James Mink works on a broad range of complex litigation matters, including toxic torts and environmental cleanup actions, product defect and recall cases. He has served on trial teams for several multi-million dollar jury trials, and has represented clients in federal and state courts at the trial and appellate level.
James worked for two years as a deputy public defender in Contra Costa County, California, trying 20 cases to jury verdict.
James received his J.D. (2001) from the University of California at Berkeley, where he was a Judicial Extern to the Hon. Claudia Wilken, Northern District of California, (Fall 1999). He served on the Moot Court Board, and was the recipient of the American Jurisprudence Award for Legislative Policy Analysis. He founded the Berkeley Journal of Criminal Law (originally the California Criminal Law Review), now in its 20th volume.
Toxic Tort and Environmental Law
- James represents a number of companies in complex toxic tort litigation in California state and federal courts. He has also represented companies in environmental labeling and cleanup cases, including defending food and agricultural chemical companies against Proposition 65 consumer labeling lawsuits by individual plaintiffs and the state Attorney General; successfully challenging a California city’s efforts to order the placement of a utility switching station on property a client had remediated for future residential development, and defending against private party lawsuits seeking reimbursement for CERCLA cleanup costs.
- James has represented individuals and corporations in writs and appeals in the California Court of Appeal, the California Supreme Court, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court. In another case, James successfully litigated the issue of personal jurisdiction over a foreign component part manufacturer in California courts and the United States Supreme Court, including the drafting of a petition for review and a petition for certiorari. See Dow Chemical Canada ULC v. Fandino, 131 S. Ct. 3088 (June 28, 2011, No. 10-250) (granting petition for certiorari, vacating order finding jurisdiction, and remanding to California Court of Appeal); Dow Chemical Canada ULC v. Superior Court, 202 Cal. App. 4th 170, 134 Cal. Rptr. 3d 597 (2011) (overturning order finding personal jurisdiction over foreign component part manufacturer in personal injury action). James successfully appealed a pro bono client’s conviction for wire fraud, resulting in Ninth Circuit opinion that clarified the intent standard for bankruptcy fraud. See U.S. v. Milwitt, 475 F.3d 1150 (1997) (reversing conviction for lack of evidence of intent).
- James has represented several Fortune 500 companies in complex commercial litigation, including representing a payroll and management software company in a lawsuit alleging over $1 billion in copyright infringement damages; representing a computer and online music company in an antitrust case; and defending a credit card company against claims of unfair competition and antitrust violations by credit card processors.
- James represented an agricultural company in its defense of litigation brought by competitors in the aftermath of a nationwide consumer recall. He also defended a Canadian component part manufacturer against a finished product manufacturer’s cross-complaint for indemnity for consumer personal injury claims. James represented a large, privately-held San Francisco corporation in handling an international product recall, defending against recall-related lawsuits brought by consumers and other companies, and securing insurance coverage for the recall, defense, indemnity and property damage.
- James represented a mortgage lender in two statewide wage-and-hour putative class claims involving alleged misclassification, uncompensated overtime and missed meal and rest breaks.
Presentations and Publications
- Appleman Insurance Law Practice Guide Ch. 31, Property Insurance (2009)
- Policy Holders in Environmental Cleanup Actions are Potentially Entitled to Multiple Policy Limits; Multiple Causes of Loss are Not a Basis to Deny Coverage (2009) (available here)
- Product Recalls: Analyze Your Insurance Coverage (2007) (copies available upon request)
- 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
- U.S. District Court (C.D. Cal.)
- U.S. District Court (E.D. Cal.)
- U.S. District Court (N.D. Cal.)
- U.S. District Court (S.D. Cal.)
- J.D. (2001) University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall)
- B.A. (1996) University of Michigan
- Recipient, American Jurisprudence Award for Legislative Policy Analysis
- Named “Barrister of the Year” (2006) by the Bar Association of San Francisco
Memberships and Affiliations
- Bar Association of San Francisco’s Judiciary Committee — screened potential judicial appointees
- Statewide Resolutions Committee for the Conference of California Bar Associations (chair 2014)
- Golden Gate University School of Law — adjunct professor (2008-2009)
- Barristers Club of San Francisco — president (2009); Board of Directors (2008-2009)
- Balboa High School’s Constitutional Rights Foundation Mock Trial Team — head coach (2005-2008)