Collie F. James, IV is a seasoned trial lawyer with a proven track record of achieving outstanding results in high-profile crisis litigation matters, including mass tort, product liability, government enforcement, unfair business practices, and consumer class actions. Serving as the managing partner of the Orange County office, he represents companies in US state and federal courts and arbitrates matters before multiple agencies, including the International Court of Arbitration.
Collie also counsels on pre-litigation issues critical to the core business operations of clients in the oil and gas, pharmaceutical, healthcare, food and supplement, cosmetic and beauty, and consumer product industries. Collie has played key roles in litigating some of the most significant crisis and mass tort, product liability, and consumer litigation matters in the country over the last 20 years, including the following:
Representing Teva Pharmaceuticals and its affiliates, Collie led a Morgan Lewis team that secured the first defense trial victory in national prescription opioids litigation in an action brought by the State of California seeking more than $50 billion in remedies, making it one of the largest cases in state history. In this leadership role, Collie was instrumental in developing a trial strategy adopted by the entire joint defense group that formed the core of the court’s decisive trial ruling.Collie delivered the first defense opening statement and embraced the same lead-off role for closing arguments. In the interim, he led the cross-examination of the plaintiffs’ primary marketing expert, argued a lengthy motion for judgment, secured the voluntary dismissal of two clients halfway through the trial, and conducted the direct examination of a critical defense expert. The complete defense victory was heavily publicized and changed the landscape of the ongoing nationwide litigation.
Defending a major Southern California utility in ongoing litigation involving more than 30,000 plaintiffs stemming from a natural gas leak at a storage facility adjacent to a residential and business area, Collie spearheads the factual investigation and discovery component of this sprawling litigation. Working closely with the client, he has argued key motions, developed key strategic initiatives, and taken and defended nearly 100 depositions while preparing the cases for trial.
Serving as lead trial lawyer in litigation involving more than 1,000 plaintiffs with chemical-exposure claims, Collie executed an aggressive strategy that resulted in summary judgment or dismissal of several hundred plaintiffs, which he thereafter successfully defended in two separate efforts to overturn those rulings before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Leveraging his courtroom victories, Collie secured many more settlements on terms highly favorable to the client, bringing this long-standing litigation to an end.
Defending an oil and gas storage company in another lawsuit involving more than 1,000 plaintiffs claiming chemical exposure in and around Beverly Hills High School, Collie had primary responsibility for preparing motions for summary judgment that successfully excluded plaintiffs’ experts and resolved all of the initial bellwether group’s claims before trial.
In addition to these major matters, Collie routinely represents clients in actions brought by state and county officials and private plaintiffs under California’s Unfair Competition and False Advertising laws. He has represented clients in enforcement actions brought by California counties regarding national advertising campaigns, the sufficiency of website disclosures, and waste management practices and litigated class actions brought by private citizens under the same laws against a variety of industries, including food and beverage, health supplements, and cosmetics.
Collie is equally committed to community and philanthropic interests. He is the co-founder and treasurer of the Maddie James Foundation—established in honor of the memory of his five-year-old daughter—which funded the building of a seaside learning center bearing her name at the Ocean Institute in Dana Point, CA, and Collie now serves on the Ocean Institute’s Board of Directors. He is a trustee of St. Anne School in Laguna Niguel, CA, served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Jessie Rees Foundation, which supports children and their families around the world who are facing pediatric cancer, and sat on the Governance Committee of the local chapter of Make-A-Wish. He is a past president of the Orange County Bar Foundation and board member of the Federal Bar Association, leads a local legal aid clinic, and proudly coaches a variety of youth sports teams.
University of Texas School of Law, 1997, J.D.
Dartmouth College, 1993, B.A.
Awards and Affiliations
Litigator of the Week, Am Law Litigation Daily (November 5, 2021)
Recognized, Commercial Litigation, Costa Mesa, The Best Lawyers in America (2022)
Trustee, Board of Trustees, St. Anne School
Member, Board of Directors, Ocean Institute
Co-Founder and Treasurer, The Maddie James Foundation
Former Chairman of the Board of Directors, Jessie Rees Foundation (2014–2020)
Former Member, Governance Committee, Make-A-Wish OC (2018–2020)
Former President and Member, Board of Directors, Orange County Bar Foundation (2006–2018)
Former Member, Board of Directors, Orange County Federal Bar Association (2010–2014)