Attorney Jim Kramer is a shareholder at Simmons Hanly Conroy. He joined the firm in 2017 an accomplished trial attorney, having secured more than $35 million in verdicts for his clients. Jim focuses his practice on complex toxic tort litigation with a specialization in mesothelioma- and asbestos-related cases. His responsibilities include managing cases from inception through trial.
A Devoted Advocate
Jim knew from a young age that he wanted to be an attorney and devote his life to fighting on behalf of those who had been wronged by others.
“I have always been attracted to professions that allow people to help others in need,” he said. “Being a trial attorney allows me to do that. I truly consider myself a zealous advocate, one who genuinely enjoys fighting for those need a voice in their most difficult times.”
Jim brings this passion to every case he tries. One of the most important things to him in an attorney-client relationship is the personal connection forged between the two.
“I pride myself on my ability to form strong connections with my clients,” he said. “I understand that being involved in a legal case is not ideal, especially at such a rough time in their lives. It’s important to me that clients know that I am there for them at any time on any day. In my opinion, being an effective advocate doesn’t end with merely hearing about the facts of a client’s case. Being able to relate and connect with human beings who need their stories to be told is the most fundamental part of our profession. Even when my representation ends, I find that the bond I form with clients continues.”
Jim’s devotion to his clients is mirrored by the attention he gives to the details of each case.
“I always view every case from the perspective of a possible trial – what facts need to be brought out, where exposures might have occurred, and what legal outcomes we can anticipate and prepare for right from the start,” he said. “I genuinely enjoy the research and preparation that goes into making sure that a legal argument or trial will go as well as it can.”
A Proven History of Success
Before joining SHC, Jim was most recently a partner at a large New York firm where he led its Cosmetic Talc Litigation Department. While there, he secured two of New York’s only verdicts in favor of clients whose cases involves asbestos contamination from cosmetic talcum powder. His standout cases include:
- $60 million verdict against A.O Smith, Burnham, LLC, and Peerless Industries, Inc. Jim, along with fellow shareholder Daniel Blouin, secured an historic verdict in New York City against three boiler manufacturers on behalf of a former laborer. This case marks one of the highest verdicts for an individual with mesothelioma ever received in New York.
- $16.5 million verdict against Whittaker Clark & Daniels Inc. In this case, Jim tried and won the first case in New York involving peritoneal mesothelioma caused by exposure to asbestos-contaminated cosmetic talc.
- $7.3 million verdict against Union Carbide Corp. This verdict was secured on behalf of a retired truck driver with pleural mesothelioma.
- $7 million verdict against Whittaker Clark & Daniels Inc. This case marked the first verdict in New York involving asbestos-contaminated cosmetic talc.
- $7.8 million against Jenkins Brothers. In his first case with SHC, Kramer joined Attorney Dan Blouin in securing the sizable verdict on behalf of a retired welder living with pleural mesothelioma.
Other Representative Cases
Jim also has extensive appellate experience and has argued several times before the New York Appellate Division, achieving favorable decisions that have shaped asbestos litigation.
Some of his appellate experience, along with other representative trial cases, include:
New York Court of Appeals
- Finerty v. Abex Corp., APL-2015-00162
- Primary Author on brief in toxic tort case addressing the applicable standard where defendant corporation claims a piercing-the-corporate-veil standard versus products liability chain-of-distribution standard should apply
- Anticipated to argue (schedule to be set by the Court)
Appellate Division, First Department
- Berensmann v. 3M Co., 2013 N.Y. Misc.3d 5883 *1 (1st Dep’t Dec. 9, 2013)
- Primary author on successful appeal affirming summary judgment ruling in toxic tort case
- Argued appeal
- Matter of New York Asbestos Litig., 99 A.D.3d 410 (1st Dep’t 2012)
- Primary author on successful appeal affirming trial court’s order to consolidate plaintiffs’ cases in products liability suit alleging consumer product contamination
- Argued appeal
- Matter of New York Asbestos Litig., 87 A.D.3d 467 (1st Dep’t 2011)
- Primary Author on successful appeal affirming trial court’s order barring defendant from deposing plaintiff’s treating physicians in products liability case
- Argued appeal
New York Supreme Court, New York County
- Smith v. Consolidated Edison (2015) (Madden, J.)
- Lead trial attorney in premises liability action under Labor Law § 200
- Performed direct examinations of key fact and expert witnesses on issues ranging from damages to state of the art testimony
- Drafted and argued motions in limine as well as any legal issues that arose during the time of trial
- Feinberg v. Colgate-Palmolive Co., 34 Misc.3d 1243(A) (Mar. 22, 2012)
- Primary Author on successful brief opposing defendant’s motion claiming plaintiffs’ claims were preempted under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act
- Argued complex motion covering federal and state products liability issues
New Jersey Superior Court, Somerset County
- Fishbain v. Colgate-Palmolive Co. (2015) (Viscomi, J.)
- Lead counsel in N.J. Rule 104 Evidentiary Hearing on defendant’s motion to preclude expert testimony
- Conducted direct examination of plaintiff’s expert in environmental science on issues of microscopy
- Cross examined defense expert on scientific methods employed in examining microscopic talc particles for contamination
Jim received a B.A. in English from Rutgers University in 1999. He received his J.D. from Rutgers University School of Law in 2008. When he’s not practicing law, he is a frequent performer of improv comedy, which he’s participated in since the early 2000s. Since then, he’s performed at theaters in New York City, Washington D.C., and Philadelphia.