James P. Steele

Partner
Practices
About

Jim Steele focuses his practice on insurance coverage, professional liability, and construction. Jim regularly counsels insurers on complex coverage matters and litigates insurance coverage disputes. He defends accountants, attorneys and other professionals in malpractice claims, and he helps professionals respond to subpoenas and other legal processes. He also defends clients in construction cases and personal injury matters.

Jim has wide-ranging experience in the state and federal trial and appellate courts of the District of Columbia and Maryland. He is a longtime member of the DC Defense Lawyers’ Association (DCDLA), serving as president from 2010 to 2011, and as a member of the Board of Directors from 2012 to 2015. His 20 years of courtroom experience and his involvement in the DCDLA give Jim a broad knowledge of the courts in these jurisdictions.

For insurance companies, Jim litigates and arbitrates coverage cases involving construction mishaps, professional liability claims, uninsured/underinsured motorist policy provisions, subrogation claims, third-party additional-insured disputes, lead paint exclusions, and “other insurance” provisions.

Jim regularly represents accountants, attorneys, title companies, appraisers, property developers, apartment-complex owners, property managers, security companies, religious institutions, nonprofit and charitable organizations, pharmacies, restaurants, and national retail companies.

Some of his reported cases include:

Representative Experience
  • Obtained defense verdict from the jury on behalf of a property owner and manager in a serious personal injury case in Baltimore County Circuit Court.
  • Defended a security company and property owner at trial in a battery claim in federal court.
  • Defended a security company at trial in Baltimore City Circuit Court.
  • Arbitrated coverage dispute for an insurer on the availability of uninsured-motorist benefits in a death case under Maryland’s “reduction” system of uninsured-motorist coverage.
  • Obtained a voluntary dismissal for an insurance company in a coverage dispute over property damage at a construction site.
  • Successfully defended a professional client from baseless accusations of professional negligence alleged by a persistent claimant.
  • Defended the directors and officers of a volunteer organization from accusations that they were running the organization for their own benefit, obtaining the accusers’ admission under oath that they had no knowledge that some of the worst alleged wrongdoing actually took place.
Education

Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law
JD

University of Delaware
BA

Recognition
  • Martindale-Hubbell® has given Jim its AV Preeminent® rating, earned by attorneys at the highest level of professional excellence.
Publications
  • Co-author, “DRI Insurance Policy Rescission Compendium- District of Columbia,” Defense Research Institute, May 2019
  • Regional Editor, “DRI Insurance Policy Rescission Compendium,” Defense Research Institute, May 2019
  • Co-Author, “The Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage Compendium – District of Columbia and Maryland chapters,” Defense Research Institute, 2016
  • A Tempest Over Named-Storm Deductibles, Loss of Business Income, and More,” For The Defense, Defense Research Institute, May 2015
  • Maryland’s Highest Court Declines to Adopt Comparative Negligence, InsideCounsel.com, August 6, 2013
  • Resolving Fee Disputes Before Things Get Ugly, InsideCounsel.com, July 18, 2013D.C. Court of Appeals Endorses Dismissing Cases for Contumacious Conduct, InsideCounsel.com, July 4, 2013
  • The Flaws of The Uniform Asset-Freezing Orders Act, InsideCounsel.com, June 20, 2013
  • Around the Horn with the Motion in Limine InsideCounsel.com, May 24, 2013
  • Rule 68 Offers of Judgment – a Matter of Clarity, InsideCounsel.com, May 9, 2013
Speaking Engagements
  • “Understanding Rule 68 Offers of Judgment in Settlement Negotiations,” Lorman Webinar, September 13, 2019
  • “Leveraging Rule 68 Offers of Judgment in Settlement Negotiations,” Strafford Webinar, May 29, 2019
  • “Heads Up: How Drones, Satellites and Aerial Data- Gathering is Remaking Insurance Claims,” AM Best Webinar, July 15, 2019
Admissions

States
District of Columbia
Maryland

U.S. District Courts
District of Columbia
District of Maryland

U.S. Court of Appeals
District of Columbia Circuit
Fourth Circuit

Affiliations
  • D.C. Defense Lawyers’ Association; President, 2010–2011; Board of Directors, 2012–2015
  • Defense Research Institute; First Party Property
  • Subcommittee of the Insurance Law Committee, 2008–Present
  • The Barristers (Washington, DC)