James Cardenas



James Cardenas is a partner in the New York office of Lewis Brisbois and a member of the Architects & Engineers Practice. Mr. Cardenas frequently reviews contracts for design professionals vetting them for unfavorable clauses and ensuring that the parties’ intentions are clearly conveyed by the language being utilized. Contract reviews are performed in short form touching upon major categories only in a limited one hour review or can consist of complete review and drafting of entire agreements. Mr. Cardenas also participates in servicing a 24 hour telephone hotline providing quick answers and solutions to select Architects and Engineers who are covered by the program. Mr. Cardenas also handles a significant number of construction defect claims against owner/developers, construction management firms, design professionals and general contractors throughout NY and NJ. Additionally, he continues to maintain a significant case load of various general negligence defense matters throughout NY and NJ.

Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Cardenas was an Of Counsel attorney to a boutique firm specializing in the representation of design professionals. This position involved representing architectural and engineering clients in defense of formal claims, as well as, pre-claim matters under a loss prevention program. This program sought to counsel clients on early avoidance of risk through planning and to provide critical assistance to clients in navigating the pitfalls of potential liability once the initial signs of a claim became known.

Throughout his career, Mr. Cardenas has gained invaluable experience appearing before numerous administrative agencies in NY and NJ including the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, NY State Division of Human Rights, NYC Division of Human Rights, NJ Division on Civil Rights, NJ State Dept. of Labor, NJ Division of Wage and Hour Compliance, NJ Office of Attorney Ethics, The NY State Office of the Professions, NYC Dept. of Transportation, NYC Department of Buildings, NYC Department of Investigations, and the NYC Movable Bridges Division. Relevant administrative agency hearings have included attempts by Federal, State and City Agencies to revoke and/or suspend a practitioners license to practice. Other hearings have involved agency attempts to rescind and/or revoke special inspections privileges whereby practitioners were certifying the completion of work by contractors on behalf of the Owner. While in law school at Rutgers University, he participated in a Federal Court Judicial Externship with U.S. Magistrate Joel B. Rosen and was a Philadelphia Pro Bono Bankruptcy Clinic Volunteer.

Mr. Cardenas previously worked for the better part of ten (10) years as a trial attorney with a 50 attorney law firm defending corporate clients under their commercial lines and employment practices lines policies. His case load included matters involving claims of product liability, construction site accident injuries, automobile and trucking liability defense, general negligence matters and the representation of management in defense of employee workplace harassment and discrimination lawsuits.

Mr. Cardenas also has extensive Appellate experience having briefed numerous successful appeals before the New York Appellate Divisions for the First and Second Department, the New Jersey Appellate Division and the New Jersey Supreme Court. In 2003, Mr. Cardenas participated in oral argument before the New Jersey Supreme Court on a successful appeal dealing with the New Jersey Charitable Immunities Statute and the related common law rules concerning application of the doctrine to a qualified religious organization which is engaged in commercial or quasi-commercial activity.

Primary Area(s) of Practice

  • Professional Liability
  • Architects & Engineers


New Jersey State Court

New York State Court

Federal District Court of New Jersey

Federal Southern District Court of New York

Federal Eastern District Court of New York

Second Circuit Court of Appeals of United States

United States Supreme Court


  • Professional Liability Underwriters Society
  • NY Bar Association
  • NJ Bar Association
  • Hunterdon County NJ Bar Association

Professional Presentations

  • Featured Speaker at AIA Newark Suburban quarterly meeting at Business Environments location in Parsippany, New Jersey in June 2016 presenting AIA approved CEU course on “Standard of Care and Limitation of Liability Contractual Provisions”
  • Presented “E-Discovery Updates” seminar to audience of insurance industry claims executives and brokers at the prestigious Union League Club of Philadelphia, September 2012
  • Westchester/Putnam County Society of Professional Engineers seminar “E-Discovery Update," 2012
  • New York State Society of Professional Engineers, approved seminar provider “E-Discovery for Architect & Engineers," 2011
  • American Institute of Architects approved seminar provider “E-Discovery for Architect & Engineers," 2009
  • New York CLE approved seminar provider “E-Discovery for Architects & Engineers," 2009
  • Guest seminar provider “Pitfalls of New Jersey Practice for the A/E Lawyer” to an audience of attorneys specializing in monitoring claims against A/E professionals in all 50 States, 2008


Rutgers University School of Law

Juris Doctor, 1997

Arizona State University

Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, 1993

Representative Cases

  • LBK and Goodyear v. State of NJ, et al July/2008 settlement entered after 3 weeks of trial in engineering and construction defect case where my client contributed 18.5% towards global settlement amount.
  • Oniszczuk v. Alfredo La Manna Trucking, Inc. March/2008 damages only trial with verdict for $162,500 less than plaintiff’s settlement demand.
  • Moscato v. Sackman Enterprises and Eland Realty LLC October/2006 extremely favorable settlement agreed to by all parties while waiting for a verdict after completion of 3 week trial and 3 full days of jury deliberation.
  • Mashriqi v. Kingsland Leasing Corp. August/2006 defense verdict with zero damages awarded to plaintiff who had made settlement demand of $500,000.
  • Butts v. York Hunter Construction Group October/2005 directed verdict in favor of our general contractor client resulting in a dismissal of all claims.
  • GEICO v. US Fire Insurance Company April/2005 favorable verdict on a bench trial for claims alleging failure to properly cancel and/or non-renew a policy of insurance in compliance with controlling regulations.
  • Pagano v. JEMS Realty Group, LLC December/2004 defense verdict with zero damages awarded to plaintiff who made a settlement demand of $375,000. Plaintiff referred to Queen County Prosecutor’s Office for insurance fraud after investigation located witness who testified that plaintiff concocted the version of events testified to at both deposition and trial.
  • Benton v. 673 Realty Corp and S.L. Green Realty March/2004 favorable verdict on third-party complaint for contractual and common law indemnification against hospital tenant based upon terms of leasehold agreement with property owner.
  • Some Highlights of Mr. Cardenas’ trial experience can be reviewed in articles published in the NY Jury Verdict Reporter November, 2004, August, 2006 and March, 2008 editions.