James A. Stankowski Partner

     

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Jim Stankowski is nationally recognized for his legal ability in complex insurance litigation and insurance coverage matters. His practice involves the defense of all manner of claims as well as cyber/media issues, class actions and department of insurance investigations. In addition, he has investigated misappropriation/embezzlement of funds by employees and third parties in various occupations, including escrow companies, title insurance companies, real estate developers and financial investment/advisory firms. Jim is a leader in the field of insurance coverage and has effectively represented insurers from early negotiations to mediation to state and federal trials and appeals. His depth of claims analysis combined with his knowledge and experience in the insurance industry contribute to his successful representation of both insurers and insureds.

Jim is the firm’s deputy regional managing partner of the western region and also sits on the Executive Committee. Jim’s insurance industry clients appreciate his in-depth knowledge of the field and respect his mix of common sense and creative approaches in handling the most complex and unique matters. He is often called upon to assist with difficult cases and he leverages his long-term relationships to see matters to a successful, cost-effective conclusion.

 

Areas of Focus

Professional Liability
Jim has extensive experience defending professional liability matters involving lawyers, accountants, real estate agents and brokers, insurance agents and brokers, real estate appraisers, home inspectors, media and technology companies, mortgage brokers, title and escrow companies, financial broker-dealers, property managers, and directors and officers.

Insurance-Reinsurance Coverage / Bad Faith
Jim has successfully represented insurers in bad faith litigation in state and federal courts and has extensive experience in the investigation and analysis of insurance-coverage issues involving virtually all policy coverages for all types of insureds and risks. These include professional liability errors and omissions matters that involve real estate agents and brokers, insurance agents and brokers, attorneys, accountants, media and technology companies, public entities, municipalities, adverting agencies, homeowners associations, financial broker-dealers, title and escrow companies, mortgage brokers, home inspectors, real estate appraisers, fiduciaries, property managers and property developers.

In addition, Jim has drafted policy language/forms for insurers and consulted with them concerning proposed revisions to existing forms. He has successfully handled hundreds of mediations for insurers and insureds, acted as monitoring counsel for insurers, and provided oversight to insurers and insureds to ensure the reasonableness and necessity of legal expenses incurred.

Employment & Labor
Jim’s practice encompasses coverage investigations and analysis for employment practices claims, including wage and hour class actions; business torts; toxic torts; environmental claims; all types of property loss; general liability claims; and excess insurance issues. Jim also defends employment-related matters, including wrongful termination, discrimination and harassment claims.

Cyber/Media
As businesses face increasingly unique and unusual threats from their use of technology and the process of conducting business on the Internet, insurers are relied on to create novel policies to address these risks. Jim is experienced in helping insurers and insureds handle claims based on cyber risk, technology and media liability.

Property
Jim has effectively represented clients in matters involving both commercial property loss and homeowners’ claims arising from various occurrences.

Representative Matters

Represented an insurer in a bad faith lawsuit through appeal, which upheld the trial court's grant of a motion for summary judgment in favor of the insurer, arising from a denial of coverage that was based on contention that an amendment to name an individual director/officer as a defendant in an existing suit against the insured corporation related back to date the original suit was filed and, as such, preceded the policy period.

Represented a corporation in litigation brought by former directors/officers involving wrongful termination, fraud, libel and slander and a subsequent failed takeover attempt by the dismissed D&Os.

Represented an insurer in negotiating settlements with a bankruptcy trustee for a major real estate investment conglomerate involving multistate class action litigation asserting claims of negligence, fraud and breach of fiduciary duties against insured D&Os and in-house attorneys.

Represented an insurer in overseeing and resolving class action litigation against a national data storage/research databank company arising out of a breach of the company's computer database security.

Represented a global automobile manufacturer in a putative class action suit brought by sales agents asserting wage and hour violations.

Represented an insurer in negotiating a settlement with governmental entities on behalf of insured attorneys sued as a consequence of their services rendered to a major failed bank.

Represented a regional insurance broker in litigation involving the failure to obtain proper insurance for marine operations.

Represented an insurer in a bad faith action through appeal, which upheld the trial court's grant of the insurer's motion for summary judgment, after establishing that the individual insured was acting in an uninsured capacity.

Represented an insurer in connection with the resolution of claims brought worldwide by various countries against major freight/logistics companies involving antitrust allegations.

Represented securities broker-dealers in litigation arising from failed tenancy in common investments.

Represented an insurer in negotiating settlements on behalf of a national real estate investment firm involving failed 1031 exchange and tenancy in common investments.

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