Quick Results
Professional Photo
Professionals

James H. Roussel

Senior Counsel

Baker Donelson is deeply saddened to announce the passing of senior counsel James H. Roussel. Mr. Roussel died at the age of 78 on Thursday, February 1, 2018.

Professional Biography

Overview

A native and lifelong resident of New Orleans, Louisiana, Mr. Roussel graduated from Tulane University School of Law in 1964, beginning a more than 50-year legal career in which he established himself as among the preeminent maritime lawyers in the country and around the globe. Mr. Roussel’s practices spanned every conceivable facet of maritime law and the marine industry, including inland/brown water, offshore, and oceangoing bluewater matters involving marine insurance, collision/casualty work, regulatory and contract concerns, and commercial transactions.

Over the course of his career, he handled numerous significant matters internationally that ranged from a case involving a vessel that struck a mine in the Suez Canal to litigation involving a groundbreaking international maritime law issue in the Marshall Islands. He was also involved in the first class actions tried in Louisiana and taken to the Louisiana Supreme Court. Whether he was litigating cases in Egypt or New Orleans, Mr. Roussel demonstrated a legal acumen that earned him the respect of his colleagues and a reputation as the "Dean of the Admiralty Bar."

Mr. Roussel's skill and experience were recognized with numerous prestigious honors, such as inclusion in The International Who's Who of Shipping and Maritime Lawyers, Chambers USA, and The Best Lawyers in America, which named him the Best Lawyers' 2012 New Orleans Admiralty & Maritime Law "Lawyer of the Year" and the Best Lawyers' 2016 New Orleans Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions - Defendants "Lawyer of the Year". Since 2007, he had been listed in Louisiana Super Lawyers, where he was named among the top 50 attorneys in Louisiana (2007 – 2015), among the top 50 attorneys in New Orleans (2014 – 2015), and among the top 10 attorneys in Louisiana (2013).

Mr. Roussel was active in the New Orleans community throughout his lifetime, and was an advisory board member of the New Orleans World Trade Center, former president of the Louisiana Diabetes Association, and a member of numerous carnival organizations.

Mr. Roussel was a mentor to literally generations of his fellow lawyers, and was consulted just as often by senior shareholders on thorny questions of law and professionalism as he was by younger lawyers in the Firm. From the most complex issues of maritime or insurance law, to the most mundane questions of procedure, he was a walking and breathing encyclopedia of legal knowledge. But beyond all this, his most respected and beloved attribute, consistently mentioned by his colleagues as well as by the counsel he practiced against and judges he appeared before, was his profound humility and respect for every person he encountered. Mr. Roussel took everyone as he found them, and treated them with the same level of esteem regardless of the circumstances. If you asked him, he would tell you, tongue firmly planted in cheek, that he was "doing the Lord's work."  He probably didn't realize that there was more truth in this statement than he intended. Mr. Roussel helped countless colleagues and coworkers – regardless of their rank or circumstances – in times of need, whether on health issues, family troubles, legal troubles or work issues. This aspect of his professional life went largely unnoticed, both because of the often private nature of his counseling, and because he would never seek any recognition.

"Jimmy was a superb trial lawyer, a model of professionalism, and enjoyed a national and international reputation," said Nancy Scott Degan, managing shareholder of Baker Donelson's New Orleans office. "But even more than that, he was a truly beloved member of the Baker Donelson family. His sense of humor and good nature were unparalleled, and he was a friend, mentor and father figure to many of us. He will be very sorely missed."

Representative Matters
  • Represented excess insurers of cement contractor in BP Macondo disaster investigation and MDL litigation. (Deepwater Horizon)

  • Represented client in the collision of the steamer African Star and the Midwest Cities, a fuel barge, in the Mississippi River.

  • Represented client in the collision of the Union Faith and the Warren Doucet in the Mississippi River.

  • Represented client in the Mariner I blow-out and explosion offshore Trinidad.

  • Represented Underwriter in the Miyunhai and Overseas Aleutian collision in the Panama Canal.

  • Represented client in the sinking of the Biscay 30 while towing a bulk carrier in the Mississippi River.

  • Represented client regarding the sinking of bulk container ship Marika in the North Atlantic.

  • Represented client when a derrick barge capsized in the South China Sea during a typhoon.

  • Represented client in the Azalea Sea allision with the Nashville Avenue Wharf in New Orleans.

  • Represented client in a fire and explosion on the Oslo Lady in Chaguramas, Trinidad.

  • Represented client in the collision of the Ya Mawlaya and the New World off Gibraltar.

  • Represented client in the Neptune Centaurus-Laney Blessey collision in the Houston ship channel.

  • Represented Underwriters and the vessel owner in the MV Bright Field allision with the New Orleans Riverwalk.

  • Represented client when two tugboats, the Christine Cenac and American Heritage, collided in the Mississippi River resulting in a 69,000 gallon oil spill.

  • Represented Underwriters in loss of the Petronius Platform in Gulf of Mexico.

  • Represented client in the collision of a container vessel, the Ivan Susanin, with a freighter, the Anangel Endeavour, in the Gulf of Mexico.

  • Represented client in the Marina and Alejandra sinking in the Caribbean Sea.

  • Represented Underwriters in a pipeline allision and 85,000 gallon oil spill in Little Lake.

  • Represented client in a collision between a tanker, the Bow Lion, and a towboat, the Cooperative Spirit, resulting in a chemical spill into the Mississippi River.

  • Represented client in regards to the sinking of an undersea oil pipeline laying barge (DLB-269) in the Bay of Campeche.

  • Lead counsel for the dredging interests in connection with claims asserted by approximately 50,000 residents of New Orleans as a result of the flooding of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, allegedly due to bank erosion caused by the dredging of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet.

  • Transactions

  • Represented a large shipping company in a $40 million seven-year unsecured financing.

  • Represented a large shipping company in 16 separate transactions totaling $40 million, involving the sale of U.S. Government Guaranteed Ship Financing Bonds.

  • Represented a large shipping company in the sale of $31,586,000 in U.S. Government Guaranteed Ship Financing Notes and Bonds.

  • Represented a large shipping company in the sale of $20,328,000 in U.S. Government Guaranteed Ship Financing Bonds.
  • Represented a large shipping company in regard to an $18,680,000 public offering.

  • Represented the underwriters and bond purchasers in regard to the sale of $9,547,000 in U.S. Government Guaranteed Ship Financing Bonds issued by Gulf Pacific Partnership.
  • Represented the underwriters and bond purchasers in the sale of $7,931,000 in U.S. Government Guaranteed Ship Financing Bonds.
Professional Honors & Activities
  • Named to The International Who's Who of Shipping and Maritime Lawyers (since 2008)
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America® in the areas of Admiralty & Maritime Law, Commercial Litigation, and Mass Tort Litigation (since 2001); Bet-the-Company Litigation (since 2011); Oil and Gas Law (since 2015)
  • Named the Best Lawyers' 2016 New Orleans Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions - Defendants "Lawyer of the Year"
  • Named the Best Lawyers' 2012 New Orleans Admiralty & Maritime Law "Lawyer of the Year"
  • Listed since 2005 in Chambers USA: America's Leading Business Lawyers as a leading maritime lawyer in Louisiana
  • Listed since 2007 in Louisiana Super Lawyers   
  • Listed as among top 50 attorneys in Louisiana by Louisiana Super Lawyers (2007 – 2015)
  • Listed as among top 50 attorneys in New Orleans by Louisiana Super Lawyers (2014, 2015) 
  • Listed as among top 10 attorneys in Louisiana by Louisiana Super Lawyers (2013) 
  • Recognized as a "Top Lawyer" by New Orleans Magazine (2010, 2013, 2015 – 2017) 
  • Named to "Leadership in Law," New Orleans CityBusiness (2007)
  • Member – Maritime Law Association of the United States (Committee on Marine Financing and Committee on Marine Insurance)
  • Member – Louisiana and New Orleans Bar Associations
  • Associate Member – Association of Average Adjusters of the United States
  • Associate Editor – American Maritime Cases
  • Distinguished Maritime Lawyer Award, Maritime & International Law Committee, New Orleans Bar Association (2003)
  • Member – Advisory and Transportation Committees of the World Trade Center of New Orleans
Press Releases

Email Disclaimer

NOTICE: The mailing of this email is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Anything that you send to anyone at our Firm will not be confidential or privileged unless we have agreed to represent you. If you send this email, you confirm that you have read and understand this notice.
Cancel Accept