James B. Insco


  • Office Contact Info
  • Biography

    James B. Insco II is a partner in the Pittsburgh and Louisville offices of GRSM and is a member of the Environmental/Toxic Tort and Tort & Product Liability practice groups. He practices in a variety of areas, including complex commercial litigation, toxic torts/asbestos defense, and defense of product liability claims for a diverse group of manufacturing entities. In that role, he has defended claims against variety of premises owners and product manufacturers and has been responsible for securing a number of significant defense rulings on summary judgment. He also supervises the defense of toxic tort claims against firm clients in a number of active jurisdictions, including Pennsylvania and West Virginia. He has key experience with and an understanding of the factual record surrounding the uses of equipment and asbestos-containing products by the United States Navy, and is responsible for coordinating the defense of the firm’s toxic tort clients in claims involving alleged maritime exposures. He has significant experience as trial counsel and has served in that role on trial teams.

    James counsels clients with respect to manned and unmanned aviation issues. He holds both a pilot certificate and remote pilot certificate. He has advised clients developing compliance programs for commercial unmanned aircraft operations, developed vendor contracting documents for unmanned aircraft services, and assisted clients with regulatory compliance, post-incident crisis management and insurance matters for manned aircraft. James has also counseled clients with respect to manufacturing aviation products pursuant to FAA Technical Standard Orders.

    James is also a Certified Fraud Examiner and uses that skill set in his work advising clients on governmental compliance issues and while conducting internal investigations.


    • Kentucky
    • Pennsylvania
    • U.S. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania
    • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Kentucky
    • U.S. District Court, Western District of Kentucky
  • Practice Areas
  • Representative Experience
    • Represented a midstream crude oil wholesaler in a commercial contract dispute with a refinery and bonding agent in Kentucky.
    • Supervise network of local counsel to manage client’s portfolio of toxic tort claims pending in multiple jurisdictions, which included setting strategies, budgets, and performance metrics for those jurisdictional counsel. 
    • Tried asbestos claims litigated to verdict in California, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. 
    • Started trial in approximately thirty additional asbestos claims in California, Illinois, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Virginia. 
    • Represented a mining company defending claim by former employee alleging his exposures to sub-surface pollution caused his malignancy.  The case involved interesting workers compensation immunity and causation issues. 


    • Conducted internal investigation into a fatal maritime accident at the request of an independent committee of the board of directors for a barge company.
    • Counseled telecommunication company regarding FAA compliance for commercial use of unmanned aircraft systems, and developed protocol for their experimental testing of unmanned aircraft technology.
    • Developed standard vendor contracting documents for real estate developer’s use with unmanned aircraft service providers.
    • Conducted internal investigation of an aerospace client to ascertain their compliance with Japanese import laws and recommended remedial policies as appropriate. 
    • Conducted compliance audit for a client’s multi-aircraft fleet aviation program and completed various abatement steps to ensure their compliance under Part 91 of the Federal Aviation Regulations.
    • Conducted due diligence evaluations of potential mass tort liabilities of client’s target merger entities.
    • Represented a client during the course of an FCC investigation of that client and similarly situated companies in their field. 
  • Publications & Presentations
    • Safe Separation: New Study Provides Objective Collision Avoidance Guidance for Unmanned Aircraft Flights (July 2017)
    • Drone Operators Should Prepare For Inevitable Tort Claims, available at https://www.law360.com/articles/907208/drone-operators-should-prepare-for-inevitable-tort-claims (March 2017)
    • New Commercial Drone Rules Take Flight:  Understanding Implications, Opportunities, and What’s Next (June 2016)
    • Five Issues Employers Should Consider with OSHA’s New Workplace Injuries and Illnesses Reporting Rule (June 2016)
    • New Era of Commercial Drone Operations Cleared for Takeoff (June 2016)
    • SkyPan:  FAA Takes Drone Enforcement Seriously, available at http://www.law360.com/articles/730595/skypan-faa-takes-drone-enforcement-seriously (Nov. 25, 2015)
    • FAA Proposes Generally Favorable Rules for Unmanned Aircraft; Seeks Comment on Need for Flexibility and MicroUAS Rules (February 2015)
    • The FAA Asks Local and State Law Enforcement for Help Enforcing Its Unmanned Aircraft Policies (January 2015)
    • FAA Allows First Commercial Operations of Unmanned Aircraft Systems in Continental United States (October 2014)
    • Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Oil and Gas Operations (July 2014)
    • The FAA’s “Regulations” Pertaining to Unmanned Aircraft Systems (April 2014)
  • Education


    J.D., cum laude, Duke University School of Law, 2003

    • Duke Journal on Comparative and International Law

    LL.M., Duke University School of Law, 2003

    B.A., cum laude, Wake Forest University, 2000


    Best Lawyers in America® distinction in Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions - Defendants and Product Liability Litigation - Defendants (2024)