyer discipline. The second was a multi-week trial of a toxic tort lawsuit that was a retrial of a case that previously resulted in a $30 million verdict. After a mistrial declared on the second day of deliberations, the matter was resolved. Mr. Bennett was retained after the first verdict. The third matter consisted of four days of jury selection in the defense of the governor of the state of Missouri. The case was dismissed by the prosecution during jury selection. The final matter was a multi-week trial against a national bank where a prior trial resulted in a $355 million verdict. Mr. Bennett was retained after the first trial.
- After a bench trial, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri ruled for Anheuser-Busch in a long-running insurance coverage dispute, holding that Anheuser-Busch could tender long-tail asbestos claims under a single policy year and thereby avoid being responsible for equitable allocations of damages for other years.
- Obtained a unanimous jury verdict in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts for medical device manufacturer. The case was tried over four weeks and involved a medical device that has been the subject of thousands of cases filed in Massachusetts and elsewhere.
- Conducted a two week jury trial that achieved the largest plaintiff’s verdict in the history of St. Louis County Circuit Court. The jury assessed Wells Fargo as 98% responsible for damages and awarded the Barbara Burton Morriss Trust $45,766,033.81 in actual damages and $32,100,000.00 in punitive damages.
- Represented Valero Texas Refining in a two week jury trial in Galveston County, Texas. A unanimous verdict was returned for Valero on claims of a harmful exposure to benzene and other toxins related to the overfill of a crude-oil spill at a refinery site.
- Tried to jury verdict the highly publicized Katz v. Anheuser Busch, Inc. A former high-ranking female executive brought the case against Anheuser Busch Inc. claiming gender discrimination, seeking more than $15 million in lost wages and interest, plus punitive damages. The case was televised and the verdict was reported in The New York Times and The Washington Post.
- Represented Emerson Electric and its subsidiaries in a two-week jury trial, trade secret and contract dispute against a re-manufacturer of Fisher Control valves and actuators. In Automation Service v. Emerson Process Management and Fisher Controls, the jury ruled for Emerson on all counts and then awarded $5.4 million in damages on the counterclaim. The jury ruled for Emerson on all counts and awarded $5.4 million in damages on the counterclaim.
- Conducted a multi-week jury trial in the District of Massachusetts (Boston), Fresenius Medical Care v. United States of America, against the Department of Justice where the twelve-person jury awarded Fresenius Medical Care a $95 million tax benefit. The judgment was affirmed by the first circuit.
- Tried to judgment an arbitration involving a claim that his client committed professional malpractice and caused the bankruptcy of a publicly-traded accounting firm. After lengthy testimony and argument, the three-arbitrator panel unanimously ruled for Mr. Bennett’s client. The award was confirmed by the Denver, Colorado Circuit Court.
- Represented a Valero Energy subsidiary in The Premcor Refining Group v. KLLM Transport Services, Inc., in Cook County, Illinois. The jury determined that KLLM was responsible for the damage to Premcor’s underground Chicago-area pipeline.
- Tried an arbitration to judgment in favor of an online catalog company against a company that had acquired it. The case was tried in Chicago under the terms of the public sale agreement.
- Represented Monsanto Company in a jury trial against Conoco Phillips where a unanimous jury awarded Mr. Bennett’s client $7.6 million. The case revolved around a multi-year supply contract for petroleum coke used by Monsanto to manufacture Round-Up®.
- Represented Walmart against the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in a jury trial that alleged age discrimination. A unanimous jury rejected the EEOC’s claim after only 30 minutes of deliberation.
- Represented the defendant in a False Claims Act case tried in El Paso, Texas in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas. This case was tried over 45 days and is reported to have been the longest civil trial in the El Paso division. The jury ruled for Mr. Bennett’s client.
- Tried a $280 million multi-week case in Delaware Chancery Court, affirmed by the Delaware Supreme Court. The case, Olson v. Viking Global Investors, was a dispute between the founders of a hedge fund managing more than $10 billion in assets.
- After more than four months of trial, a St. Louis County jury ruled in favor of Mr. Bennett’s client, Cross County Collaborative on all nine counts. The $130 million case involved responsibility for cost overruns for St. Louis’ light-rail system. In the longest jury trial in St. Louis County history, Bi-State v. Cross County Collaborative, the jury returned a full defense verdict.
- Represented a Swiss public company in a case involving a supply
contract for carbon fiber used in large European-manufactured wind
turbine blades. The jury awarded Mr. Bennett’s client more than $36
million which was the exact amount requested by Mr. Bennett in closing