James C. Krieg represents individuals and businesses in commercial litigation, with a focus on defending lawyers in professional liability cases. Mr. Krieg has defended many AmLaw 200 and California law firms against professional liability claims. He is approved as defense counsel by many legal malpractice insurers. He has tried jury and non-jury cases in state and federal courts, and has arbitrated cases before single and multiple arbitrator panels. Mr. Krieg has defended hundreds of lawsuits against lawyers claiming professional errors and wrongdoing, including claims arising from patent disputes, securities fraud, "aiding and abetting" liability, transactional malpractice, errors of judgment in trial and litigation, breaches of fiduciary duties, errors in preparation of contracts, conflicts issues, trusts and estates, tax, and bankruptcy. He has also defended lender liability and products liability cases, and bad faith cases against carriers, including first- and third-party claims under directors and officers, professional liability, life, disability and other coverages.
Mr. Krieg has been retained by bankruptcy trustees and government entities and regulators to investigate and evaluate professional liability claims, and has been appointed the tiebreaking director for professional corporations in dissolution by the Superior Court.
Mr. Krieg is a 1976 cum laude graduate of Boston University College of Law and a graduate of Princeton University.
· Defended national law firm based on the East Coast in federal court litigation brought by liquidating trustee against lawyers, national accounting firms, investment banks, and officers and directors, claiming that a spin-off of a publicly traded company was fraudulent, causing over $500 million in damages. Judgment entered for client law firm after court granted two motions to dismiss.
· Defended Northern California firm in lawsuit claiming malpractice in connection with handling of securities fraud case for investor in internet business. Nonsuit granted in favor of client after plaintiff's opening statement.
· Defended securities lawyers sued by receiver and bankruptcy trustee for allegedly facilitating a $350 million 'Ponzi' scheme arising out of the collapse of a mortgage lending business in San Diego.
· Defended national law firm based in Philadelphia against $60 million malpractice claim arising from alleged loss of critical documents, key evidence in underlying antitrust case. Summary judgment entered for client and appeal dismissed.
· Defended national law firm based in Los Angeles in litigation claiming that transactional lawyers failed to detect a stock split prior to closing an asset sale, resulting in client seller receiving less value in the transaction than promised. Plaintiff also claimed the law firm breached its fiduciary duty by hiding its own negligence. Nonsuit granted in favor of client after eight days of jury trial. Eventually settled.
· Defended national law firm based in Texas in lawsuit by bankruptcy trustee claiming firm failed to detect improper insider transactions in internet startup in high end antiquities/fine art/pawn/lending space.
· Defended national law firm based in Los Angeles in litigation claiming poor choice of legal theories and remedies in real estate litigation resulted in much greater expense and lower recovery to client. Plaintiff also claimed law firm had overstated its lawyers' trial experience and had improperly solicited the case. Summary judgment granted in defendant's favor.
· Defended national law firm in suit by former client claiming errors in multiple patent lawsuits in Eastern District of Texas against Fortune 500 companies seeking hundreds of millions in damages. After his two-day deposition, the plaintiff dismissed all malpractice claims and paid fees due to the law firm.
· Defended national firm based in Midwest in case arising out of alleged aiding and abetting of 1031 Exchange Ponzi scheme causing $130 million in damages.
· Defended national law firm based in Silicon Valley in litigation arising out of claimed substantive area conflict in pursuing patents for competitors in biomedical field. Arbitration award in firm's favor, including its unpaid fees.
· Defended national law firm based in Silicon Valley in lawsuit alleging inattention to corporate niceties in representation of multiple corporate entities and patent portfolios. Secured voluntary dismissal with prejudice.
· Defended national law firm based in Philadelphia and its corporate client in malicious prosecution action filed by former corporate employee sued for theft of trade secrets. Summary judgment granted.
· Defended national law firm based in New York in litigation claiming fraud, tortious interference with contractual relationships, and bad faith in connection with underlying patent disputes over hearing aid technology. Nonsuit granted in favor of clients one week into trial.
· Defended international security company in lawsuit claiming theft of trade secrets and raiding of operatives in the Middle East and Asia. Motion to dismiss granted in client's favor; appeal dismissed.
· Defended prominent professional liability defense firm claimed to have had conflict in representing multiple clients in defense case. Summary judgment granted in client's favor; affirmed on appeal.
· Defended lawyers sued for negligence in handling patent infringement litigation relating to braking device on in-line skates. Summary judgment granted in favor of defendant lawyers.
· Defended lawyers sued for accepting too low a settlement in a large construction defect case. Motion for summary judgment granted.
· Defended tax lawyer in lawsuit claiming he failed to adequately protect substantial estate's tax liability and concealed client's theft of estate funds. Judgment entered in client's favor after court trial.
· Defended tax lawyer in lawsuit claiming errors in advice to partners and corporate clients in connection with their sale of interests in gaming operation to an Indian tribe for conversion to full casino gambling.
· Defended bankruptcy lawyer in case arising from failure to timely/properly file claims against estate.
· Defended tax lawyers who assisted aviation company in adopting ESOP in suit by one former owner against another. Client was dismissed from suit.
· Defended national law firm based in Cleveland in claim arising from advice concerning wage and hour obligations to employees allegedly resulting in underlying class action lawsuits.
· Represented Canadian lawyers in securities litigation arising out of sales of securities in gold mining companies in U.S. and Canada. Case ordered dismissed by Federal Court on motion of defendants.
· Represented defendant bank in six-week jury trial involving alleged fraud and breach of oral promise for a construction loan to develop an industrial park. Verdict for client bank.
· Represented aircraft manufacturer in eight-week jury trial in product liability case arising out of a design defect claimed to cause the in-flight breakup of an aircraft. Verdict for manufacturer.
· Represented defendant insurance carrier in a trial arising out of a first party bad faith claim under a CGL policy. Defense verdict.
· Defended lawyers sued for mishandling litigation and related arbitration arising out of copyright and licensing disputes for software for medical applications.
· Defended tax lawyer accused of improperly commingling personal assets with those of trust where he was trustee and of entering business transactions with client without proper waivers in place.
· Defended lawyers accused of mishandling litigation involving tracts of farm land in San Joaquin Valley.
· Defended prominent personal injury lawyer in a lawsuit claiming erroneous dismissal of potential target defendant in product liability case involving serious burn injuries.
· Defended lawyer in case involving alleged mishandling of a trial of fraud claims against his client resulting in multimillion-dollar verdict against lawyer's client.
· Defended employment lawyer in case where former client claimed low verdict obtained due to failure to take discovery and properly present case.
· Defended lawyer accused of errors in preparing post-nuptial agreement resulting in damage to client upon divorce.
· Represented tax lawyer accused of professional errors in connection with tax treatment of leases for corporate jets.
· Defended lawyer in dispute over adequacy of trademark license agreements prepared for national franchise operation.
· Represented D&O carrier in bad faith case arising out of denial of coverage to insured telecommunications company based on claimed misrepresentation in warranty letter pursuant to which policy was issued.
· Retained as trial counsel to defend primary insurance carrier on directors' and officers' policies in a bad faith action brought by billionaire Kirk Kerkorian of MGM-Pathe Communications.
· Represented major California law firm in action by client claiming fraud and overbilling for legal services in connection with the leveraged buyout of a publicly traded company in the transportation industry.
· Defended a trust lawyer in action involving alleged imprudent investment practices, self-dealing, and conflicts of interest while serving in the capacity of trustee of numerous trusts over a 20-year period.
· Defended major advertiser in breach of contract lawsuit by entertainer Billy Crystal.
· Represented producer of entertainment programming in lawsuit arising out of a dispute over ownership of programming for the largest interactive television test market in the United States.
Areas of Practice
· Professional Liability Defense
· Commercial Litigation
· Duane Morris LLP
- Partner, 2013-present
· Krieg, Keller, Sloan, Reilley & Roman LLP
- Partner, 1998-2013
· Bronson, Bronson & McKinnon LLP
- Partner, 1982-1998
- Associate, 1977-1982
· American Bar Association
· State Bar of California
· Defense Research Institute
· Federation of Insurance and Corporate Counsel (Professional Liability & Ethics Sections)
· Professional Liability Underwriting Society
Honors and Awards
· Listed in Best Lawyers in America for Professional Malpractice Law, 2010-2014
· Listed in Super Lawyers for business litigation, 2004-2013
· Listed in Best Lawyers in the Bay Area for commercial litigation, 2005-2007
· AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
· Co-author, "Five Ways to Invite (and Avoid) a Malpractice Lawsuit," The Recorder, August 1, 2013
Selected Speaking Engagements
· "Where Have All the Trials Gone?" American Bar Association National Legal Malpractice Conference, September 2008
· "Developments in the Law of Lawyering," American Bar Association Standing Committee on Lawyers' Professional Liability, National Legal Malpractice Conference, September 2004
· "Ethical Dilemmas Facing Corporate Counsel-The Duty to Maintain Confidentiality," Bay Area General Counsel Group, September 1998
· Lecturer, "Protecting Your Firm from Unwarranted Claims," Law Firm Profitability Institute and Cost Management Workshop, July 1997
· Lecturer, "Understanding the Relationship Between Cost Accounting and Alternative Billing Arrangements," Best Practices in Law Firm Financial Management, July 1996
· Lecturer, "Choosing the Best Form of Ownership for Your Firm-Pros and Cons of Partnerships, Professional Corporations and Limited Liability Entities," Law Firm Profitability Institute, June 1995