James Weatherholtz is a litigator who focuses on construction and product liability law. Working construction through high school and college, he learned the business from the ground up. He has used that experience for nearly 25 years to serve developers, construction product manufacturers, suppliers, contractors, and others.
James understands how buildings go together, and that makes him especially good at working with building product manufacturers. He has successfully defended multiple class actions and serves as national counsel for litigation claims. He regularly handles construction defect claims for national homebuilders, contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers, including the insurance and indemnity issues regularly associated with such claims. He works closely with developers, negotiating contracts, planning projects, and advising on risk allocation and mitigation.
He advises product manufacturers on warranty issues, drafts product warranties, helps clients develop claims programs, and counsels on product safety issues, including matters that may come before the Consumer Product Safety Commission. James has a multi-jurisdictional arbitration practice and frequently handles business litigation matters outside the construction and manufacturing sectors.
James is a leader in the profession as well, having served as Chair of the South Carolina Construction Law Section, Chair of the DRI Product Liability Committee (the largest committee within the organization), and Chair of the Building Product Specialized Litigation Group within the DRI Product Liability Committee. James has also served as the Chair of the (US) Construction Team at Womble Bond Dickinson. He currently serves as a member of the DRI Law Institute. James received the William F. Womble Award for Service to the Bar in 2022 and has twice been named by Best Lawyers as Charleston, South Carolina’s “Lawyer of the Year” in Construction Law (in 2019 and 2023).
Any result the lawyer or law firm may have achieved on behalf of clients in other matters does not necessarily indicate similar results can be obtained for other clients.
- As national counsel, successful defense of Federal class action and MDL cases involving building products on a nationwide basis.
- Defense of many statewide class action lawsuits involving products, materials, contracts, construction claims, and warranties.
- Defense of wrongful death and injury claims arising from construction projects and industrial sites.
- Service as national counsel for disputes and claims administration in multiple nationwide class action settlements involving building products.
- Defeat of class certification in multiple consumer class actions against leading building product manufacturer in cases filed in numerous states and consolidated in multidistrict litigation.
- Defense of developers and builders in construction defect lawsuits alleging multi-million-dollar repairs to condominiums and other projects.
- Defense of manufacturers of engineered wood siding and trim products, asphalt shingles, elastomeric coatings, decking products, laminated beams, OSB products, metal roof shingles, built-up roofing products, wood products, and stucco cladding.
- Defense of a water utility against a multi-million-dollar claim involving horizontal directional drilling and installation of a water line.
- Defense of a national homebuilder in class action litigation related to contracts.
- Defense of infrastructure damage claims.
- Defense of a joint venture general contractor in a trial involving a $5 million payment claim arising from a bridge replacement project.
- Drafting of product warranties and advice on supply contracts.
Professional & Civic Engagement
- DRI, The Voice of the Defense Bar
- Law Institute, Appointed Member, 2022-present
- Member, 2024 Annual Meeting Steering Committee
- Chair, Product Liability Committee, 2019-2021
- Vice Chair, Product Liability Committee, 2017-2019
- Program Chair, 2014 Product Liability Conference
- Chair, Building Products Specialized Litigation Group, 2010-2012
- American Bar Association, Forum on the Construction Industry
- Division 7 Steering Committee, 2006-2009
- Division 7 Liaison to the Publications Committee
- South Carolina Bar
- Chair, Construction Law Section, 2012-2013
- Member, Judicial Qualifications Committee, 2009-2012
- Section Delegate, Construction Law, 2014-2015
- Charleston County Bar Association
- Member, Executive Committee, 2005-2006
- Charleston Contractor’s Association, associate member and speaker
- James Island Presbyterian Church
- President of Board of Trustees, 2010-2017
- Regular Sunday School Teacher
- United States Army Reserves, 1992-1998
- Contributing Author, South Carolina Damages, South Carolina Bar, 2009
- Contributing Author, Construction Checklists, American Bar Association, 2008
- Co-author, Surety Law Chapter, SC Construction Law Deskbook, SC Bar, 2013
- Mitigating the Risk of Being Targeted in Class Action Lawsuits, November 2016, South Carolina Association of Corporate Counsel
- Defending Class Action Warranty Claims in Building Product Cases, February 2015, DRI Product Liability Conference
- Psychological Impediments to Mediation Success, April 2012, DRI Product Liability Conference
- Separating Product Liability Claims from the Construction Defect Case, April 2010, DRI Product Liability Conference
- Negotiation Tactics and Strategies, December 2009, SCDTAA Construction Law CLE
- I Don’t Want No Consensus DOCS Bond Forms, or Do I?, September 2008, ABA Forum on the Construction Industry Fall Meeting
- I Like My Odds: Using Statistical Evidence to Defend your Building Products Case, February 2008, DRI Product Liability Conference
- Making Mediation Work - A Model for Clients and Lawyers, September 2006, DRI Construction Law Seminar
- Class Action Litigation for Construction Products Manufacturers, April 2006, Construction Marketing Research Council Annual Meeting
- Advanced Construction Law, August 2003 and November 2005, National Business Institute
- Construction Contracting for Public Entities in South Carolina, April 2001, April 2003, and May 2007, Lorman Education Services
- Wavier of Subrogation, May 2004, ABA Forum on the Construction Industry Annual Meeting
Honors & Awards
- Martindale-Hubbel®, AV Preeminent Rated
- Super Lawyers Honoree, South Carolina Super Lawyers magazine (Thomson Reuters), Construction Litigation, Personal Injury – Products, 2014 – 2022
- Recognized in Charleston Business Magazine’s Legal Elite, Construction, Personal Injury, Product Liability, 2021, 2023
- Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America (BL Rankings) in the fields of Construction Law, 2014 - Present; Litigation - Construction, 2016 - Present; Product Liability Litigation - Defendants, 2019 - Present; Commercial Litigation, 2022 – Present
- Received the Best Lawyers™ Construction Law "Lawyer of the Year” award in Charleston, SC, 2019, 2023
- Selected to the South Carolina Rising Stars list by Super Lawyers (Thomson Reuters) in Construction Litigation, 2012 – 2013