Lawyer Won Major Race, Insurance Cases

August 6, 2008
Gabe Friedman
Daily Journal Staff Writer

James D. McNamara III, 1972-2008

James D. McNamara III, a rising young partner at San Diego's Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins, has died. He was 36.
      McNamara died Aug. 1 after entering UCSD Medical Center in San Diego for a lung transplant last month. He had waged a lifelong battle against cystic fibrosis, a progressive hereditary disease that affects the body's respiratory and digestive systems.
      He graduated from the University of San Diego School of Law in 1997 and started working at Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins as a contract attorney shortly thereafter. Impressed by his work ethic, the firm elevated McNamara to partner several years ago.
      "He just loved doing plaintiffs' work, really truly loved doing plaintiffs' work," said Tim Blood, who worked with McNamara in the firm's consumer and insurance practice group. "He knew exactly what he had, he was very much a realist about it, but he was always optimistic."
      At the firm, McNamara worked on several significant cases before leaving work about a year ago. In one case, he helped broker a $55 million settlement in a race discrimination suit against the Life Insurance Company of Georgia, which sold policies door-to-door to African-Americans until the 1940s, overcharging them by 200 to 300 percent.
      McNamara also worked on one case on behalf of the California Department of Insurance that helped end illegal contingent commissions, where insurance companies pay kickbacks to brokers for steering business toward them.
      In an e-mail to the firm, his law partner John Stoia wrote that McNamara displayed an incredible tenacity that allowed him to exceed length-of-life expectations and excel as a lawyer.
      "Jim was an outstanding lawyer and possessed a work ethic and love for doing what was right for his clients at all times," Stoia wrote. "His actions always spoke louder than his words but we always liked to say that Jim wrote the best letters to the bad guys."
      He is survived by his wife Jacqueline, his mother and father, James and Alicia Dewar McNamara, a brother, Stephen, and a large extended family.
      In honor of his life, visitation will be from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. today at the Alhiser-Comer Funeral Home, 225 South Broadway in Escondido.
      A memorial service will be held at the Alhiser-Comer Chapel at 11 a.m on Thursday. Burial will follow in the Dearborn Memorial Park, 14361 Tierra Bonita Rd. in Poway.
      The family suggests that memorials be made to the James McNamara Memorial Fund at Wells Fargo Bank, account No. 2093955702.      **********
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