J.D., Georgia State University, 2003
Graduated first in class
summa cum laude
B.S., Ecology, University of Georgia, 1999
Recognized as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Washington by Super Lawyers. Selected for the 2016-2022 Washington Super Lawyer lists
Washington State Courts
U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Washington
U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
James is recognized as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Washington by Thomson Reuters’ Super Lawyers publication. He has substantial experience representing individuals and families in wrongful death and catastrophic injury cases, victims of sexual abuse, wrongful termination, and sexual harassment and discrimination, and he prosecutes cases for insurance policyholders who were unlawfully denied benefits.
After graduating first in his law school class, James began his legal career as a clerk for the former Chief Justice of the Washington Supreme Court before entering private practice. Beyond his substantial trial experience, James has briefed and argued multiple appeals, including cases before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Washington Supreme Court.
James is a leader in the plaintiffs’ bar and the legal profession. He is a member of the Washington State Association for Justice’s Board of Governors, currently serving as the Treasurer. James is also a Ninth Circuit Lawyer Representative for the Western District of Washington.
When he’s not working, James enjoys hiking and skiing with his wife, who works as a local primary care physician, and their three adventurous children.
- Law Clerk Extern to the Honorable Marvin H. Shoob, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia
- Law Clerk to the Honorable Gerry L. Alexander, Chief Justice of the Washington Supreme Court
- Member of Gordon Thomas Honeywell LLP Board of Directors (2010–2015 and 2018–2020)
- Former Treasurer of Robert J. Bryan Inn of Court and current Emeritus member.
- Treasurer of Washington State for Justice Association
- Washington State for Justice Association Foundation Amicus Committee Member
- Member of American Board of Trial Advocates
- Served on Washington State Bar Association Amicus Committee
- Served on Washington State Bar Association Professionalism Committee
Law Clerk Extern to the Honorable Marvin H. Shoob, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia
Law Clerk to the Honorable Gerry L. Alexander, Chief Justice of the Washington Supreme Court
Member of GTH Board of Directors – 2010 – 2015; 2018
Master and Board Member for Robert J. Bryan Inns of Court
Board Member Washington State for Justice Association
Washington State for Justice Association Foundation Amicus Committee Member
Served on Washington State Bar Association Amicus Committee
Served on Washington State Bar Association Professionalism Committee
- $31,240,547 jury damages verdict reduced by 55 percent for combination of comparative fault and the inherent risks of skiing. Trial Counsel for a paralyzed skier against Ski Lifts Inc. The jury returned a verdict in the plaintiff’s favor after proving that the resort was negligent in its construction of a man-made ski jump and in its failure to respond to repeated prior injuries and specific warnings by other customers. Salvini v. Ski Lifts Inc., King County Superior Court Cause No. 05-2-13652-9. The case was appealed and affirmed by Division I of the Court of Appeals. Salvini v. Ski Lifts, Inc., 2008 WL 4616708 (2008). Review was subsequently denied by Washington State Supreme Court.
- $13,250,000 settlement. Represented 28,000 former students of Washington-based Business Computer Training Institute (“BCTI”) in class action regarding educational services provided by school. Wright v. BCTI, Pierce County Superior Court Cause No. 05 2 05763-2.
- $4,814,034.24 in total judgments following jury verdict. Represented four employees from Western State Hospital who were subjected to gender based harassment by a patient and later retaliation from their employer in the form of a failure to provide reasonable accommodation or access to Public Records. Garner et al. v. State, Pierce County Superior Court Nos. 19-2-05579-6, 22-2-10186-1.
- $4,370,000 jury verdict. Trial Counsel for family of slain Rainier, Washington resident in wrongful death action. Keith v. Skewis, Thurston County Superior Court Cause No. 06 2 01220-5.
- $3,044,014 judgment. Represented construction worker injured in fall resulting from unsafe work site. Later filed subsequent insurance bad faith lawsuit after an assignment of interests against insurance company. Rosales-Guzman v. Spruce Hills, LLC, Snohomish County Superior Court No. 11-2-04773-1; Rosales-Guzman v. Lloyd’s Syndicate 2112, King County Superior Court No. 12-2-28503-9; Lloyd’s Syndicate 2112 v. Lasher, 2:14-cv-00917-JCC (“After incurring substantial fees and costs to defend the lawsuit, Lloyds paid Guzman the sum of $3,000,000 to settle the lawsuit.”).
- $3,040,000 settlement. Represented young man seriously injured from a fall on the Riverfront Renaissance Trail along the Columbia River in Vancouver, Washington. Barnard v. City of Vancouver, et al., Clark County Superior Court Cause No. 08 2 08484-5.
- $1,800,000 settlement. Represented a court-appointed receiver overseeing litigation for an LLC against former managers accused of mismanaging a significant rental complex. The lawsuit alleged embezzlement, self-dealing, violations of the Washington Consumer Protection Act, negligence, and breaches of various contractual and fiduciary duties. The case settled through mediation one month before trial with affirmative dispositive motions pending. Johnson Invs. Co./Forest Park Estates, LLC v. Johnson, Pierce County Superior Court Case No. 17-2-08620-2.
- $1,600,000 settlement. Represented four former employees asserting that the chief deputy prosecutor showed favoritism to younger employees, subjected older employees to condescending, hostile and demeaning conduct, and made ageist comments. Case v. Clallam County, Jefferson County Superior Court Cause No. 09-2-00072-6.
- $1,567,323.55 judgment following jury verdict. Represented a former Walmart pharmacist in a multi-week jury trial. The employee had longstanding disabilities due to cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis and was not provided accommodations but instead terminated from employment. Jacobs v. Walmart Stores Inc., W.D. Wash. Cause No. 3:17-cv-05988-RJB.
- $1,357,776 in jury verdicts and judgments. Represented a Registered Nurse who was retaliated against by Western State Hospital and denied access to public records. Boyd v. Western State Hospital, Pierce County Superior Court Cause No. 12 2 07223-5; Boyd v. Western State Hospital, 187 Wn. App. 5 (2015); Boyd v. Western State Hospital, Pierce County Superior Court Cause No. 14-2-05677-5; and Boyd v. Western State Hospital, Pierce County Superior Court Cause No. 14-2-08149-4.
- $1,200,000 settlement. Represented former Assistant Superintendent of Clover Park School District on claims of retaliation following her opposition to how the District was addressing issues of sexual misconduct by students and internal discrimination against English language learner students. David v. Clover Park School District, Pierce County Superior Court Nos. 17-2-12710-3, 17-2-07405-1.
- $1,150,000 settlement. Represented former church member in claims for minor sexual abuse. John Doe v. Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, King County Superior Court No. 19-2-31528-8.
- $1,106,094 judgment following jury verdict. Represented a former Western State Hospital employee in a four-week jury trial. The employee, a mandatory reporter, was demoted and then terminated after reporting expired meat he thought would be served to a vulnerable adult population. The suit sought damages against the State for retaliation. After the verdict, the Court entered an injunction to ensure the Hospital changes policies on retaliation. Quayle v. State of Washington, Pierce County Superior Court Case No.: 15-2-05962-4.
- $1,000,000 settlement. Represented child of police officer killed by Maurice Clemmons in Lakewood, Washington. Department of Corrections failed to hold Clemmons under warrant.
- $992,180 settlement. Represented estate and statutory beneficiaries following death of elderly patient in adult family home.
- $942,252 judgment following jury trial. Trial Counsel for Army Reservist who was discriminated against and retaliated against in violation of USERRA. Campbell v. Catholic Community Services Association of Western Washington, W.D. Wash. Case No. 10-1579-JCC.
- $916,342 judgment following jury verdict. Trial Counsel for two former Les Schawb Tire Company employees who were terminated after filing complaints with the EEOC. The case was tried before a federal jury resulting in a finding of retaliation and an award, including attorney’s fees, expenses and punitive damages. Strange v. Les Schwab Tire Centers of Washington, W.D. Wash. Case No. C06-0045.
- $900,000 settlement. Represented the estate of a former Western State Hospital patient who suffered injuries as a result of abusive, neglectful, and unconstitutional practices at Western State Hospital. Circumstances described by news as: “Washington state phych hospital is ‘like going into hell’” – Bowser v. Western State Hospital, W.D. Wash. Cause No. 3:17-cv-05053-BHS.
- $700,000 settlement. Represented employee of Washington Department of Ecology after experiencing racial discrimination and retaliation. Davis v. State of Washington, Department of Ecology, W.D. Wash. Case No. C04 5509; Davis v. State of Washington, Department of Ecology, 245 Fed. Appx. 600 (2007).
- $700,000 settlement. Represented construction worker injured in fall from work site without required guard railing. Guerrero v. Superior Wallboard, Pierce County Superior Court Cause No. 09-2-13316-1.
- $700,000 settlement. Represented two physicians employed by the State of Washington who resigned from employment following workplace retaliation. Wainer et al. v. State, Pierce County Superior Court Cause No. 18-2-06345-6.
- $680,000 settlement. Brought case against the Department of Social and Health Services after the negligent placement of children into a foster care home wherein the children contracted E. coli. Campbell v. DSHS, Pierce County Superior Court Cause No. 09-2-07786-5.
- $612,971 judgment following jury verdict. Trial Counsel for U.S. Air Force Reservist who was terminated from employment after his return from active service. Delay v. Ace Heating, W.D. Wash. Case No. C06-1008.
- $500,000 settlement. Represented customer following serious fall at Pike Place Market.
- $425,000 judgment. Represented employee on claims of Family Medical Leave Act violations and retaliation. Makue v. Washington State Department of Transportation, King County Superior Court No. 21-2-07109-7.
- $410,000 judgments. Represented employee on claims of racial harassment, retaliation, and violation of the Washington Public Records Act. Dawson v. State, Pierce County Superior Court Nos. 21-2-05572-1, 22-2-07010-8.
- $400,000 judgment. Represented former Chief Operating Officer of hospital regarding claims for employment retaliation following her opposition to how administrators minimized claims of sexual harassment against employees. Cruver v. Department of Social and Health Services, Pierce County Superior Court No. 21-2-06821-1.
- $400,000 settlement. Represented pedestrian hit by car in cross-walk.
- $400,000 settlement. Represented campers who suffered PTSD due to U.S. Forest Service failure to effectuate order to evacuate area in advance of Thirty Mile Fire Tragedy. Hagemeyer v. The United States of America, E.D. Wash. Case No. 2:04-cv-03061.
- $350,000 judgment. Represented employee on claims of sexual harassment and retaliation. Claudio v. State, Pierce County Superior Court No. 21-2-06348-1.
- $333,541.30 judgment following jury verdict. Represented Army Reservist retaliated against in violation of USERRA. Quinn v. Everett Safe & Lock, Inc., W.D. Wash. Case No. 13-000005.
- $315,000 judgment. Represented Registered Nurse against Western State Hospital for sexual harassment and retaliation by hospital administrator. Lawrence v. Western State Hospital, Pierce County Superior Court Cause No. 15 2-07035-1.
- $308,167 jury verdict and judgments. Represented Western State Hospital employee who was retaliated against by Hospital and denied access to public records after reporting instances of patient neglect and abuse. Sekulic v. Western State Hospital, Pierce County Superior Court Cause No. 14 2 08828-6.
- $301,998 judgment. Represented mother of a deceased service member in a life insurance beneficiary dispute. Although the case involved novel legal issues regarding irregularities in the decedent’s life insurance paperwork, our client prevailed on summary judgment in federal court, thus resolving the case to our client’s satisfaction several months before the scheduled trial. Prudential v. Miller & Humbyrd, No. 3:10-cv-05862-BHS (W.D. Wash. 2010).
- $268,729 jury verdict and subsequent judgment. Trial Counsel for disabled veteran who was fired after requesting medical leave. Perryman v. Fitts Industries, Inc., Pierce County Superior Court Cause No. 12 2 08111-1.
- $242,001 judgment. Represented employee on claims of racial harassment and retaliation. Manibusan v. State, Pierce County Superior Court No. 19-2-12063-6.
- $225,000 settlement for Western State Hospital security department employee who was subjected to sexual harassment. Fenton v. Western State Hospital, Pierce County Superior Court Cause No. 09 2 08780-1.
- $225,000 jury verdict for assault, battery, invasion of privacy and negligence. C.F. v. Barr and Puyallup Basketball Academy, Pierce County Superior Court Cause No. 14-2-07951-1.
- Confidential settlement. Trial and Appellate Counsel for employee in Ockletree v. Franciscan Health System, 179 Wn.2d 769 (2014). In a sharply divided 5-4 decision in February 2014, the Washington Supreme Court held that religious non-profit employers cannot discriminate against their employees whose jobs are unrelated to the religious mission of the employer. While the Court held that a state law exemption for religious employers is not unconstitutional in all circumstances, it determined that our client, a hospital security guard who was terminated after suffering a stroke, could continue his disability discrimination case against Franciscan Health System.Click here to view James Beck’s oral argument before the Washington State Supreme Court: (Does the exemption for nonprofit religious employers in WA’s law against discrimination violate the state constitution?)
- Confidential settlements. Represented minor victims of sexual abuse committed by Lake Tapps Pilot Marc Gilbert.
- Confidential settlement. Represented patients against medical provider for sexual abuse. Fawver v. Soap Lake Family Medicine, Inc., et al., Grant County Superior Court Cause No. 11-2-00397-0.
- Confidential settlement. Represented the families of two Forest Service Firefighters in a wrongful death action arising from the Thirty Mile Fire Tragedy of 2001. Fitzpatrick v. Anchor Industries Inc., E.D. Wash. Case No. 2:04-cv-03123.
- Confidential settlement. Represented construction worker who injured his eye in a construction site injury. Pawul v. Allied Construction Associates, Inc., King County Superior Court Cause No. 04-2-40466-5.
- Appellate Counsel before the Washington Supreme Court in Kruger v. Regence BlueShield, 157 Wn.2d 290 (2006), which invalidated illegal arbitration provisions in healthcare provider contracts.
- Appellate Counsel on case successfully arguing for limitation on the scope of an arbitration agreement. Nelson v. Westport Shipyard, Inc., 140 Wn. App. 102 (2007).
- Appellate Counsel acquiring reversal of summary judgment dismissal on sex discrimination lawsuit against Western State Hospital. Doe v. State, 2008 WL 929885 (2008).
- Appellate Co-Counsel on employment discrimination lawsuit against Thurston County Prosecutor’s Office. Trial judgment of approximately $3 million affirmed by Division II of the Court of Appeals. Broyles v. Thurston County, 147 Wn. App. 409 (2008).
- Appellate Counsel for The News Tribune in Public Records Act lawsuit regarding scope of attorney-client privilege. Prevailed before the Washington State Supreme Court in efforts to acquire access to records claimed as attorney-work product. Click here to view James Beck’s oral argument before the Washington State Supreme Court: Morgan v. City of Federal Way, 166 Wn.2d 747 (2009). (Is the City’s internal report a nonexempt public record subject to disclosure under the Public Records Act?)
- Appellate Counsel in Belo Management Services, Inc. v. Click! Network, 184 Wn. App. 649, 343 P.3d 370 (2014). Prevailed before the Washington Court of Appeals on behalf of The News Tribune, which was wrongly denied access to public records, including government contracts.
- Appellate Counsel in Jackson v. Tate, 648 F.3d 729 (9th Cir. 2011). Prevailed before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which reversed the lower court’s dismissal of a lawsuit against two military recruiters who allegedly forged reenlistment documents.
- Pro Bono Counsel. Successfully defended an action under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. The federal court denied a petition to send two minor children to live in Mexico with client’s estranged and abusive husband. Etienne v. Zuniga, W.D. Wash. Case No. 3:10-cv-05061.