James Hall has a broad-based practice focused on all facets of construction including land use and litigation. He counsels a wide-range of clients as they prepare for large-scale development projects as well as in the resolution of complex construction disputes. He represents general contractors, subcontractors, owners, architects, engineers and material vendors in matters ranging from regulatory, insolvency, receivership, ADR and litigation. A knowledgeable construction litigator, he also lectures on construction litigation and mechanics’ lien law. He has extensive experience defending construction product manufacturers and distributors against product defect claims.
With his background in construction dispute resolution, James has become an indispensible part of the firm’s commercial land use, real estate and development practice areas. In addition to his construction law practice, James maintains a general commercial litigation practice successfully representing both plaintiffs and defendants at trial and on appeal in courts across the country. James is a Rhode Island court-approved Receiver.
James began building his legal skill and knowledge as a student law clerk for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, the Rhode Island Supreme Court, the United States Navy JAG Corps and the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office. In addition to his extensive legal training, James holds a masters degree in public administration from the University of Rhode Island.
- Loyola University (J.D., 1999)
- University of Rhode Island (B.A., 1993; M.P.A., 1995)
- Rhode Island
- U.S. District Court, District of Rhode Island
- U.S. District Court, District of Connecticut
- U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Rhode Island
- In representing a large-scale developer, Jay successfully argued to the court that an objection to development and related appeal should be dismissed based on the appellant’s lack of standing. In this case of first impression, the court held that unlike a property owner, a lessor does not possess the requisite property interest to maintain a zoning appeal under Rhode Island’s Zoning Act.
- Jay successfully represented a condominium association and its board against claims of certain unit owners who sought a reduction in common interests and assessment. Based upon a complex series of amendments to the condominium declaration documents, the claimants sought reimbursement of a decade’s worth of alleged overpayments. Prior to trial of the case, Jay was able to secure summary judgment in favor of his client based on a complex and comprehensive application of the State Condominium Act.
- In a case where the very essence of property ownership was tested, Jay successfully represented a private club against claims that certain beachfront structures were owned, and not leased, by those who seasonably occupied the structures. The matter was tried and re-tried in the Rhode Island District and Superior Courts. The ultimate decision and order of the Superior Court in favor of Jay’s client prevented the potential shifting of millions of dollars worth of real estate to the claimant lessors.
- Jay successfully served as arbitration counsel to a plumbing subcontractor on a hotel project wherein it was claimed that hundreds of installed tubs were defective and/or below the specified grade. The matter hinged on several expert opinions as to the chemical makeup of the tubs as well as the grade of metal utilized. Via focused cross-examination of the claimant’s expert, Jay was able to save his client the significant cost of replacement and related remodeling.
- In a matter that was originally filed in the Rhode Island Superior Court, upon resolution of certain mechanics’ lien claims, Jay was able to remove the case to the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island. On behalf of his client, he petitioned the court to stay proceedings in order to compel the plaintiff to arbitrate its remaining claims in Ohio. Despite the clear arbitration and venue language in the contract, the plaintiff requested that the court apply a little-used Rhode Island statute, which operates in such a way as to make voidable any provision in a construction contract compelling a Rhode Island contractor to arbitrate in another state. Upon substantial briefing and argument, the federal court held that the State’s statutory provision allowing for the unilateral voidability of arbitration provisions interferes with and is contrary to the Federal Arbitration Act. This was the first case to address Rhode Island’s long-standing in-state construction contract arbitration provision and was named one of the Top 10 Most Important Opinions of 2012 by Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly.
- Serves as construction counsel to local college with regard to multi-phase development and construction of new academic building(s). This representation includes development of architect, engineer, general contractor and commissioning contracts as well as in-project, critical path, and post-project owner representation.
- When a local municipality’s water source was threatened by a proposed development, Jay successfully argued that Rhode Island's Marketable Record Title Act extinguished the developer's deed. Thereafter, Jay prevailed in the Rhode Island Supreme Court, which upheld the judgment in favor of AP&S' client in this case of first impression.
- In a case of catastrophic construction failure, Jay defended an architect/designer sued by both a project owner and general contractor after a partially constructed building collapsed during a wind storm, which was a loss for which the client was uninsured. Jay successfully asserted a common law indemnity argument resulting in each of the claims against his client being dismissed at the summary judgment stage.
- Annual Bar Association and NBI lecturer on mechanics’ lien law/construction litigation.
- Rhode Island Bar Association Law Day lecturer.
- Rhode Island Bar Association Annual Meeting Moderator: Practical and Ethical Pitfalls of Practicing Against Pro Se Litigants.
- Rhode Island Amended Mechanics’ Lien Statute, Construction Lending News, Vol. 27, Second Quarter 2009.
Professional Excellence in the Law, Construction, Rhode Island Monthly 2019.
- Rhode Island Superior Court’s Panel of Approved Receivers.
- Member, Defense Research Institute.
- Chair, Rhode Island Bar Association District Court Bench/Bar Committee.
- Member, Rhode Island Bar Association Annual Meeting Committee.
- 2012 Graduate of Leadership Rhode Island.
- Member, Rhode Island Bar Association Volunteer Lawyer Program.
- Member, U.S. Green Building Council.
- University of Rhode Island Scholarship Fundraising Committee member.
- Rhode Island Parochial School Strategic Planning Committee member.
- St. Thomas More Society Board Member.
- Monsignor F. Clarke Regional School Board Chair.