James W. Ledlie


James Ledlie has spent decades advocating to make the world a safer place for military service members, first responders, and workers harmed by defective products and unsafe work conditions.

In 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) profiled James and his innovative work using the court system to improve the public’s health and safety. He was awarded the American Association for Justice’s 2010 F. Scott Baldwin award for obtaining outstanding trial verdicts in the interests of public justice.

James has tried many, and resolved thousands, of cases for clients throughout the country in both state and federal courts. He primarily works on cases that have a direct bearing on improving public health by addressing injuries caused by exposure to toxic substances and dangerous consumer products, including asbestos, tobacco, PFAS (forever chemicals) and other toxic workplace exposures.

James is proud to be part of the team selected by the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) to help address occupational cancers believed to be caused by toxic PFAS chemicals in fire fighter turnout gear. He represents state governments, cities, and municipal governments seeking to remediate the opioid epidemic. He also represents Canadian provincial workers’ compensation boards in cost-recovery actions against U.S. companies when workers have been harmed or killed on the job, and supports building trades unions in the U.S. and Canada to help improve worker safety and bring accountability to companies that put profits over the safety of workers. He holds a Foreign Legal Consultant (FLC) permit issued by the Law Society of Ontario to give legal advice in Ontario about the legal system in the U.S.

 As a U.S. Army veteran who served in the Judge Advocate General Corps (JAG), James is committed to protecting the rights of people who selflessly protect us all. James is a member of the Motley Rice team that is evaluating cases for service members, their families, and civilians who were exposed to contaminated water at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. He also represents service members and their families suing the Navy for injuries stemming from a jet fuel spill that contaminated the water supply near the Red Hill Bulk Storage Facility in Honolulu, Hawaii.  James also represents veterans and families in lawsuits over mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases.

 James played a leading role in In re KBR, Inc., Burn Pit Litigation, representing veterans and contract workers who developed cancers and other chronic illnesses after being exposed to allegedly toxic open-air burn pits while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. This litigation brought needed attention to the plight of veterans exposed to airborne toxins released from the burn pits. James supported efforts to seek relief from Congress to address veterans’ injuries after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear plaintiff appeals, effectively ending the litigation. Through the efforts of many veterans and veteran advocates, Congress passed the PACT Act, which provides a pathway for VA disability benefits for burn pit and other toxic exposures resulting from military service. James is accredited by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to represent veterans seeking VA benefits.

 James takes on important cases and devotes the time, talent, and stamina needed to bring them to a successful conclusion through trial or settlement. He is not afraid to take on tough cases and do what is needed to bring about a just result. James has represented businesses that suffered losses as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. He has represented whistleblowers in qui tam actions alleging fraud against the federal government. He was also a key member of the team that litigated and ultimately achieved the historic $100 million aggregate settlement with Lorillard Tobacco Company, Philip Morris USA, and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company in 2015.This settlement resolved roughly 400 Engle-progeny tobacco cases filed in the Florida federal district court. James’ tobacco work was recognized by South Carolina Lawyers Weekly as he held two of the top five largest verdicts and settlements for a South Carolina attorney for 2015.*  

Prior to joining Motley Rice, James, a South Carolina native, was a Law Clerk to the Honorable John C. Few, then a South Carolina Circuit Court Judge and now a Justice on South Carolina’s Supreme Court. He similarly learned his way through the federal courts while clerking for Honorable G. Ross Anderson, Jr., of the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina.

James is a frequent guest speaker at numerous legal conferences, medical conferences and continuing education seminars on asbestos litigation, trial advocacy, jury selection and professionalism. He is recognized as an AV® rated attorney by Martindale-Hubbell®. James is equally committed to making a positive impact outside the courtroom, including being involved in local charities and community improvement initiatives. He also serves as Chair of the Motley Rice Charitable Committee.   

*Every case is different. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.


J.D., University of South Carolina School of Law, 2000

B.A., Wofford College, 1996

Licensed In

  • District of Columbia
  • New York
  • South Carolina
  • West Virginia

Admitted to Practice Before

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth and Eleventh Circuits

U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, and Southern District of West Virginia


American Association for Justice, Former New Lawyers Division Board of Governors member

South Carolina Association for Justice, Former Board of Governors member

South Carolina Bar Association, Past Chairman – Torts and Insurance Practice Section

Charleston Bar Association

Public Justice Foundation

Awards and Accolades

2021–2024  Mass tort litigation / class actions–plaintiffs 
2022–2024  Product liability litigation–plaintiffs

2016, 2020–2021 Top 100 Trial Lawyers™ – South Carolina

2020–2024 Lawdragon 500 Plaintiff Consumer Lawyers

2012–2013 South Carolina Super Lawyers Rising Stars list

2010 F. Scott Baldwin Award: in honor of significant contributions to the New Lawyers Division and the attainment of outstanding trial verdicts