James R. Lance | Civil Litigation Law Firm | NoonanLance
A founding partner of NoonanLance, James (Jim) Lance is an experienced trial attorney who represents both plaintiffs and defendants. Lance has tried cases in federal and state court for both plaintiffs and defendants, and has obtained several verdicts, judgments and settlements in excess of $1 million for his clients. In 2013, Lance accepted admission in the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), an organization which required the equivalent of 20 jury trials to verdict before he could be considered for membership.
James, Lance, attorneys
page-template-default,page,page-id-603,page-child,parent-pageid-533,bridge-core-3.1.1,qode-page-transition-enabled,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,qode_grid_1300,footer_responsive_adv,qode-content-sidebar-responsive,qode-child-theme-ver-1.0.0,qode-theme-ver-30.2,qode-theme-bridge,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-7.6,vc_responsive

James R. Lance

“Our focus is to ensure our clients have an advocate continuously evaluating their options to achieve the best possible outcome.”

Relationship Focused.

James Lance is an experienced trial attorney who has represented both plaintiffs and defendants for over 37 years. He regularly represents defendants in bet-the-company litigation, and has obtained several 7 and 8 figure verdicts, judgments and settlements for personal injury and commercial plaintiffs. Lance obtained an award of more than $12 million in early 2024 for an individual plaintiff asserting an employment claim. In addition to the commercial matters, Lance routinely represents individuals asserting serious personal injury and wrongful death claims.

Lance has been selected by his peers as a “Top 50” attorney in San Diego since 2019 and has been a member of the American Board of Trial Attorneys (ABOTA) since 2013. He served on the ABOTA membership committee for several years and, in 2024, became the president of San Diego ABOTA. Lance serves on the board of directors for CAL-ABOTA, which serves eight California ABOTA chapters and the Hawaii chapter. He also is a board member of the William B. Enright Chapter of the American Inns of Court.

Lance is very active in the community. He coached youth football and baseball for more than 15 years, and presently spearheads a program at an underserved high school in Southeast San Diego, which holds monthly meetings on campus to provide students with information/mentoring for career opportunities in the legal field, potential internships and oral argument competitions


701 Island Avenue, Suite 400
San Diego, CA 92101

Contact Info

Email: jlance@noonanlance.com
Phone: 619-557-4416
Fax: 619-780-0877

  • Washington & Lee University, J.D., (magna cum laude, 4th in graduating class), 1986
  • Missouri State University, B.S., (summa cum laude), 1983
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern Missouri
  • U.S. District Court, Southern Illinois
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Southern California
  • U.S. District Court, Central California
  • U.S. District Court, Northern California
  • U.S. District Court, Colorado
  • U.S. Supreme Court
Professional Memberships and Activities
  • Association of Business Trial Lawyers (President of San Diego Chapter: 2024, Vice President: 2023, Treasurer: 2022, Secretary: 2021, Board Member: 2020, Membership Committee: 2015-2018, Member: 2013-present)
  • Consumer Attorneys of San Diego (Member: 1996-2008, 2024; Products Liability Articles Editor-Trial Bar News: 1999-2006)
  • Enright Inns of Court (Member: 2015-present, Board Member: 2024-present)
  • Association of Business Trial Lawyers (Member: 2000-present, Board of Governors: 2011-2012)
Awards & Recognition
  • “Best Wrongful Death Lawyers in San Diego,” Forbes Advisor: 2024
  • Commercial Litigation, Best Lawyers: 2013-2024
  • Real Estate Litigation, Best Lawyers: 2019-2024
  • Legal Malpractice Law – Defendants, Best Lawyers: 2020, 2023, 2024
  • Construction Litigation, Best Lawyers: 2024
  • Business Litigation, Super Lawyers: 2007-2010, 2013-2024
  • Top 50 Southern California Super Lawyers – San Diego Edition: 2019-2024
  • “Top Rated Lawyers in Real Estate Law,” American Lawyer Media: 2012, 2015
  • “Best of the Bar,” San Diego Business Journal: 2015, 2016
  • “Top Attorney: Corporate Litigation,” The San Diego Daily Transcript: 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013
  • “Top Influential,” The San Diego Daily Transcript: 2011, 2015
  • “Top Lawyers,” San Diego Magazine: 2014-2018
  • AV® Peer Review rating, Martindale-Hubbell International Law Directory: Since 2013
Litigation Practice Areas & Notable Cases
Complex Commercial
  • Carr, et al. v. Emerald Bay Financial: Trial
    Obtained a judgment for $5,086,688 on behalf of 31 Plaintiffs in a 2.5-week securities trial in San Diego Superior Court. Lance successfully proved claims of fraud, constructive fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, financial elder abuse, violations of business and professions code §17200 and violations of California securities laws. Before trial, he was able to secure settlements and a stipulated judgment from other defendants for several million dollars.
  • United National Maintenance v. San Diego Convention Center Corporation: Trial
    Obtained a unanimous verdict against the San Diego Convention Center Corporation (SDCCC) in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. After a six-week trial, in which his client challenged a convention center policy as anti-competitive, the jury returned a verdict finding SDCCC intentionally interfered with several of United National’s contracts and awarded damages of $747,886. The case is before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals at present.
  • AccuCom Wireless Services, Inc. v. Cubic Communications, Inc.: Arbitration
    Represented AccuCom – a startup company in the emerging field of wireless location determination technology –that had contracted with Cubic Communications to design software and hardware for beta testing so the company could attract investment capital and establish customer relationships with wireless carriers. The equipment did not perform to specifications and ultimately led to AccuCom going out of business. AccuCom filed an arbitration claim against Cubic for breach of contract. Cubic denied liability and filed a counterclaim against AccuCom to collect on an $850,000 promissory note. A three member arbitration panel awarded damages of $1.4 million plus 10 percent interest from the date of the claim, cancellation of the note from AccuCom to Cubic in the amount of $850,000 and certain intellectual property rights. Judgment was entered by the San Diego Superior Court in excess of $1.6 million.
  • SunPro Protective Films v. Manufacturer Y, et al.: Settlement
    Represented a distributor of window film in a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the film and one of the competing distributors. The lawsuit alleged that the manufacturer had supplied defective film and that the defendants had conspired to terminate the plaintiff’s distribution agreement. The case settled before trial for more than $5.5 million.
Real Estate
  • Real Estate Partnership Lawsuit: Settlement
    Represented two of the four partners in a real estate development project in downtown San Diego. The partnership was formed to develop a mixed-use project, which would include a nationally known entertainment venue. The defendants, the other partners in the project, secretly negotiated with a third party to expand the project to include a hotel. The defendants then transferred real property from the partnership to another entity formed with the third party. One of the primary hurdles in the case related to damages, which were necessarily based on potential lost profits. At the time of the settlement, five days before trial, the project had not obtained financing and construction had not begun. Despite these problems with the case, Lance obtained a $1.9 million settlement for the plaintiffs.
  • Real Estate Developer Defense & Cross-Complaint: Settlement
    Defended a national real estate developer in a lawsuit by seven homeowners who alleged their homes were uninhabitable due to landslide and other soils issues. Orchestrated repurchase of homes with plaintiffs’ counsel, repair of landslide, repair/resale of homes and cross-complaint against subcontractors and home builder. The cost of the repairs and repurchase was several millions of dollars. After the cross-complaints were settled, developer client was fully reimbursed for all of its costs, fees and expenses.
  • Owner of Hotel & Commercial Property in La Jolla: Settlement of Several Lawsuits & Sale of Property
    Represented 50% owner of Hotel and Commercial Property in several lawsuits over ownership, operation and sale. Lance was able to extricate client from all claims/lawsuits and assist in finalizing the  sale of the Hotel and Commercial Property for tens of millions of dollars.
  • Wailes v. Huttig Sash & Door: Trial
    Represented Defendant Huttig Sash & Door in a product liability action in which the plaintiffs alleged the windows in their ocean front home were defective. The plaintiffs’ lowest demand to settle the case was $215,000. Huttig made a statutory offer of $30,000. After a six-day trial, a San Diego Superior Court jury awarded the plaintiffs only $25,556. In light of the fact that the verdict was less than the statutory offer, defendants settled for a “walk away” before judgment was entered.
Serious Personal Injury/ Wrongful Death
  • Minor Plaintiff v. Hospital X: Settlement
    Settled a medical malpractice case against a hospital for the failure to treat bacterial meningitis, which resulted in severe neurological injuries to a five-year-old girl. The case settled for $2.8 million prior to trial.
  • Chappell v. McDonnell Douglas: Trial
    Represented client, Chappell, in a five-week trial against a helicopter manufacturer for serious injuries suffered while working for Star-Kist on a tuna boat. The client was flying the helicopter when it began to shake violently and crashed into the South Pacific. Lance represented him in a product liability action against the defendant, McDonnell Douglas, claiming that the main rotor hub assembly was defective, which caused the main rotor blade to depart. The helicopter sank immediately after the crash and was never recovered. Douglas argued that the helicopter was not defective, that no blade loss occurred and that Chappell was solely responsible for the crash. The case was tried in San Diego Superior Court, and the jury awarded Chappell damages in excess of $2.7 million.
  • Estate of John Doe v. ABC Corporation: Settlement
    Represented the family of a San Diego man who was killed in a helicopter accident, and was able to secure a settlement of more than $3.8 million for the widow and her three sons.
  • Cacanindin v. United States of America, et al.: Settlement
    Obtained an outstanding settlement in a very tragic and difficult case. Lance represented the family of an eight-year-old boy who was struck and killed in a crosswalk in Temecula while rollerblading with his father and brother. The driver was a diabetic who went into insulin shock and ran a red light. Unfortunately, he had no assets and limited insurance. The driver was from New York and had been treated by the VA Medical Center in Syracuse for his diabetes and a heart condition. The physicians in Syracuse prescribed a medication that could potentially block the symptoms of low blood sugar and allow a patient to go into insulin shock without notice. Lance traveled to New York and was able to secure very damaging admissions from the VA physicians. He filed a lawsuit against the driver and the U.S. (under the Federal Tort Claims Act) based on the actions of the VA physicians. The case involved very difficult factual and legal issues. After extensive investigation and discovery, Lance was able to obtain $874,000 for the family from the U.S., and the $100,000 policy limits from the driver, for a total of $974,000
  • September 11th Victim Compensation Fund: Arbitration
    Volunteered to represent two families who were victims of the September 11 attacks. He and another partner at the firm presented the claims at evidentiary hearings held in New York City as part of the Trial Lawyers Care Program.
  • Freitas v. Star-Kist: Trial
    Represented plaintiff Mark Freitas related to personal injuries he suffered while working as a chief engineer on a tuna boat owned by Star-Kist. Freitas sustained a lumbar strain when a floorboard broke and gave way on the M/V Tifaimoana. The case was tried before a jury in San Diego Superior Court. Although Freitas had no objective evidence of injury (MRI, x-rays and nerve conduction study were all negative), the jury returned a verdict in the amount of $1,075,000.
  • Serious Injuries to 90-year-old Client: Settlement
    NoonanLance Partner James Lance and associate Genevieve Ruch secured a $3,000,000 settlement for a 90-year-old client who suffered significant injuries in an automobile accident. The client had pre-existing health issues but was very active for her age before the accident. With the settlement, the client will be able to afford full-time care for the rest of her life.
Class Action
  • Morgan v. Doe Insurance Co: Trial
    Tried a class action for six weeks against a national insurance company related to fees changed for administering retirement funds of San Diego County government employees. The San Diego Superior Court found that the lawsuit triggered the company to eliminate significant fees and charges. The employees saved millions of dollars in fees, and the court awarded more than $600,000in attorneys’ fees and costs.
  • Class Action Defense for Telecommunications Company: Settlement
    Defended start-up telecommunications company in class action file by Milberg Weiss alleging stock fraud and market manipulations, and was able to secure excellent settlement for client.
  • Collins, et al. v. American Honda: Settlement
    Successfully prosecuted Honda in nationwide, class-action transmission defects case. Honda agreed to provide a transmission-replacement program to settle the case, which was valued at more than $180 million.
  • Wage & Hour Class Action: Settlement
    Pursued a class action lawsuit against a national company for failing to pay the business expense of its employees engaged in outside sales. The case settled in 2011, with the average class member receiving more than $4,200 for a total settlement of $4 million.
  • Bennett v. Chugai Pharmaceuticals: Settlement
    Prosecuted a securities class action filed in the Federal District Court in San Diego. The case ultimately settled for $6.5 million.
Additional Practice Areas

Lance is ready to help anyone with a significant legal problem. In addition to the practice areas above, he also has experience in matters of antitrust, securities, products liability, trademark and much more. For example, Lance represented a San Diego-based computer newsletter company against a national computer information company in a lawsuit alleging trademark infringement. The defendant had used the same title for an internet publication as that used by the plaintiff. Although the title was not registered at the time, plaintiff’s claim was based on common law trademark infringement. Defendant argued that the trademark was merely descriptive and not protectable. In addition, defendant argued that it had only secured 12 paid subscriptions, and there was no evidence of confusion; therefore, the plaintiff had not been damaged. Lance was able to secure a $1 million settlement before trial.