James Lemieux, a litigation and trial partner, practices insurance bad faith and coverage litigation, personal injury defense, fraud/SIU investigations, and small business claims involving contracts and fraud. He also handles broker/agent liability cases involving their liability for placement of coverage on auto, homeowners’ and commercial liability policies, including a matter where the broker failed to place coverage for a large parking valet company which involved over 20 different claims that were not covered as a result. He also has extensive appellate experience, handling over 20 matters in the Court of Appeal, with a high record of success and four published opinions. For example, in Miranda v. 20th Century, he created new law in California that a UM arbitration could be dismissed by a court as a discovery sanction. In Barnett v. First National, Mr. Lemieux convinced the Court of Appeal to overturn Weinberg v. Safeco, thereby now permitting joint C.C.P. 998 demands to a husband and wife where the suit involves a community property interest.
Mr. Lemieux’s career is focused on insurance litigation, ranging from the defense of serious injury/wrongful death actions, to defending insurance bad faith claims (including directly handling over 100 claims arising from the Northridge earthquake), and prosecuting declaratory relief actions. In Barnett v. First National, following a 4-week breach of contract and bad faith jury trial, the jury returned an 11-1 defense verdict after only an hour of deliberations; the jury found no coverage for the water loss—despite the fact that each adjuster handling the loss admitted on the stand that they felt coverage did exist. He has also authored several hundred coverage opinions for auto, CGL, homeowners and life and disability insurance policies, as well as assisting carriers with fraud investigations under auto and homeowners policies, with extensive experience in fire and water losses investigations and suits.
Mr. Lemieux has also represented numerous dentists involved with the purchase and sale of a dental practice with allegations of contract breaches and fraud. In a 2012 trial, he represented a buyer of a $1.2 million dental practice and, after a 5-week jury trial, established fraud by clear and convincing evidence by the seller on multiple counts on a 12-0 poll and obtained a judgment for our client of $1.8 million, plus attorney fees and costs.
- Pepperdine University, School of Law, JD, 1993
- Bryant University, Finance and Economics, BA, 1990
- California, 1993
- United States District Court, Central District of California
- United States District Court, Northern District of California, 2005
- United States District Court, Southern District of California, 2006
- United States District Court, Eastern District of California, 2010
- Barnett v. First National Ins. Company of America (2010) 184 Cal.App.4th 1454
- Miranda v. 21st Century Insurance Company (2004) 117 Cal.App.4th 913
- National Union Fire Ins. Co. v. Nationwide Ins. Co. (1999) 69 Cal.App.4th 709
- Safeco Insurance v. Fireman’s Fund (2007) 148 Cal.App.4th 620