James "J.D." Murdock has extensive experience defending clients in complex litigation including wrongful death and catastrophic injury cases involving products liability, fire loss litigation, automobile liability, medical malpractice, construction litigation, breach of contract, premises liability, class action, and general negligence claims.  He also has served as monitoring counsel in numerous high-exposure cases throughout the country.

J.D. has successfully represented clients in all aspects of litigation including in state and federal jury trials, arbitrations, appellate court proceedings, mediations, and administrative law hearings.  He is licensed in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, and Montana, and has appeared as pro hac vice counsel in Alabama, California, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Wyoming.

In addition to his litigation practice, J.D. also is involved in transactional work including drafting of contracts for various marketing and consumer research companies.

His clients have included Fortune 500 companies, national insurance firms, healthcare organizations, and governmental entities.


Catastrophic Injury and Wrongful Death Cases

  • First-chair counsel in a wrongful death jury trial in Maricopa County, Arizona, involving a multi-fatality traffic accident. The trial focused on the wrongful death of a recent college graduate and the circumstances of the accident.  Liability for negligence was admitted but damages were contested.  Following a multi-week trial, in closing arguments plaintiffs demanded $21.5 million and the defense recommended an award of $2.6 million.  After deliberating for over a day, the jury returned a verdict for $2.5 million to each plaintiff (a total of $5 million) in wrongful death damages. 

  • First-chair counsel in a jury trial involving personal injury lawsuit arising from a fight at a bar in Colorado.  The plaintiff alleged that he was struck in the head with a glass by the defendant that caused extensive lacerations and resulted in permanent scarring.  The case was defended on liability and damages.  Although the plaintiff asked for $250,000 in closing arguments, the jury returned a verdict in the amount of only $20,977.80.

  • Obtained favorable resolution as first-chair counsel in a wrongful death claim involving a commercial vehicle versus bicycle accident that resulted in the death of a young mother of four in Maricopa County, Arizona.

  • Defense of public entities, including counties, municipalities, and law enforcement organizations in 42 U.S.C. §1983 matters involving allegations of civil rights violations and wrongful death.

  • Second-chair attorney on a high-exposure traffic accident in Louisiana involving a truck operated by a national rent-to-own company. The plaintiff, who was rear-ended, sustained catastrophic injuries including paralysis from the chest down and sought lifetime medical care.  Prior to trial, plaintiff resolved her claims with the other underlying insurance companies. Therefore, under Louisiana’s direct action laws she had to achieve a verdict in excess of $29 million, the limits of the underlying insurance coverage, to recover any damages at trial.  At trial, the plaintiff claimed that the accident occurred because the truck driver was intoxicated and sought approximately $90 million in damages for economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.  The defense argued that the driver was not intoxicated and suggested that a reasonable amount of damages would be $11.4 million.  The jury returned a verdict in the amount of approximately $10.9 million and found no intoxication and no punitive damages. Therefore, the plaintiff recovered nothing at trial and the defense was awarded court costs as the prevailing party.  

  • Prevailed on a motion for summary adjudication in a California lawsuit involving a single vehicle accident wherein a young plaintiff sustained multiple spinal fractures and was rendered a paraplegic.  As a result of the favorable ruling, the client’s exposure was reduced from well over $1 million dollars to just $15,000.  Thereafter, the plaintiff and co-defendants filed petitions for writ of mandate to the Fifth District Court of Appeals challenging the trial court’s ruling, but the writs were denied.

Construction Defect Litigation

  • Has litigated numerous construction defect cases filed pursuant to Colorado’s Construction Defect Reform Act (“CDARA”) as first-chair counsel in both arbitration proceedings and in state court actions.
  • First-chair counsel in a contentious 5-day construction defect arbitration hearing in Boulder County, Colorado.  Claimant sought over $1.1 million in damages arising from an extensive remodel of a high-end private residence and claimed defects with the in-floor radiant heating, electrical system, and a structural support wall.  Claimant also sought “stigma” damages for the impact that the purported construction defects would have on the future resale value of the home.   The defense disputed the scope of the allegedly defective conditions and challenged the damage model proposed by claimant.  The arbitrator ultimately entered a final award that was less than $70,000, found that there was no prevailing party, and denied claimant’s request for attorney’s fees and litigation costs made pursuant to the prevailing party clause in the construction contract.
  • Prevailed on a motion to dismiss a general contractor’s claims against a subcontractor, NanaWall Systems, for negligence, contribution, breach of contract, and breach of warranty.  Tiny’s Granite Works, Inc. v. Mountain Resorts, Case No. 2016CV30126, District Court, Denver County, Colorado (2017).

Medical Malpractice Litigation

  • Represented doctors and hospitals in high-exposure cases, including matters involving wrongful death, medical malpractice on a minor, traumatic brain injury, and medical battery, in all aspects of litigation from pre-suit investigation through trial.
  • Represented physicians and dentists in hearings before the Florida Board of Medicine.
  • Reported Case: Defense verdict in a dental malpractice jury trial where the plaintiff demanded $350,000 in damages for failed dental implants. Case No. 2010- 061731 CA 01, Miami Dade County Circuit Court, Florida, Judge Jacqueline Hogan-Scola. (Reported in Florida Jury Verdict Review & Analysis, Vol. 24, Issue 4, April 2014 (Article ID 192542)).

Premises Liability Litigation

  • Assisted in the defense of a high profile case in Colorado arising from a mass shooting at a movie theater.
  • Defense counsel for Florida apartment complex involving a shooting and allegations of negligent security.

General Litigation

  • Obtained an opinion from the Colorado Court of Appeals, Division II, affirming a trial court’s $0 judgment in favor of a defendant in a dispute involving various real estate investments.
  • Litigated numerous 42 U.S.C. §1983 lawsuits filed against State of Florida employees regarding alleged infringement of protections afforded under the 14th Amendment.

Class Action Litigation

  • Defeated motion for class certification involving 89,000 putative class members in a Florida lawsuit alleging that inspectors and inspection companies engaged in practices designed to raise homeowner’s insurance premiums through wind mitigation inspections.

Administrative Law Hearings

  • Defended health care providers and state agencies in various administrative law hearings including medical license investigations by the Florida Department of Health, applications for services submitted to Florida’s Agency for Persons with Disabilities, and benefits provided by the Florida Department of Children and Families.

Colorado Utility Excavation Litigation

  • Has served as defense counsel for various companies in lawsuits arising from alleged violations of Colorado Excavation Requirements Statute, C.R.S. Sect. 9-1.5-101, et. seq. (Colorado’s “Dig Statute”)


Representative Work

Personal Injury, Premises Liability


  • Panel speaker on Managing Liability Claims with Finesse at Nonprofit Risk Management Center 2019 Risk Summit in Lansdowne, VA

Past Employment

  • Florida Office of the Attorney General, Assistant Attorney General, 2006 - 2008
  • Wicker Smith O'Hara McCoy & Ford, P.A., Associate, 2008 - 2014
  • University of Virginia, Charlottesville
    • B.A. - 2002
    • Major: Anthropology
  • Rutgers School of Law - Camden, Camden, New Jersey
    • J.D. - 2005
    • Law Review: Journal of Law and Religion, 2004–2005
Bar Admission
  • Colorado
  • Montana
  • Florida
  • Arizona
Court Admission
  • U.S. District Court District of Colorado
  • U.S. District Court Middle District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of Florida
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 10th Circuit
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of Florida
Honors and Awards
  • Colorado Super Lawyers – Rising Stars, 2016 - 2019
  • Florida Super Lawyers – Rising Star, 2012–2014
  • All-Atlantic Coast Conference Athlete in Track & Field (Javelin), 2001
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