James Defranco

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United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri
United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois
United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois
US Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit

American Board of Trial Advocates
Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis
Defense Research Institute
Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel
Illinois State Bar Association
International Association of Arson Investigators
International Association of Special Investigation Units
Missouri Organization of Defense Lawyers
St. Clair County Bar Association
The Missouri Bar Association

Southern Illinois University (J.D., magna cum laude). — Order of Barristers

Illinois State University, B.S.

Law Clerk to Chief Justice Joseph Goldenhersh of the Illinois Supreme Court

Automobile Liability
Premises Liability

James E. DeFranco has concentrated his practice on the defense of civil claims. He has tried over 100 jury trials to verdict in state and federal courts in Illinois and Missouri, including traumatic brain injury, commercial arson, wrongful death, and catastrophic injury cases. He holds the rank of Diplomate with the American Board of Trial Advocates and was the president of the Missouri/Southern Illinois Chapter in 2016.


  • Examinations Under Oath (Norcom Publications 2003)
  • Opening Statements, Trial Tactics Defense Litigation Manual (DRI 2006, Pages 255-263)

Published Articles:

  • The Standard Fire Policy and the Innocent Insured, 29 IDC Quarterly 31 (2d Quarter 2019)
  • Beyond NFPA 921 — A Comprehensive Approach to Proving if an Insured Set a Fire, 2015 DRI In-House Defense Quarterly 64 (Winter 2015)
  • The Penalty for Failing to Submit to an Examination Under Oath, 38 SIULJ 261 (Winter 2014)
  • Privacy vs. Honesty — The Necessity of Full Disclosure of Medical Records, 21 IDC Quarterly 45 (2011)
  • Barth v. State Farm — Leveling the Playing Field, 18 IDC Quarterly 8 (2008)
  • Selecting the Story to Tell the Jury, Trials and Tribulations, DRI Trial Tactics Committee (Spring 2006)
  • Using Polygraph Results to Decide “Good Faith Denial of Coverage” Cases, 91 Illinois Bar Journal 26 (Jan. 2003)
  • The Burden of Proof in “Arson” Cases, 11 IDC Quarterly 6 (2001)
  • The Trial Court’s Discretion to Exclude Evidence of Convictions for Crimes Involving False Statement in Civil Cases, 5 IDC Quarterly 36 (1995)
  • Intentional Interference with Contractual Relations: The Viability of the Tort in the Employment Context in the Wake of Dake v. Tuell, 32 St. Louis Bar Journal 16 (1986)
  • Modifications of the Employment at Will Doctrine: Balancing Judicial Development of the Common Law with the Legislative Prerogative to Determine Public Policy, 30 St. Louis U.L.J. 65 (1985)
  • Retaliatory Discharge: Its Applicability to Employees Protected by a Just Cause Provision, 72 Illinois Bar Journal 480 (1984)
  • A Comparison of the Non-Substantive Provisions of the UNCITRAL Convention on the International Sale of Goods and the Uniform Commercial Code, 23 Harvard International Law Journal 49 (1982)
  • Towards an Implied Warranty of Habitability in Sales of New and Used Homes in Illinois That is Consistent with the Underlying Reasons which Gave Rise to that Warranty, 4 Illinois Fund Concept 32 (1980)