For over 35 years Jim has delivered practical legal solutions enabling his clients to protect their businesses and other interests. He has handled litigation involving construction disputes, products liability, oil and gas, utility regulation, securities regulation, shareholders’ disputes, estates, intellectual property, lawyers’ and engineers’ professional liability and responsibility, labour, derivatives contracts and directors’ liability. His commitment to understanding his clients' long-term goals, combined with his extensive experience prosecuting and defending litigation, enables Jim to provide a cost-effective, tailored solution for each matter.
Jim has extensive experience defending those facing professional liability claims. He has worked with clients on a variety of matters, from disciplinary proceedings against individuals to multi-million dollar actions against firms.
As more commercial parties submit their disputes to private arbitration, Jim’s practice includes this form of dispute resolution. In 2013 Jim joined the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, an organization based in London, U.K. which has a North American Branch. After completing the necessary coursework and passing the examination requirements, Jim achieved fellow status in the Institute, the highest level of membership.
Jim is an active and committed member of the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) and has held a variety of senior positions, including serving as Alberta Branch President and a member of the National Council from 1998-2010. Currently, Jim sits on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Bar Insurance Association. In recognition of his long commitment to the CBA, Jim received the CBA - Alberta Branch Outstanding Service Award in 2006 and the CBA SOGIC Ally Award in 2006.
Awards and Recognition:
•Litigation (Alberta), Chambers Canada
•Local Litigation Star, Benchmark Canada 2016
•Dispute Resolution (Alberta), Chambers Canada
•Corporate Commercial Litigation, Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory
•Corporate and Commercial Litigation, Construction Law, Appellate Practice, Legal Malpractice Law, and Alternative Dispute Resolution, Best Lawyers in Canada, 2006 - 2019
•BV Distinguished Peer Review Rating, Martindale-Hubbell
•Dispute Resolution, Chambers Global
•Local Litigation Star - General Commercial, International Arbitration, Benchmark Litigation Canada
•Queen's Counsel, 1996
•Geophysical Service Incorporated v Encana Corporation et al., 2016 ABQB 230
Represents an oil company in an intellectual property dispute relating to use of licensed technical data; the claimant alleges that our client breached the terms of license agreements and the claimant’s copyright in certain data (case is ongoing).
•Represented an oil company in a dispute with its joint venture partner over the terms of the joint venture and the satisfaction of certain obligations in the joint venture (case was settled).
•Giammarco et al. v. TRL Real Estate Syndicate et al., 2015 ABQB 587
Represent the vendor of commercial real estate in claims arising from an uncompleted sale transaction (case is ongoing).
•Represented a regulator in a dispute involving a company which claimed the regulator has breached the company’s rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (case was settled early in the proceedings).
•Representing an engineering firm in a claim arising from an oil pipeline failure; the client was involved in the design of a facility upstream of the pipeline where the failure took place (action is ongoing).
•TD Auto Finance (Canada) Inc. v. Yan, 2014 ABCA 233
Represented an auto finance company in an appeal over whether the finance company’s security interest survives a sale of an automobile to a third party after the vehicle’s VIN was illegally altered by an intervening party.
•Represented an oilfield facility operator in a claim against a major pipeline transmission company. Our client alleged that when the pipeline company crossed an oil flow line during construction of a major transmission line, the flow line was not properly supported. The flow line later failed and oil was discharged into the surrounding environment. The pipeline company added companies and individuals involved in the pipeline construction as third parties. The case settled at mediation before trial.
•Represented a grocery retailer in a dispute with an equipment leasing company. Another party (out of business by the time of these proceedings) had persuaded our client to install video displays in grocery stores on the basis there would be no net cost. When the company went out of business, the leasing company sought payment on its leases for the video equipment. The case settled at a judicial mediation before trial.
•Represented a junior oil and gas company, and its major shareholder, in claims brought by the other large shareholder of the company. The claims included breach of an agreement over share ownership and oppression in the management and operation of the company. The litigation was ongoing for four years before our firm was retained to take over the case, and it was settled by direct negotiation on the eve of trial.
•Represented an individual who provided private mortgage financing to a residential real estate project. A claim was brought against a lawyer who was involved with placement of security on the property after it was found the agreed security for the loan was not obtained. The claim was settled following a judicial mediation.
•Marathon Canada Limited v. Enron Canada Corp., 2009 ABCA 31
Represented a natural gas producer in a dispute over the termination of a long term gas supply contract. Case was successful at trial and upheld on appeal.
•Calgary (City) v. Alberta (Energy and Utilities Board), 2010 ABCA 94, FortisAlberta Inc. v. Alberta (Utilities Commission), 2015 ABCA 295
Represented a large municipality in appeals to the Court of Appeal of Alberta arising from regulatory decisions concerning the regulated rates set for the purchase of natural gas by consumers.
•Imperial Oil Resources Ltd. v. 826167 Alberta Inc., 2007 ABCA 131
Represented a large oil and gas company in a successful appeal to the Court of Appeal of Alberta from the Surface Rights Board.
•Represented a large oilfield services company in an intellectual property dispute with a competitor, a former employee and a consultant. Case settled before trial.
•Represented a power generation company in a claim arising from a large industrial fire. Case settled before trial.
•Edmonton (City) v. TransAlta Energy Marketing Corporation, 2008 ABQB 426
Represented a power generation company in a claim arising from the sale of a large industrial asset to a municipality. Case successfully resolved on summary judgment.
•Represented a power generation company in a claim arising from the release of water from a river dam. Case settled before trial.
•Omairi v. Compass Group PLC, 2009 ABQB 611
Represented a large camp catering company in a jurisdictional dispute with an employee over whether the employee’s claims were properly represented before the courts or an arbitrator under the collective agreement. Case settled after some hearings.
•Canada Southern Petroleum Ltd. v. Amoco Canadian Petroleum Company Ltd., 2001 ABQB 803
Represented a large natural gas producer in a long-running dispute with a carried interest owner. The issues included allegations that our client failed to market natural gas according to a contractual commitment and failed to operate and maintain gas wells and associated facilities. Trial lasted almost 5 years and was settled before appeal.
•Represented a large oilfield services company in a dispute over the operation of underwater oil production lines. Case settled at mediation.
•Represented the manufacturer of components installed in an oil upgrader facility in a claim brought by the facility owner. Case settled at mediation.
•Represented other corporate and personal clients in a wide variety of contract disputes, including real estate transactions, investment advice, business disputes, intellectual property, franchise disputes, oil and gas operating agreements, electrical utility matters, and products liability.
•Representing an engineering firm in a claim relating to a failed road in a new residential subdivision. Our client provided certain advisory services to the developer related to the road construction. The developer added our client as a third party to the claim by the road contractor against the developer for the cost of repairing the road. The action is ongoing.
•Represent an engineering firm in a claim relation to foundation design for a building constructed in Canada’s North.
•Representing the owner and the main contractor on a bulk fuel facility in a damages claim brought by the former construction manager whose contract was terminated during construction. The action is ongoing.
•Represented a condominium corporation in a claim against the developer and others regarding defective construction of common property. Case settled at mediation.
•Represented the developer of a residential condominium high-rise building in a dispute with the mechanical contractor. Case settled during trial.
•Represented a large geotechnical engineering firm in a claim arising from the construction of a residential condominium complex in Calgary. Case settled before trial.
•Represents owners, developers, general contractors and contractors in builders’ lien claims.
•Advises owners and contractors on construction contract tendering issues.
Other Litigation Experience
•Represents lawyers in cases involving legal malpractice claims.
•Represents engineers in professional liability claims and disciplinary matters before APEGA.
•Represents beneficiaries and personal representatives in contested estate and estate distribution claims. Recent cases involved a dispute between a widow and children of a former marriage and a dispute amongst siblings over the right to challenge gifts made prior to a parent’s death.
•Represented the Canadian Bar Association, an intervener in Alberta (Information and Privacy Commissioner) v. University of Calgary, 2016 SCC 53 . This appeal dealt with the conflict between the investigative powers of the Information and Privacy Commissioner and a claim of solicitor-client privilege by the party under investigation.
•Represented an intervener in Pridgen v. University of Calgary, 2012 ABCA 139, in the Court of Appeal of Alberta on the issue of whether the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms applies to universities.
•Represented the Canadian Bar Association, an intervener in Reference re Same-Sex Marriage  3 S.C.R. 698, which dealt with the constitutionality of same sex marriage in Canada.
•Represented the Canadian Bar Association, Intervener in R. v. Fink,  3 S.C.R. 209, which dealt with solicitor-client privilege and the execution of search warrants on law offices.
•Represented the Canadian Bar Association - Alberta Branch, an Intervener in Vriend v. Alberta,  1 S.C.R. 493, which dealt with whether the equality provisions of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms required provincial human rights legislation to include protection from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
Jim is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. He has conducted two commercial arbitrations as lead counsel and another commercial arbitration as co-lead counsel. All of these arbitrations have been conducted under the Arbitration Act of Alberta and have had panels of three arbitrators.
Jim also acts as an arbitrator and has served as sole arbitrator in two completed commercial disputes. One dispute related to the construction of facilities on an oilsands project. The other dispute related to the purchase and sale of a business. Jim is currently serving as sole arbitrator for two ongoing commercial disputes.
•“Court Room Etiquette”, Moderator, Canadian Bar Association Skilled Lawyers Series, 2014
•“Ethical Issues for In-House Counsel”, Moderator, Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice, Ethics and Civility in the Practice of Law, 2014
• A View from the Bench: Motion Practice and Strategy”, Moderator, Canadian Bar Association Skilled Lawyers Series, 2012
•“Conducting and Defending a Discovery”, James Lebo, Q.C. and Lyle Harris, Q.C., Canadian Bar Association Skilled Lawyer Series, 2011
•“New Rules of Court Program”, Legal Education Society of Alberta, Instructor
•“Successful Strategies for Protecting your Builders’ Liens”, 18th Annual Western Canadian Construction Superconference, 2010
•“Managing Risk in Construction Contracts”, 17th Annual Western Canadian Construction Superconference, 2009
• Musings of an Alberta Lawyer, Blog, Ongoing
•“When Owners are not “owners”: An Update”, James L. Lebo, Q.C. and Andrea M. Swabuk, Construction Business, 2010
•“When Owners are not “owners”: Loopholes in lien liability?”, James L. Lebo, Q.C. and Andrea M. Swabuk, Construction Business, 2010
status in the Institute, the highest level of membership.Jim is an active and committed member of the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) and has held a variety of senior positions, including serving as a member of the National Council from 1998-2010. Currently, Jim sits on the Board of the Canadian Bar Insurance Association. In recognition of his long commitment to the CBA, Jim received the CBA – Alberta Branch Outstanding Service Award in 2006 and the CBA SOGIC Ally Award in 2006. Member: Chartered Institute of Arbitrators - Fellow; Canadian Bar Insurance Association - Member, Board of Directors. Fellow: status in the Institute, the highest level of membership.Jim has conducted two arbitrations as lead counsel and is currently conducting another. Jim is also representing a client in another arbitration as co-lead counsel. All these arbitrations have been or are being conducted under the Arbitration Act of Alberta. Three of them have panels of three arbitrators and one has a single arbitrator.Jim also acts as an arbitrator and is currently serving as sole arbitrator in two commercial disputes. Member: Professional Associations and Affiliations•fellow, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators•Member, Board of Directors, Canadian Bar Insurance Association.