James D. Johnson

Phone: (812) 422-9444 | Fax: (812) 421-7459 | Email: jdjohnson@jacksonkelly.com
221 NW Fifth Street, Evansville, IN 47708

James D. Johnson is a Member of the Firm resident in the Evansville, Indiana, office. He is Assistant Leader of the Commercial Law Practice Group and a member of the Construction Industry Group. For nearly three decades, Mr. Johnson has advised clients in a broad array of business matters, including complex commercial law, civil litigation and appellate law. He also advises clients in matters of trade secrets and intellectual property. Mr. Johnson is a skilled trial attorney as well. He is an associate member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). Membership in this organization is by invitation only and requires a minimum of twenty-five jury trials to verdict for consideration of membership. Over the course of his career, Mr. Johnson has handled over 50 appeals and multiple oral arguments before state and federal courts. He has been named to The Best Lawyers in America® for Appellate Practice since 2007.

As counsel to local and national businesses, Mr. Johnson represents clients in a variety of commercial law matters. His experience includes:

  • Represented oil and gas developer in case concerning leases and unitization agreement
  • Represented an institution of higher education in its defense of a false claims case brought by the United States Department of Education alleging that the client was not in compliance with the terms of an agreement relating to the use of recruiters and access to the Federal Student Loan Program 
  • Represented the owner of a local business, which included the owner’s last name in the corporate name, in a dispute with another family member who opened an identical business (including the name) in close proximity to the client’s facility 
  • Represented an agent of a national moving company in defending claims alleging misappropriation of more than $5 million relating to invoicing of clients 
  • Defended a lender in a class action case alleging predatory lending practices
  • Represented the developer of property intended to house a big box retailer in litigation brought by residents of a nearby housing subdivision   
  • Represented a regional health care provider in a breach of contract claim relating to the servicing of two Kentucky nursing facilities
  • Defended an appeal of the trial court’s award of summary judgment for client in case involving a vendor’s lien and equitable mortgage before the Indiana Court of Appeals

Mr. Johnson is also active in the local Evansville Community. For a number of years, he has served on the Board of Directors and as a volunteer of The Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Ohio Valley, an organization dedicated to "programs that directly improve the health and wellbeing of children". Mr. Johnson received a Bachelor's degree from Florida State University. He received his law degree from Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law.

Legal Experience
2014 - PresentJackson Kelly PLLC
1987 - 2014Rudolph, Fine, Porter & Johnson, LLP
1987J.D.Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law - Indianapolis (cum laude)
1984B.S.Florida State University (Criminology, with honors)
Bar Admissions
Court Admissions
United States Supreme Court
U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana

Professional Involvement:
  • Evansville Bar Association
  • Indiana State Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • DRI (Defense Research Institute)
  • Defense Trial Counsel of Indiana, President 
  • Brooks American Inns of Court
  • American Board of Trial Advocates, Associate, Indiana Chapter (requires a minimum of 25 jury trials to verdict)
  • United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Local Rules Advisory Committee
  • Federal Judicial Magistrate Merit Selection Panel (Indianapolis Division) 2017
  • Federal Judicial Magistrate Merit Selection Panel (Evansville Division) 2014
  • Federal Judicial Magistrate Merit Selection Reappointment Panel (Evansville Division) 2012

  • Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Ohio Valley, Board of Directors

Teaching and Lecturing:
  • "Beyond the Four Corners of a Contract," Defense Research Institute (DRI) Business Litigation and Intellectual Property Seminar in New York City, New York, May 2012

Writings and Publications:
  • "Extra-Contractual Actions in Commercial Transactions," Defense Research Institute's In-House Defense Quarterly, Winter 2017
  • "Focus on Your Business’ Insurance Coverage to Avoid a Loss," Tri-State Better Business Bureau Newsletter (Evansville), Feb. 2014
  • "Fraud in Inducement and Integration Clause," Tri-State Better Business Bureau Newsletter (Evansville), July 2011

Awards and Honors:
  • AV-Preeminent, Martindale-Hubbell, Peer Review Ratings 
  • Indiana Super Lawyers®, Business Litigation, 2014-2017
  • Leadership in Law Distinguished Barrister, Indiana Lawyer, 2013
  • The Best Lawyers in America®, Appellate Practice, 2012-2018
  • Defense Lawyer of the Year, Defense Trial Counsel of Indiana, 2007
  • Indiana Law Review, Associate Editor, 1986-87
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