James C. Winton

Partner

Houston
T +1.713.646.1304
F +1.713.751.1717

Overview

Jim Winton is a litigator who focuses his practice on maritime law, liquid pipeline transportation and general commercial litigation. With more than 42 years of experience, Jim brings a developed understanding of his clients’ industries to his representation. His dedication to each matter enables Jim to effectively address his clients’ concerns in a way that not only solves immediate issues but prevents the exacerbation of future difficulties.

Jim has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America® since 2009 in the area of admiralty and maritime law. He teaches Maritime Commerce at the University of Houston Law Center.

Select Experience

Maritime/Admiralty
  • Served as lead attorney in a federal court case for a drilling contractor client. The contractor sued an operator to recover unpaid day rates against a declaration of force majeure following The Macondo blowout. Defeated a $27.1 million counterclaim for breach of contract and recovered on client's claim.
  • Foreclosed on a First Preferred Ship Mortgage on a vessel against defenses of estoppel and waiver.
Oil Pipeline
  • Negotiated an easement for a pipeline across a wetlands preserve against a claim of trespass.
  • Acquired easements by negotiation and condemnation on properties across three rural counties in order to allow construction of a pipeline in time to meet contractual obligations and avoid penalties.
General Commercial
  • Represents the restaurant owner and operator of Texas restaurant involved in the confrontation between police and motorcycle clubs.
  • Represented a major manufacturer of heavy and medium trucks in national class actions alleging breach of franchise agreements.
More »

Experience

Maritime/Admiralty
  • Served as lead attorney in a federal court case for a drilling contractor client. The contractor sued an operator to recover unpaid day rates against a declaration of force majeure following The Macondo blowout. Defeated a $27.1 million counterclaim for breach of contract and recovered on client's claim.
  • Foreclosed on a First Preferred Ship Mortgage on a vessel against defenses of estoppel and waiver.
  • Represented a Florida buyer of cargo of methyl ethyl ketone suing a Taiwanese seller for off-spec cargo carried by the vessel.
  • Defeated a Rule B Writ of Attachment against funds conditionally posted by a client relating to the international purchase, sale and transportation of iron ore.
  • Representing a client on a claim for damage to a vessel caused when a load of wind tower sections broke loose in heavy weather and caused damage to the ship.
  • Representing a shipper/seller of cargo of steel against claims of off-spec cargo and misrepresentations in the ocean bill of lading.
Oil Pipeline
  • Negotiated an easement for a pipeline across a wetlands preserve against a claim of trespass.
  • Acquired easements by negotiation and condemnation on properties across three rural counties in order to allow construction of a pipeline in time to meet contractual obligations and avoid penalties.
  • Defended 2,400 personal injury claims and three class actions against a pipeline company whose valve failed in a liquefied petroleum gas pipeline near a three-unit prison complex. The client ultimately settled for basic nuisance value of a few of the claims.
General Commercial
  • Represents the restaurant owner and operator of Texas restaurant involved in the confrontation between police and motorcycle clubs.
  • Represented a major manufacturer of heavy and medium trucks in national class actions alleging breach of franchise agreements.
  • Represented a number of clients on insurance coverage issues. Successfully defended findings by a trial court of coverage in two cases at the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals under additional insured clauses.

Recognitions and Memberships

Recognitions

  • The Best Lawyers in America® (2009 to Present)
    • Texas: Admiralty & Maritime Law
  • Texas "Super Lawyer" (2008 to 2019)
  • Martindale-Hubbell: AV Preeminent
  • State Bar of Texas: Director of the Year (2005)
    • Third Year Director of the Year (2005)
    • Presidential Citation (2005)

Memberships

  • Maritime Law Association of the United States: Proctor Member
  • Federal Bar Association: Southern District of Texas Chapter
    • Board of Directors (2002 to 2008)
    • Chapter President (2005)
  • State Bar of Texas
    • Texas Legal Protection Plan: Board of Directors (2006 to 2011)
    • State Bar of Texas Insurance Trust: Board of Trustees (2009 to 2014)
    • State Bar of Texas, Elected Member of Board of Directors (2002 to 2005)
    • Board Liaison to the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct Committee (2002 to 2003)
    • Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct Committee: Appointed Member (2003 to 2018)

Community

  • Lakewood Yacht Club
    • Board of Directors (2007 to 2018)
    • Secretary (2007)
    • Fleet Captain (2014)
    • Rear Commodore (2015)
    • Vice Commodore (2016)
    • Commodore (2017)
  • Judith Liebenthal Robinson Ovarian Cancer Foundation
    • Founding Member and Board Member (2010)

Military Service

  • U.S. Navy, Judge Advocate General's Corps (1978 to 1981)
    • Reserve Status (1975 to 1977, 1981 to 1996)
    • Final Rank: Lieutenant Commander
    • Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal

Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of California
  • Texas, 1988
  • California, 1977
  • District of Columbia [Inactive], 1980

Education

  • J.D., Southwestern University School of Law, 1977, magna cum laude
  • B.A., Political Science, University of Southern California, 1974, cum laude