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W. James Johnson


Phone: (828) 771-2492
Fax: (828) 257-2767
Email: jjohnson@vwlawfirm.com


University of South Carolina
J.D., cum laude, 2000

Wofford College
B.A. in English, 1996

Meet W. James

James is a trial lawyer who has successfully tried numerous lawsuits to verdict in a variety of construction, business and transactional matters. James leads the firm’s Construction Law Group and serves a variety of clients in construction related matters throughout North and South Carolina. James regularly represents general contractors, owners and developers and design professionals in matters such as:

  • Developing and negotiating contracts
  • Construction and design defect claims
  • Payment claims including lien, bond, and Prompt Pay claims
  • Delay and additional work claims
  • Licensing Board Complaints
  • Insurance coverage disputes
  • Public Project issues
  • Product defect claims
  • Residential and commercial construction claims

James is an active member of the North Carolina Construction Bar Section, and is a published author in the North Carolina Construction Law Deskbook.  He has served on the Construction Counsel, has presented at numerous section CLEs, and is currently the officer and secretary to the Construction Council of the Construction Section of the North Carolina Bar Association. James participates frequently as a speaker to other industry groups on a variety of construction law matters.

James has been involved in a number of complex business and commercial disputes and has handled claims pertaining to shareholder disputes, fiduciary claims, lender liability, business dissolution, and commercial transactions. 

James practices regularly in state and federal courts and is licensed to practice in North and South Carolina. In addition to litigation matters, James serves as general counsel to a number of business clients and provides advice and counsel on general matters.

James joined the firm in September of 2002 and was promoted to principal in 2008. He graduated cum laude from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 2000 and clerked with the Honorable James R. Barber through August of 2001. While attending law school, James was admitted to the Order of the Wig & Robe and was a published member of the South Carolina Law Review. In 2001, James joined the firm of McCutchen, Blanton, Johnson & Barnette in Columbia, South Carolina.


Practice Highlights

  • Obtained verdict in excess of $2 Million in a bench trial in Buncombe County to set aside fraudulent transfers made by a North Carolina Corporation to its sole shareholders and officers.
  • Prevailed in a case of first impression under North Carolina lien law in superior court bench trial involving a mechanic’s lien law case. Successfully invalidated cross project set-offs wrongfully applied to eliminate a balance for recovery as to a second tier material supplier.
  • Obtained an arbitration award for delay damages in favor of a general contractor on a public highway project in the amount of $314,685.71.
  • Obtained a jury verdict in Henderson County in excess of $1.2 million arising out of a fraudulent series of land transactions.
  • Obtained a verdict of $8.7 million in a jury trial in Buncombe County, in a case concerning a dispute over the sale of an aircraft.
  • Obtained a verdict after a four-week jury trial in Henderson County Superior Court in favor of Henderson County homeowners in excess of $2.4 million, including actual and punitive damages, for defective construction and fraud.
  • Obtained summary judgement for an engineer of record who was sued by an owner in a $900,000 claim.
  • Obtained a directed verdict for an engineer of record in a professional malpractice case with claims exceeding $1 million in damages. The verdict was upheld on appeal to the North Carolina Court of Appeals.
  • Obtained summary judgment on behalf of an engineer of record in a wrongful death claim, where alleged damages exceeded $2 million.
  • Participated in a shareholder oppression bench trial in South Carolina which favorably resolved in the second week of trial.
  • Tried a fraud and breach of fiduciary duty case to a jury verdict in Henderson County in excess of $100,000.

Professional Affiliations

  • 28th Judicial District Bar
  • Carolinas AGC (Associated General Contractors of America)
  • North Carolina Bar Association
    • Construction Law Section
      • Member, NC Council to the Construction Law Section
  • Asheville AIA (American Institute of Architects)
  • Richland County Bar Association
  • South Carolina Bar Association
  • Construction Professional Network


  • Recognized in Best Lawyers of America, 2015
  • North Carolina Super Lawyers, 2015
  • North Carolina Legal Elite, 2015
  • North Carolina Super Lawyers "Rising Star," 2011-2013
  • Member, Harry C. Martin American Inns of Court
  • Co-Chair & Planner, Construction Law 2013: Practice Smarter, Not Harder!, 2013 Construction Law Winter Program, Construction Law Section, NC Bar Association, February 21, 2012
  • Editor, South Carolina Law Review

Presentations & Publications

  • 2013 Construction Law Desk Book – Contributing Editor
  • Co-Author, "Waiver of Subrogation: A Valid Defense for Architects and Engineers?" Change Order, a publication of the NC Bar Assocation Construction Section, November 2012
  • Co-Author, "Waiver of Subrogation: A Valid Defense for Architects and Engineers?" 51st Annual Meeting of Invited Attorneys, 2012
  • Participating Author, North Carolina Construction Law Desk Book, N.C. Bar Association, 2010


Phone: (828) 771-2492
Fax: (828) 257-2767
Email: jjohnson@vwlawfirm.com


University of South Carolina
J.D., cum laude, 2000

Wofford College
B.A. in English, 1996

Work with W. James

James’s travels around the world have led him on many adventures. Among his most exciting have been running with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, and driving a pickup truck from Texas to Guatemala and back in three months. A native of Columbia, South Carolina, James is married to Tricia Tiller Johnson. They have two children, Tiller and Mack.

Favorite Foods
Spanish paella, huevos rancheros, barbecue

Favorite Music
Old-time string band, old country, bluegrass, newgrass, blues

Favorite Book
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

Favorite Movie
Anything from the Coen Brothers

Last Place Visited

Where He’d Like to Travel

Passions in Life
Playing music, biking, hiking, running and his dogs

Guilty Pleasures
John Grisham novels