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James Sullivan, KC

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Recent experience includes:

  • Acting as counsel for Kobe Steel Ltd. in a national class action alleging misrepresentations that metal products used in automobile manufacturing met certain specifications or standards

  • Counsel for several financial institutions in purported class actions

  • Acting for the Province of British Columbia in a purported class action alleging that the Province's regulation of fish farms had injured the aboriginal fishery; action was dismissed by the British Columbia Court of Appeal, and leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada was dismissed

  • Counsel to Microsoft Corporation in a class action alleging breaches of the Competition Act and various other economic claims regarding the sale of software products throughout Canada

  • Acting as counsel to Lafarge Canada Inc. in a matter finally decided in the Supreme Court of Canada concerning the constitutional question of which level of government controlled the development of a concrete facility on the Vancouver waterfront; the Supreme Court of Canada upheld Lafarge Canada Inc.'s position and enabled the facility to be developed

  • Acting as counsel to Merck & Co., Inc. and Merck Frosst Canada Ltd. in purported class actions across Canada concerning various pharmaceutical products

  • Conducting international anticorruption investigations and due diligence for multinational clients in connection with allegations of improper payments to government officials

  • Acting as counsel to Hunt Oil in an action concerning an oil and gas tenure in northeastern British Columbia – Hunt Oil acquired the tenure only to find out that the Province of British Columbia had not disclosed that the tenure was in an area that was considered historically and spiritually significant by a local Indigenous group; the matter proceeded through an extensive litigation process and settled successfully for Hunt Oil on the eve of trial

  • Acting as counsel to Coca Cola Ltd. in the co-ordination of its Canadian litigation concerning Vitaminwater® class actions; these class actions have to be coordinated not only among various jurisdictions in Canada but also with other international jurisdictions

  • Acting as counsel to Syscon Justice Systems Canada Ltd., successfully defending a 10-week trial for a commission sought in the amount of C$17-million

  • Acting as an arbitrator for government and businesses

Awards & Recognition

Below are some of Jim's national and international recognitions as leading litigation counsel:

  • The Best Lawyers in Canada 2024 (Class Action Litigation, Corporate and Commercial Litigation, Environmental Law, Product Liability Law)

  • The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory 2023 (Class Actions)

  • Who's Who Legal: Canada 2023 (Life Sciences and Product Liability Defence) – Jim was named a Global Elite Thought Leader in Product Liability Defence and a Global Leader in Life Sciences – Product Liability.

  • Who’s Who Legal: Life Sciences 2022 – Jim was "heralded by interviewees who laud the first-rate advice he delivers to domestic and international clients on a wide range of product liability defence matters."

  • Benchmark Canada: The Definitive Guide to Canada's Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys 2022 (A Litigation Star in British Columbia and a National Litigation Star in Class Actions, Competition and Environmental Law)

  • Chambers Canada: Canada's Leading Lawyers for Business 2022 – Noted as "extremely strategic and knowledgeable. He is also communicative, business-oriented and responsive" and "a highly responsive adviser with a great depth of experience."

  • Benchmark Canada Awards 2013 (Canada's Class Action Litigator of the Year)

Professional Activities

Jim is the author of A Guide to the British Columbia Class Proceedings Act (Butterworths, 1997) and is the co-author, with the Honourable Mr. Justice Mazko of the British Columbia Supreme Court, of the Class Proceedings Act, Annotated (The Continuing Legal Education Society of B.C., 2000 & 2002). He is a contributor to the British Columbia Supreme Court Class Action Manual (Supreme Court of British Columbia, 1999) and a contributing author to Litigating Conspiracy: An Analysis of Competition Class Actions (Irwin Law, 2006) and Government Liability: Law and Practice (Canada Law Book, 2007).

Jim is also a contributing editor of the Federated Press Class Action Journal and has written numerous articles and lectured extensively on class actions and environmental law throughout Canada, the United States and Europe.

Jim is a former governor of the Law Foundation of British Columbia.

Professional Appearances
  • Speaker: The Best Way to Win Certification? Never Get There!
    Blakes Business Class Webinar, Best-in-Class: Canadian Class Actions 2022, December 14, 2022.
  • Speaker: Managing Adverse Foreign Judgments in Local Litigation
    International Association of Defense Counsel Mid-Year Meeting, Phoenix, Arizona, February 20, 2022.

Admitted to the British Columbia Bar – 1988
Harvard Law School PIL Mediation Training – 1999
Harvard Law School PIL Negotiation Training – 1997
LLB, University of Saskatchewan – 1987
BA, University of Saskatchewan – 1984

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