Industries
Education
  • South Texas College of Law, 1983, magna cum laude
  • The University of Texas at Austin, B.B.A., 1977
Bar Admissions
  • Texas, 1983
  • United States Court of Appeals  Fifth and Eleventh Circuits
  • United States District Court Northern, Southern, Western and Eastern Districts of Texas
Languages
James N. Isbell
James N. Isbell Photo
Partner
jisbell@thompsoncoe.com
vCard
Houston
One Riverway
Suite 1400
Houston, Texas 77056
713-403-8387 direct  |  713-403-8299 fax
Assistant:
Carrie Harrison
713-403-8384 direct
charrison@thompsoncoe.com
Overview

Jim Isbell maintains an active litigation practice handling claims relating to the construction and construction defect fields. Having started practicing with a firm that was heavily involved in representing companies involved in the construction industry, one of the first cases he worked on involved a suit, in Texas, over the construction of the “Million Dollar Pier” in New Jersey.

He has acted as counsel in numerous lawsuits, arbitrations and meditations which have involved construction of plants, apartments, office buildings, hotels, nursing homes and other facilities. He has handled cases involving all types of associated claims, including product failure, design deficiencies, and explosions/fire related investigation and litigation.

Representative Experience

  • Defended large construction company with respect to explosions/fire litigation, including the over 2500 claims relating to tort, toxic and environmental injuries and damages arising from the chemical release and explosion at the Phillips Petroleum plant.
  • Represented large construction company in contract dispute over the manufacture and erection of storage tank farm.
  • Defended property owner, who was also acting as the general contractor for a large warehouse and office project. Employee of rigging sub-contractor fell from structure when a support column partially gave way, suffered substantial injuries in the fall (over 20 surgeries with in excess of $250,000.00 in past medical).
  • Defended large manufacturer/supplier of excavation equipment for construction project where there was an cave-in trapping 3 men -- the last of whom died on the way to the hospital after being trapped underground for over 5 hours.
  • Defended a national testing company in suits involving numerous death, injury and property damage claims filed in Texas and Louisiana resulting from the construction and subsequent rupture of a steel tank releasing molten chemical and paper waste which totally engulfed several bystanders and burned others in the area.
  • Defended large construction company in a property damage case in excess of $25 million when the rigging failed and a large (several ton) screen, used in a chemical reactor involved in the production of chemicals, was dropped.
  • Represented a large, nation wide company, with respect to claims relating to the demolition activities, with respect to a municipal demolition and construction project of a major highway and bridge structure in Downtown Houston.
  • Represented a large, national company doing highway work as respects claims arising from a multi-vehicle accident and the deaths.

Professional and Community Activities
  • Houston Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • Texas Association of Defense Counsel
  • Defense Research Institute
  • Board of Directors, South Texas College of Law, Alumni Association, 1993 - 1999
Speeches and Presentations
  • Co-Presenter, "Wave of the Future: Three Emerging Coverage Questions", TC Monthly Webinar, December 8, 2016
  • "Stowers Update and The Duty to Settle", Advanced Insurance Presentation, New York, NY, October 27, 2015
  • Presenter, "Legal Perspective for Defending Weather-Related Property Claims", Advanced Insurance Presentation, New York, NY, October 27, 2015
  • Presenter, "The Top Ten Myths, Misunderstandings, and Mishaps Encountered in Insurance Litigation", 8th Annual Texas Insurance and Tort Law Update, April 9, 2015
  • Co-Author and Presenter, "Evaluation and Defense of Commercial Roof Claims", Advanced Insurance Presentation, New York, NY, May 30, 2014
  • Co-Author and Presenter, "Landowner Liability (Premises Liability) Under Texas Law", Advanced Insurance Presentation, New York, NY, May 30, 2014
  • Author and Presenter, "What You Don't Know CAN Hurt You: Contractual Liability & Additional Insured Provisions", 7th Annual Texas Insurance And Tort Law Update, April 10, 2014
  • Co-Author and Presenter, "Stepping into the Unknown: Additional Insured and Insured Contracts", 2013 Contracts & Insurance Interpretation Seminar, New York, NY, December 2013
  • Co-Author and Presenter, “The Conference Room v. The Courtroom: The Best Place To Resolve Your Case -- Jury Trials in Texas: An Overview”, 6th Texas Insurance and Tort Law Update, Houston, TX March 2013
  • Author and Presenter, "Decision Time: Electing Between Reserving Rights and Denying Coverage", Texas Insurance and Tort Law Update 2011, Thompson Coe Houston Seminar, April 2011
  • Author and Presenter, "Duty to Settle (Stowerized?) - Settlement Demands and Settlement Responses", Texas Insurance and Tort Law Update 2010, Thompson Coe Houston Seminar, April 2010
  • Author and Presenter, "Significant Insurance Decisions From the Supreme Court of Texas (2008-2009)”, Advanced Insurance Presentation, New York, NY, September 2009
  • Panelist, Discussion on Handling Hurricane Ike Claims, Texas Insurance and Tort Law Update 2009, Texas Insurance and Tort Law Update Seminar 2009, Houston, TX, September 2009
  • Co-Author, “The Duty to Defend, Including Reservation of Rights, Denial of Coverage, and Declaratory Judgments”, Advanced Insurance and Tort Claims Seminar, University of Houston Law Foundation, August 2009
  • Co-Author and Presenter, “Stowers Today, Settlement Demands and Settlement Responses”, University Of Houston Law Foundation, Advanced Insurance and Tort Claims, April 2009
  • Co-Author and Presenter, "Not So Easy A “Caveman” Can Do It: An Insurer’s Duty Under Stowers and Related Statutes", Eighth Annual Seminar on Texas Insurance Law Developments Seminar, Dallas, TX, November 2008
  • Presenter, “Developments in Insurance Coverage and Claims Handling”, Insurance Seminar, Jersey City, NJ, October 2008
  • Co-Author and Presenter, "Stowers Today, Settlement Demands, and Settlement Responses - Multiple Layers, Crossovers, Etc.", Advanced Personal Injury Seminar, University of Houston, October 2008
  • Co-Author and Presenter, "Not So Easy A “Caveman” Can Do It: An Insurer’s Duty Under Stowers and Related Statutes", Texas Insurance and Tort Law Update 2008 Seminar, Houston, TX, September 2008
  • Author and Presenter, "Stowers Today, Settlement Demands, and Settlement Responses", Advanced Insurance and Tort Claims Seminar, University of Houston, April 2008
  • Co-Author and Presenter, "Misrepresentations and the Effects on Insurance Coverage", Seventh Annual Seminar on Texas Insurance Law Developments, Dallas, TX, November 2007
  • Co-Author, “Carriers Argue Excess “Follow Form” Coverages Are not Bound by Primary Insurer’s Policy Interpretation”, Thompson Coe Insurance Coverage Law Newsletter, Spring 2007
  • Author and Presenter, "Stowers Today, Settlement Demands, and Settlement Responses, Including the Impact of Frank's Casing", Advanced Insurance and Tort Claims Seminar, University of Houston, March 2007
  • Presenter, "Construction Defect Update: What’s Building Up in Texas?", Texas Insurance Law Update 2007 Seminar, Morristown, NJ, January 2007
  • Presenter, "Construction Defect Coverage: What’s Covered, What’s Not", Texas Insurance Law Update 2007 Seminar, Morristown, NJ, January 2007
  • Panelist, "20/20 Hindsight: Bad Faith and Claims Handling -- the 11 Commandments of Insurance Adjusting", Texas Insurance Law Update 2007 Seminar, Morristown, NJ, January 2007
  • Author & Presenter, "Not So Easy A “Caveman” Can Do It: An Insurer’s Duty Under Stowers and Related Statutes", Texas Insurance Law Update 2007 Seminar, Morristown, NJ, January 2007
  • Presenter, "National and International Implications of Dram Shop Laws", Transportation & Trucking Seminar, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, March 2006
  • Author of Texas law section of "UM/UIM Coverage: Analysis of Key States", for the ACE Group Claims paper, August 2003
  • Co-Author, "Controlling Legal Costs", Business Week Magazine, October 2003
  • Speaker and author on "Texas Law -- Issues on Construction Defects" at the “Informational Meeting on Construction Defect Litigation", San Ramon, CA, April 2002
  • Co-author of "Legal Solutions To Real-Life Problems", Indoor Environment Connections - IAQ Monthly Publication, June 2002
  • Speaker, "Mold and Texas Law", National Mold Conference, New York, NY, September 2001
Professional Recognition
  • Named a 2013 Top Rated Lawyer in Construction by American Lawyer Media and Martindale-Hubbell™
  • “AV” Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell™.