James F. Laboe
Jim supports clients in matters pertaining to complex commercial litigation, occupational safety and health, product liability, intellectual property and technology, and general civil litigation.
Jim is one of the most seasoned OSHA lawyers in the northeast. He represents employers before the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Jim began practicing law in Washington, DC at the law firm of Arent Fox where he gained tremendous experience defending employers in enforcement actions before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
- Friedman-Katz v. Lindt & Sprungli (USA), Inc. 270 F.R.D. 150 (S.D.N.Y. 2010). As lead counsel, Attorney Laboe was able to defeat class certification and thereby dismiss a $12M class action against Lindt chocolate after taking one deposition. This case has been cited by multiple jurisdictions and in leading class action and civil procedure treatises.
- Secretary of Labor v. Interstate Brands Corporation, Docket No. 00-1077 (April 24, 2003). Following a trial and an appeal, the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission upheld the administrative law judge’s decision to vacate OSHA’s attempt to require the employer to adopt machine specific LOTO procedures. In addition, the employer successfully asserted the unpreventable employee misconduct defense by a supervisor. All citations have been vacated against the employer.
- Secretary of Labor v. Cincinnati Gas & Electric, OSHRC Docket No. 01-0711 (September 19, 2002). Following a trial, the administrative law judge vacated a citation that attempted to apply OSHA’s general housekeeping standard to coal dust accumulations in a large coal-fired electric power generation plant.
- Vacated six serious citations issued to a Vermont utility company by Vermont OSHA (VOSHA) in relation to a workplace fatality (electrocution).
- Successfully avoided any OSHA citations for a Maine contractor in relation to a workplace accident involving a skid steer that decapitated a worker.
- Successfully represented painting contractor that received 20 willful and serious citations from OSHA related to death of a worker who fell 90 feet from a water tower resulting in $187,000 in fines. The employer was primarily cited for inadequate fall protection. OSHA reduced the fines by more than one-third.
- Successfully represented a large national manufacturer that experienced a flash fire/explosion causing second degree burns to one of its employees. OSHA cited the company for violating the General Duty Clause and subsequently withdrew the citation because the hazard of fire and/or explosion was not “known” to the employer or the employer’s industry.
- Successfully represented a privately held power producer that received 12 serious citations related to an industrial accident that resulted in the amputation of an employee’s arm. OSHA withdrew all but 3 citations and reduced the total penalty from $33,750 to $7,000.
Jim enjoys spending time with his wife and four children. In his spare time he plays guitar, bikes, hikes, skis and play golf.
Jim prides himself on responsiveness and providing practical solutions to assist his clients in achieving their business objectives.
Professional and Community Involvement
- Greater Concord Leadership, Class of 2007
- Member, Rotary Club of Concord, NH
Honors & Distinctions
- Cited in The Best Lawyers in America for Litigation – Labor and Employment, since 2021
- BV Peer Review Rated, Martindale-Hubbell
- Winner, Best Brief in the Nation, 1999, Saul Lefkowitz Trademark Moot Court Competition
- Active Author for Orr & Reno OSHA Blog
- Dealing with OSHA: Deciding Whether to Contest an OSHA Violation – 8/1/2005
James F. Laboe. Published in SafetyXChange, August 2005