James Evans is a highly skilled trial attorney with decades of experience handling complex cases in state and federal courts. Jim is also an expert in alternative dispute resolution (negotiation, mediation, and arbitration). With more than 30 years of experience, his clients rely on him to solve their most challenging disputes. Jim offers clients his thoughtful avoidance strategy counsel as a preventive measure, and his substantial courtroom experience when high-stakes litigation is unavoidable.
He focuses his practice on class action matters, including claims of wage and hour violations and employee misclassification, unfair competition, the validity of advertising and marketing claims, privacy violations under California's Song Beverly Act, violations of the ADA, intentional torts and violations of the California Franchise Investment Act.
He represents clients across a broad spectrum of industries, including retail, financial services, consumer products, manufacturing, real estate, transportation, software, technology, automotive and insurance.
Jim has been recognized by the Daily Journal and the State Bar of California for his pro bono efforts. He currently serves as special counsel to the Office of the Chief Trial Counsel, of the State Bar of California.
Labor & Employment
- An employment class action alleging $2 billion in damages based on purported misclassification of taxi drivers as independent contractors; class certification motion denied and appeal dismissed.
- An employment class action against national retailer alleging misclassification of managers; class claims dismissed with prejudice on motion and affirmed on appeal.
- An employment class action against national transportation company alleging misclassification of drivers; class certification motion denied.
- An employment action brought against a taxi company alleging misclassification of independent contractors; tried to defense judgment.
- Federal race discrimination claims against a national retailer (disposed of by motion).
- Claims brought against national retailer under California’s Fair Employment & Housing Act. Tried before a jury with motion for non-suit granted and defendant awarded all of its attorneys’ fees.
- Administrative law proceedings before the California Department of Labor Standards and Enforcement.
- Defense of many California Private Attorney General Act claims for labor code violations (meal and rest period, minimum wage, wage statements, etc.).
- An employment action brought by truck driver of national concrete product distributor based upon claim that employer failed to compensate piece rate driver for non-productive time; tried to defense judgment.
- A PAGA collective action brought against national transportation company; dismissed with prejudice on motion.
Expertise In Drafting and Enforcing Employment Arbitration Agreements and Class Action Waivers
- In 2002, Jim was the principal architect of a national transportation company’s employee arbitration policy that included a class action waiver. The company does business in all 50 states. After the company had been sued in numerous class actions alleging wage and hour violations (that cost the company millions in cases Jim did not handle), upon Jim’s recommendation the company asked him to draft a uniform arbitration policy that would assist it in forcing claims into arbitration. Jim opted to draft an agreement that was governed by the Federal Arbitration Act in order to include a class action waiver since federal case law tended to support such waivers. The company rolled out the arbitration policy in all 50 states prior to Concepcion (and Gentry which is the California Supreme Court case holding that in some cases class action waivers in employment agreements are enforceable).
- After drafting the arbitration policy, and assisting our client with implementing it, the company continued to be sued in employment class actions. Both prior to and after the rulings in Gentry and Concepcion, Jim successfully enforced the class action waiver at the trial court level and successfully defended the policy in the California Court of Appeal. Since creating it, Jim has enforced this class action waiver successfully in numerous actions, and he has not lost a motion to dismiss class claims based upon this form of class action waiver.
- For the same client, Jim recently brought a motion to coordinate four pending employment class actions because they are all subject to the class action waiver and arbitration policy. The California Judicial Council granted the motion to coordinate. Now, all future actions against this employer will be coordinated before the same trial court judge. The judge has enforced our client’s class action waiver several times—both before and after the AT&T v. Concepcion decision. Coordination insures that our client won’t get different results simply because the cases were filed in different venues.
- Jim has assisted numerous employers in adopting similar arbitration policies. It is Jim’s opinion, with demonstrated results, that employers have a very powerful weapon available to them to avoid future employment class actions. Some clients mistakenly believe that the law is unsettled. Although the case law continues to evolve, a well drafted employment class action waiver and arbitration policy is likely to be enforced in California.
Commercial and Complex Litigation
- A California class action brought under the Fair Credit Reporting Act with more than $2 billion claimed; class certification motion denied.
- A California consumer class action brought against a national retail company; class certification motion denied.
- A California consumer class action brought against a national retailer alleging false advertising; class certification motion denied.
- The trial of a California consumer class action alleging false advertising against a national retailer; claim for restitution rejected and a single word of advertising was eliminated in the very favorable judgment.
- A California false advertising class action brought against a national retailer; class certification motion denied.
- A Washington state federal court class action brought for violation of federal privacy laws; case dismissed on motion and affirmed on appeal in 9th Circuit.
- ADA class actions brought against a national truck rental retailer; multiple actions dismissed with prejudice on motion based upon the enforcement of a national class action settlement agreement (negotiated by prior counsel).
- ADA actions (individual) brought against a national retailer; actions dismissed with prejudice on motions.
- An ADA class action brought against a national apparel retailer; resolved for nominal payment.
- A federal class action brought in connection with subprime loan foreclosures; case dismissed on motion and affirmed on appeal in the 9th Circuit.
- California class actions brought for privacy violations against retailers under California's Song Beverly Act (actions pending).
- The defense of a tire manufacturer in tire design patent infringement case; resolved for nominal payment.
- An intellectual property licensing dispute against the nation's largest credit reporting agency; settled on eve of arbitration.
- A Louisiana federal court action brought in connection with a software licensing dispute (case settled for <5% of total amount claimed) in which a division of Wal-Mart sought to recover more than $10,000,000 it paid to resolve a class action.
- A California federal court action brought on behalf of a French insurer seeking to domesticate French judgments and to set aside fraudulent conveyances. The Court issued a writ of attachment in favor of Jim’s client resulting in multimillion dollar payment by defendants.
- A California action against one of the nation's largest insurance brokers alleging intentional torts; settled for nominal payment while client's dispositive motion was pending.
- An action brought for construction delay damages in connection with the construction of a Los Angeles Unified School District school. The matter was tried to verdict in a six week jury trial, and the jury awarded an amount equal to the settlement offer Jim’s client made more than two years prior to trial. The trial court denied the plaintiff’s claim for more than $1,000,000 in attorneys’ fees.
- An action brought for construction delay damages in connection with the construction of a Capistrano Unified School District school. The matter was resolved prior to trial.
- A California action (and Texas Probate Court action) brought by heirs against owner of automobile franchises; resolved while appeal of anti-SLAPP motion pending.
- A California action brought by an independent dealer alleging violations of California Franchise Investment Act; defense verdict, upheld on appeal in published opinion.
- A California action alleging construction delay damages in connection with the construction of the San Francisco Civic Center; resolved by settlement.
- Jim leads an Alston & Bird team of product liability attorneys who try high stakes lawsuits brought against a national truck and trailer rental company. In that role, Jim has successfully defended numerous product liability claims involving serious injury or death. Although products liability is a secondary area of concentration, Jim was hired to serve in this role because of his depth of trial experience.
Jim Evans is quoted on a U.S. appellate court’s decision directing that an arbitrator, not a judge, resolve disputes between Uber and two of its former drivers.
September 13, 2016
In the News
Jim Evans is quoted on a U.S. appellate court ruling that claims against Uber by two former drivers should be delegated to arbitration rather than to class action litigation.
September 7, 2016
In the News
Jim Evans is noted for representing U-Haul Co. of California in a wage and hour dispute.
September 1, 2016
In the News
Jim Evans discusses a California federal judge’s rejection of Uber’s $100 million settlement with its drivers.
August 22, 2016
In the News
Jim Evans is quoted on the recent rejection of a $100 million class action settlement between Uber and drivers.
August 8, 2016
In the News
Jim Evans is quoted on how Uber’s expanded monitoring program might support class-action suits alleging that drivers are employees.
June 30, 2016
In the News
Jim Evans is quoted on Uber’s $100 million settlement of a worker misclassification lawsuit and what it means to other employers who hire independent contractors.
May 10, 2016
In the News
In a test of new California legislation that went into effect in January 2016, Alston & Bird secured a significant trial victory for Quikrete© California LLC in a “piece-rate” wage dispute decided by the California Superior Court of Sacramento County.
May 5, 2016
Jim Evans is quoted on the U.S. Treasury Department’s plan to put Harriet Tubman’s face on the $20 bill and how the change can facilitate equal pay discussions.
April 25, 2016
In the News
Jim Evans is quoted on Uber’s settlement with drivers in California and Massachusetts requiring the company to pay as much as $100 million.
April 22, 2016
In the News
The California Supreme Court takes a stand on obscure Wage Orders to usher in new guidance on the state’s suitable seating rules. Our Labor & Employment Group examines the implications for employers.
April 7, 2016
An expert Q&A with James R. Evans, Jr. of Alston & Bird LLP on the impact of California's Fair Pay Act (FPA).
“Courts and Regulators Scrutinizing Independent Contractor Relationships,” Today’s General Counsel, Vol. 13, No. 1, February/March 2016.
September 22, 2015
If you use oncall or other irregular employee scheduling, you should review your practices to ensure that they do not create an obligation to pay wages even if the employee never sets foot in the place of employment.
September 1, 2015
Rain may not be reliable in California but changes in employment law are hardy perennials. This year’s crop includes a new state law that mandates near-universal sick leave, another that makes employers liable for actions by their labor contractors, multiple court decisions on determining whether an independent contractor is really an employee, and provocative initiatives by the National Labor Relations Board against nonunion employers.
1 December 2014
Employers risk morale problems, and may find alternative dispute resolution messier than they hoped.
November 10, 2014
As a general notion, no one can seriously dispute the premise that most legal disputes are best resolved outside of the public judicial system. Poorly funded courts, jurists with disparate levels of experience (and intelligence), unpredictable jury verdicts, ever-increasing legal expenses and long delays at the courthouse doors have led many to conclude that there must be a better way. Has alternative dispute resolution solved the shortcomings of our courts? As many large companies have discovered, ADR is not a panacea. Mediation and arbitration can be expensive and ineffective despite the promises of “quick and efficient” results. If used effectively, however, these alternatives can provide large companies with greater outcome predictability and reduced costs.
September 2, 2014
On the heels of being recognized as a “2014 Top Labor & Employment Lawyer” by the Los Angeles Daily Journal, we sat down with Jim Evans, partner in the firm’s Labor & Employment Group to discuss the trends in employment litigation, the use of arbitration agreements to defeat class actions and the changes to his practice as a result of an ever-changing appellate landscape.
July 30, 2014
July 16, 2014