Powers Farley provides personal, responsive, and high-quality legal services to clients in Idaho and the Pacific Northwest.

photo of Attorney James S. Thomson, II

James S. Thomson, II

Partner

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Biography

Jim Thomson understands the business and law of insurance as well as any lawyer in Idaho. This knowledge, combined with his litigation skills and thoughtful analysis, makes him the choice of some of Idaho's largest insurance companies seeking guidance and advice in coverage analysis, policy interpretation, and bad faith litigation. Jim is called upon to train claims representatives and staff on best practices in handling claims in Idaho. Sorting through coverage issues or making decisions in claims handling requires timely and efficient advice, Jim provides that service. Jim is also an experienced trial lawyer, having tried several cases to juries and arbitration panels. Jim's trial experience crosses a broad spectrum of cases involving motor vehicle accidents, premises liability, contract disputes, construction defects, fire losses, as well as insurance contract and bad faith litigation.

Jim has practiced law in Idaho since 1997, representing individuals and businesses in a variety of legal disputes. For the past 20 years, Mr. Thomson's practice has focused on general civil litigation, and has included serving clients in matters involving insurance breach of contract and bad faith, personal injury, wrongful death, workers' compensation claims, motor vehicle accidents, premises liability, product defects, construction defects, construction disputes, contract disputes, civil rights issues, professional malpractice, medical & dental malpractice, professional board licensing actions, as well as error and omission claims against insurance agents. In addition to guiding and managing hundreds of disputes through pre-trial litigation, including negotiated resolutions and mediation, Mr. Thomson is an experienced trial lawyer, having tried several cases to juries and arbitration panels.

Mr. Thomson is uniquely qualified in the area of insurance coverage and bad faith law, having developed extensive experience evaluating coverage matters, as well as handling coverage and bad faith related litigation arising under both personal and commercial insurance policies. Through his experience Mr. Thomson has developed a vast knowledge base that includes a comprehensive understanding of insurance company operations and claims-handling practices, problems arising in claim-handling that can lead to breach of contract and bad faith-related claims, as well as numerous insurance policy coverage-related issues that arise across the spectrum of commercial and personal lines policies. Mr. Thomson's insurance coverage practice has included insurance coverage litigation (declaratory judgment actions, breach of contract and bad faith claims) in both state and federal courts, insurance policy analysis and interpretation, examinations under oath, addressing various coverage issues arising under automobile and homeowner policies, commercial general liability policies (including construction defect litigation), professional liability policies, and umbrella/excess policies, as well as advising and training on insurance claims and underwriting practices, assistance in drafting proposed legislation affecting the insurance industry, and insurance policy drafting assistance.

Through his other broad range of experience, Mr. Thomson has developed knowledge of motor vehicle accident investigation and reconstruction techniques, fire investigations, causation of various physical and mental injuries and resulting damages, as well as construction methods, contracts, project management and claims pertaining to construction defects. Mr. Thomson has successfully represented home builders and other general contractors and subcontractors on matters ranging from injury claims to construction defect claims valued at several million dollars. Mr. Thomson's personal injury practice also includes knowledge of work-related injuries and workers' compensation claims. Mr. Thomson has attended the advanced level training for workers' compensation professionals offered by the Idaho Industrial Commission.

Mr. Thomson joined the legal profession in 1997 and first came to Idaho as an active duty attorney with the United States Air Force Judge Advocate General's Department, stationed at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. As an Air Force attorney, he prosecuted criminal cases before military courts-martial and as a Special Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Idaho. He also worked in a variety of civil practice areas, including environmental law and government contract law. Mr. Thomson and his family made Idaho their home, and he departed the Air Force to begin his practice in civil litigation in late 2000.

Education

  • University of Memphis School of Law, Memphis, Tennessee
    • J.D. - 1996
    • Honors: With Honors
  • University of Florida
    • B.S. - 1990
    • Major: Business Administration

Classes & Seminars

  • Harmonie Group – CGL construction defect coverage presentations for Construction & Transportation seminars in Dallas, TX; Denver, CO; and Atlanta, GA (June – August 2017)
  • Harmonie Group – Presentation on use of autonomous vehicles and equipment in construction for Construction & Transportation seminar in Denver, CO (August 2018)
  • Harmonie Group – Presentation on waivers of consequential damages in construction contracts for Construction seminars in Chicago, IL; and Denver, CO (July – August 2019)
  • Defense of automobile injury cases
  • Insurance agent loss prevention
  • Discovery skills

Pro-Bono Activities

  • Member, U.S. Masters Swimming
  • Member, Boise Gun Club (trap & skeet shotgun sports club with history dating back to 1892)
  • Member, Pacific International Trapshooting Association

Past Positions

  • United States Air Force Judge Advocate General’s Department, Active Duty Attorney
  • District of Idaho, Special Assistant United States Attorney

Professional Associations

  • American Bar Association Section of Litigation, Member
  • American Bar Association Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section, Member
  • American Bar Association Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee, Member
  • American Bar Association Forum on Construction Law, Member
  • Idaho Association of Defense Counsel, Member
  • Defense Research Institute, Member
  • Harmonie Group (Construction Committee; First-Party Property Committee), Member
  • Boise Adjuster’s Association, Member
  • Boise Adjuster’s Association, 2009 & 2015, President
  • Building Contractors Association of Southwestern Idaho, Member

Practice Areas

  • General Civil Litigation
  • Insurance Breach of Contract
  • Bad Faith Insurance
  • Personal Injury
  • Wrongful Death
  • Workers' Compensation
  • Motor Vehicle Accidents
  • Premises Liability
  • Contract Disputes and Litigation
  • Professional Malpractice

Bar Admissions

  • Idaho
  • U.S. District Court District of Idaho
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit
  • U.S. Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces

Representative Cases

  • Walsh v. Swapp Law, PLLC, 166 Idaho 629, 462 P.3d 607, 2020
  • Farm Bureau Mut. Ins. Co. of Idaho v. Schrock, 150 Idaho 817, 252 P.3d 98, 2011
  • Jackson Hop, LLC v. Farm Bureau Mut. Ins. Co. of Idaho, 158 Idaho 894, 354 P.3d 456, 2015
  • Khurana v. AMCO Insurance Company, 2017 WL 4322367, 2017, Idaho Ct. App.
  • Dillon v. Montgomery, 138 Idaho 614, 67 P.3d 93, 2003
  • Gillihan v. Gump, 140 Idaho 264, 92 P.3d 514, 2004
  • Puckett v. Verska, 144 Idaho 161, 158 P.3d 937, 2007