James H. Rodgers

Partner

  • location icon New York, NY
    77 Water Street
    Suite 2100
    New York, NY 10005

James Rodgers is a partner in the New York office of Lewis Brisbois and a vice-chair in the Admiralty, Maritime & Energy Litigation Practice. He focuses his practice in the areas of admiralty & maritime, general liability, and construction law.

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Legal Experience

American Bureau of Shipping & Affiliated Companies, Associate Counsel, 1993-1999

Publications

  • Suffolk Transnational Law Review, The Adoption of the Good Friday Agreement in the Republic of Ireland: Political Expediency v. The Irish Constitution, Winter 1999
  • UC Davis Journal of International Law & Policy, Extraterritorial Jurisdiction of U.S. Securities Laws: Application to Lloyd’s of London Membership Agreements, Fall 1998 issue
  • UCLA Journal of International Law and Foreign Affairs, The Continental Shelf of Ireland: The Law and Politics of Delimitation, Spring/Summer 1998 issue
  • Fairplay International Shipping Weekly (Law Review), Shipowners’ Duty Under The LHWCA, April 27, 1995
  • Fairplay International Shipping Weekly (Law Review), Immunity Under U.S. Coast Guard Reports, February 24, 1994
  • Fairplay International Shipping Weekly (Law Review), Hidden Liabilities, August 27, 1992

Representative Cases

  • Morales v. Hapag-Lloyd Aktiengesellschaft (America), et. al., 134 A.D. 3d 783 (2015), 21 N.Y.S. 3d 316, 2015 NY Slip Op 09079. This matter involved a longshoreman seriously injured when a container was lowered onto him during the loading of a container vessel in New York Harbor. The plaintiff’s claim against our client, the ship terminal, was dismissed by the appellate court. The Court agreed with our position that the ship terminal was the alter-ego of plaintiff’s employer (an affiliated company), and thus was immune from suit pursuant to the Federal Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). The LHWCA, among other things, bars suit against a longshoreman’s employer who has paid out LHWCA benefits. The appellate court also dismissed the shipowner’s cross-claim as against the ship terminal.
  • Kopetic v. The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, Supreme Court of New York, Bronx County, Index # 305797/2012, Decision and Order, dated April 12, 2018 (Hon. Norma Ruiz) Our client, a governmental entity who owns a container terminal in New York Harbor, was sued by an injured longshoreman who worked for the company operating the container terminal. The longshoreman had been in the process of lifting and moving a container on the pier when the top loader he was driving flipped over onto its side, causing injuries to plaintiff. The terminal operator has a long term lease with our client for the entire terminal. Under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA), plaintiff was precluded from bringing a claim against the terminal operator, as the operator was his employer who had paid out benefits under the LHWCA. Instead, plaintiff brought his claim for negligence against our client as owner of the terminal. We argued that under the lease between the owner of the terminal and the terminal operator, the owner was a “landlord out of possession” and could not be held liable under New York law. The Court agreed and dismissed the Complaint in its entirety. 

Military Experience

  • U.S. Navy
  • USS CONNOLE (FF-1056), Lieutenant 1982-1984; Anti-submarine Warfare Officer.
  • USS INCHON (LPH-12), Lieutenant, JG 1980-1982; Deck Officer.

Admissions

New York

New Jersey

Supreme Court of the United States

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

United States District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York

United States District Court for the District of New Jersey

Associations

  • Member, New York County Lawyers’ Association (NYCLA)
  • Chairman, NYCLA Admiralty and Maritime Law Committee, 2007-2014
  • Member, Construction Law Committee
  • Proctor Member, Maritime Law Association of the United States

Education

Fordham University School of Law, New York, New York

LL.M. International Business and Trade Law

New York Law School, New York, New York

Juris Doctor, Journal of International and Comparative Law

The Citadel, Charleston, South Carolina

Bachelor of Science, Business Administration

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