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James L. Chapman, IV

Jim focuses his legal practice on representing businesses and individuals in litigation. He is frequently hired in matters involving large loss exposure in injury, death and property damage cases. He also has extensive experience litigating commercial disputes.

Jim has tried over 100 cases to jury verdicts for his clients and formerly taught courses in Trial Practice and Federal Courts at Regent University School of Law. Jim speaks and writes on select topics of interest to the insurance, maritime and unmanned systems industries.

Apart from the practice of law, Jim is most proud of his service to his alma mater, Virginia Tech. From 2013 – 2017, he served on the governing Board of Visitors, and was Rector (Chair) of the Board in 2016 - 2017. Virginia Tech is a leading public research university with an annual budget in excess of $1.6 billion, enrolling over 30,000 students annually. The University motto is Ut Prosim, Latin for “That I May Serve,” which is Jim’s passion for both Virginia Tech and his clients.
Education
Washington & Lee University School of Law, J.D., 1982
Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, B.A., magna cum laude, 1979
Military Service
United States Army, Judge Advocate General's Corps, Captain
Bar/Court Admissions
Virginia State Bar
North Carolina State Bar
United States Supreme Court
United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
United States District Court, Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia
United States District Court, Eastern, Middle and Western Districts of North Carolina
Community Involvement
Future of Hampton Roads, Inc. (President, 2000-2001)
Rotary International, Norfolk Sunrise Club (President, 2013-2014)
Articles and Presentations
Representative Experience
Representative Matters
  • “American Justice: The Intersection of Legal Liability and Autonomous Systems”, 2019 Unmanned Systems Symposium, AUVSI (October 2019)
  •  To Be Forgotten…or Not to Be Forgotten?, Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel Annual Meeting, Debate Panel Moderator (August 2, 2019)
  • Mitigating the Cost of Data Breach, Defense Research Institute (DRI), Data and Security Dispatch, Volume 4 Issue 2 (October 4, 2018)
  • American Justice: At the Intersection of Legal Liability and Autonomous Systems, presented at the 2nd Annual Unmanned Systems Conference (October 9-10, 2018), Sponsored by the AUVSI Ridge & Valley Chapter, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia
  • Tools, Toys and Torts:  What You Need to Know about Aerial Drones in Virginia, sponsored by Norfolk and Portsmouth Bar Association (September 20, 2018)
  • FRA-Mandated Conductor Training Programs: Don’t Let Yours Become a Train Wreck, sponsored by Virginia Railroad Association (October 2, 2017 Annual Meeting)
  • Shipping and Maritime Law 2014, Roundtable Panel, presented by Corporate Live Wire (October 2014)
  • Deconstructing a Jury Trial, presented to Norfolk and Portsmouth Bar Association (2011)
  • Red Letter Clauses in Marina Slip Leases, presented at SEALI Annual Meeting (2008)
  • Marine Insurance Claims and Practice, presented at Lorman Marine Insurance Seminar (2007)
  • Ten Tempting (But Improper) Closing Arguments, presented at SEALI Annual Meeting (2004)

 

  • Federal and state court litigation in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Maryland, New Mexico and California.
  • Defend businesses and individuals in casualty litigation arising from injury, death, property damage and other torts.
  • Vessel arrests and attachments to obtain security for maritime liens.
  • Maritime salvage disputes, including treasure salvage.
  • Lecturer on insurance and other topics of interest to the maritime industry.
  • Adjunct Professor of Law, Regent University School of Law (2001—2011)
  • Captain, United States Army, Judge Advocate General’s Corps (Active Duty 1982-1986).

CASE RESULTS DEPEND ON A VARIETY OF FACTORS UNIQUE TO EACH CASE.  THEY DO NOT GUARANTEE OR PREDICT SIMILAR RESULTS IN FUTURE CASES.

TRIALS

  • Obtained defense jury verdict in $10,000,000 railroad worker asbestosis case
  • Obtained judgment of exoneration for a leading aggregate supplier arising from vessel casualty
  • Successfully defended marine equipment manufacturer in product liability defect case involving widespread structural failure claims
  • Obtained defense jury verdict in favor of raw materials supplier sued by manufacturer for $1,500,000 on claim of supplying contaminated product; jury awarded $900,000 to client on counterclaim against manufacturer
  • Obtained $48,000,000 maritime salvage award of gold treasure and $2,000,000 of other historic artifacts recovered from the 1857 wreck of the S.S. Central America
  • Obtained $16,000,000 jury verdict for bank defrauded in loan participation scheme
  • Obtained $600,000 judgment against vessel for damage to historic railroad bridge

ADR

  • Favorably resolved wrongful death claim by estates of three families collectively seeking $25,000,000 for drowning deaths at marina
  • Favorably resolved $10,000,000 claim for traumatic lower extremity amputation
  • Favorably resolved $20,000,000 claim for catastrophic brain injury to maritime worker
  • Successfully settled $20,000,000 marina fire loss claim for consortium of insurers following favorable liability ruling on summary judgment
  • Obtained favorable recovery on behalf of insurer in mass tort carbon monoxide poisoning and death cases against gas hot water system installer
  • Favorably resolved $2,000,000 dissident shareholder claim on behalf of majority shareholders of privately held mortgage brokerage without litigation

TRANSACTIONS

  • Borrower’s counsel for closely held commercial fishing business in complex $15,000,000 multi-vessel fleet refinancing transaction
  • Seller’s counsel for closely-held alcohol beverage distribution business in multi-phased $30,000,000 purchase

 

News and Updates
Week in Review - Autonomous Roundup
Posted on January 23, 2020
This Week’s Highlight The Decade-Long Self-Driving Honeymoon is Over. What’s Next? Bloomberg Law: Big-law policy advisors throw cold water on autonomous driving hype. Thursday, January 23, 2020 | Week in…...
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Week in Review - Autonomous Roundup
Posted on January 15, 2020
This Week’s Highlight - Our favorite report this week shows us how Hyundai and Uber are teaming up to develop a line of flying taxis , which aims to expand…...
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Week in Review - Autonomous Roundup
Posted on January 9, 2020
This week's highlight - Our favorite report this week highlights Honda’s “Augmented Driving Concept” being presented at CES this month! An open-top roadster will feature different driving modes ranging…...
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Week in Review - Autonomous Roundup
Posted on January 2, 2020
This Week's Highlight - Our favorite report this week takes us to the drone race track! Strapped with goggles looking through the onboard First Person View camera, racers compete…...
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Week in Review - Autonomous Roundup
Posted on December 26, 2019
This Week’s Highlight – Our favorite report this week is about how our ‘safe’ autopilot features are turning us into more distracted drivers! AAA warns that drivers who regularly use driver assistance…...
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Week in Review - Autonomous Roundup
Posted on December 19, 2019
This Week's Highlight - Our favorite report this week is going to the races! One of the world’s top drone pilots recently took on an autonomous drone in a contest designed…...
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Week in Review - Autonomous Roundup
Posted on December 11, 2019
This Week's Highlight - With the Holiday shopping season in full swing, our favorite report this week is NCDOT publishing a list of tips to help you Fly Safe and Legal…...
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Week in Review—Autonomous Roundup
Posted on December 4, 2019
This Week’s Highlight - Our favorite report this week is the team at IntelligentUAS showing different outlandish ways to cook a Turkey using a drone! Some of the methods should not…...
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Virginia Business Announces 20th Anniversary “Legal Elite”
Posted on December 3, 2019
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Week in Review—Autonomous Roundup
Posted on November 27, 2019
This Week’s Highlight Our favorite report this week is Disney testing “SUV-sized” X-Wing Drones at it’s park outside of their Hollywood Studios! Rumor is these drones will be used for the…...
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