James R. Schraf

James Schraf has over 30 years of legal expertise. Mr. Schraf serves as attorney to insurance carriers and agents as well as business and individual clients with litigation and general legal needs.

Mr. Schraf provides clients with experienced counsel in professional liability litigation related to insurance agents and brokers, insurance coverage issues and representation of insureds of insurance carriers in general liability litigation. He is highly skilled in general litigation for business and individual clients, bankruptcy and insolvency law with a focus on asset collection and representation of Chapter 7 and 11 trustees.

An experienced litigation attorney with expertise in general and insurance litigation, Mr. Schraf has prosecuted and defended lawsuits in state and federal trial courts in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. He has also argued before the appellate courts at the state and federal level. Many of the appellate cases argued are the subject of published opinions.

Mr. Schraf provides his clients with valuable expertise gained from successfully assisting clients in negotiation, formal dispute resolution and in mediation that has the possibility of resolving some disputes without the need for litigation. Mr. Schraf counsels clients to prudently, cost effectively and responsibly evaluate the issues and strengths of their cases, including whether to negotiate, to settle efficiently and cost effectively, to litigate, or to vigorously defend. Mr. Schraf can provide you with experienced legal representation to prosecute simple and complex cases in the state and federal courts of Maryland and the District of Columbia.

American University, Washington College of Law, 1985

  • J.D.

Mount St. Mary’s College, 1982

  • B.S. summa cum laude in Accounting

Maryland, 1985

District of Columbia, 1987

U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland

U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

U.S. Court of Appeals 4th Circuit

  • Lipshultz & Hone, Chartered, Partner, 1993 – 2004
  • Lipshultz & Hone, Chartered, Associate, 1985 – 1993

Defense of Insurance Agent in Action brought by Insured

Defense of insurance agent in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland.  Plaintiff alleged that the agent was negligent in procuring coverage that insured for fire loss. Defendant agent filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim.  The District Court granted the motion as the agent provided the coverage requested by the insured.

Defense of Insurance Agent in Action brought by Insured

Defense of insurance agent in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County.  Plaintiff alleged that the agent was negligent in procuring insurance coverage that provided coverage for water damage.  The case was dismissed with prejudice as to the agent without payment on the part of the agent.

Defense of local utility in bankruptcy preference action.

Successful defense of preference action for local utility based on an ordinary course defense in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Texas.

Defense of local family owned business in discrimination case.

Successful defense of complaint in the EEOC for discrimination based on race, age and disability.  The EEOC found no evidence of discrimination after evidentiary briefing.

Defense of breach of residential real estate contract action and prosecution of third party claim against real estate agent.

Successful defense of defaulting purchaser in action based on breach of contract by seller.  Upon default, the sellers sold the property for $300,000 less than the purchase price in the original contract.  YVSM brought successful third-party claim against real estate broker representing the purchaser for professional negligence in providing advice to defaulting purchaser.

Address v. Millstone, 208 Md. App. 62 (2012)

Action by client against life insurance agent for fraud in the sale of certain life insurance policies.  Client lacked standing to bring action as policies in question were held in an irrevocable trust.  Agent not liable for breach of contract regarding policies not in the trust as insured devised the life insurance structure without assistance of agent.

For a copy of the court’s decision, please click here.

Cooper v. Berkshire Life Insurance Company, 148 Md. App. 41 (2002)

Action by insured against life insurer and its agent in vanishing premium policy.  Factual issues precluded summary judgment in favor of insurer and agent. Learn more by clicking here.

FCE Benefit Administrators, Inc. v. George Washington University, 209 F. Supp. 2d 232 (D.D.C. 2002)

Action by benefit plan administrator against agent for breach of non-solicitation of administrator’s customers.  Agent referral of customer to another benefit provider was breach of agreement.  Plaintiff suffered no damages and was entitled to $1 in damages and was not entitled to recovery of attorneys’ fees per the contract with agent.  Learn more by clicking here.

Gonzalez v. Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund, 628 A.2d 101 (D.C. 1993)

Action by insured against his uninsured motorist insurer seeking coverage for taxi he owned but was not listed in the policy.  Exclusion in policy precluded coverage and was not void as against public policy.  Learn more by clicking here.

Green v. Resolution Trust Corp., 794 F. Supp. 409 (D.D.C. 1992)

Suit against Resolution Trust Company, receiver for Perpetual Bank. Receiver removed the action to federal court and moved to dismiss. Dismissal granted as receivership divested court of jurisdiction over claim per statute. Learn more by clicking here.

Saylab v. Don Juan Restaurant, Inc., 332 F. Supp. 2d 134 (D.D.C. 2004)

Action against insurer and agent based on agent’s failure to advise restaurant owner of availability of liquor liability coverage.  Action was brought by estates of deceased victims of accident involving intoxicated patron of restaurant.  Agent owed no duty to tort victims to advise restaurant owner concerning coverage. Learn more by clicking here.

Swinson v. Lords Landing Village Condominium, 360 Md. 462 (2000)

Action by condominium against unit purchaser for unpaid special assessment for repairs to building pursuant to a housing code violation.  Condominium not required under statute to provide notice to buyer of housing code violation. Learn more by clicking here.

Tart v. American National Fire Insurance Company, 576 A.2d 1353 (D.C. 1990)

Declaratory judgment action against automobile insurer seeking defense of insured after altercation outside motor vehicle resulting in the death of a third party. Insurer found to have no duty to defend. Learn more by clicking here.

Maryland State Bar Association

District of Columbia Bar Association

Anne Arundel County Bar Association, 2010 - Present