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James N. Markels joined Jackson & Campbell in 2010 as an Associate in the Firm’s Real Property & Asset Management, and General Litigation Practice Groups, where he handles a wide variety of civil lawsuits and appeals. Before J&C, James was a litigator in McLean, Virginia, where he represented businesses before state and federal courts in matters involving contracts, trade secrets, employment law, landlord-tenant law, and bankruptcy. He also has experience in litigating insurance coverage and tort matters. James was selected as a Super Lawyer® for Appellate, Civil Litigation, and Real Property Law by Super Lawyers Magazine, published by Thomson Reuters, in 2015, 2016 and 2017, and was a “Super Lawyer®: Rising Star” in 2014. James also has an AV Preeminent™ rating from Martindale-Hubbell®.

James is an active member of the Fairfax Bar Association and a Fairfax native. He has organized and moderated several CLEs, currently serves as Chairman for the FBA’s CLE Committee, and received the Fairfax Bar Association 2013 President’s Award for outstanding service to the bar. Pursuant to his love of appellate practice, he publishes same-day summaries of noteworthy opinions issued by the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the D.C. and Fourth Circuits, and the Virginia Supreme Court for the public, which are available here. He is an editor of the D.C. Superior Court Civil Practice Manual, and an arbitrator for the D.C. Attorney/Client Arbitration Board.

James received his J.D., cum laude, from George Mason University School of Law, where he was an associate editor of the Civil Rights Law Journal and a member of the Moot Court Board. He also served as the school’s Honor Committee Chairman for two years. James received a B.S. in Telecommunications from Ohio University.

  • March 2018
    Court Rejects Fifth Circuit’s “Substantial Need” Test For Funding Under 18 U.S.C. sec. 3599(f)

    Under 18 U.S.C. sec. 3599(f), a defendant charged with a crime punishable by death can petition the trial court for funds that would be “reasonably necessary” for investigative, expert, or other services needed for the defense. In Ayestas v. Davis, a man sentenced to death made such a petition to support his federal habeas claim for ineffective assistance of... Read More >

  • March 2018
    Government Must Prove Specific Interference With Targeted Tax-Related Proceedings For Tax Obstruction Charge

    IRS code makes it a crime under 26 U.S.C. sec. 7212(a) to “obstruct or impede, or endeavor to obstruct or impede, the due administration of” the Internal Revenue Code, either “corruptly or by force or threats of force.” The IRS investigated Carlo Marinello, and ultimately charged him with several violations of the tax code, including for tax obstruction under Section... Read More >

  • March 2018
    Court Permits State Court Jurisdiction Over Securities Class Actions

    In Cyan, Inc. v. Beaver County Employees Retirement Fund, the Fund purchased shares in Cyan which then declined in value, prompting the Fund and others to file a class action suit against Cyan in state court under the Securities Act of 1933. Cyan argued that the Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act of 1998, as it amended the 1933 Act,... Read More >

  • March 2018
    DC Super-Priority Lien on a Condo Cannot Foreclose Subject to First Priority Mortgage

    Following from its decision in Chase Plaza Condominium Assoc. v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, 98 A.3d 166 (DC 2014), in which the DC Court of Appeals held that a DC condominium foreclosing on its statutory six-month super-priority lien could by law extinguish an otherwise first-priority mortgage when the proceeds of the sale were insufficient to satisfy that mortgage, the Court was... Read More >

  • March 2018
    Collective Bargaining Agreements Must Be Interpreted Under Ordinary Principles of Contract Law

    In a per curiam opinion in CNH Industrial N.V. v. Reese, the Court reversed the Sixth Circuit’s decision to apply its precedent to render a collective bargaining agreement ambiguous as a matter of law. In a previous case, M&G Polymers USA, LLC v. Tackett, 574 U.S. ___ (2015), the Court required the Sixth Circuit to interpret such agreements using... Read More >

  • March 2018
    Prisoner’s Attorneys’ Fee Award Must First Come From The Judgment

    Murphy v. Smith Under 42 U.S.C. sec. 1997e(d)(2), a prisoner who prevails in a civil rights suit, and receives an attorneys’ fee award, has a portion of his judgment, not to exceed 25 percent, applied to that award. When Charles Murphy won his suit against two prison guards, the district court ordered that Murphy pay ten percent of his attorney’s... Read More >

  • March 2018
    Court Restricts Collections Efforts Under Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act

    In Rubin v. Islamic Republic of Iran, certain parties obtained a judgment against Iran under the state sponsors of terrorism exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. They then sought to enforce that judgment against Iranian historical artifacts housed at the University of Chicago. The district court declined to permit the attachment, and the Seventh Circuit affirmed. The Court,... Read More >

  • March 2018
    Guilty Plea Does Not Bar A Constitutional Challenge To Conviction

    Class v. United States When Rodney Class was indicted for possessing firearms in his locked vehicle parked at the U.S. Capitol, he moved to dismiss on the basis that the law violated his Second Amendment and Due Process rights under the Constitution. The district court declined Class’ motion, and he entered into a written plea agreement, which did not expressly... Read More >

  • March 2018
    Court Reads Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Law Narrowly, Excludes Internal Whistleblower

    Digital Realty Trust, Inc. v. Somers In 2014, Paul Somers, a vice president for a real estate investment trust, reported to senior management several suspected securities-law violations by the trust. He was subsequently terminated. He brought suit claiming protection as a whistleblower as defined under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, which defines whistleblowers as... Read More >

  • March 2018
    United States Permitted To Intervene In Water Dispute Between States

    In an original action concerning water rights agreed to between several states under the Rio Grande Compact, Texas argued that New Mexico was permitting its users to siphon off more water than the Compact permitted. The United States sought to intervene, making the same claims as Texas, in part because New Mexico’s actions depleted a reservoir through which the Government... Read More >

  • March 2018
    Insider Status In Bankruptcy Reviewed For Clear Error, Not De Novo

    In U.S. Bank, N.A. v. Village at Lakeridge, LLC, the Village petitioned for Chapter 11 bankruptcy with two primary creditors, U.S. Bank and an insider owner. It needed consent to enter into a “cramdown” reorganization plan, but U.S. Bank refused to consent, and the insider was statutorily unable to provide consent. To fix the problem, the insider owner transferred... Read More >

  • February 2018
    Immigrants Detained By The Government Not Entitled To Bond Hearings

    Under immigration law, applicants for admission to the United States may be detained by the Government until certain proceedings have concluded. Nothing in the applicable statutes limit the duration of detention, nor mention bond hearings. In Jennings v. Rodriguez, an immigrant filed a habeas corpus suit arguing that he should be entitled to a bond hearing once his detention... Read More >

  • February 2018
    Fractured Court Acknowledges Congress’ Power To Abridge Court Jurisdiction Mid-Case

    While a case was pending in federal district court regarding a taking of land into trust on behalf of an Indian Tribe, Congress passed the Gun Lake Trust Land Reaffirmation Act, which provided that suits relating to the land “shall not be filed or maintained in a Federal court and shall be promptly dismissed.” The plaintiff argued that the law... Read More >

  • February 2018
    Court Narrows Bankruptcy Safe Harbor Provision

    In Merit Management Group, LP v. FTI Consulting, Inc., the Court addressed 11 U.S.C. sec. 548(e), which allows bankruptcy trustees to set aside and recover certain transfers for the benefit of the bankruptcy estate, but not a “settlement payment . . . made by or to (or for the benefit of) a . . . financial institution . ... Read More >

  • February 2018
    DC Circuit Reverses Attempt At Currency Conversion Through Rule 59(e)

    The case of Leidos, Inc. v. Hellenic Republic is a study in “be careful what you wish for.” After requesting an arbitration award in euros, and obtaining a judgment from the federal district court confirming that award in euros, Leidos, Inc. moved under Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e) to convert that award to U.S. dollars, nunc pro tunc to... Read More >

  • February 2018
    Southern District Heightens Lawyers’ Duties in Preventing Spoliation of Evidence by Clients

    In Industrial Quick Search, Inc. et al. v. Miller, Rosado & Algois, LLP et al., January 2, 2018, the Southern District of New York issued a decision underscoring the importance of lawyers paying early attention to the need for imposing “litigation holds,” being proactive in ensuring compliance with such holds, and making a clear record of steps taken with... Read More >

  • January 2018
    Challenges to EPA “Waters of the United States” Rule Must Be Filed In Federal District Court

    The Clean Water Act limits the discharge of pollutants into “navigable waters,” which is defined by Congress as “the waters of the United States.” The EPA issued a Rule to define that term. While most agency rules are properly challenged in the federal district courts, the Act required challenges to rules issuing “any effluent limitation” or “issuing or denying any... Read More >

  • January 2018
    Court Holds That Tolling Statute “Stopped The Clock” On State Law Claims, Instead Of Providing A “Grace Period”

    In Artis v. District of Columbia, Artis filed a suit against D.C. in federal court with a federal discrimination claim and some state claims. Two and a half years later, the district court dismissed the federal claim, and with it dismissed the state claims for lack of jurisdiction. Under 28 USC sec. 1367(d), the “period of limitations” for re-filing the... Read More >

  • January 2018
    Court Finds Probable Cause To Arrest Partygoers For Unlawful Entry

    When police officers busted a raucous party being held in a vacant house, some of the partygoers said that “Peaches” owned the house and allowed the party. On the phone, though, Peaches admitted she had no such authority, and the true owner told police he had never given anyone permission to be there. The officers arrested the partygoers for violating... Read More >

  • November 2017
    Supreme Court Clarifies Which Deadlines Are Jurisdictional

    In Hamer v. Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago, the Court, in a unanimous opinion by Justice Ginsburg, set forth a clear and easy way to tell whether a deadline is jurisdictional, and cannot be waived or extended, or is merely a “claim-processing rule” that can be extended: deadlines provided by statute are jurisdictional, while deadlines provided by court rules are... Read More >

  • June 2017
    Court Provides Guide For Defining Property In A Takings Case

    St. Croix has a regulation that prohibits the owners of two neighboring properties along the St. Croix River from being separately sold or built upon unless each property has at least an acre of developable land. The Murrs owned two such parcels, each with less than an acre available to be developed. The Murrs wanted to sell one of the... Read More >

  • June 2017
    Court Rules That District Courts Can Hear Mixed Cases Dismissed For Lack Of Jurisdiction, Over Justice Gorsuch’s First Dissent

    In Perry v. Merit Systems Protection Board, the Court had to determine which federal court could hear an appeal from the Board’s decision that it lacked jurisdiction to hear a federal employee’s case. When Perry was fired from his job with the U.S. Census Bureau, he claimed discrimination (making his case a “mixed” one), but then signed a settlement agreeing... Read More >

  • June 2017
    Court Applies Five-Year Limitations Period to SEC Disgorgement Actions

    In Kokesh v. Securities and Exchange Commission, the SEC sought to force Kokesh to disgorge millions he had misappropriated from various businesses from 1995 to 2009. While the Supreme Court had long held that a five-year limitations period applied to any SEC “action, suit or proceeding for the enforcement of any civil fine, penalty, or forfeiture,” the district court held... Read More >

  • June 2017
    Supreme Court Limits Government's Power to Seize Personal Property

    The Comprehensive Forfeiture Act mandates forfeiture of “any property constituting, or derived from, any proceeds the person obtained, directly or indirectly, as the result of” certain drug crimes. After brothers Tony and Terry Honeycutt were indicted for such drug crimes for selling a particular chemical through a hardware store Tony owned, Tony pled guilty and agreed to forfeit the bulk... Read More >

  • June 2017
    An ERISA Church Pension Plan Need Not Be Established by a Church

    Originally, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act exempted “church plans” from a variety of rules designed to ensure solvency, and defined those plans as having been “established and maintained . . . for its employees . . . by a church.” Later, Congress amended this exception to include “a plan maintained by an organization . . . the principal purpose... Read More >

  • June 2017
    Court Affirms Virginia Court’s Application Of Juvenile Punishment Standards

    In Graham v. Florida, 560 U.S. 48 (2010), the Court held that juvenile defendants convicted of nonhomicide offenses could not be sentenced to life without parole. Virginia had already abolished parole and instead replaced it with a “geriatric release” program which allowed older inmates to receive conditional release. In Virginia v. LeBlanc, LeBlanc was sentenced to life in prison for... Read More >

  • June 2017
    Patent Holders May Not Use Federal Law To Issue Injunctions Against Applicants For Biosimilar Products

    The Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act of 2009 provides an abbreviated process for the FDA to approve drugs that are biosimilar to already licensed biological products. The Act, in part, requires an applicant for a biosimilar product to provide its application and manufacturing information to the patent holder within 20 days of the date the FDA notifies the applicant... Read More >

  • June 2017
    Court Again Limits Ability To Appeal Denial Of Class Certification

    Consumers who purchased Xbox 360s sued Microsoft both individually and as a class. The district court struck the class allegations, refusing to certify the class. The Ninth Circuit refused to hear the appeal of that ruling under Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(f), which allows such interlocutory appeals only by permission of the court of appeals. Instead of pursuing their individual... Read More >

  • June 2017
    Court Again Limits Forum-Shopping In Suits Against Nationwide Companies

    In Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of Cal., San Francisco City, a number of users of the drug Plavix sued the maker in California for alleged health problems caused by the drug, despite the fact that hardly any of the users lived in that state, and Bristol-Myers being incorporated in Delaware and headquartered in New York. None of the... Read More >

  • June 2017
    Supreme Court: Posting To Facebook Is A First Amendment Right

    A North Carolina law made it a felony for a registered sex offender “to access a commercial social networking Web site where the sex offender knows that the site permits minor children to become members or to create or maintain personal Web pages.” When a sex offender posted on Facebook about getting a traffic ticket dismissed, he was convicted and... Read More >

  • June 2017
    September 11 Detainees Denied A Bivens Action For Their Detention

    In Ziglar v. Abbasi, the Court was asked to extend the implied cause of action theories under Bivens v. Six Unknown Fed. Narcotics Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971) to alleged constitutional violations six men claimed to have suffered during detention shortly after the September 11 terrorist attacks. The Second Circuit permitted the claims to go forward against certain executive officials,... Read More >

  • June 2017
    Supreme Court Clarifies Expert Psychiatric Assistance In Indigent Defendant Cases

    The Court had previously held in Ake v. Oklahoma, 470 U.S. 68 (1985), that when an indigent defendant’s mental condition is relevant to his criminal culpability, the State must provide that defendant with access to a mental health expert who is sufficiently available to the defense, and independent from the prosecution, to conduct a psychiatric examination and “assist in evaluation,... Read More >

  • June 2017
    SCOTUS: Disparaging Trademarks Have First Amendment Protection

    The Lanham Act has a provision prohibiting the registration of trademarks that “disparage . . . or bring . . . into contemp[t] or disrepute” and “persons, living or dead.” Simon Tam, lead singer of the Japanese rock band “The Slants” sued when the band’s name was denied registration. The Federal Circuit held that the disparagement clause was facially unconstitutional... Read More >

  • June 2017
    Supreme Court Rejects Gender-Based Differentiation In Immigration Law

    The Immigration and Naturalization Act provided that a child born abroad to a father who was a U.S. citizen and a mother who was not was eligible for U.S. citizenship if the father had spent ten years in the U.S., with at least five of those years after turning 14. If the mother was the U.S. citizen, however, the mother... Read More >

  • June 2017
    Justice Gorsuch’s First Majority Opinion Is A Win For Debt Purchasers

    In Henson v. Santander Consumer USA, Inc., Justice Gorsuch authored the unanimous decision in a decidedly conversational tone, holding that an entity that purchases another’s debt and then seeks to collect that debt is not a “debt collector” under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and thus is not beholden to that Act’s strictures for debt collection. The Act defines... Read More >

  • June 2016
    VA: Foreclosure Purchasers Face New Potential Hurdle In Virginia

    In Parrish v. Federal National Mortgage Association, the Virginia Supreme Court ruled 5-2 that when a defendant raises a bona fide question of the plaintiff's title in an unlawful detainer/ejectment action before the General District Court, that court loses subject matter over the case and the plaintiff must vindicate its title in the Circuit Court, thereby creating another... Read More >