James C. Plummer

$full_name

Partner

Jim Plummer began his practice engaged in general civil litigation, first as an associate with Baker & Botts working on the defense side of the docket and later in private practice with a small firm handling a variety of litigation matters as a partner. Along the way, he found his niche representing individuals and small businesses in litigating claims against insurance companies.

A pivotal moment in this transition occurred when Jim was hired by a young couple with 2 small children who had just lost their home in a fire. The insurance company denied their homeowners' claim based on mere suspicion that they had committed arson and burned down their own home. Jim took their case and won a multimillion-dollar jury verdict - reportedly the third largest verdict in that county at the time. It was discovered that the insurance company had no evidence the homeowners set the fire, the available evidence pointed to others with an ax to grind against the homeowners, and the insurer’s evidence of a motive to set the fire was simply wrong. This trial reinforced the idea that insurance companies too often violate the duty to handle claims fairly and in good faith.

Since then, Jim has prosecuted a number of insurance claims on behalf of individuals and businesses holding the insurer to its duty of good faith and fair dealing, and compelling them to live up to the promises made in the insurance policy. In addition to property and casualty claims, Jim has prosecuted a large number of claims for life insurance, accidental death insurance, and disability insurance benefits under individual policies and group insurance policies governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). The ERISA claims on group insurance policies have also included claims against the employer and insurer for breach of fiduciary duty resulting in a loss to the policyholder or beneficiary.

Jim has prosecuted claims against virtually all of the insurance companies selling ERISA governed group insurance policies including Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., Prudential Insurance Co., Sun Life Assurance Co. of Canada, Hartford Life & Accident Insurance Co., Unum Life Insurance Co. of America, Provident Life & Accident Ins. Co., Lincoln National Insurance Co., Lincoln Financial, Jefferson Pilot Life Insurance Co., Cigna, Life Insurance Company of North America, Liberty Life Assurance Co. of Boston, Paul Revere Life Ins. Co., The Standard Insurance Co., The Principal Life Ins. Co., and Reliance Standard Insurance Co.

Publications & Speaking Engagements

  • 1989, Feb/Mar - South Texas College of Law, Seminar-Discovery & Civil Trial Practice Institute, speaker
  • 1989, Aug.; 1990, Sept. - Univ. of Houston Law Ctr., Seminar - Handling Insurance & Tort Claims, speaker
  • 1991 - South Texas College of Law, member, Planning Committee, 1992, Advanced Personal Injury Seminar
  • 1991, Aug. - State Bar of Texas, 7th Annual Advanced Personal Injury Law Course, Speaker
  • 1994, Jan. - ATLA Winter Convention, Strategies for a Successful Practice: Maximizing Resources & Talents; Preparation: Your Witness & Their Witness, moderator
  • 1994, Mar. - Lorman Education Services, Texas Insurance Law: Bad Faith Claims; "Post-Litigation Duty of Good Faith", author & speaker
  • 1995 - State Bar of Texas, Legal Assistants Division, Advanced Civil Trial Law Course for Legal Assistants, "Punitive Damages/Bad Faith", author & speaker
  • 1995 - Lorman Education Services, Texas Insurance Law: Bad Faith Claims; "Duty of Good Faith and Fair Dealing - Is it a Continuing Duty?", author & speaker
  • 1995 - ATLA Annual Convention, Fire Loss & Property Insurance Litigation Group, "Cross Examination of the Forensic Accountant", Seminar Paper (New York)
  • 1996 - University of Houston Law Center, Advanced Personal Injury & Insurance Law, "Bad Faith Litigation Update", speaker (Houston/San Antonio)
  • 1997, Sept. - Texas Insurance Law Symposium: From Nuts and Bolts to Tips and Tricks; "Litigation Strategies: Top Ten Tips and Tricks" (with Joseph F. Nistico, Jr.), co-author & speaker (Houston)
  • 1998, Mar. - Professionalism Day 1998, group leader, South Texas College of Law of Texas A & M University (Houston)
  • 1998, Apr. – “Bad Faith Update: Is The Tort Still Alive?” Video cameo appearance, South Texas College of Law (Houston)
  • 1998 - Everything You Need to Know About Insurance Law Symposium; "Bad Faith Update: The Common Law Duty of Good Faith is Alive and Well," author and speaker; Houston Bar Association (Houston)
  • 1998 - State Bar of Texas Legal Assistants Division Power Seminar - Keeping in Step as a Team; "Litigation Strategies," author and speaker (Corpus Christi)
  • 1998, July – South Texas College of Law Texas Insurance Law Symposium, Planning Committee, moderator (Houston)
  • 1998, Oct. - ATLA Trial Advocacy College: Essentials of Civil Litigation, Faculty, South Texas College of Law (Houston)
  • 1999, Oct. - ATLA Trial Advocacy College: Essentials of Civil Litigation, Faculty,
  • Suffolk University Law School (Boston)
  • 1999, Oct. - University of Texas School of Law, 4th Annual Insurance Law Institute, Stower, Bad Faith Panel Member (Dallas)
  • 1999, Nov. - Texas Insurance Law Symposium, Faculty, South Texas College of Law (Houston)
  • 2000, Feb. - Stromar Educational Services, Personal Injury in Texas, Speaker, Bad Faith Litigation Update and Ethics (Houston)
  • 2000, Mar. - Personal Injury Law Conference: Keys to Success, Planning Committee, South Texas College of Law (Houston)
  • 2000, Nov. - Texas Insurance Law Symposium, Moderator; Robinson/Daubert Issues in Insurance Litigation: The Law and its Application, Speaker - Application (with Hon. Harvey Brown, author & speaker) (Houston)
  • 2001, Feb. - ATLA Trial Advocacy College: Depositions, Faculty (Denver)
  • 2001, June - TTLA Mid-Year Meeting, Tactics-Tactics-Tactics: from Voir Dire to Final Argument, Panel Member - Handling Difficult Clients (New Orleans)
  • 2002, Mar. - Automobile Injury Conference, author and speaker, Uninsured Motorists/Stowers Doctrine, South Texas College of Law
  • 2002, July - ATLA Annual Convention, presenter, Proving Insurance Company Bad Faith: Ten Things I Have Learned Along the Way, speaker
  • 2003, Jan. - Texas Insurance Law Symposium, Speaker - Challenging Experts in Insurance Cases: A Practical Perspective (with Hon. Scott R. Link and Warren Taylor), South Texas College of Law (Houston)
  • 2003, Oct., ABOTA Masters in Trial: Examination of Plaintiff’s Psychology Expert Direct & Re-Direct, speaker (with Reagan M. Brown) (Houston)
  • 2004, Feb. - ATLA 2004 Winter Convention, Faculty Member, Advocacy Track   II: Bad Faith Insurance Litigation: Definitions, Exclusions, Conditions: The Defense Arsenal, author & speaker (Orlando)
  • 2004, Mar. - Automobile Injury Conference, UM/UIM, author (with Gael Plauché) & speaker, South Texas College of Law
  • 2004, Apr. - IAAI 55 Annual Meeting and Conference, “Arson” - The Plaintiff’s Perspective, speaker (St. Louis)
  • 2005, Mar. - Automobile Injury Conference, UM/UIM, author (with Amar Raval) & speaker, South Texas College of Law (Houston)
  • 2005, Oct., Article, “Good Counsel – Deflect Attacks On You In Bad Faith Cases”, Trial Magazine, Vol. 41, No. 10
  • 2006, May - Automobile Injury Conference, The Search for Insurance Coverage in Auto Cases, author (with Gael Plauche’) & speaker, South Texas College of Law (Houston)
  • 2007, July - ATLA Summer Conference, Bad Faith Remedies and Alternative Cause of Actions in the 50 States, Panel (Chicago, Illinois)
  • 2011, May, Video Interview – Ethical Considerations in Witness Preparation, Harris County Attorney’s Office, CLE

Community Activities

  • City of Houston Planning & Zoning Commission, former member

Areas of Practice

Contact Us

Berg Plummer Johnson & Raval, LLP
Berg Plummer Johnson & Raval, LLP Logo 4203 Montrose Boulevard, Suite 260, Houston, TX 77006
Phone: 713-526-0200 - Fax: 832-615-2665