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Calfee, Halter & Griswold LLP

James Sullivan

Cleveland, USA USA Guide 2022 Ranked in 1 departments
Ranked in : Insurance
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Lawyer Information

Lawyer profile for USA 2022


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Insurance - Ohio

Band 1

James Sullivan is held in high esteem for his approach to complex recovery claims, which sees him handle a wide range of coverage disputes.
"He is very technically sound. He has experience with different insurance companies so he knows how they operate.""He is very practical, very clear-eyed, can really read the situation well and has done a very good job. He is conscious of managing time for cost reasons.""Our go-to guy on any insurance question.""He understands the issues quickly, provides targeted, concise advice to complex issues, and is an outstanding negotiator skilled in working with insurance adjusters and their counsel."
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Lawyer information

This content is provided by James Sullivan

Practice Areas

Insurance Coverage

Insurance Recovery

Business, Corporate and Commercial Litigation

Private Equity


As leader of Calfee's insurance recovery practice, James Sullivan counsels corporate insurance policyholders on insurance coverage issues and litigates insurance coverage disputes. He also litigates and helps resolve clients’ general business disputes.

James’ primary focus is providing insurance coverage services to corporate policyholders. He also represents closely held and publicly traded business clients on a variety of other matters, including:

Litigating contract, business tort, and equitable claims

Advising on contract interpretation

Facilitating alternative dispute resolution efforts

James has litigated in many Ohio appeals and trial courts, as well as numerous federal trial and appeals courts.

James is one of 24 Ohio lawyers certified as an insurance law specialist by the Ohio State Bar Association. Multiple times he has served as an expert witness on insurance coverage issues.

James joined Calfee in 2001 and was elected Partner in 2010. He serves as Chair of Calfee’s Associates Committee and is a member of its Associate Compensation Committee; Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee; and Practice Planning & Growth Committee. He also serves as a formal and informal mentor to other Calfee attorneys.

Professional Memberships

Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association’s Insurance Law Section, Past Chair

Legal Aid, Numerous Pro Bono Representations of Under-Served Clients

Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association’s Committee on Mental Health and Wellness, Annual Seminar Presenter and Past Chair

2008 Cleveland Bridge Builders Civic Leadership Program, Alumnus


James speaks and writes regularly, including:

14 insurance coverage presentations in past two years for clients, insurance brokers, Ohio State Bar Association, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, and Akron Bar Association

Co-authored articles included in the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association’s 2021, 2020, and 2019 Insurance Law editions of its monthly "Bar Journal" periodical

Quoted in a multiple national articles on insurance coverage topics, including approximately 10 articles pertaining to COVID-19 issues


Insurance Policyholder Recovery and Counseling Services

James has been litigating on behalf of and counseling insurance policyholders on coverage matters since 2004. More than 90% of James’s practice is devoted to representing policyholders.

He has experience with a wide array of insurance policy types, including the following:

-Commercial general liability (CGL) (including for long-tail claims like asbestos and environmental)

- Umbrella

- Excess

- Discontinued operations

- Property

- Business interruption (including business income and extra expense)

- Directors & officers (D&O)

- Side-A excess

- Difference in conditions (DIC)

- Tail & nose coverages

- Professional services

- Errors & omissions (E&O)

- Fiduciary/employee benefits

- Trustee

- Employment practices (EPL)

- Stop-gap

- Captive

- Risk retention group (RRG)

- Representations and warranties (RWI)

- Pollution legal liability (PLL)

- Environmental liability

- Contingent liability

- Tax indemnity

- Medical malpractice

- Legal malpractice

- Employed lawyers

- Public entity

- Educators legal liability (ELL)

- Cyber (first-party + third-party)

- Business crime

- Employee theft

- Fidelity bond

- Sexual misconduct & molestation

- Surety

- Liquor

- Fine art

- Aviation

- Commercial auto

- Equipment breakdown

- Event cancellation

- Business trip interruption

- Special events

- Parametric/index-based

Representative sample of recent services James has provided to insurance policyholder clients:

2022 – Advising publicly traded advisory services client on late-notice dispute with high-level excess insurer regarding losses exceeding $5 million.

2022 – Advising health system captive with respect to reinsurance claim pertaining to $25 million loss.

2022 – Counseling internationally-owned sporting goods company with respect to cyber coverage claim for federal intelligence agency investigation regarding theft of thousands of customer credit cards numbers.

2021-2022 – Pursuing a business interruption and property loss insurance claim on behalf of retail bakery vandalized and looted in 2020 rioting following a civil rights protest.

2021-2022 – Litigating on behalf of nursing home client to overcome denial of coverage and efforts to rescind policy in light of operational disruptions resulting from COVID-19 governmental shutdown orders.

2021-2022 – Counseling manufacturer of consumer goods on ocean cargo insurance policy claim to obtain millions in coverage for cargo spoiled due to lengthy delays resulting from worldwide shipping crisis.

2021-2022 – Assisting private international aerosols manufacturer secure insurance coverage for environmental regulatory investigation.

2020-2022 – Advocating for numerous policyholder clients with respect to COVID-19 business interruption losses under commercial property insurance policies, including for National Football League (NFL), Major League Soccer (MLS), state universities, health systems, restaurant, and hospitality entities, among others.

2020-2022 – Representing religious organization with respect to insurance coverage for multiple third-party lawsuits collectively seeking tens of millions of dollars, including matter that has evolved into federal insurance coverage lawsuit.

2020-2022 – Litigating long-tail environmental insurance coverage disputes, including federal lawsuit, on behalf of privately held fluid system products manufacturer with respect to historical insurance program with limits totaling in excess of $100 million.

2020-2021 – Represented private equity fund and platform company in connection with securing representations and warranties (RWI) and employment practices liability (EPL) insurance coverage for a class action involving international plaintiffs.

2020 – Designed and implemented D&O strategy to assist client in efforts to collect $1 million-plus judgment against otherwise uncollectible entity.

2019-2021 – Litigated to settlement two related lawsuits in Ohio and Nebraska federal courts seeking to recover from various insurers (including a fidelity bond issuer) over $24 million in losses stemming from an alleged Ponzi scheme.

2019-2022 – Represented sports turf manufacturer and installer in insurance coverage litigation and settlement negotiations pertaining to cancelation of 2016 NFL Hall of Fame football game at Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

2019-2021 – Advocated on behalf of hospital health system to recover D&O insurance proceeds to indemnify against multi-million settlements.

2019-2022 – Assisting publicly traded healthcare client with development and implementation of strategies to recover in excess of $20 million from insurance companies for nationwide environmental claims asserted by regulatory agencies and individual claimants.

2019-2021 – Litigated and settled additional insured rights and contractual indemnification rights on behalf of publicly traded power company against national service provider pertaining to bodily injury claim seeking tens of millions of dollars.

2019-2020 – Advised seller client on preserving rights to insurance assets for pending third-party claim posing existential threat to M&A transaction acquisition target.

2019-2021 – Helped U.S. and international hotel chain with its efforts to secure coverage from various insurers to defend against anti-trust litigation.

2019-2020 – Counseled client on interplay among private equity fund’s financial services liability policy, portfolio company’s D&O policy and corporate indemnification agreements in connection with anticipated third-party claim.

Expert in these Jurisdictions


Industry Sector Expertise

Banking, Financial Services and Insurance

Health Care

Manufacturing and Industrial

Name, Image and Likeness Law

Partnerships, LLCs and Joint Ventures

Private and Family-Owned Businesses

Public Companies


University of Virginia School of Law


0 - 2001

John Carroll University


0 - 1998

James Sullivan

Calfee, Halter & Griswold LLP

yellow-guide 3 YEARS RANKED
Phone number

The Calfee Building

1405 East Sixth Street




OH 44114

Ranked In

USA 2022

USA 2021

USA 2020

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