JAMES W. GUSTAFSON, JR. is a shareholder with Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley PA. He is a West Palm Beach native and sixth generation Floridian whose life experiences include serving with the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division and studying at St. Edmund Hall at the Oxford University.
Mr. Gustafson’s practice is focused on product liability, tobacco litigation, trucking negligence, and other catastrophic injury and death cases, including one of the ten largest personal injury verdicts in the United States in 2010, as recognized by Lawyers USA publication.
An AV-rated attorney by Martindale-Hubbell, Mr. Gustafson is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), and was voted as the 2010 Trial Lawyer of the Year by the Tallahassee Chapter of ABOTA. He has also been selected by his peers to be a Florida SuperLawyer, and a member of Florida Trend’s Legal Elite.
Also selected by peers as a member of Best Lawyers in America, Mr. Gustafson was voted Lawyer of the Year - Plaintiff’s Personal Injury Litigation in 2013 in Tallahassee by that organization.
An EAGLE member and past chair of the Young Lawyers Section of the Florida Justice Association, as well as a sustaining member of The American Association for Justice, Mr. Gustafson served as chair of AAJ’s Professional Negligence Section, and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.
Committed to teaching and writing, he has moderated or lectured at numerous Continuing Legal Education seminars and has authored Continuing Legal Education materials for The Florida Bar, the Florida Justice Association, Southern Trial Lawyers Association, the National Trial Lawyers, and AAJ’s Trial magazine.
After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Florida State University, Mr. Gustafson studied law with his alma mater, as well. He was a member of the moot court team and Phi Delta Phi, and graduated with Honors.
Mr. Gustafson began his legal career in 1994 with Freeman, Hunter & Malloy in Tampa, FL, defending health care providers, product manufacturers, and cases involving general liability.
In 1997, he joined Masterson, Rogers, Woodworth, Masterson & Lopez in St. Petersburg, after which he joined Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley, P.A. in 2002, where he currently heads up the firm’s tobacco litigation efforts.