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V. James Dickson

Partner
Environmental

V. James "Jim" Dickson joined Adams and Reese in 2010 following the firm's expansion into St. Petersburg. Jim has been practicing law since 1978 and is Board Certified in Construction Law by The Florida Bar. He also serves as an Adjunct Professor at Stetson University School of Law where he teaches a course in environmental law.

Jim focuses his practice on construction law, environmental law and commercial business advice. In construction matters, he represents owners, contractors, subcontractors and suppliers in all aspects of construction law, including bidding, contract preparation and negotiation, surety bonds, and claim resolution, prosecution of defense of construction defect claims and monetary disputes. He routinely handles matters in mediation, arbitration, and litigation. Jim further represents clients in a broad array of environmental matters concerning hazardous substances, contaminated property, Brownfields, asbestos, RCRA, CERCLA, toxic torts surface and waste water discharges, air emissions, notices of violations and consent decrees. He has served on the steering committee at a number of Superfund Sites from 1984 through the present. He routinely advises clients on responses to environmental investigations and demands 104 (e) requests under CERCLA and has often assisted clients ADA defense in response to notices of RCRA or NPDES violations. He also practices in land use, title, trade regulation, commercial litigation and general business negotiations and advice.

Over his more than 30 years of experience in the fields of construction and environmental issues, Jim has litigated hundreds of cases, but he also believes that a well-prepared attorney can more often achieve a better result for a client through negotiation or mediation. He can draft documents that better anticipate and address issues that may arise on projects involving construction or environmental issues. Jim can also decipher the key economic and psychological issues between parties in a dispute or negotiation, and anticipate potential problems and suggest options to avoid such problems.

Jim is admitted to practice in the United States Supreme Court, United States Fifth Circuit and Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States District Courts, Middle and Southern District of Florida.

Jim has an AV ® Preeminent Rating by Martindale Hubbell and has been recognized in Florida Super Lawyers® 2006-2016, as well as Best Lawyers® 2009-2017.

An accomplished author and lecturer, Jim has written and spoken extensively on construction, and environmental law issues. His works include:

  • Construction Subcontracting, a Comprehensive Practical and Legal Guide, co-author of Chapter 4, titled Payments, published by the ABA Forum Committee on Construction, 2014
  • Procurement across the United States and Canada, Assistant Editor, published by the ABA Forum on Construction 2010
  • Ethics and the Environmental Lawyer, National Association of Clean Water Agencies titled Ethics and the Environmental Lawyer, 2014

Adams and Reese Alerts

  • Oil Production and Storage Facilities Must Maintain Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plans; February 2015
  • Supreme Court’s CTS Decision Will Have Limited Impact On Environmental Litigation, June 6, 2014
  • US Supreme Court Upholds Cross State Air Pollution Rules, May 2014
  • Condominium Warranties Do Not Apply to Some Florida Projects Built as Rental Housing, March 2014
  • Failure to Comply with Storm Water Requirements on Construction Sites can Generate Substantial Fines, July 2012
  • Energy and Environmental Bulletin: EPA Proposes New Regulation To Decrease Amount of Phosphorus and Nitrogen In Florida’s Freshwater Lakes, Rivers, Streams, Springs and Canals, February 2010

His other works include:

  • Understanding the Construction Contract
  • An Overview of Florida Construction Lien and Bond Law
  • Balancing Act of Lien and Bond Law
  • Dealing with Delays on a Construction Project: Time is Money
  • Florida’s Construction Licensing Requirements for Contractors in Florida and Liability of Qualifying Agents
  • Design Defect Liability on Construction Projects
  • Lender Responsibilities and Liabilities in a Construction Loan
  • When Lien Rights Are Lost: Alternate Theories Of Unjust Enrichment Or Equitable Liens On Proceeds
  • Dealing with Dirty Dirt: Overview of Liability for Purchase or Ownership of Contaminated Property
  • Overview of Tenant Liability as an Operator for Pre-Existing Contamination
  • Dealing With Dirty Dirt: What Lenders Should Know About Liability For Acquisition Or Ownership Of Contaminated Property

As an adjunct professor at Stetson University School of Law, Jim teaches Environmental Hazards Associated with Real Property, which addresses common issues such as liability for contaminated soil and groundwater; control and disposal of hazardous wastes; the duty to report contamination; the scope of amnesty in Florida petroleum and dry cleaning programs; use of Brownfields’ incentives in the redevelopment of property; asbestos and lead regulations; risk allocation by contract or insurance.

An active member of the bar and the community, Jim has been a recipient of the Florida Bar Pro Bono Service Award, St. Petersburg Bar Pro Bono Award, National Association for Community Leadership, Distinguished Leadership Award and the Leadership St. Petersburg Alumni Association Leadership Award.

Jim serves as the General Counsel to St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce and is a member of its Executive Committee and Board. He also chairs its Transportation Task Force. He is a President of the Board of the Community Law Program, a local Pro Bono service organization. He has served as a board member of Leadership St. Petersburg Alumni Association, St. Petersburg Human Relations Review Board, Gulfcoast Legal Services, Florida Legal Services, Community Law, Inc., the Community Alliance, City of St. Petersburg Police Advisory Council, City of St. Petersburg Committee to Advocate Persons with Impairments, Tampa Water Resource Recovery Project Task Force, Florida International Museum, and the Early Learning Council of Pinellas County.

He received his J.D., cum laude, from Indiana University in 1977, and his B.A. with honors, from Indiana University in 1972.

Among the people Jim admires most are Thurgood Marshall and Sandra Day O’Connor. As the first black and female members of the Supreme Court they had to break many societal barriers while preserving strong intellectual integrity to their core legal beliefs. He also admires Warren Buffet as an independent financial guru who has followed his own path, and Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist and Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City - he makes one excited to contemplate the imponderables of the universe.

In his spare time, Jim is an avid scuba diver that enjoys underwater photography. He is a member of the Thunder Dragons of Tampa Bay, a dragon boat racing team. He also enjoys shooting trap, biographical history and playing softball in a co-ed municipal recreational league every Friday night.