Jim is an experienced trial lawyer who primarily represents companies threatened by business-critical lawsuits, including class actions and mass actions. Jim has substantial experience in both healthcare and education and is currently at the forefront of the recent surge of consumer litigation against private-sector colleges. A member of the firm's Higher Education Group and the firm's Partner Board, Jim has handled more than 100 consumer claims brought against private schools and colleges in the past two years alone.
Jim's recent work also includes:
•Obtained jury verdict after five-week trial on behalf of Career Education Corporation in mass consumer fraud case. Walters, et al. v. Career Education Corp., Case No. 07CY-CV07481
Obtained dismissal of class action against the University of Phoenix alleging the college violated the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Del-Rio Swink v. The University of Phoenix, Case No. 4:13-cv-00461-HEA.
Lead trial lawyer for Express Scripts, Inc. in confidential arbitration proceeding before the American Arbitration Association (AAA). The case was related to the high-profile business dispute between Walgreen Co. and Express Scripts. Express Scripts Inc. v. Walgreen Co., American Arbitration Association, Case No. 51-193-Y1144-11.
Awards and Recognitions
Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers, Business Litigation, 2011-2013
•Client Choice Award, Excellence in Client Service, 2014
Action for Autism, Board of Directors and Executive Committee
Currently defending Vatterott College in a putative class action in which plaintiffs allege they were misled about their post-graduation employment prospects and the quality of their education. Spencer v. Vatterott Educational Centers Inc., Case No. 6:12-CV-00116 (E.D. Okla.)
•Successfully defended claim that Vatterott College wrongfully terminated Director of Education in violation of the federal False Claims Act's anti-retaliation provision. After conducting discovery, case settled on favorable terms to institution. United State of America, ex rel., and Almeta Slater-Rogers v. Vatterott Educational Centers, Inc., Case No. 10-CV-2066-MA, United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee.
•Currently represent Career Education Corp. and Sanford-Brown College in a False Claims Act case in federal court in Milwaukee, Wis.
•Lead Counsel for Kansas City Southern Railway Co. (KCSR) in case where it sought damages in the seven figure range from large steel company for property damage sustained in a train derailment. Evraz Inc. filed a counterclaim seeking millions of dollars in property damage to its cargo, alleging that KCS was at fault for the derailment. After a two-day evidentiary hearing concerning the viability of Evraz's counterclaim and Evraz's motion to strike KCSR's pleadings, the steel company dropped its motion to strike the pleadings and dismissed its counterclaim. Cases settled shortly thereafter on favorable terms for KCSR. Kansas City Southern Railway Co. v. Evraz Inc., d/b/a Oregon Steel Co., U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri, Case No. 2:08-CV-00054-ERW
•Represented Monsanto in a class action filed by a farmer claiming that certain improprieties occurred in the execution of their license agreements with Monsanto. After Monsanto rejected plaintiffs' eight-figure settlement demand, the court granted Monsanto's motion to deny class certification. Eugene Stratemeyer v. Monsanto Co., U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, Case No. 4:99-cv-04197-WDS-GBC
•Defeated class action asserting consumer fraud claims against Vatterott College. Former students alleged they were deceived during the enrollment process with respect to placement rates and transferability of credits. Jeffers v. Vatterott Education Centers, Inc., Case No. 11BU-CV00252 (Cir. Ct. Buchanan County, Mo.)
•Defeated motion to certify class for CEC and Sanford-Brown College in a student consumer fraud case filed in Madison County, Illinois, one of the most friendly plaintiff venues in the country. Students alleged that they were deceived regarding the schools placement rates. Lilley, et al. v. Career Education Corp., et al., Case No. 08-L-113 (Cir. Ct. Madison County, Ill.)
•Successfully moved to compel arbitration in approximately 25 cases brought in state and federal court in St. Louis against Sanford-Brown College. These cases were then aggressively defended in arbitration, and ultimately settled on favorable terms. E.g., Chisholm v. Career Education Corp., 4:11-CV-00994 (E.D. Mo.)
•Recently negotiated favorable settlement for High-Tech Institute and Anthem Education Group in a mass action where multiple students claimed fraud during the enrollment process. E.g., Nataline Radillo v. High-Tech Institute Inc., Case No. 1216-CV01547 (Cir. Ct. Jackson County, Mo.)
•Negotiated favorable settlement for High-Tech Institute and Anthem Education Group in a mass action where multiple students claimed fraud during the enrollment process. E.g., Nataline Radillo v. High-Tech Institute Inc., Case No. 1216-CV01547 (Cir. Ct. Jackson County, Mo.)
•Currently handling the appeal of jury verdict entered in favor of student under theory that college misrepresented that student would receive degree upon successful completion of program. Jennifer Kerr v. Vatterott Educational Centers, Inc., Case No. WD66903, Missouri Court of Appeals Western District
•Achieved early dismissal of companion cases alleging that college misrepresented its accreditation status. Miller v. Vatterott Educational Centers, Inc., Case No. 13CV155GKF-TLW, United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma; Ervin v. Vatterott Educational Centers, Inc., Case No. 13CV125-CVE-PJC, United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma
•Currently representing CollegeAmerica in a case where student alleges the college made multiple misrepresentations regarding the benefits of the educational program. Laura Barnett v. CollegeAmerica Colorado Springs, Inc., Case No. 2012CV2514, El Paso County District Court, State of Colorado
•Represented Suddenlink Communications in case against is arch competitor FiberNet LLC after FiberNet sued Suddenlink for tortuous interference in connection with five former employees who left FiberNet and went to work for Suddenlink. Suddenlink filed a counterclaim, alleging that FiberNet defrauded Suddenlink in connection with certain representations it made to gain the West Virginia Public Service Commission's approval of its merger with nTelos. After a court hearing on FiberNet's motion to dismiss Suddenlink's counterclaim for fraud, the case was settled on favorable terms for the client. FiberNet, now as part of nTelos v. Suddenlink Communications, et al., Kanawha County Circuit Court, State of West Virginia, Case No. 11-C-388
9.24.13 The Cubs & Compliance: Current Issues in Higher Education Law
Seminar Chicago, IL
9.01.13 The Cubs & Compliance, Current Issues in Higher Education Law for Private Sector Institutions
Speaking Engagement Chicago, IL
5.13.13 Dealing with Data Breaches and Defending Telephone Consumer Protection Act Class Actions
9.20.12 Bolstering your Litigation and Compliance Strategies in an Era of Skyrocketing Costs
Healthcare, Life Sciences & Pharmaceuticals Seminar St. Louis, MO
6.20.12 The Anti-Social Network: The Risks of Students' and Employees' Use of Social Media
Speaking Engagement Las Vegas, NV
9.13.10 Trouble Brewing For Arbitration Clauses - What Brewer v. Missouri Title Loans, Inc. May Mean For Your Business
In The News
4.04.14 Husch Blackwell is Top Missouri Firm in Lexology's 2014 Client Choice Guide
10.16.13 In Missouri, 76 Husch Blackwell Attorneys Named 2013 Super Lawyers & Rising Stars
10.15.12 A Combined 84 Husch Blackwell Attorneys are Named 2012 Super Lawyers and Rising Stars in Missouri and Nebraska
10.19.11 Super Lawyers 2011 Names 71 Husch Blackwell Attorneys from Missouri and Nebraska; an Additional 15 Listed as Rising Stars
5.31.10 Missouri Lawyers Weekly, Defense Wins in Case Over Value of Tech Education News Coverage
12.24.09 St. Louis Business Journal: Judge Dismisses Express Scripts Suit