James Landgraf has more than 40 years of experience handling construction and related real estate contracting, construction litigation, and complex commercial and business litigation. His clients include public and private owners, commercial and residential real estate developers, prime contractors, sub-contractors, suppliers, and design professionals.
In his construction practice, Jim has experience in transactional public, commercial, and residential contract development; and in litigation and alternate dispute resolution of construction lien and mechanics lien enforcement and defense, performance and payment bond claims, public bidding and bid protests, insurance coverage issues; and construction payment, extra work, defect and delay claims. He has handled a broad range of construction representations including clean and sustainable energy projects; major highway construction projects; construction defect claims on projects ranging from individual residential and commercial projects up to 100+ unit class action claims; and public projects ranging from public school new construction and renovations through federal civilian and military construction work.
As a litigator, Jim has been certified by the New Jersey Supreme Court as a Civil Trial Attorney since 1988. He has handled many complex commercial and construction litigation actions in the New Jersey state and federal courts, in arbitrations and other dispute resolution forums, and outside New Jersey as pro hac vice counsel. In addition to his construction litigation experience, he has successfully represented parties in real estate disputes, corporate dissolution and minority shareholder litigation, partnership disputes, employment litigation, restrictive covenant enforcement actions, commercial tenancy actions, condominium association litigation, and general business and commercial litigation.
- As lead trial counsel, he obtained a jury verdict in excess of $2.6 million against the New Jersey Department of Transportation in a condemnation suit where the Department had offered less than $200,000.
- As lead trial counsel, he obtained a jury verdict in excess of one-half million dollars on a condemnation action where the condemning public entity had offered $0.00.
- As lead counsel, he obtained a settlement in excess of $2.3 million, including an assigned judgment, in favor of a condominium association and unit owners against the developer, contractors and design professionals associated with the design, construction and sale of a condominium project.
- As lead counsel, he has obtained over $4 million in design deficiencies cost recoveries for the State of New Jersey.
- Represented property owners in an affirmative recovery in multi-party litigation resulting from municipal street and drainage changes which rendered the properties unusable.
- Represented many school districts in contract and bid package development, bidding, and successful construction including one district project involving 5 major school renovations under an $87 million bond referendum.
- Represented a shore developer as special trial counsel against withdrawing buyers, resulting in the completion of the purchase of the contracted units.
- Successfully represented a school district as private counsel in defending a construction job-site personal injury/wrongful death action, where a settlement in excess of $20 million was recovered by the plaintiffs without any required contribution from the district.
- Represented numerous contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers in establishing lien claims to protect their contract balances.
- Represented residential and commercial owners in actions against contractors for delays, construction defects, mold claims, and other deficiencies in both new construction and renovations.
Professional & Community Activities
- Fellow, Construction Lawyers Society of America
- Chairperson Burlington County Bar Association, Civil Practice Section, Commercial Law Subcommittee, 2018 – present
- Co-Chair of the American Bar Association Section of Litigation, Real Estate, Condemnation and Trust Litigation Committee, 2016 – present
- Co-Chair, American Bar Association, Section of Litigation, Construction Litigation Committee, 2004 – 2008 and 2013 – 2016
- Member, American Bar Association, Forum on the Construction Industry
- Member, American Bar Association, Section of Public Contract Law
- Member and Former Co-Chair of the Construction Law Section, New Jersey State Bar Association
- Member and Subcommittee Chair, New Jersey State Bar Association, Renewable Energy and Clean Tech Committee
- Member and Former President, Burlington County Bar Association
- Associate Member, South Jersey Mechanical Contractors’ Association
- Trustee, Burlington County Bar Foundation
- Trustee, Discovery Institute for Addictive Disorders
- Trustee, Paterson Counseling Center
- Trustee, The Lennard Clinic
- Trustee, Northeast Lifeskills
- Trustee, Addiction Professionals Certification Board
- Trustee, Riverton Country Club
Speeches & Presentations
- Getting Your Bells and Whistles Admitted: Making the Most of Demonstrative Evidence in a Construction Trial, presented for the 2018 Construction Superconference
- Construction Contracts from Start to Finish, sponsored by National Business Institute, December 2018
- Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Email and Smartphone Evidence: Getting It Into Evidence”, sponsored by National Business Institute, June 2018.
- “Enemy at the Gates: Get Your Electronic House in Order”, presented for the Burlington County Bar Association, April 2018
- "Getting Your Construction Expert’s Opinions Admitted into Evidence," presented for the 2017 Construction SuperConference
- "The Rules of Evidence: A Practical Toolkit," sponsored by National Business Institute, May 2017.
- "Trends and Developments in Consumer Fraud Act Litigation," presented for the Burlington County Bar Association, March 2017.
- "Jury Selection of a Construction Code in the Era of Social Media," presented at the 2016 Construction Super Conference, December 2016.
- “Ethical Red Flags for Commercial Litigators,” presented for the Burlington County Bar Association, May 11, 2016.
- “Construction Law Issues,” presented at the New Jersey Supreme Court Judicial College, November 2015.
- "Insurance: Covered vs. Uncovered," National Business Institute, August 20, 2015.
- “You Can’t Take My Equipment: Extraordinary Times Call for Extraordinary Measures,” ABA Forum on Construction Law, 2015.
- “Building Blocks: A Construction Law Primer,” Burlington County Bar Association CLE Program, 2015.
- “Construction Disputes: Effective and Practical Legal Negotiation Strategies,” National Business Institute, 2014.
- “Public Contracts and Procurement Regulations," Lorman Educational Services, 2013.
- “Construction Defects from A-Z," National Business Institute, 2013.
- “When Clean Energy Meets the Courtroom," New Jersey State Bar Association, 2013.
- “Applying the Rules of Evidence” (Sponsored by National Business Institute), 2012.
- “Public Contracts and Procurement Regulations," Lorman Educational Services, 2012.
- Insurance Coverage Claims and Litigation, Burlington County Bar Association, 2012.
- "Protecting Value in Public School Construction and Procurement," NJ Association of School Administrators, 2011.
- "Recent Developments and Changes in New Jersey Construction and Mechanics Lien Laws," Lorman Education Services, 2011.
- "Social Media Litigation: Claims, Defenses, Use and Ethical Misuse," Burlington County Bar Association, 2011.
- Presenting and Defending Construction Cases, New Jersey Bar Association, Section on Construction Law, 2010.
- "Energy in the 21st Century and Beyond: Facts, Myths and Legal Requirements for Solar and Other Innovative Technology," New Jersey Association of School Administrators, 2010.
- "Damages Beyond the Contract: Tort and Statutory Liability," American Bar Ass’n Forum on the Construction Industry, 2010.
- Hot Topics in Consumer Fraud Litigation, Burlington County Bar Association, 2010.
- Program Chair for "Coverages, Disputes and Tactics for Survival: Insurance Issues in Construction Litigation," ABA Forum on the Construction Industry, 2009.
- "Legal and Practical Requirements for Safety Accountability During Construction," New Jersey Association of School Administrators, 2009.
- Advanced Expert Testimony, National Business Institute, 2009.
- New Jersey Construction Lien Law, Lorman Educational Services, 2008, 2004, 2002-1999.
- New Best Practices in Mold Litigation, National Business Institute, 2008.
- Certified as a Civil Trial Attorney by the Supreme Court of the State of New Jersey, 1988 – present.
- Professional Lawyer of Year Award for Burlington County, presented by New Jersey Commission on Professionalism, 2014.
- American Bar Association:
- Litigation Section
- Co-Chair – Real Estate, Condemnation and Trust Litigation Committee, 2016 – present
- Co-Chair – Construction Litigation Committee 2013 – 2016; Past Co-Chair - Goodworks Fund Raising Committee 2011 – 2012; Past Co-Chair - Distance CLE Committee 2008 – 2011; Past Co-Chair - Construction Litigation Committee 2004 – 2008
- Section on Public Contract Law
- Forum Committee on the Construction Industry
- New Jersey State Bar Association:
- Past Co-Chair - Construction and Public Contract Law Section 2003 – 2005
- Member, NJ State Bar Committee on Multi-Jurisdictional Practice.
- Burlington County Bar Association:
- President, 2000 – 2001
- Trustee, 1988 – 1991, 1994 – 1997
- Judicial Prosecutorial Appointment Committee, 2008 – 2011
- Chairman Civil Bench and Bar Committee, 2007 – 2009
- Chairman Commercial Bench and Bar Sub-Committee, 2009 – present
- Court Approved Arbitrator:
- Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Burlington County
- Rated A+ by Martindale Hubbell Attorney rating service.
- Selected as a New Jersey "Super Lawyer" in the fields of Construction Law and Construction Litigation, 2005-2020.
- Selected as one of the Awesome Attorneys by South Jersey Magazine, 2015.
- Selected as Philadelphia "Lawyer of the Year" for Construction Litigation by Best Lawyers, 2013.
- Selected as Philadelphia "Lawyer of the Year" for Construction Law by Best Lawyers, 2012 and 2015.
- Selected to The Best Lawyers in America® in the area of Construction Law, 2008 – 2019.
- Selected to The Best Lawyers in America® in the area of Litigation- Construction, 2011 – 2019.
- Selected in the category of Construction Litigation by New Jersey Super Lawyers, 2005 – 2018.
- Selected as one of the “Top Attorneys by New Jersey” for Construction Law in New Jersey Monthly, 2011 – 2012.
- Selected as one of the "Top Attorneys in Pennsylvania - South Jersey Recognition" for Construction Law in Philadelphia Magazine, June 2011.
- Selected as one of "New Jerseys Best Lawyers" for Construction Law by Inside New Jersey Magazine, August 2011.
- Selected in the category of Construction Law by New York Area’s Best Lawyers, 2009 – 2011.
- Selected as a “Top Attorney" in Construction Law by SJ Magazine, 2014
- Listed in "Who's Who Legal" in the area of Construction Law, 2015 – 2018
News / Events
Events / Speaking Engagements
- J.D., Rutgers School of Law - Camden, 1976
- B.A., Muhlenberg College, 1973
- New Jersey, 1976
- United States Supreme Court, 1980
- United States District Court New Jersey, 1976
- United States Court of Appeals Third Circuit, 1979