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James L. Chapman, IV

Jim focuses his legal practice on representing businesses and individuals in litigation. He is frequently hired to defend cases involving large loss exposure in injury and death cases resulting from product defects, fires, electrocution, workplace accidents, drowning, amputation, toxic poisoning and other serious casualties.

He also has extensive experience litigating major commercial disputes. Jim has tried over 100 cases to jury verdicts for his clients and formerly taught trial practice as an Adjunct Professor 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 Virginia Tech, and was chair (Rector) 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’s 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
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
Articles and Presentations
Representative Experience
Representative Matters
  • 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
  • “Mitigating the Cost of Data Breach”, Data and Security Dispatch, Defense Research Institute (DRI), Volume 4 Issue 2 (October 04, 2018)
  • CLE Program: Tools, Toys and Torts:  What You Need to Know about Aerial Drones in Virginia, sponsored by Norfolk and Portsmouth Bar Association (September 20, 2018)
  • CE Program: 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)
  • CLE Program: Deconstructing a Jury Trial, sponsored by 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
  • 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
  • Represented company officer in federal criminal prosecution alleging violation of occupational safety laws resulting in multiple workplace deaths from industrial explosion; negotiated no jail time plea agreement

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
  • Obtained $600,000 judgment against vessel for damage to historic railroad bridge
News and Updates
CWM Attorneys Recognized by Virginia Super Lawyers®
Posted on May 2, 2019
Crenshaw, Ware & Martin, P.L.C. is pleased to announce that seven of its lawyers have been selected for inclusion in the 2019 list of Virginia Super Lawyers® and Rising Stars.…...
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CWM Attorneys Named to 2019 Best Lawyers® in America
Posted on August 15, 2018
Crenshaw, Ware & Martin PLC is pleased to announce that five of its lawyers have been named to the 25th Edition of Best Lawyers in America.   Delphine G. Carnes Project…...
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CWM Attorneys Recognized by Virginia Super Lawyers®
Posted on April 17, 2018
Crenshaw, Ware & Martin, P.L.C. is pleased to announce that eight of its lawyers have been selected for inclusion in the 2018 list of Virginia Super Lawyers® and Rising Stars. …...
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Six Crenshaw, Ware & Martin PLC Attorneys Named to 2018 Best Lawyers® in America
Posted on August 16, 2017
Crenshaw, Ware & Martin PLC is pleased to announce that six of its lawyers have been named to the 24th Edition of Best Lawyers in America. Delphine G. Carnes - Project…...
Read More
CWM Attorneys Recognized by Virginia Super Lawyers®
Posted on April 17, 2017
Crenshaw, Ware & Martin, P.L.C. is pleased to announce that nine of its lawyers have been selected for inclusion in the 2017 list of Virginia Super Lawyers® and Rising Stars. …...
Read More
Jim Chapman Represents Plaintiff, Receives 100% Treasure Salvage Award in S.S. Central America Case
Posted on September 7, 2016
Federal Judge Announces Favorable Ruling in the Matter of the SS Central America and Recognizes the  Contribution of Odyssey Marine Exploration TAMPA, Fla., Sept. 06, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ira Owen…...
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Seven Crenshaw, Ware & Martin PLC Attorneys Named to 2017 Best Lawyers® in America
Posted on August 15, 2016
Crenshaw, Ware & Martin is pleased to announce that seven of its lawyers have been named to the 2017 Edition of Best Lawyers in America. Delphine G. Carnes Project Finance Law Public Finance…...
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Chapman to Serve as Rector of the Board of Visitors of Virginia Tech
Posted on July 1, 2016
James L. Chapman, Jr., a partner with the firm, was elected to serve as rector of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University Board of Visitors for the coming year.…...
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CWM Attorneys Recognized by Virginia Super Lawyers®
Posted on April 7, 2016
Crenshaw, Ware & Martin, P.L.C. is pleased to announce that ten of its lawyers were included in the 2016 list of Virginia Super Lawyers® and Rising Stars.  According to Virginia…...
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Jim Chapman inducted as a Fellow in the Virginia Law Foundation
Posted on February 3, 2016
CWM is proud to announce that Jim Chapman has been inducted as a Fellow in the Virginia Law Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Virginia bar.Each year the Foundation selects…...
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