James V. Leito IV
Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP
James V. Leito IVvCard
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James is a partner who represents businesses and individuals in complex commercial disputes and defends significant injury, death, and property-damage claims.
James has represented clients in three jury trials, two bench trials, and an evidentiary hearing in recent years.
- In 2018-2019, James served as lead U.S. counsel in defense of a Dallas-based client in a twelve-week bench trial in Alberta, Canada. His client was sued for breach of contract and fraud. The parties are awaiting a final decision from the court.
- In 2017, he defended a public hospital district in an evidentiary hearing on a plea to the jurisdiction. He cross-examined one of the two primary plaintiffs, who was a former executive of the hospital district. The court granted the plea to the jurisdiction and dismissed the case.
- In 2016, he represented a fuel-loyalty company in a three-week trial in state court in Dallas, Texas. The company was pursuing a fraud claim against its minority owner and defending claims of breach of fiduciary duty. The jury awarded compensatory and punitive damages to the client and found that it had not breached any fiduciary duties.
- In 2016, he served as lead U.S. counsel in defense of a Dallas-based client in a four-week bench trial in Alberta, Canada. The trial concerned the plaintiff's allegation that four of the client's employees had conspired to conceal an engineering report, which plaintiff claimed had a negative effect on the value of a company that it was purchasing from the client. Although all four individuals had received the report by e-mail, some multiple times, the court concluded that three individuals did not know the report even existed and that the fourth individual knew of its existence but did not know what it said. The remaining issues were tried in 2018, and a final decision has not issued.
- In 2015, he defended an insulation manufacturer in a one-week patent infringement trial in Marshall, Texas, which resulted in a verdict of non-infringement and invalidity.
- In 2014, he defended a hospital in a three-week breach of contract trial in state court in Austin, Texas, after which the court of appeals rendered judgment in favor of the hospital because the plaintiff lacked evidence of its claim.
James has also tried over 25 trials on behalf of the Cities of Plano and Carrollton through the firm's loan-a-lawyer program. On appeal, James has successfully argued before a state court of appeals to affirm a summary judgment, and he has been the lead brief-writer on several other appeals.
In addition to his trial and appellate work, James has taken the lead on numerous pre-trial matters, including obtaining temporary restraining orders and arguing various issues before state and federal courts (including jurisdictional challenges, patent claim construction, motions for summary judgment, challenges to expert testimony, motions in limine, and discovery motions). Outside of the courtroom, James has taken or defended over 30 depositions and has experience managing large-scale document reviews, including management of contract-review teams of over 25 lawyers.
James often handles pro bono cases through the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program (such as divorces, will drafting, and property disputes), and he has represented a death-row prisoner in habeas corpus proceedings through court appointment.
Before joining the Dallas office in 2011, James clerked on the Texas Supreme Court during the 2009-10 term with Justices Scott Brister and Eva Guzman. He then clerked for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas with Senior District Judge Royal Furgeson.
JD, summa cum laude, Texas Tech School of Law, 2009
BBA, Accounting, University of Notre Dame, 2006
As a law student, James was the Executive Managing Editor for the Texas Tech Law Review, and he was awarded the Sarah H. Dupree Award for the graduate who best exemplifies the ability desired in one joining the legal profession.
James is admitted to practice in Texas and the U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Southern, and Eastern Districts of Texas.
- Texas State Bar
Commercial and Intellectual Property Litigation
- Represented fuel-loyalty company in three-week $6 million jury trial in Dallas County, Texas, in pursuit of fraud claims against company's minority owner and in defense of breach-of-fiduciary duty claims brought by the minority owner.
- Defended insulation manufacturer in one-week $5 million patent infringement jury trial in Marshall, Texas.
- Defended hospital in three-week $35 million jury trial in Travis County, Texas, involving claims for trade secret misappropriation, breach of contract, and negligent misrepresentation.
- Defended public hospital district against claims of wrongful denial of retirement benefits brought by hundreds of former employees.
- Defended individual in defamation claim related to reality television series.
- Defended military-defense contractor in breach of contract action brought by subcontractor related to manufacture of night-vision goggles for the U.S. Army.
- Defended utility company in breach of contract action related to development of a residential subdivision.
- Represented fuel trading company as plaintiff in breach of contract and fraud action related to the purchase of misrepresented fuel products.
- Represented individual inventor in patent infringement matter seeking declaratory judgment that infringement claims had been released by prior settlement agreement.
- Defended individual against fraud claim related to purchase of an airplane repair company.
- Defended technology company in breach of contract action related to digital signage in convenience stores. In re Harris Corp., No. 03-13-00192-CV (Tex. App.—Austin, 2013).
- Represented telecommunications company seeking temporary restraining order against vendor who abruptly stopped providing services to millions of subscribers.
Defense of Personal Injury and Property Claims
- Defended amusement park company in wrongful-death action brought by employee's family related to incident at State Fair of Texas.
- Defended trucking company employee in wrongful-death action related to trucking accident.
- Defended individual in civil assault claim related to participation in athletic activity.
- Defended military-defense contractor in negligence action brought by former employee related to injuries sustained during fire in company-provided housing.
- Defended appliance manufacturer in products liability action.
- Defended mineral-interest holder in trespass to try title action. Goss v. Addax Minerals Fund LP, No. 07-14-00167-CV (Tex. App.—Amarillo 2016).
- Defended seller of oil and gas assets in breach of contract action brought by purchaser.
- Defended working interest owner in claim against operator for failure to develop assets.
Financial Services Litigation
- Defended bank in class action brought by Texas residents related to alleged improper assignment and recording of liens on residential property.
- Defended multiple broker-dealers in FINRA arbitrations brought by customers related to negligence and suitability claims.
- Defended broker-dealer in multiple FINRA arbitrations related to sale of mortgage-backed securities.
- Represented broker-dealer in FINRA investigation related to failure-to-supervise allegations.
- Texas Rising Star, Business Litigation, Thomson Reuters, 2015 - 2020
- Best Lawyers Under 40, D Magazine Partners, Inc., 2020
- Former Contributor, NRF Social Media Law Bulletin
- Presenter, Key Contractual Provisions for Oil & Gas Companies (CLE Presentation)
- Presenter, Best E-mail Practices in Modern Litigation (CLE Presentation)
- Presenter, Social Media in eDiscovery (CLE Presentation)
- Fellow, Texas Bar Foundation
- American Bar Association
- State Bar of Texas
- Dallas Bar Association
- Dallas Association of Young Lawyers
- Scribes - The American Society of Legal Writers