James M. Brault is a trial lawyer with broad experience in representing clients in a wide spectrum of matters, including commercial litigation, corporate and partnership disputes, derivative claims, business torts, insurance coverage disputes, personal injury cases, estates and trusts cases, and other complex litigation matters. Mr. Brault practices in Maryland state courts and federal courts as well as the District of Columbia courts. Over almost three decades, Mr. Brault has handled numerous partnership and corporate disputes, and has briefed and argued many significant cases on commercial and insurance law on appeal. Mr. Brault’s practice also includes advising clients with respect to business and estate matters outside of litigation.
Mr. Brault was elected by his peers to serve on the Executive Committee of the Montgomery County Bar Association (1998-1999) and as its treasurer (2000-2001); as treasurer of the Montgomery County Bar Foundation (2001-2002); and on the Maryland State Bar Association Board of Governors (2002-2004). He also has served on the Character Committee of the Maryland Board of Law Examiners and on the Peer Review Panel for the Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland. Mr. Brault also was elected to be in the Bar Leaders of Montgomery County, and has been recognized as one of the top lawyers in the Maryland Super Lawyers and D.C. Super Lawyers.
Mr. Brault is a third generation member of the firm. His grandfather, Albert E. Brault, was a founding member of the firm in 1952, and his father, Albert D. Brault, is a senior member of the firm. After graduating from law school in 1986, James Brault clerked for the Honorable James S. McAuliffe, Jr., in Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Maryland (1986-1987) before joining the firm.
Mr. Brault’s clients have included real estate owners and developers, businesses (corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies and other entities), nonprofits, insurance companies and individuals.
Representation of Plaintiffs in an action for specific performance to compel Defendants to comply with a buy-sell provision in a real estate partnership agreement involving student housing property. Following a bench trial in November 2015, the Court entered judgment in favor of Plaintiffs enforcing the buy-sell provision resulting in a buy-out in excess of $9 million.
Representation of a local mall owner in an action brought to declare that that the mall’s termination of a commercial tenant’s lease for violation of a radius restriction provision was unlawful. They successfully obtained summary judgment early in the case prior to discovery. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed. Dave & Buster’s, Inc. v White Flint Mall, LLLP, unpublished, Case No. 14-1794 (4th Cir. June 11, 2015).
Representation of a real estate owner in an arbitration proceeding arising out of a window replacement project in an apartment building. The owner counterclaimed for damages for alleged workmanship and other breaches. The dispute was arbitrated through AAA Arbitration in January 2014.
Representation of a non-profit corporation and its officers and directors in a lawsuit brought by members alleging that the defendants wrongfully attempted to amend the bylaws to disband a property management committee and misappropriated building funds. Following discovery, the claims were dismissed by the trial court, and Plaintiffs appealed. The Court of Special Appeals affirmed in part and remanded in part. On the core issue of whether the bylaws could be amended, the Court of Special Appeals agreed with Defendants that there was no prohibition against the amendment of the bylaws to disband the property management committee.
Obtained favorable opinion from the Court of Appeals in an insurance case. The Court of Appeals held that Maryland’s notice-prejudice statute precluded the insurer from denying coverage based on the insured failure to comply with the policy provision since the insurer was not prejudiced by the late notice. Sherwood Brands, Inc. v. Great American Insurance Co., 418 Md. 300, 13 A.3d 1268 (2011).
Representation of Defendants in a partnership dispute where a number of minority partners claimed they were not paid the correct distributions. Defendants were successful in defeating an attempt to have class certification. Defendants prevailed at a bench trial. The Court of Special Appeals affirmed in an unreported opinion. Davidson, et al. v. Laszlo N Tauber & Associates, et al., unreported Court of Special Appeals, Sept. Term 2008, No. 2952 (2010).
Representation of country club in dispute over the validity of a vote by the members of the country club to make improvements to the club. The dispute involved the rights of absentee members, and the question of what law would be applied to internal corporate governance issues. Successfully obtained summary judgment in favor of the country club.
Significant Reported Appellate Decisions
- Paskowitz v. Wohlstadter, 151 Md. App 1, 822 A.2d 1272 (2003)
- Lerner v. Lerner Corp., 132 Md. App. 32, 750 A.2d 709 (2000)
- Lerner v. Lerner Corp., 122 Md. App 1, 711 A.2d 233 (1998)
- Sherwood Brands, Inc. v. Great American Insurance Co., 418 Md. 300, 13 A.3d 1268 (2011)
- Zappone v. Liberty Life Insurance Company, 349 Md. 45, 706 A.2d 1060 (1998)
- Sherwood Brands, Inc. v. Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company, 347 Md. 32, 698 A.2d 1078 (1997)
- Monumental Life Insurance Company v. U.S. Fidelity and Guar. Company, 94 Md. App. 505, 617 A.2d 1163 (1993)
- Larimore v. American Insurance Company, 314 Md. 617, 552 A.2d 889 (1989)
- Maryland Association of Defense Trial Counsel
- Bar Leaders of Montgomery County
- Maryland State Bar Association
- Board of Governors (2002-2004)
- Bar Association of Montgomery County
- Treasurer (2000-2001)
- Executive Committee (1996‑1998)
- Montgomery County Bar Foundation
- Board of Governors (2000-Present)
- Treasurer (2001-2002)
- Committee on Governance (2000-2001)
- Maryland Association of Defense Trial Counsel (1998-Present)
- Review Panel for Attorney Grievance Comm. (2002-Present)
- Character Committee for the State Board of Law Examiners (1991-2000, 2005- present)
- Bar Leaders of Montgomery County (2000-Present)