Overview

As Walton Lantaff’s Central Florida resident partner, James T. Armstrong has built his practice on a solid foundation spanning over 35 years. With his vast experience and diversified areas of practice, he was a natural choice to lead the expansion of legal services offered by the firm to the many businesses, corporations, entrepreneurs, governmental agencies and institutions that call Central Florida home.

Mr. Armstrong joined Walton Lantaff in 2003 in order to practice with the many respected peers who are also friends with the firm. Since then, he has built a loyal client base throughout Florida and works closely with his clients in developing aggressive, cost-effective solutions for avoiding risk and resolving legal issues. Prior to joining Walton Lantaff, he was a Senior Civil Litigator for the CNA Insurance Companies handling cases statewide for national and regional clients. Mr. Armstrong is a retired U. S. Coast Guard Reserve officer Law Specialist with command experience. During his ten years on active duty, Commander Armstrong handled first party claims against the Coast Guard, investigations, disability determinations, merchant marine license revocations appeals and general maritime regulatory matters after going to sea for four years on Coast Guard Cutters. As a Coast Guard Reserve Officer he served on the staff of various South Florida Coast Guard Reserve units prior to Commanding the Fort Pierce Coast Guard Station Reserve Unit and Seventh Coast Guard District Office Reserve Unit. Mr. Armstrong retired from the Coast Guard Reserve in 1993 with the rank of Commander (O-5).

Practice Areas:

  • Business Litigation
  • Insurance Defense Litigation
  • Construction Defense Litigation
  • Civil Litigation
  • Personal Injury
  • Child Advocacy/Juvenile Dependency
  • Maritime/Jones Act
  • Longshore/Admiralty
  • Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act Defense
  • Workers’ Compensation Defense
  • Construction Disputes

Admitted to Practice:

  • Florida Bar, 1980
  • Southern District of the US District Court of Florida, 1982
  • Southern District Trial Bar, 1983
  • Middle District of the US District Court of Florida, 1988
  • Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, 2011

Education:

  • United States Coast Guard Academy (B.S. 1971)
  • University of Miami School of Law (J.D. 1980)

Professional or Trade Affiliations

  • Florida Bar since 1980
  • Certified by the Florida Department of Insurance as an instructor since 1990 for teaching continuing education courses for insurance adjusters and claims professionals
  • Life member of the Naval Institute
  • Life member of the Military Officers Association of America

Honors & Awards

  • AV Preeminent Lawyer rating by Lexis Nexis/Martindale-Hubbell
  • John Edward Smith Child Advocacy Award in 2010
  • Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court Guardian Ad Litem Pro Bono Attorney Award in 1987 and in 2002
  • American Lawyer 2012 Edition of South Florida’s Top Rated Lawyers, page 42

Community Involvement

  • Legal Counsel to IDignity Seminole, Inc. a pro bono organization that provides free identification to indigent clients to enable them to re-enter the work force
  • Provides pro bono representation to abused and abandoned children as a member of Orange County Bar Association Pro Bono Program since 2012
  • Served on the national board of directors of Lawyers for Children America, Inc. from 2009 and was elected as the Board Chairperson in 2010 until May 2015
  • Orange County Bar Association
  • Active member in the Orlando Chamber of Commerce
  • Active member in the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando
  • Active member in the Seminole County Chamber of Commerce
  • Vice President of Central Orlando HCCMO Lead’s Group

Representative Experience

  • Global settlement of a Jones Act, Longshore Harbor Worker Compensation Act and Florida Workers’ Compensation Act Case – Jim was retained to defend a claim brought by a seriously injured South Florida employee in what initially appeared to be either a Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act or a Florida Workers’ Compensation Act. Determination of the employee’s status under State or Federal Compensation Law was critical due to the significant difference in the employer’s exposure. Early in the case Jim realized the injured worker was most likely a Jones Act crewman which added an entirely higher level of exposure. As a result of Jim’s knowledge of the relationship between these three laws he was able to negotiate a global settlement of all potential claims which required approval of the Florida Judge of Compensation Claims as well as the U. S. Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs to the economic benefit of his client.
  • Most favorable settlement for subcontractor client in a construct defect wrongful death case – Jim represented a mechanical subcontractor in a construction defect wrongful death case wherein the equipment installed by Jim’s client was the ultimate instrument of death of a third party long after the building completion. The 20 parties reached a global settlement shortly before trial with Jim’s client contributing a mere $25,000 to the total in excess of $14,000,000.

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