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James W. Gustafson, Jr.

Shareholder

JAMES W. GUSTAFSON, JR. is a Shareholder with Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley, P.A., a member of the firm’s executive committee, and the managing partner of the firm’s Tallahassee office. He is a sixth generation Florida native who served with the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division and studied at St. Edmund Hall, Oxford, before becoming a trial lawyer.

Mr. Gustafson is a member of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, a worldwide organization limited to just 500 attorneys, by invitation only. He is an EAGLE Founder and past president of the Florida Justice Association. In 2013, he received the Krupnick Award, the Florida Justice Association’s award for perseverance in the pursuit of justice in a single case. He is a sustaining member of the American Association for Justice and served as chair of its Professional Negligence Section.

Mr. Gustafson is a diplomate in the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys and has been AV-rated by Martindale-Hubbell for 15 years.  Committed to teaching and writing, he has lectured at numerous continuing legal education seminars and has authored continuing legal education materials for the Florida College of Advanced Judicial Studies, The Florida Bar, the Florida Justice Association Journal and AAJ’s Trial magazine.

Board Certified in Civil Trial Law by The Florida Bar and the National Board of Trial Advocacy, Mr. Gustafson is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates and received the Trial Lawyer of the Year award from the Tallahassee ABOTA Chapter in 2010.  He was recognized by Lawyers USA for obtaining one of the Top Ten Verdicts of 2010 and the National Law Journal credits him with one of the Top 100 Verdicts of 2010.

Mr. Gustafson’s practice is focused on product liability, tobacco litigation including fraud and conspiracy, trucking negligence, and other catastrophic injury and death cases.

To learn more about James Gustafson, see:

Publications & Presentations

  • “Jury Selection in Tobacco Litigation” 2019 Florida College of Advanced Judicial Studies, Orlando, Florida, May 2019
  • “Voir Dire” 2018 Al J. Cone Trial Advocacy Institute, Florida Justice Association, Orlando, Florida, August 2018
  • “Special Considerations in the Fight for Damages for Injured Children” 360Advocacy, Damages: Go Big or Go Home, Las Vegas, Nevada, March 2018
  • “It Was No Accident: Big Tobacco and Their Enablers” Engineering Ethics and Acceptable Risk, Advanced Safety Engineering and Management Program, University of Alabama at Birmingham, August 2017
  • “Cigarette Industry’s Campaign of Doubt and Concealment: Telling the Concealment Story to Juries” 2017 National Conf. on Tobacco or Health, Austin, TX, March 2017
  • “Proof and Argument of Damages for Spousal Loss of Consortium” 2017 Workhorse Seminar, Florida Justice Association, Orlando, Florida, February 2017
  • “How We Ended Up Here – The Plague of the Cigarette Manufacturers” American Cancer Society Florida Tobacco Summit, Orlando, Florida, December 2015
  • “Lessons Learned in the Tobacco Wars” Florida Justice Association, Masters of Justice Jury Selection seminar, Sarasota, Florida, October 2015
  • “Preparing Your Expert for Deposition” Florida Justice Association Webinar, September 2015
  • “Voir Dire in Medical Malpractice Cases in Florida” 2015 Workhorse Seminar, Florida Justice Association, Orlando, Florida

Awards

  • Florida Justice Association – Eagle
    • Jon E. Krupnick Award for Perseverance, 2013
    • EAGLE Legend Award, 2016
    • Benjamin Franklin Award, 2018
    • Final Round Award, 2016
    • Churchill Award, 2015
    • Gold Eagle Award, 2012, 2017
    • Silver Eagle Award, 2015, 201
    • Bronze Eagle Award, 2001, 2013, 2016
    • Shoe Leather Award, 2012
  • In 2013, he received the Krupnick Award, the Florida Justice Association’s award for perseverance in the pursuit of justice in a single case.
  • Jimmy is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates, and received the Trial Lawyer of the Year award from the Tallahassee ABOTA Chapter in 2010.

Prior Cases

  • Horner v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. (I) $80,000,000 – Jury verdict for wrongful death and punitive damages-November 2010
  • Duignan v. Philip Morris USA, Inc. and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company (retrial) $26,750,000 – Jury verdict for wrongful death and punitive damages-February 2020
  • Liu v. trucking company $17,760,000 – Confidentiality order-January 2010
  • Wilcox v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. $15,500,000 – Jury verdict for wrongful death and punitive damages-September 2014
  • Westmoreland v. Liggett Group, LLC $13,100,000 – Jury verdict for wrongful death and punitive damages-October 2014
  • Fries v. manufacturer $13,000,000 – Confidentiality order-October 2012
  • Family v. automobile manufacturer $12,900,000 – Confidentiality order, Roof crush/quadriplegia-June 2011
  • Estate v. automobile manufacturer $12,500,000 – Confidentiality order, Seatbelt failure-September 2008
  • Duignan v. Philip Morris-USA, Inc. and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. $12,000,000 – Jury verdict for wrongful death and punitive damages-September 2015
  • Kee v. automobile manufacturer $12,000,000 – Confidentiality order, Roof crush/quadriplegia-June 2006
  • Golden v. Schneider $10,231,869 – Jury verdict for paralysis following knee replacement surgery-April 1999

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