“Going the extra mile to satisfy my clients.”
Jim Bryan has devoted his career to the zealous representation of his business litigation clients with integrity and the highest of ethical standards. Jim understands what it takes to win battles in the litigation trenches and in front of the jury. He has appeared in the federal and state courts of North Carolina including the North Carolina Business Court. His litigation practice concentrates on insurance coverage/bad faith, trucking industry defense, commercial disputes, lender liability, premises liability, environmental disputes and fiduciary trust litigation. He is a Fellow in the prestigious American College of Coverage and Extracontractual Counsel in the practice area of insurance coverage/bad faith. He also has great familiarity with class actions, toxic and mass torts, and product liability.
As a leader in Nexsen Pruet, Jim is chair of its Torts, Insurance and Products practice group. He is one of the more senior members of the firm’s Greensboro office and mentors younger attorneys and provides leadership for the office.
Jim is passionate about giving back to his profession and the community. He was President of the Greensboro Bar Association (2014-2015). He is Vice-Chair and a master in the Guilford Inn of Court. He serves as Chair on the Section Council of the Insurance Law Section of the North Carolina Bar Association and ran the section's annual CLE program in 2013 and 2014. He is chair of the Amicus Brief Committee of the Trucking Industry Defense Association and chair of the First Party Property Subcommittee of the Insurance Law Committee of the Defense Research Institute. Jim was program chair for the April 2013 Insurance Coverage and Claims Institute conference, one of the flagship programs of DRI’s Insurance Law Committee. He has also been the program chair for environmental law conferences sponsored by the North Carolina Bar Association.
Jim is a frequent speaker at local, state and national conferences and seminars where attorneys attend for their continuing legal education requirements. Recent topics include ethics for litigators, truck accident defense, insurance coverage, evidence, insurance bad faith defense, and civil litigation. Sponsors of the programs have been the Greensboro and North Carolina Bar Associations, DRI, National Business Institute and Property Liability Resources Bureau.
Insurance Coverage/Pollution Exclusion – Obtained judgment on the pleadings for commercial lines insurer in federal district court in Raleigh, NC. Primary Issues: environmental contamination at Superfund site; total and absolute pollution exclusion; primary and excess liability policies from 1980s and 2000s; Connecticut law and Canadian law. See PCS Phosphate v. American Home, 2016 WL 1271031 (March 29, 2016, E.D.N.C.).
Insurance Coverage/Allocation,Trigger – Currently defending commercial lines insurer in long-running declaratory judgment action in NC state court. Primary Issues: allocation and trigger of coverage for progressive disease/toxic torts arising out of insureds products that exposed claimants to benzene from 1970s to 2000s. See Radiator Specialty Co. v. Arrowood Indemnity Co. et al.; Mecklenburg County, NC, Case No. 13 CVS 2271.
Insurance Coverage/Lender Liability/Jury Trial – On behalf of community bank, prosecuted coverage counterclaims and defended lender liability third party complaint in three-week jury trial in federal district court in Greensboro, NC. Obtained favorable verdict that was upheld on appeal in Fourth Circuit. Primary Issues: fire loss at manufacturing site; material misrepresentation; rescission; waiver; estoppel; commercial property policy. See Colony v. Peterson, 2012 WL 1867047 (May 22, 2012, M.D.N.C.); 2012 WL 4369666 (Sept. 24, 2012, M.D.N.C.), and 2014 WL 4179962 (4th Cir 2014).
Insurance Bad Faith - Defended commercial lines insurer for seven years in bad faith litigation in NC state court involving builders risk insurance, mold infestation, alleged insurance fraud in claim submission, alleged additional insured coverage, construction project failure, Chapter 11 bankruptcy of project owner, SIU investigation, and appeal of discovery dispute over insurer's work product. Successful in resolving the matter late in discovery phase. See Governor’s Landing, LLC, Wachovia Bank et al v. Assurance Company of America et al; New Hanover County, NC, Case Nos. 03 CvS 1965 and 03 CvS 1968; Wachovia Bank v. Clean River Corporation, 178 N.C.App. 528, 631 S.E.2d 879 (2006).
Insurance/Punitive Damages/Negligent Misrepresentation – Defended commercial lines insurer in federal district court in Charlotte, NC. Bad faith claims and punitive damages were defeated on motion for partial summary judgment. Afterwards, two-week jury trial on negligent misrepresentation claims ended in plaintiff’s verdict. Primary Issues: bridge collapse; insurer’s investigation of collapse allegedly caused damages to insured. See Lee Construction v. Zurich, Case No.: 3:10-cv-539 (W.D.N.C. 2012).
Truck Accident/Traumatic Brain Injury – Successful settlement of catastrophic truck accident case in federal district court in Charlotte, NC, after 18 depositions of fact and expert witnesses in OK, FL, AL, SC and NC and after multiple dispositive motions on punitive damages and other claims. See Brown v. Celadon Trucking Services, 3:16 CV 00229 (W.D.N.C. 2017).
Truck/Bus Accident/Jury Trial - In stipulated liability case, able to hold down the jury's damage award to 25% of what plaintiff asked for in closing argument. Successful in motions to exclude testimony of plaintiff's vocational expert and economist expert. See Cooper v. APAC Atlantic, Inc., Forsyth County, NC, Case No. 08 CvS 7550.
Truck Accident/Jury Trial - Settled double fatality truck accident case for Kodiak truck owner-operator after 7 days of jury trial in NC state court. See Tolen v. Carolina Carbonic, Randolph County, NC, Case No. 01 CvS 00092
Cargo Loss/Carmack Amendment – Settled cargo loss claim for motor carrier in NC state court concerning stolen trailer of cell phones where interpretation of Carmack Amendment played significant role. See Nations Express, Inc. v. Landstar Inway, Inc., Wake County, NC, Case No. 08 CvS 3952.
Trucking Regulatory Compliance/USDOT – Negotiated a settlement for trucking company with US Dept. of Transportation concerning civil penalty assessments for alleged violations of federal motor carrier safety regulations.
Motor Carrier Permit Violations/North Carolina - Obtained judgment for trucking company against State Highway Patrol for wrongful penalty assessment for alleged violation of trip permit for overweight load. Won on appeal. Daily Express, Inc. v. Beatty, 688 S.E.2d 791 (N.C.App. 2010).
Clinical Laboratory Litigation – Prosecuted multiple breach-of-contract actions on behalf of clinical laboratory management company against laboratory customers where CLIA regulations and intellectual property issues have been involved. See e.g., Select Laboratory Partners v. H.S. Labs, Guilford County, NC, Case No. 14 CvS 5605; Select Laboratory Partners v. First Med, Inc., 1:15 CV 531 (M.D.N.C. 2015).
E-Cigarette/Vaping Litigation – Represented e-cig/vaping company as local counsel in federal district court in Greensboro, NC involving a discovery dispute in patent litigation based in California federal district court. See Fontem Ventures, B.V. v. NJOY, Inc. et al, 2:14-cv-01645 (C.D.Cal. 2014) and 1:15-mc-00022 (M.D.N.C. 2015).
Shareholder Derivative Litigation – Defended shareholder derivative/judicial dissolution action on behalf of client corporation involving allegations of breach of fiduciary duty and remedy of constructive trust and judicial dissolution. See Hill v. H&H Furniture Manufacturers, Inc., Randolph County, NC, Case No. 16 CvS 1167.
Business Broker Fee Litigation – Prosecuted action on behalf of business broker to recover broker fee arising out of breach of representation agreement by acquired company. See The Foresight Companies, LLC v. Bright Funeral Home, Inc., Wake County, NC, Case No. 16 CvS 1464.
Fiduciary Trust Litigation – Defended the interests of trust settlor against trust beneficiary in action seeking modification of irrevocable trust. Defeated motion for summary judgment, which led to plaintiff dismissing his case with prejudice. See In the Matter of Trust for Zachary Alberts, Guilford County, NC, Case No. 14 CvS 10478.
Compelling Arbitration - Successful on motion to compel arbitration on client’s behalf in action in NC Business Court concerning commercial crime policy with corporate policyholder, and successfully opposed assertion by corporate insured that the insurer waived the right to arbitration after filing the first action in New York. See Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. v. Gulf Ins. Co., 2001 WL 34000140, 2001 NCBC 3, N.C. Super. (Jan. 31, 2001).
Utility Company/Electrocution – Successful in settling electrocution case for utility company involving motor vehicle crash into utility pole causing downed power lines, after 21 depositions of fact and expert witnesses in GA, LA, and NC. See Rios v. Duke Energy Carolinas, Guilford County, NC, Case No. 15 CvS 7630.
Retail Store/Premises Liability – Defended retail store in multiple actions involving slip-and-fall, trip-and-fall, assault, and other premises liability claims. All cases settled favorably for client. See e.g., Wells v. Big Lots Stores, Inc., Guilford County, NC, 14 CvS 4497; Crews v. Big Lots Stores, Inc., 3:13 CV 258 (W.D.N.C. 2014).
Premises Liability/Jury Trial - Obtained defense verdict of no liability for municipality in trip and fall case in NC state court. See Bunce v. City of Greensboro, Guilford County, NC, Case No. 00 CvS 8010.
Automobile Negligence/Jury Trial - Won defense verdict of no liability for automobile operator in motor vehicle negligence case. See Guynn v. Ingram, Guilford County, NC, Case No. 00 CvS 1650.
Environmental/Aggrieved Landowner – Represented property owner adjacent to former Seaboard Chemical Corporation Site, EPA ID No. NCD071574164, High Point, North Carolina, and former City of High Point Riverdale Drive Landfill, in negotiations over Declaration of Perpetual Land Use Restrictions.
Environmental/Consent Decree - Negotiated consent decrees for Fortune 100 company in underground storage tank case involving soil and groundwater contamination at convenience store gas station next to elementary school. See State of North Carolina v. Texaco Refining & Marketing, Inc., Randolph Co., NC, 01 CvS 163.
Environmental/UST - Defended and obtained dismissal of NC state court action for gas station owner against NC Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources (“NCDENR”) after multiple expert witness depositions revealed lack of merit for claim under NC Oil Pollution & Hazardous Substances Control Act. See State of North Carolina v. Gas Town, Inc., Guilford Co., NC, 99 CvS 5039.
Environmental/Notice of Violation/Air Quality - Successful in persuading NCDENR's Division of Air Quality to agree to a substantial reduction of monetary penalty for alleged violation of air quality permit of manufacturer client.
Environmental/Insurance Coverage – Obtained settlement for commercial lines insurer in a ten-year coverage dispute concerning underground storage tank insurance for oil company insured at convenience store gas station.
PCS Phosphate Co., Inc. v. American Home Assurance Co., 2016 WL 1271031 (March 29, 2016 E.D.N.C.).
Colony v. Peterson, 2012 WL 1867047 (May 22, 2012, M.D.N.C.); 2012 WL 4369666 (Sept. 24, 2012, M.D.N.C.), and 2014 WL 4179962 (4th Cir 2014)
Brown v. Sedgwick Claims Management Services, Inc., 1:11-cv-84 (July 7, 2011, M.D.N.C.)
Zurich American Ins. Co. v. ACE American Ins. Co., 3:10-cv-101 (December 3, 2010 and January 27, 2011, W.D.N.C.)
Daily Express, Inc. v. Bryan E. Beatty, Secretary of Crime Control & Public Safety, 688 S.E.2d, 791 N.C.App. (2010)
Wachovia Bank v. Clean River Corporation, 178 N.C.App. 528, 631 S.E.2d 879 (2006)
Estate of Mason v. Universal Underwriters Life Ins. Co., 1:06-cv-190 (September 14, 2006 and October 4, 2006, W.D.N.C.)
Miller v. Owens, 603 S.E.2d 168 (N.C.App. 2004)
Garner v. Big Lots Stores, Inc., 4:01-cv-179 (March 18, 2003, E.D.N.C.)
Ayers v. Patz, 2002 WL 1901906, N.C.App. (Aug. 20, 2002)
Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. v. Gulf Ins. Co., 2001 WL 34000140, 2001 NCBC 3, N.C. Super. (Jan. 31, 2001)
Markham v. Nationwide Ins. Co., 125 N.C.App. 433, 481 S.E.2d 349 (1997)
Hunter v. Newsom, 121 N.C.App., 564, 468 S.E.2d 802 (1996)
Fidelity National Title Ins. Co. of Tenn. v. Kidd, 99 N.C.App. 737, 394 S.E.2d 225 (1990)
Late Notice Under Claims-Made Policy Torpedoes Claim
February 13, 2018
Can Insurers Take Their Time?
September 12, 2017
Speaker/author of manuscript, “Top Five Nuisance Insurance Coverage Issues," Defense Research Institute's Insurance Law Committee conference; Chicago, April 2016
Speaker/author of manuscript, “Lessons Learned in a Four-Year Coverage Battle: Colony Insurance v. Peterson,” North Carolina Bar Association’s Insurance Law Section annual meeting//CLE, April 2015, as well as Program Chair of the same conference.
Author, "Message from the President," Greensboro Bar Association monthly newsletter:
Author, “Case Law Developments,” Insurance Law Section of the North Carolina Bar Association newsletter, March 2014.
Author, "Case Law Developments," Insurance Law Section of the North Carolina Bar Association newsletter, December 2015.
Author, “Fourth Circuit’s Decision in Cargo Loss Case Should Be Wake-Up Call for Motor Carriers as to Limitation of Liability,” Trucking Industry Defense Association, quarterly e-newsletter, February 2014.
Co-author, North Carolina chapter of DRI’s 50-State Compendium of Reservation of Rights, December 2013.
Speaker/Author of manuscript, “Targeting Insurance: Coverage Issues In Firearms and Self-Defense Claims,” Defense Research Institute’s Insurance Law Committee conference, December 2013 and at the national claims conference of the Property Liability Resource Bureau, March 2015.
Co-author, “First Party Property Insurance Law in North Carolina,” inaugural issue of the e-newsletter Insurance Law of the Insurance Law Section of the North Carolina Bar Association, November 27, 2013.
Speaker, “2012 North Carolina Insurance Law Update”, North Carolina Bar Association’s annual CLE review, Grandover Resort in Greensboro, October 11, 2013
Author, "Waiver of Right of Appraisal in Property Insurance Claims," Defense Research Institute's Covered Events Newsletter, July 2013
Program Chair, Defense Research Institute's Insurance Coverage and Claims Institute Conference, Chicago, April 2013
Speaker/Author of manuscript - "Ethical Considerations During Litigation," Annual Meeting of the Environmental Law Section of North Carolina Bar Association, Wilmington, NC, April 2013
Speaker/Author of manuscript - "When Lenders Come Knocking - How to Assess a Lender's Claim Under Personal Lines Policies," Defense Research Institute's Insurance Coverage and Claims Institute Conference, Chicago, April 2012
Speaker/Author of manuscript - "Protecting the Insurer's Internal Communications From Discovery in Bad Faith Actions," Defense Research Institute's Bad Faith Conference, Washington D.C., June 2011
Webinar Speaker - "Right to Independent Counsel: Emerging Issues - Resolving Policyholder and Insurer Disputes Over Selection of Counsel," Strafford Publications, July 2011
Speaker/Author of manuscript - "Certificates of Insurance: Avoiding Bad Faith," Property Liability Resource Bureau, Sacramento, California, Nov. 2011
Co-author, "Bad Faith in Absence of Breach of Contract?" featured in For the Defense magazine, a publication of the Defense Research Institute.
Speaker, "Observations from the Trenches of Truck Wreck Litigation", N.C. Trucking Association webinar, May 3, 2011.
Author, "Debunking Lost Future Earnings Damages", The Transportation Lawyer, February 2011
Author, "Property Insurance Policies: The Covered Causes of Loss and Excluded Perils", Exploring Property Insurance and Construction Law Issues, Defense Research Institute, June 2010.
Jim Bryan and Dennis Lynch co-authored an article entitled "Rolling Out CSA 2010 - The New Motor Carrier Safety Compliance" for The DefenseLine. The DefenseLine is the quarterly publication of the South Carolina Defense Trial Attorneys' Association.
On May 19, 2010, Jim Bryan filed an amicus curiae brief in a case pending before the North Carolina Supreme Court on behalf of the Trucking Industry Defense Association. On October 8, the State Supreme Court adopted the position argued in the brief and reversed the court of appeals decision. Read the opinion here.
Co-Author, Duty to Settle Third Party Claims, Property Loss Research Bureau/Liability Insurance Research Bureau, National Claims Convention, San Antonio, March 2010
"The Nuts and Bolts of Declaratory Judgement Actions", presented at the North Carolina Bar Association's Insurance Law Update CLE, Grandover Resort, Greensboro, North Carolina, November 6, 2009
Umbrella Policies: The Duty to Drop Down", Property Loss Research Bureau/Liability Loss Research Bureau, National Claims Convention, Seattle, March 2009
Co-Author, Who's Responsible for Financial Responsibility?, Defense Research Institute's Trucking Law Committee, In-Transit, August 2007. The article features a recent NC Court of Appeals decision which held that a liability policy for a commercial vehicle automatically provides minimum of $750,000 of coverage, despite the owner requesting and paying for lesser coverage.
Co-Author, Amicus Curiae brief in the Supreme Court of North Carolina on behalf of the Trucking Industry Defense Association, North Carolina Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company, Inc., v. Terry Davis Armwood, Jr.; Et al., April 2007
Co-Author, Amicus Curiae brief on behalf of the Trucking Industry Defense Association in the case, Lamson & Sessions Co. v. ATS Logistics Services, Inc., November 2006
Co-Author, North Carolina Chapter in the Defense Research Institute's Insurance Bad Faith: A Compendium of State Law (2006)
Contracts and Insurance Protections for Motor Carriers, National Tank Truck Carriers Association, Board of Directors Meeting, August 2004
Co-Author, North Carolina Chapter in the American Law Firm Association's A Fifty-State Reference of Significant Case and Statutory Law Related to Life, Accident and Health Insurance Claims and Litigation (2003 Edition)
Author, Just Exactly Where is That Petroleum Contamination Coming From?, Environmental News, North Carolina Bar Association, 2003
Author, Hold Harmless, Indemnity, Subrogation and Additional Insured Insurance in Transportation Contracts, Annual Meeting, National Tank Truck Carriers Association, April, 2003
Author, Brownfields Agreements: A Prospective Developer's Road to Success, Environmental News, Vol. 13, No. 2, March, 2002
Auto Exclusion in General Liability Insurance Policies, For the Defense, Vol. 43, No. 12, December, 2001
Author, The Saga Over MTBE Continues, Takes New Turn, Environmental News, Vol. 13, No. 1, December, 2001
Author, A Lesson in Avoiding Liability on the Internet, BizLife Magazine, March, 2001
A Practical Guide to Federal Court Rules and Procedures in North Carolina, National Business Institute, June, 2000
Insurance Coverage Laws in North Carolina, National Business Institute, June, 1996
Damages Recoverable in Commercial Cases and Their Proof, Commercial Litigation in North Carolina Handbook, Law Practice Handbooks, 1995
You can find Jim on the tennis courts on weekends and weekday nights, singles or doubles. His USTA 50-and-over seniors team, 4.5 division, won the 2012 state championship. Jim can no longer keep up with his 22-year-old son who was on UNC-G's Men's Division 1 team, but that is as it should be. Jim and his son won a father-son national-level tournament in Charlotte, open division, in May 2016. Sports has always been a big part of Jim’s life. High-level volleyball used to be his thing. He played in the USVBA national championships in 1983, 1985 and 1990. He retired in 1994 after his Greensboro team won the state championship and he was named MVP. He even played Junior Varsity soccer at UNC-Chapel Hill his freshman year.
Jim came down south for college and never left. He was born and raised in Connecticut and most of his siblings and parents still live up north. Family reunions in Maine have re-connected Jim with his past. Jim’s wife of 28 years and two sons look forward to the pilgrimage up north every other year.
The most unusual thing you may not know about Jim is that his great great great great great grandfather signed the U.S. Constitution for North Carolina in 1788 – Richard Dobbs Spaight. Jim did not know this until he came to UNC and saw a plaque about Spaight on the wall of Memorial Auditorium his freshman year.