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D 816.374.0565
F 816.374.0509
  • Education
    • J.D., University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, 1990, University of Missouri-Kansas City Law Review
    • B.S., University of Kansas, 1987, Business Administration

James Sullivan regularly defends clients against claims that could hugely impact their businesses. He focuses his practice on the defense and trial of a wide variety of employment claims, including:

  • Discrimination claims
  • Wrongful termination claims
  • Fair Labor Standards Act claims
  • Other wage claims
  • Officer and director liability claims
  • Contract disputes

James has also successfully represented employers across the nation, defeating attempts to certify employment claims as class actions. In addition to large complex litigation, he has successfully tried claims alleging sexual harassment, race discrimination, age discrimination, and breach of employment agreements, including restrictive covenant issues.

James is a lead shareholder of the firm's Labor and Employment Practice Group.

  • Successfully defended an interstate motor carrier against class action claims by owner-operator truck drivers who claimed that motor carrier improperly calculated driver compensation and violated FMCSA truth-in-leasing regulations. Trial court denied plaintiffs’ motion for class certification and granted summary judgment on all of plaintiffs’ substantive claims for monetary and injunctive relief. Plaintiff appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which affirmed in total the rulings of the district court.
  • Defended a large interstate motor carrier against class action claims by employee truck drivers who claimed that defendant improperly calculated the drivers’ pay. The trial court denied plaintiffs’ motion for class certification. Case settled favorably for client after denial of class certification.
  • Successfully defended a mortgage brokerage company against claims of age discrimination and retaliation, and successfully upheld trial court’s ruling before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.
  • Co-counsel in the defense of an interstate motor carrier against claims of a proposed class of owner-operator truck drivers who claimed that motor carrier improperly calculated driver compensation and violated the FMCSA truth-in-leasing regulations. Trial court denied plaintiffs’ motion for class certification. Case settled on terms favorable to client after denial of class certification.
  • Successfully defended the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department against claims of age and sex discrimination and retaliation, and successfully upheld the trial court’s findings before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eigth Circuit.
  • Successfully defended a motor carrier and affiliated equipment leasing company against claims of a proposed class of owner-operator truck drivers who claimed that the motor carrier improperly calculated driver compensation and violated the FMCSA truth-in-leasing regulations. The American Arbitration Association Panel denied claimants’ motion for class certification. Case settled on terms favorable to client after denial of class certification.
  • Defended a motor carrier against claims by three female drivers that they were sexually harassed by their male co-drivers. Jury returned a verdict in favor of motor carrier on two of the three female drivers and returned a verdict of $70,000 for one plaintiff.
  • Defended an interstate motor carrier against claims of a proposed class of owner-operator truck drivers who claimed that motor carrier improperly calculated driver compensation and violated FMCSA truth-in-leasing regulations. Trial court denied plaintiffs’ motion for class certification and granted summary judgment on all of plaintiffs’ substantive claims. The trial court’s rulings were successfully upheld on appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.
  • Successfully defended an interstate motor carrier against claims of a proposed class of owner-operator truck drivers who claimed that they should have been classified as employees rather than independent contractors. The trial court denied plaintiffs’ motion for class certification. Case settled favorably for client after denial of class certification.
  • Defeated a plaintiffs’ motion for class certification of current and former employees, alleging racial discrimination including hostile work environment, promotions, and retaliation.
  • Successfully defended a large steel manufacturer against claims of age discrimination and retaliation.
  • Defended a local utility company in race discrimination, hostile work environment, and retaliation claims. Jury returned a verdict for plaintiff of $45,000, where last settlement demand was $700,000.
  • Defended a subsidiary of major utility company against claims by former president of breach of employment contract and negligent misrepresentation. Judgment of the trial court was affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.
Publication and Presentations Icon Publications & Presentations
PolsinelliAtWork.com Blog
September 9, 2016
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PolsinelliAtWork.com Blog
October 13, 2015
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Risky Business: Classifying Workers as Employees or Independent Contractors and the Implications of Misclassification
2010 Polsinelli Shughart PC Labor, Employment and Benefits Symposium
August 2010
Publication and Presentations Icon Publications & Presentations
Defending the Owner-Operator Model--Latest Developments on the Federal and State Levels
2010 Truckload Carriers Association, Independent Contractor Annual Meeting
July 2010
Publication and Presentations Icon Publications & Presentations
Owner-Operator Issues
2008 Truckload Carriers Association, Independent Contractor Division Annual Meeting
September 2008
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Case Filing and Jury Trial Trends in Kansas City Metropolitan Area
2006 Labor, Employment and Benefits Symposium
September 2006
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Comment on the Hyatt Regency Class Action Lawsuit
Comment on the Hyatt Regency Class Action Lawsuit
April 2006
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Owner-Operator Issues
2005 Truckload Carriers Association - Independent Contractors Division Annual Meeting
October 2005
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Current Trends in Owner-Operator Litigation
Truckload Carriers Association
August 2005
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Private Rights of Action to Enforce the Truth-in-Leasing Regulations in Court
Transportation Law Journal
2005