Jim was named to the 2014 Best Lawyers in America
list for his work in commercial litigation. Also named one of “Pittsburgh’s Top-Rated Lawyers” for Business in 2012, Jim handles a full range of business and real estate transactional and litigation matters, which in addition to general business counseling covers sales and leasing of commercial property, land use and zoning issues and contract negotiation.
Jim also has extensive bankruptcy and credit-related experience. He has represented both debtors and creditors in large business bankruptcies, and also handled a number of transactions for parties purchasing assets from companies in bankruptcy.
Jim’s litigation experience includes contract and shareholder/owner disputes, both employment and real estate restrictive covenant cases, and a focus on real estate litigation including tax assessment cases, zoning appeals, litigation of easement and right-of-way disputes, mortgage foreclosures and mechanics lien claims.
In addition to being name one of the “Best Lawyers in America”, Jim has garnered an AV® Preeminent distinction, the highest available mark for professional excellence from Martindale-Hubbell’s Peer Review Ratings.
Jim was a law clerk to the Honorable Joseph F. Weis, Jr. of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals from 1982 - 1984. Prior to joining Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, Jim was a co-founding member of Manion McDonough & Lucas, a small and prominent business and litigation firm based in Pittsburgh.
Jim's experience in recent specific matters includes:
- Appointed to serve as chairman of the Flight 93 Eminent Domain Commission by the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania in the case of United States v. 275.81 Acres of Land, Civ.A.No. 09-233 (W.D. Pa.) to determine the “just compensation” to be paid to landowners where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed on September 11, 2001.
- Represented Urban Redevelopment Authority through trial and appeal in dispute over validity and interpretation of alleged deed restrictive covenant. Allegheny Valley Railroad Company v. Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh, No. 12-017807 (Allg. Cty. 2013)
- Represented land developer in land use appeal challenging rezoning obtained by developer for project in Strip District section of the City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny Valley Railroad Company v. City of Pittsburgh; The Buncher Company, No. SA 13-000097 (Allg. Cty. 2013)
- Successfully defended and obtained dismissal of joinder of developer in citizen’s suit challenging sewer approvals, Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future v. The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, et al., Civ.A.No. 12-943 (W.D. Pa. 2013)
- Defended large commercial building owner in trial alleging range of property rights, express and implied easements, rights-of-way and private road claims. Frank Bryan, Inc. v. Pittsburgh Terminal Properties, P.L.J., Vol. 157, No. 24, Page 463 (Allg. Cty. 2009)
- Represented area health care provider in numerous property purchases, including its $20 million acquisition of retail shopping center. (2012)
- Defended crane equipment and service company and employees it hired against claims that employment violated restrictive covenants. Konecranes, Inc. v. D&S Industrial Contracting, Inc. et al., No. GD 11-0112235 (Allg. Cty 2011)
- Provided debtor representation of large residential home builder in Chapter 11 bankruptcy organization completed in less than 9 months. (2011)
- Defended property owners in mortgage foreclosure action brought in federal court seeking recovery of more than $11 million. First Citizens Bank & Trust Company v. John E. Demos and Cathy W. Demos, Civil Action No. 11-CV-00860 (W.D. Pa. 2011)
- Represented land developer in agency proceedings before the Surface Transportation Board and on appeal defending against claims that party had acquired a railroad easement across developer's property. Surface Transportation Board, Finance Docket No. 35239, Allegheny Valley Railroad Company – Petition for Declaratory Order
- Represented ground tenant in lawsuit seeking termination of ground lease.
- Extensive experience in commercial real estate and shopping center owner representation including leasing, financing, acquisition and management.
- Representation of partnerships and limited liability companies on issues ranging from formation to operation and management to dissolution or withdrawal of partners and members.