Dinita L. James has extensive experience litigating complex matters in state and federal court over her more than 25 years of practice. She spent the first 11 years of her practice handling a wide range of commercial and employment litigation in trial and appellate courts, and the next 11 years at a national labor and employment boutique firm. For the last three years, she has expanded her practice to once again include a broader mix of commercial and employment matters in state and federal trial and appellate courts and in arbitration forums.
Ms. James has steered corporate clients through resolution of a wide array of complex disputes, including defense of large employment discrimination class actions and wage and hour collective actions, as well as consumer and securities class actions, False Claims Act litigation, and defense of corporate directors and officers.
She also represents employers in defense of individual cases arising under anti-discrimination, whistleblower protection and anti-retaliation laws and in enforcement of non-competition and other restrictive covenants and other employment contract matters. She recently preserved a summary judgment victory won by a large national insurance company in a sex and pregnancy discrimination case that went to the U.S. Supreme Court and on appeal attracted the EEOC and advocacy groups to support the employee.
Notably, Ms. James achieved a favorable settlement with a state attorney general’s office on behalf of a corporation, helping it to avoid potential treble damages. In recent arbitrations, Ms. James has obtained awards on behalf of employers as well as limited an award against an insurance carrier to only a fraction of its multimillion dollar exposure on a coverage dispute involving a complex corporate acquisition. Her experience includes antitrust, environmental, real estate and disputes involving contracts of all kinds.
Ms. James is a long-time leader in the American Bar Association’s Section of Litigation, having served as its managing director and director of its publications division. of the Section. Her current position is as associate editor of Litigation, the Section’s flagship quarterly publication. For three years she co-chaired the ABA Litigation Section’s Committee on Class Actions and Derivative Suits. She also has served a three-year term on the Litigation Section’s governing Council, and chaired the Council’s Diversity Committee for two years. She is a Past President of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers and the Ferguson-White American Inn of Court. Ms. James is also a member of the Federal Bar Association, the Maricopa County Bar Association, Arizona Women Lawyers Association, Navajo Nation Bar Association, and the Sandra Day O’Connor Inn of Court.
Ms. James is AV® Preeminent Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®, has been selected for inclusion on the Southwest Super Lawyers® list, as well as the Best Lawyers® list in Labor and Employment Law, and was named one of “Florida’s Legal Elite” by Florida Trend magazine.
Ms. James is a member of the Employers Counsel Network, is the Arizona editor for 50 Employment Laws in 50 States, and also edits the monthly Arizona Employment Law Letter. She regularly presents seminars, including topics concerning immigration for Arizona employers, employment discrimination, FMLA compliance and employee leave challenges, and maximizing in-house/outside counsel relationships.
Before law school, Ms. James worked for more than seven years as a reporter and editor for the Greensboro News & Record and the Tampa Tribune and now advises clients on dealing with the media in high-profile cases. She graduated first in her law school class at the University of North Carolina School of Law and served as Executive Articles Editor for the North Carolina Law Review and was a member of the Order of the Coif. She achieved the highest score on the July 1990 Florida Bar Exam. She earned a B.A. in Journalism at the University of North Carolina, where she was a Morehead-Cain scholar and Phi Beta Kappa.
Ms. James is admitted to practice in Florida and Arizona; U.S. District Courts for the District of Arizona and the Northern, Southern, and Middle Districts of Florida; the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh Circuits, and the U.S. Supreme Court. She is also admitted to the Navajo Nation Bar.
SELECTED PUBLISHED OPINIONS:
Ames v. Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co., 760 F.3d 763 (8th Cir. 2014)
HD Supply Facilities Maintenance, Ltd. v. Bymoen, 125 Nev. 200 (2009)
Southwest Stainless, LP v. Sappington, 582 F.3d 1176 (10th Cir. 2009)