- Real Estate
- Litigation and Dispute Resolution
- Intellectual Property
Wayne State University Law School, J.D.
University of Michigan, B.A.
James Spurr specializes in resolving disputes, from trials in state and federal court, to arbitrations, mediations and facilitations.
Many cases involve real estate and development, construction projects, commercial transactions, contracts and business deals gone awry. James has resolved many disputes between shareholders, partners and issues involving corporate governance. James also has substantial experience in probate court, assisting families, trustees and beneficiaries involving their rights in trusts and estates.
James has concentrated upon claims arising from complex construction projects for more than 25 years. He has advocated for, defended against and resolved claims involving corporate headquarters, manufacturing facilities, college and university buildings, public works projects, municipal parks, local schools and athletic arenas. The claims range from interference and delay, lost productivity, defective buildings, design negligence and serious accidents. His expertise has led him to speak before and serve on the faculties of major nationwide construction law seminars and industry symposiums.
In resolving disputes, James has come to master skills such as creativity and problem solving, effective negotiating, persuasive advocacy and writing and the effective use of expert witnesses.
When a large west Michigan city built an expansion to its drinking water facility and was sued by the contractor for $3 million in damages for delay of the project, Jim led the team defending the claim and counter-sued for damages with respect to poor workmanship. Utilizing high-technology CAD drawing demonstrations, which were regarded as highly persuasive and effective, their work led to a favorable settlement for the city of $6.2 million. At that time, it was the largest settlement ever obtained for the city and represented nearly a $10 million swing in the amounts of money in dispute between the parties.
A lighthouse and museum complex included on the National Register of Historic Places were threatened with having their operations drastically curtailed or closed altogether by their neighbors. Jim led the effort in federal and state court litigation defending a premier destination for education and cultural tourism. The resulting land use plan allowed the client to continue to operate all of its existing programs and by improving the surrounding habitat, actually expand its operations. The effort balanced environmental protection, historic preservation and education.
When the Ounalashka Corporation (Tribe), of the Aleutian Islands, sought the return of its members’ cultural artifacts, removed from burial caves during World War II, the return from a major university was negotiated and implemented without litigation even before a later federal law addressing such issues (NAGPRA) was enacted.
Best Lawyers in America, Construction Law 2008-present; Commercial Litigation and Litigation-Construction 2012-present
Wayne State University Law School, cum laude
University of Michigan, cum laude
American Bar Association, Construction Litigation Committee
State Bar of Michigan, Construction Litigation Committee; Indian Law Section
Defense Research Institute
Construction Financial Management Association
Kalamazoo County Bar Association, Pro Bono Participant
Native American Rights Fund
National Indian Law Library
Civic, Cultural & Social Activities
Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society, Board President, 2006-present
American Sail Training Association, Board Member, January 2012
Michigan Maritime Museum, Board Vice President, 2009-present
Michigan Commission on the Commemoration of the Bicentennial of the War of 1812, Appointed by Governor Granholm, February 2008-present
Hospice of Southwest Michigan, Volunteer, 2013-present
Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Former Member of the Board of Directors; Chair, Corporate Development Committee; Former Chair, Art Encounters
Pipp Foundation, Former Director
Western Michigan University, Advisory Committee for Construction Technology
Plainwell Area Chamber of Commerce, Former Director
ACT of Kalamazoo, Former Board Member
Pipp Community Hospital, Former Director and Chair
Plainwell Downtown Development Authority, Former Director and Chair
Nazareth College, Adjunct Professor; Business and Commercial Law and the Uniform Commercial Code
"The CPA as an Expert Witness: Effectively Working with Litigation Attorneys," Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants, Novi, Michigan, June 2011
"Managing Construction Contract Risks," Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants, Lansing, Michigan, October 2009; 2010
"Important (and Troublesome) Construction Contract Provisions," Lamar Construction Company, December 8, 2006
"How to Train Owner's Representatiaves on a Construction Site," Northern Michigan University, March 22, 2006
"Enforceability of Non-Compete Agreements in the United States," Center for International Legal Studies (CILS) Litigation Conference, Alaska, April 2-8, 2006
"Renewable Energy: Potential for Economic Growth," Emerging Tribal Economies, Traverse City, Michigan, August 2011
"Models for a Successful Construction Project - You've Obtained the Financing; Let's Make the Most of It," 3rd Annual Madigan-Pinatore Management Seminar, Bay Mills, Michigan 7/14/05
"Construction Seminar," Genesee County Division of Water and Waste Services, Flint, Michigan 2005
“Relationships, Roles and Warning Signs on Public Construction Projects,” (Panelist), Michigan Local Government Management Association Winter Institute, Grand Rapids, Michigan 01/27/05
"Water, Sewer and Street Construction Projects" (what happens when a construction project goes bad!), (Panelist), U.P. City/County Managers' Fall Meeting, Ontonagon, Michigan 10/10/03
"Custom Software Integrators," Construction Superconference, San Francisco, California 12/2000
"Risks & Regulations of Jobsite Safety," Defense Research Institute, Construction Law Seminar, Phoenix, Arizona 1999
"Warranties and the Design Professional," Defense Research Institute, Construction Law Seminar, San Antonio, Texas 1998
"Claims Prosecution Agreements--the Apparent Advantages and Hidden Risks," National Construction Superconference, San Francisco 12/13/96
"Warranties and the Design Professional," The Construction Superconference, San Francisco 1995
"Construction Contracts: Recognizing and Avoiding Troublesome Provisions from the Perspective of College and University Owners," NACUA 1995 Annual Meeting, Orlando, Florida
"Strategies for Avoiding Defective Building Litigation," The Construction Super Conference, San Francisco 11/10/94
"10 Most Troublesome Clauses in Construction Contracts," Kalamazoo Chapter of the Construction Financial Management Association 9/14/94
"The Fundamentals of Construction Dispute Law," Construction Dispute Resolution, Absatore Books, 2009
"The Unique Status of Tribes and States as Sovereign Nations with Limited Powers Within the Federal Union," Inside the Minds: Emerging Issues in Tribal-State Relations, Absatore Books, 2011