James G. Scadden


  • Office Contact Info
  • Biography

    James Scadden is a Partner in the Environmental/Toxic Tort Practice Group at Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani. His practice focuses on defending asbestos personal injury, benzene personal injury, Proposition 65 compliance cases, and other toxic exposure cases. James represents clients in all stages of litigation throughout California. He is acquainted with prominent plaintiff experts by way of examining them in depositions and trials and has also worked with notable defense experts in trial.

    Prior to joining GRSM, James was Partner and Chair of the Toxic Tort group of another San Francisco law firm. Before his tenure as Chair of Toxic Tort, James was the founder and Managing Partner of another California law firm where he handled all aspects of cases involving asbestos exposure, premises liability, professional negligence, and product liability cases for clients such as punch press manufacturers and elevator companies. 

    James has been trying cases to verdict since his first trial in 1980.  He has tried more than 80 cases to verdict in diverse fields of personal injury defense.   James has been handling asbestos matters since 1989, beginning with his defense of corporate members of the Center for Claims Resolution. He has tried numerous mesothelioma cases to verdict in diverse courthouses with his first verdict being in San Francisco in 1990.  His extensive trial work has provided the foundation for important appellate decisions that have shaped the law regarding asbestos cases, including:

    • Cossman v. Daimler Benz (2003) 108 Cal App 4th 370 re: the application of California's "borrowing statute," CCP Section 361
    • Volkswagen of America v. Superior Court (2006) 139 Cal App 4th 1481 re: discovery of bankruptcy trust claims
    • Andrews v. Foster Wheeler LLC (2006) 138 Cal.App.4th 96 re: inadequacy of reentrainment as a theory of product identification
    • McCann v. Foster Wheeler, LLC (Cal. Supreme Court Case No. S162435), argued Jan. 7, 2010 re: choice of law and the California "borrowing statute," CCP Section 361
    • Merrill v. Leslie Controls, (Cal Supreme Ct. No. S178957) review granted Feb. 3, 2010 re: liability for replacement parts and the products of others

    James is also trained as a mediator and is hired by both the courts and private parties to mediate disputes.  He has also sat as a judge pro tem and served as a court-appointed arbitrator for the San Francisco Superior Court.


    • California
    • Hawaii


    • Association of Defense Counsel of Northern California and Nevada
    • Defense Research Institute
    • State Bar of California
    • American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), elected in 1986
    • Association of Defense Trial Attorneys
  • Practice Areas
  • Representative Experience

    Representative Experience

    Examples of James' experience include the following:

    • Representing equipment manufacturers, including boiler and refinery manufacturers, automotive friction defendants, and premise owners.
    • Trying more than 80 cases to verdict involving all aspects of personal injury defense, including living mesothelioma cases and other potential multi-million dollar asbestos personal injury actions against his clients. 
    • Litigation defense experience includes defending Bob Hope and Valerie Bertinelli, defending a dental malpractice case involving an alleged failure to timely diagnose "histiocytosis X," defending a retailer on a false arrest claim by a family that proved to be a shoplifting ring, and defending Hertz Corp. on a personal injury claim in which plaintiff claimed he lost a budding career as a professional race car driver.
    • Defending clients in diverse toxic tort actions, including cases of alleged injury from arsenic and heavy metals from consumption of herbal supplements, alleged injuries from Benzene exposures, alleged injuries from use of body building supplements, and alleged injuries from Hydroquinone exposures.
    • Serving as an arbitrator and court-appointed settlement officer, and as a liaison with insurers, self-insureds, and corporate clientele.
  • Publications & Presentations


    • OSHA's 'Voluntary' Limits May Circumvent Current Rules, Law360
    • (November 18, 2013)
    • Proposition 65 Claims Persist Despite Scrutiny of Attorney Fee Awards, DRI Toxic Tort and Environmental Law Committee Newsletter (October 2012)
    • Prop. 65: 25 Years and Still Going Strong, The Daily Journal (April 22, 2011)
    • Pending California Appellate Decision Set to Define the Extent of the Sophisticated User Defense Established in Johnson v. American Standard, The Voice, Defense Research Institute Newsletter (August 2010) 
    • Carpet-Bagging Counsel Fleeing Tort Reform, LexisNexis Mealey’s Litigation Report, Silica. Vol. 5, Issue #10 (June 2007)
    • The Only Known Cause Of Mesothelioma Is Asbestos - Not!, LexisNexis Mealey's Litigation Report, Asbestos. Vol. 22, Issue #19 (November 2007)
    • Of Mice & Men: Excluding Evidence of Animal Studies in California Friction Cases, Asbestos Columns, Harris Martin Publications (April 2002)


    • Asbestos Hazards: and the US Navy's Response, The Association of Defense Counsel of Northern California & Nevada (June 13, 2012)
    • Turning the Deposition of Plaintiff’s Expert Into Your Resource, Association of Defense Counsel of Northern California and Nevada (May 2011)
    • Panelist, Heavy Equipment Cases - Who is Currently Doing the Heavy Lifting, Perrin Conferences, Cutting Edge Issues in Asbestos Litigation (February 25 & 26, 2010)
    • Hot Jurisdictions, HB Litigation National Asbestos Litigation Conference, San Francisco (September 23-25, 2009)
    • The Next Generation: New Products and Looming Liability, HB Litigation Benzene Litigation Conference, San Francisco (July 24, 2009)
    • Excluding Experts in California, Possible Strategies, Coalition for Litigation Justice conference (June 6, 2006)
    • Case Management Orders in Toxic Tort Cases, Panelist/Speaker in “Toxic Torts 101” presented by Association of Defense of Northern California and Nevada (September 26, 2003)
  • Education


    J.D., University of California, Los Angeles

    B.A., honors, University of California, Santa Barbara


    Top Rated Lawyer-AV Preeminent,

    Best Lawyers in America® "Lawyer of the Year" in Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions - Defendants, Oakland (2024)

    Best Lawyers in America® distinction in Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions - Defendants (2023-2024)

    Super Lawyers distinction in the fields of Personal Injury Defense: General, Real Estate, and Environmental (2004, 2010-2011 Law & Politics)

    Member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA)