James R. Lance

James R. Lance

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Business Litigation Attorney in San Diego, CA

Noonan Lance Boyer & Banach, LLP
 | 701 Island Avenue, Suite 400
San Diego, CA 92101-8700
Phone: 619-557-4416
Fax: 619-231-9593
Selected To Super Lawyers: 2007 - 2010, 2013 - 2021
Licensed Since: 1990
Practice Areas:
  • Business Litigation (50%),
  • Professional Liability: Defense (20%),
  • Real Estate: Business (20%),
  • Personal Injury - General: Plaintiff (10%)
    Attorney Profile

    James R. Lance is a partner at Noonan Lance Boyer & Banach, LLP, located in San Diego, California. He focuses his practice on complex commercial litigation, providing representation to clients throughout California in real estate, securities and other business disputes. Mr. Lance also represents plaintiffs in catastrophic personal injury litigation.

    Mr. Lance has obtained many awards, settlements and verdicts in excess of $1 million for his clients. Some examples include (1) a judgment for more than $5 million for a group of Imperial County investors on claims of financial elder abuse, breach of fiduciary duty and fraud; and (2) a settlement valued at over $180 million for a transmission-replacement program with a major auto manufacturer.

    After graduating summa cum laude from Missouri State University in 1983, Mr. Lance attended Washington and Lee University School of Law. He earned his Juris Doctor in 1986, graduating magna cum laude and finishing fourth in his graduating class. Highly regarded by his peers, Mr. Lance has received an AV Preeminent* rating from Martindale-Hubbell and is listed in The Best Lawyers in America.**

    Mr. Lance is an active participant in the American Board of Trial Advocates and has been a member of both the Louis M. Welsh American Inn of Court and the Hon. William B. Enright American Inn of Court. He is also a member of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers. Mr. Lance volunteered as a baseball and football coach in his community for more than 15 years.

    *AV Preeminent and BV Distinguished are certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the confidential opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell ratings fall into two categories: legal ability and general ethical standards.

    **The Best Lawyers in America® 2010. Copyright 2009 by Woodward/White, Inc., Aiken, SC

    About James Lance

    Admitted: 1990, California

    Professional Webpage: http://noonanlance.com/attorneys/james-r-lance/

    Honors/Awards:

    • Executive Editor of the Law Review
    • Named to Super Lawyers for Business Litigation, 2007-2010, 2013-2016
    • James Lance was selected by the San Diego Daily Transcript as a "Top Influential."  Mr. Lance was one of nine individuals selected in the Law & Business Services category., 2011 Top Influentials, 2011
    • James Lance has had an AV Preeminent Rating by Martindale Hubbell since he was first rated by MH, more than 10 years ago, AV Preeminent Rating, Martindale Hubbell, 2102
    • Washington & Lee University, magna cum laude
    • Editor for the products liability section of the Trial Bar News
    • James Lance was selected to Best Lawyers in 2013-19 based on a confidential peer-review survey, Best Lawyers in America / Commercial Litigation, Best Lawyers, 2013
    • Member in American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), a national organization of trial attorneys which requires the equivalent of 20 civil jury trials to verdict as lead counsel to be considered for admission., American Board of Trial Attorneys "ABOTA"
    • Robert R. Kane scholarship
    • Recognized in Who's Who in American Law
    • James Lance was notified by ALM in May 2012 that he had been selected as a Top Rated Lawyer in the field of Real Estate Law, Top Rated Lawyers - Real Estate Law , ALM, 2012
    • Selected as one of the Top Attorneys in San Diego by San Diego Daily Transcript for 2013 in commercial litigation, San Diego Daily Transcript, 2013

    Bar/Professional Activity:

    • Member of Order of the Coif
    • William B. Enright Chapter, Member
    • Board of Governors - Association Of Business Trial Lawyers, 2012
    • Louis M. Welsh Chapter of the American Inns of Court, Member
    • American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), Member
    • Association of Business Trial Lawyers, Member

    Pro bono/Community Service:

    • Volunteer Football Coach Nazareth School, 2016
    • Volunteer Football Coach - School of the Madeleine 2011-14
    • Volunteer Football Coach Nazareth School, 2015
    • September 11th Victim Compensation Fund: ArbitrationMr. Lance volunteered to represent two families who were victims of the September 11 attacks. He and his Partner David Noonan presented the claims at evidentiary hearings held in New York City as part of the Trial Lawyers Care Program
    • Volunteer Baseball Coach - Tecolote Youth Baseball 2003-14

    Scholarly Lectures/Writings:

    • Published three articles for the Washington and Lee Law Review

    Verdicts/Settlements:

    • Collins, et al. v. American Honda Mr. Lance was heavily involved in the prosecution of this nationwide class action regarding transmission defects. Honda agreed to provide a transmission-replacement program to settle the case, which was valued in at more than $180,000,000.
    • United States v. Shawaf: Secured the dismissal of a $30 million federal lawsuit brought by the United States against our client Dr. Tarek Shawaf. The Central District of California suit, filed in 2016, sought damages caused by the 2013 Mountain Fire in Mountain Center, California that burned for more than two weeks. The U.S. asserted a claim in excess of $30 million for fire suppression costs, damage to federal lands, penalties and interest. Based on undisclosed evidence discovered by Mr. Lance, the U.S. agreed to dismiss the case with no payments from the defendants. U.S. District Court Judge Otis D. Wright II of the Central District issued an order dismissing the case with prejudice on July 15, 2019., 2019
    • Hart v. Larson - Successfully obtained a unanimouns defense verdict for attorney client accused of fraud related to a fee-split agreement in a serious personal injury case. Case was tried in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Califonia., 2019
    • United National Maintenance v. San Diego Convention Center Corporation - Mr. Lance obtained a unanimous verdict against the San Diego Convention Center Corporation in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. After a 6 week trial in which his client challenged a convention center policy as anti-competitive, the jury returned a verdict finding that SDCCC intentionally interfered with several of United National’s contracts and awarded damages of $747,886., 2011
    • Chappell v. McDonnell Douglas: Trial Mr. Lance represented Mr. Chappell in a five week trial against a helicopter manufacturer for serious injuries suffered while working for Star-Kist on a tuna boat. Mr. Chappell was flying the helicopter when it began to shake violently and crashed into the South Pacific. Mr. Lance represented him in a product liability action against McDonnell Douglas, claiming that the main rotor hub assembly was defective, which caused the main rotor blade to depart. The helicopter sank immediately after the crash and was never recovered. Defendant McDonnell Douglas argued that the helicopter was not defective, that no blade loss occurred and that Mr. Chappell was solely responsible for the crash. McDonnell Douglas made no settlement offer before the jury returned its verdict. The case was tried in San Diego Superior Court and the jury awarded Mr. Chappell damages of $2,741,000.
    • Bennett v. Chugai Pharmaceuticals: Settlement Mr. Lance was heavily involved in the prosecution of a securities class action filed in Federal District Court in San Diego. The case ultimately settled for $6,500,000.
    • SunPro Protective Films v. Manufacturer Y, et al.: Settlement Mr. Lance represented a distributor of window film in a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the film and one of the competing distributors. The lawsuit alleged that the manufacturer had supplied defective film and that the Defendants had conspired to terminate the Plaintiff’s distribution agreement. The case settled before trial for $5,510,000.
    • CPI v. Foreign Manufacturer: Settlement Mr. Lance represented a California corporation that had an exclusive contract to distribute the products of a Israeli company in North America and South America. The foreign company also had a significant stake in the stock of the California corporation and placed directors on the Board. Mr. Lance represented officers/employees of the California distributor who had the majority interest in the company until the manufacturer attempted to take control of the company. The complaint asserted claims for breach of fiduciary duty, conspiracy and breach of contract. The case settled for $1,250,000.
    • Battaglia v. W.F. Management Co.: Trial Mr. Lance represented Joseph Battaglia, a tuna boat captain who was injured while working aboard the M/V Diana Lynn. Captain Battaglia was hit in the head with a cable. He had approimately $5,000 in medical bills. Defendants alleged that Captain Battaglia was the sole cause of his injuries under an admiralty law rule known as the primary duty doctrine. The defendant offered only $50,000 to settle the case before trial. A San Diego Superior Court judge awarded Captain Battaglia $486,031.
    • Bruno Bassi v. Computer Information Company: SettlementMr. Lance represented a San Diego-based computer newsletter company in a lawsuit against a national computer information company in a case alleging trademark infringement. The defendant had used the same title for an internet publication as that used by the plaintiff. Although the title was not registered at the time, plaintiff’s claim was based on common law trademark infringement. Defendant argued that the trademark was merely descriptive and not protectable. In addition, Defendant argued that it had only secured 12 paid subscriptions, there was no evidence of confusion and therefore plaintiff had not been damaged. Mr. Lance was able to secure a $1,000,000 settlement before trial.
    • Carr, et al. v. Emerald Bay FinancialJim Lance obtained a judgment of $5,086.688 on behalf of 31 Plaintiffs in a 2-1/2 week securities trial in San Diego Superior Court.  The judgment included attorneys fees and costs.  Mr. Lance successfully proved claims of Fraud, Constructive Fraud, Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Negligence, Financial Elder Abuse, Violations of Business and Professions Code §17200 and Violations of California Securities laws.  Before trial, Mr. Lance was able to secure settlements and a stipulated judgment from other defendants for several million dollars. , 2011
    • Minor Plaintiff v. Hospital X: Settlement Mr. Lance settled a medical malpractice case against a hospital for the failure to treat bacterial meningitis, which resulted in severe neurological injuries to a 5 year old girl. The case settled for $2,800,000 prior to trial.
    • Wailes v. Huttig Sash & Door: Trial Mr. Lance represented Defendant Huttig Sash & Door in a product liability action in which the plaintiffs alleged the windows in their ocean front home were defective. The Plaintiffs’ lowest demand to settle the case was $215,000. Huttig made a statutory offer of $30,000. After a six-day trial, a San Diego Superior Court jury awarded the Plaintiffs only $25,556. In light of the fact that the verdict was less than the statutory offer, Defendants settled for a “walk away” before judgment was entered.
    • AccuCom Wireless Services, Inc. v. Cubic Communications, Inc.: Arbitration Mr. Lance represented AccuCom, a startup company in the emerging field of wireless location determination technology. AccuCom contracted with Cubic Communications to design software and hardware for beta testing so the company could attract investment capital and establish customer relationships with wireless carriers. The equipment did not perform to specifications and ultimately led to AccuCom going out of business. AccuCom filed an arbitration claim against Cubic for breach of contract. Cubic denied liability and filed a counterclaim against AccuCom to collect on an $850,000 promissory note. A three member arbitration panel awarded money damages of $1.4 million plus 10% interest from the date of the claim, cancellation of the note from AccuCom to Cubic in the amount of $850,000 and certain intellectual property rights. Judgment was entered by the San Diego Superior Court for $1,631,670.
    • Freitas v. Star-Kist: Trial Mr. Lance represented Plaintiff Mark Freitas related to personal injuries he suffered while working as a chief engineer on a tuna boat owned by Star-Kist. Mr. Freitas sustained a lumbar strain when a floorboard broke and gave way on the M/V Tifaimoana. The case was tried before a jury in San Diego Superior Court. Although Mr. Freitas had no objective evidence of injury (MRI, x-rays, and nerve conduction study were all negative), the jury returned a verdict in the amount of $1,075,000.
    • Commercial Real Estate Broker v. Commercial Tenant: Settlement Mr. Lance represented a commercial real estate broker regarding the failure of its client to pay a commission. The case settled for $1,000,000 prior to trial.
    • Helm v. Athena Technology Ventures: ArbitrationMr. Lance successfully arbitrated a case on behalf of a limited partner investor in a venture capital fund. The client invested $375,000 in a “side fund”, which was designed to mirror the investments of a $100 million “main fund”. Both funds had the same general partner. The general partner permitted the limited partner investor in the main fund to reduce its commitment from $100 million to $50 million. The claim asserted that the actions of the general partner in acquiescing to the $50 million reduction caused significant damage to our client’s investment and constituted a breach of fiduciary duty. The defendants made no offer before the arbitration. The arbitrator found breach of fiduciary duty and ordered restitution in the amount of $476,178,which constituted the full amount of the client’s investment plus pre-award interest.
    • September 11th Victim Compensation Fund: Arbitration Mr. Lance volunteered to represent two families who were victims of the September 11 attacks. He and his Partner David Noonan presented the claims at evidentiary hearings held in New York City as part of the Trial Lawyers Care Program.
    • Wage & Hour Class Action: Settlement - Mr. Lance pursued a class action lawsuit against a national company for failing to pay the business expense of its employees engaged in outside sales. The case settled in 2011. The average payment per class member was over $4,200 for a total settlement of $4,000,000., 2011
    • Real Estate Partnership Lawsuit: SettlementMr. Lance represented two of the four partners in a real estate development project in Downtown San Diego. The partnership was formed to develop a mixed use project which would include a nationally known entertainment venue. The Defendants, the other partners in the project, secretly negotiated with a third party to expand the project to include a hotel. The Defendants then transferred real property from the partnership to another entity formed with the third party. One of the primary hurdles in the case related to damages, which were necessarily based on potential lost profits. At the time of the settlement, 5 days before trial, the project had not obtained financing and construction had not begun. Despite these problems with the case, Mr. Lance obtained a $1,900,000 settlement for the Plaintiffs. 
    • Morgan v. Doe Insurance Co: Trial Mr. Lance tried a class action for 6 weeks against a national insurance company related to fees changed for administering retirement funds of San Diego County government employees. The San Diego Superior Court found that the lawsuit triggered the company to eliminate significant fees and charges. The employees saved millions of dollars in fees and the court awarded over $600,000 in attorneys fees and costs.
    • Estate of John Doe v. ABC Corporation: Settlement Mr. Lance represented the family of a San Diego man who was killed in a helicopter accident, and was able to secure a settlement of $3,850,000 for the widow and her three sons.
    • Real Estate Partnership Lawsuit Jim represented two of the four partners in a real estate development project in Downtown San Diego. The partnership was formed to develop a mixed use project which would include a nationally known entertainment venue. The Defendants, the other partners in the project, secretly negotiated with a third party to expand the project to include a hotel. The Defendants then transferred real property from the partnership to another entity formed with the third party. One of the primary hurdles in the case related to damages, which were necessarily based on potential lost profits. At the time of the settlement, 5 days before trial, the project had not obtained financing and construction had not begun. Despite this problem with the case, Jim obtained a $1,900,000 settlement for the Plaintiffs.
    • Cacanindin v. United States of America, et al.: Settlement Mr. Lance obtained an outstanding settlement in a very tragic and difficult case. Mr. Lance represented the family of an eight year old boy who was struck and killed in a crosswalk in Temecula while rollerblading with his father and brother. The driver was a diabetic who went into insulin shock and ran a red light. Unfortunately, he had no assets and limited insurance. The driver was from New York and had been treated by the VA Medical Center in Syracuse for his diabetes and a heart condition. The physicians in Syracuse prescribed a medication which could potentially block the symptoms of low blood sugar and allow a patient to go into insulin shock without notice. Mr. Lance traveled to New York and was able to secure very damaging admissions from the VA physicians. He filed a lawsuit against the driver and the United States of America (under the Federal Tort Claims Act) based on the actions of the VA physicians. The case involved very difficult factual and legal issues. After extensive investigation and discovery, Mr. Lance was able to obtain $874,000 for the family from the United States, and the $100,000 policy limits from the driver, for a total of $974,000.

    Educational Background:

    • Missouri State University, B.S., summa cum laude, 1983
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    Office Location for James R. Lance

    701 Island Avenue
    Suite 400
    San Diego, CA 92101-8700

    James R. Lance:

    Last Updated: 10/26/2020

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