Jim Bordas (1946-2019)
Jim Bordas has been described by many as a giant in the legal profession. He spent his career fighting battles for his clients that others couldn’t or wouldn’t fight. For over four decades, he built a reputation of success through landmark jury verdicts and settlements. Jim started his own law firm in 1979 after having quickly become a partner at his former firm of Riley & Yahn, who had hired him out of the West Virginia University College of Law in 1972, and having been an assistant Prosecuting Attorney.
Jim’s solo practice took off right away, sparked by his appearance on CBS’ 60 Minutes after he successfully represented groups of female coal miners who were being mistreated in the workplace. He next gained recognition for obtaining a significant verdict in a soft tissue injury case in Parker vs. Pepsi. Not only did Jim successfully represent the Parkers against a large company, he also gained lifelong friends in his clients, something that wasn’t unusual for Jim.
In 1985, Jim’s wife, Linda, graduated from law school and they formed the law firm of Bordas & Bordas. Linda had previously been a hospital pharmacist but decided to go back to school to obtain her law degree after helping Jim with some of the medical issues in a large medical malpractice case. He considered not only his marriage to Linda, but also his law partnership with her, to be one of the very great joys of his life. They tried a number of cases together and never lost a single one of them.
In the late 1980s, Jim obtained one of the largest lender liability verdicts in the country in Marook vs. Bank One. His client had originally been sued by the bank and had gone to 12 other lawyers asking them to defend her. When they all turned her down, she reached out to Jim who told her that he would defend her for free if she would allow him to file a counterclaim and sue the bank for what it had done to her. She agreed and Jim not only got the initial claim against her dismissed but obtained what was thought to be one of the largest lender liability verdicts on behalf of an individual in the country at that time.
In the 1990s, Jim served as lead counsel in Strope vs. Honda. He obtained a $3.6 Million verdict in the first-ever Plaintiff’s verdict in a second-impact seatback collapse case. Jim was especially proud of his work in this product liability case, as Honda was defended by its national trial counsel who had a stellar reputation. He also very much credited the result in that case to the tremendous work done by his partner Scott Blass. The case was featured on Inside Edition.
In the 2000s, Jim continued to grow the firm in other areas of law, including insurance bad faith. He obtained a settlement in excess of $10 Million in Harris vs. State Farm on behalf of a widow and her child who had been mistreated by a large insurance company following an auto crash that took the life of her husband and other child. He also took on large utility companies such as AEP and obtained seven figure settlements on behalf of his clients when injured by these large companies. He also served as lead counsel in one of that year’s largest verdicts in the country in Meredith vs. ManorCare where the jury returned a verdict of $50 Million.
In 2000, Jim and Linda’s son Jamie also joined the firm and he became the managing partner of the firm in 2005. Jim enjoyed working with Jamie on a daily basis and there was rarely a day where they didn’t have lunch to go over cases, enjoy stories about the day, or just have some good laughs. However, Jim not only enjoyed mentoring Jamie, but also a number of other young lawyers, such as Geoff Brown, Chris Regan, Jason Causey and others who became outstanding lawyers as well. Jim enjoyed trying cases with each of them. He continued his tradition of taking on large corporations when he served as lead counsel in Brown vs. Quicken Loans which resulted in a multi-million dollar verdict on behalf of his client.
Jim was proud of the many people he was able to help throughout his career. From the time that he grew up as the oldest of nine children, he had always been a fighter on behalf of those that he saw being mistreated. He particularly enjoyed fighting battles on behalf of women, children, and minorities.
Jim was honored as the West Virginia Association for Justice Member of the Year. He was named a Super Lawyer multiple times as voted by his peers and was named to Best Lawyers of America.
He was a member of the American Association for Justice Leaders Forum. Jim was frequently called upon to speak to other lawyers at various Continuing Legal Education seminars and conferences.
Jim was extremely active in the community. He served as a coach for youth football, baseball, and hockey. He, along with his wife, Linda, received the Light of the Valley Award from the Wheeling YMCA and they were also honored by Youth Services System of Wheeling with its Good Samaritan award. Under Jim’s leadership, the firm was also named Pro Bono law firm of the year for the state of West Virginia by WV Legal Aid and also received the Governor’s Service Award.
Despite all of these honors and accomplishments, Jim always remained the most of proud of his wife, Linda, and his two sons Jamie and Ben, and their families. He loved them and many other family members, co-workers, and friends. Jim’s Christian values were always of utmost importance to him. He hosted Bible study groups in the law firm conference room, took Holy Communion to the sick, and attended Mass daily. He and Linda were awarded the Benemeriti Medal by Pope Francis in 2018 for service to the Catholic Church. His legacy of doing good for others will live on for years to come.
- $50 Million Verdict, Wrongful Death, Meredith v. Heartland of Clarksburg
- $11.8 Million Settlement, Wrongful Death/Insurance Bad Faith, Harris v. State Farm
- $11.5 Million Settlement, Truck Accident, Doe v. Trucking Company
- $5.1 Million Settlement, Insurance Bad Faith, Doe v. Insurance Company
- $4 Million Verdict, Product Liability, Strope v. Honda
- $3.4 Million Settlement, Electrocution Death, Doe v. Municipality
- $3 Million Settlement, Oil & Gas, Doe v. Oil & Gas Company
- $2.7 Million Verdict, Lender Liability and Fraud, Brown v. Quicken Loans
- $2.5 Million Verdict, Lender Liability, Marook v. Bank One
- $1.7 Million Verdict, Explosion, Wilson/Owens v. Gas Company
- $1.7 Million Verdict, Commercial Property Damage, Doe v. Municipality
- $1.4 Million Settlement, Wrongful Death, Doe v. Driver
- $1.1 Million Verdict, Auto Accident, Bonar v. Driver
- $1 Million Verdict, Medical Malpractice, Nickerson v. Andreini