James N. Kline

Partner


With over 30 years of experience, Jim litigates negligence, product liability, toxic tort, employer intentional tort, insurance, commercial, and construction related claims in federal and state trial courts, as well as state appellate court. His liability defense concentration includes personal injury, property damage, construction defects, product liability, and general litigation. Jim has achieved the highest ranking, AV Preeminent®, from Martindale-Hubbell® and has been listed as an Ohio Super Lawyer. Jim’s clients range from insurers, manufacturers, suppliers, contractors, retailers, restaurants, premises owners, non-profits, and municipalities.

Education & Admissions

Education

  • University of Michigan

    (A.B. in Economics and Honors in English, 1981)

  • The Ohio State University

    (J.D., with honors, 1984)

Admissions

  • State of Ohio
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio

Experience

REPRESENTATIVE EXPERIENCE

  • Litigates toxic tort, insurance, negligence, products liability, employer intentional tort, commercial, and construction related claims in federal and state trial courts and state appellate court.
  • Representation has included insurers, manufacturers, restaurants, municipalities, contractors, and various commercial and residential premises owners.
  • Toxic tort litigation has included asbestos and silica claims.
  • Products liability and industrial-related injury/loss cases have included numerous toxic  exposure cases related to asbestos and silica (including wrongful death claims), as well as product liability claims involving death in an industrial elevator; death due to tractor roll-over; electrical injury from industrial tip hardener; fire losses from electrical energy management device; industrial explosion cases: fire from an electrical sign; injuries from a tampered product; environmental damage from underground gasoline storage tank failure; lost income from defective electrical component manufacturing equipment; various personal injury claims from home appliances, defective furniture, numerous automobile accidents, and premises claims.
  • Experience in representing major fast food restaurant corporation and fast food franchises in personal injury and food-related claims, as well as criminal acts by third-parties.
  • Experience in handling insurance coverage issues and declaratory judgments, including numerous arson and fraud claims.
  • Arbitrator and mediator in Cuyahoga County and Lake County, Ohio, and for the Better Business Bureau including its Auto Arbitration program and general consumer claims.

Publications & Presentations

Publications

Presentations

  • “The Law of Jury Selection,” National Business Institute’s Voir Dire and Jury Selection Seminar (September 2017)
  • “Ethical Considerations in Jury Selection,” National Business Institute’s Voir Dire and Jury Selection Seminar (September 2017)
  • “Real-World” Mediation and Trial Tactics,” National Business Institute’s Personal Injury Claims: The Insurance Defense Perspective Seminar (August 2015)
  • “Expert and Lay Witnesses: Their Care, Feeding and Grooming,” National Business Institute’s Personal Injury Claims: The Insurance Defense Perspective Seminar (August 2015)
  • “20 Tips to Enhance Your Mastery of the Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication in the Courtroom,” National Business Institute’s “May It Please the Court” Seminar (October 2014)
  • “Cross-Examination and Redirect – Focus On Experts and Evidence,” and “Summation and Jury Instructions,” National Business Institute’s Advanced Trial Tactics Seminar (June 2012)
  • “Hiring the Right Gun: Considerations in Locating an Expert,” Moderator, OACTA Product Liability Seminar (June 2010)
  • “What Can DRI Do For Your SLDOs?,” DRI Central Region Meeting (April 2008)
  • “Preparation of the Insurance Professional for Testifying at a Deposition,” CPCU Society (April 2003)
  • “Claims Handling and Preparing for Depositions – Daubert and the Arson Investigator,” Ohio Chapter of NSPII (March 2000)

Involvement

PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS

  • Ohio Supreme Court Lawyer to Lawyer Mentoring Program (Mentor)
  • Ohio State Bar Association
  • Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association (Bar Admission Committee, 2009-present; Appeals Sub-Committee, 2017-present; Civility and Professionalism Task Force, 2013-2014)
  • Cuyahoga County Bar Association (Trustee-Presidential Appointee, 2006-2007; Trustee 2007-2008)
  • Lake County Bar Association
  • Ohio Association of Civil Trial Attorneys (President 2018-2019; Vice President 2017-2018; Treasurer 2016-2017; Secretary 2015-2016; Board of Trustees 2009-present, Membership Committee Chair, Expert Witness Database Committee, Long Range Planning Committee; President’s Charitable Projects Task Force)
  • Cleveland Association of Civil Trial Attorneys (President 2007; Secretary/Treasurer, 2006-2007; Program Chair, 2005-2006)
  • Defense Research Institute

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

  • Big Brothers/Big Sisters
  • Legal Community Against Violence
  • Ohio Mock Trial High School Competition, Perry High School (Advisor, 2017-2018)

 

Honors

HONORS

  • AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated – Martindale-Hubbell
  • Named to the Ohio Super Lawyers list (2012-2019)
  • Received the 2013 Frank Seth Hurd Member of the Year Award from the Ohio Association of Civil Trial Attorneys (OACTA)