About James W. McConkie

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James W. McConkie


The American School of London, England 1962-1964.

Bachelor of Arts - Political Science and Philosophy - Brigham Young University - Graduated Cum Laude - 1970; Member Phi Kappa Phi - 1969-1970; President of BYU Chapter of Blue Key National Honor Society 1968-1969.

Juris Doctor - University of Utah - 1973; Member of Moot Court Board -1973.

Professional Admissions: 1973 - Utah State Bar1979 - United States District Court (Utah)

1979 - United States Supreme Court

1978-1982 - Ninth and Tenth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals

Professional Experience:

Partner - Parker & McConkie (formerly Parker, McKeown & McConkie) -4001 South 700 East, Suite 115, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84107 - 1978-Present

Assistant United States Attorney - U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Courthouse- Salt Lake City, Utah - 1977-1978

Administrative Assistant - Representative Gunn McKay, U. S. House of Representatives - Washington D.C. - 1974-1977

Legislative Assistant - Representative Gunn McKay, U.S. House of Representatives- Washington D.C. - 1973-1974

Clerk - Consumer Protection Division, Utah Attorney General's Office, Utah State Capital - Salt Lake City, Utah - 1972-1973

Brief Survey of Litigation Experience:

I.          As an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Mr. McConkie prosecuted crimes involving transportation of stolen property across state lines, mail fraud, wire fraud, embezzlement of funds from FDIC insured banks, odometer fraud and racketeering. On the civil side, he defended the Department of Health, Education and Welfare in black lung matters when opposing counsel appealed to the U.S. District Court for redress. He was also responsible for prosecuting civil rights lawsuits in Utah for the United States and was one of a number of Department of Justice attorneys who helped prosecute a civil rights action against Prudential Federal Savings and Loan for discriminatory practices in granting loans to women. Mr. McConkie prosecuted food contamination cases for the Food and Drug Administration.

II.         In late 1979, Mr. McConkie entered private practice as a trial lawyer. Mr. McConkie primarily litigates in the area of medical malpractice; the firm also takes some defense work (white collar) and personal injury claims.

III.        In the fall of 1981 Mr. McConkie was lead defense counsel in a mail-fraud case involving allegations of fraud in excess of $1.3 million. The case was litigated over a three-week period. The government alleged the defendant and others had "kited" checks between banks in Salt Lake City, Utah and San Jose, California. The case ended in a hung jury.

IV.        During the later part of1982, Mr. McConkie was lead defense counsel in United States vs. Johnson, a securities fraud case involving allegations of fraud in excess of $2 million. The trial judge in this matter was U.S. District Court Judge Earl B. Gilliam in and for the Southern District of California. The case was litigated over a 14-weekperiod. Defendant was convicted. The case was appealed to the Supreme Court and denied on cert.

V.         In early 1984 Mr. McConkie was lead defense counsel in United States vs. Vreeken, a ten-count indictment involving mail fraud and transportation of stolen securities across state lines. The case was heard before Judge Bruce Jenkins in and for the Central District of Utah. Two counts were dismissed by the court based on a pre-trial motion. After a six-day trial, the jury found the defendant not guilty on all remaining counts.

VI.        In the fall of 1984, Mr. McConkie was lead defense counsel in United States vs. Fred R. Vreeken, a 41-countindictment involving allegations of willfully subscribing false income tax returns, aiding others in the preparation of false income tax returns and failure to file income tax returns. Judge Bruce Jenkins was the trial judge. The case involved an income tax shelter plan devised by defendants where in millions of dollars were solicited. After approximately three weeks in trial, a jury found the defendants guilty on all counts. The case was appealed to the Supreme Court and denied on cert. Based on the same fact situation, Mr. McConkie represented Mr. Vreeken in a number of civil lawsuits, one of which involved litigation in London, England which Mr. McConkie supervised in cooperation with British counsel.

VII.       In 1989 Mr. McConkie and his partner, Bradley H. Parker, litigated Atwood v. Harsco, Inc., a personal injury case. Plaintiff Atwood had injured his knee in a truck accident and incurred in excess of $3,000 in medical bills. Prior to this accident Atwood had injured the same knee in a baseball game. Plaintiff's doctor testified that in 10-15 years Plaintiff would most probably require a knee replacement. Defendant offered to settle the case for $30,000.00. Settlement negotiations were unsuccessful. A Utah County jury awarded $325,000.00.

VIII.      In 1992 Mr. McConkie and Mr. Parker were counsel in Allred v. Chynoweth. The trial judge was U.S. District Court Judge Aldon J. Anderson. This case involved the wrongful death of a prominent polygamous leader in Utah. Although there was a two-year statute of limitations the appellate court held that the statute had been tolled. The case went to trial and the jury awarded just over 52 million dollars in damages, the largest wrongful death verdict in the State of Utah.

IX.         In 1995 Mr. McConkie and Mr. Parker were counsel in United States v. John T. Dunlop (Bonneville Pacific), a complex fraud case involving millions of dollars. A plea bargain was agreed upon wherein Mr. Dunlop agreed to testify against other defendants in the case. Mr. Dunlop served less than two years in prison.

X.         In 1995 Rachel Bauchman, a high school student at West High School in Salt Lake City, Utah claimed that the singing of the song "Friends" at her high school graduation was a violation of the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution and brought a lawsuit in the United States District Court. One of the defendants, a high school student called Will Badger, was included in the lawsuit because he helped organize the singing of this song contrary to a court order. Mr. McConkie and Mr. Parker represented Will Badger and other West High students who believed that the singing of "Friends" was a constitutionally permitted practice. Rachel Bauchman has not been successful in the prosecution of this cause of action.

XI.        In 1995 Mr. McConkie andMr. Parker litigated and settled on the eve of trial a significant damaged baby case (Price vs. Cottonwood Hospital et al.). The amount of the settlement is confidential. The case alleged that during the delivery of infant Jessica Price the doctor and hospital malpracticed. Infant Jessica Price suffered from brain damage, cerebral palsy, paralysis, and was confined to a wheelchair. The case involved complex expert testimony and sophisticated medical issues. A special trust was set up for infant Jessica Price under the supervision of the court.

XII.       In 1996 the attorney for Salt Lake County, Doug Short, searched the business offices of governmental employee Charles Gibbs who worked for the Hansen Planetarium. Short was investigating a criminal matter and failed to obtain a search warrant for Mr. Gibbs' offices. Mr. McConkie and Mr. Parker represented Mr. Gibbs in a civil rights lawsuit, Charles R. Gibbs v. Salt Lake County and Doug Short. The case settled with Salt Lake County for $107,000.00.

XIII.      In January 2000 Mr. McConkie and Mr. Parker represented the Williams family in a medical malpractice case. See Williams v. IHC. Gar and Shauna Williams claimed that their OBGYN and IHC misread tests that caused their baby, Deserae, to have Cerebral Palsy. In just three hours the jury awarded the family $9.7 million dollars, the largest medical malpractice verdict in the history of Utah.

XIV.      In December 2000 Mr. McConkie and Mr. Parker represented Athan Montgomery in a medical malpractice case against a doctor (OB/GYN) practicing medicine in Tooele, Utah. Athan Montgomery was injured at birth when his skull was fractured during delivery, causing mild brain damage. The jury awarded over $2.2 million dollars.

XV.       In February 2001 Mr. Parker and Mr. McConkie, settled the claim of a four-year-old boy who suffered atraumatic brain injury when the passenger side air bag deployed in the automobile he was riding. The claim was settled for a confidential amount.

XVI.      In 2003 Mr. McConkie and Mr. Parker represented two clients charged with felonies engaging in an altercation with street preachers during the semi-annual LDS conference at Temple Square, Salt Lake City, Utah. In both cases the charges were reduced to infractions.

XVII.     In 2004 Mr. McConkie and Mr. Parker settle a civil rights lawsuit against the University of Utah based on free speech and religious discrimination claims commonly referred to in the press as the Axson-Flynn case. Plaintiff Axson-Flynn was dismissed from her acting program because she refused to violate her deeply held religious beliefs by taking the name of God in vain. The case was filed in the Federal District in the State of Utah. Defendants brought a summary judgment motion and prevailed. On appeal the Ten Circuit in a unanimous decision reversed the trial court. A settlement was reached between the parties wherein the University of Utah agreed to implement a religious tolerance policy and pay and pay plaintiff’s attorneys fees.

XVIll.    In 2004 Mr. McConkie and Mr. Parker tried a wrongful death case in Heber, Utah to a jury involving a husband who was electrocuted on his own property when he came in contact with a high voltage electric wire. The jury awarded 1.2 million dollars.

XIX.      In 2006 Mr. McConkie was a co-founder of Legal Media Center and one of the originators of the Trial Advocacy Center – a group of attorneys interested in developing and promoting more effective trial techniques such as paperless depositions, digital presentations in the courtroom and jury perception analysis.

XX.       In 2008, Mr. McConkie filed a class action lawsuit against United Automobile Insurance Co. for targeting Hispanic drivers and selling them automobile insurance as part of a scheme to defraud.

XXI.      In 2009 Mr. McConkie and Brad Parker brought to a successful conclusion a case against drug manufacturer Eli Lilly for deceptively failing to warn health providers about the serious and debilitating side effects of its drug Zyprexa. The case settled for 13million dollars.

XXII.  In 2015 Mr. McConkie and Brad Parker obtained a 1.4-million-dollar verdict against Provo Rehabilitation in a wrongful death lawsuit.  A nurse gave the wrong medication and failed to report it. The patient, Jack Adams died. XXIII.  In 2020, my partner and I obtained a $13.5 million settlement in a Title IX lawsuit against the University of Utah involving the brutal murder of a young woman on the of track team by a convicted sexual predator on parole. The University Police ignored over 20 calls for help.  As part of the settlement, the University agreed to build an indoor track for women’s track sports and name the building after the victim, Lauren McClusky.  The parents are using the entirety of their proceeds will go to organize and administer the Lauren McCluskey Foundation established to make women safer on college campuses throughout the nation. Zimmermon Booher, Utah appellate attorneys, joined the team that litigated this case.  Key contributors were Christine Durham, Fred Voros and Dick Baldwin.  

Governmental and Lobbying Experience:

I.          Prior to 1977 Mr. McConkie worked as a Legislative Assistant for U.S. Congressman Gunn McKay and later as an Administrative Assistant and was involved in drafting legislation and preparing and reviewing testimony for the Interior Appropriations Sub-Committee as well as the Military Construction Appropriations Sub-Committee. His administrative duties involved managing and supervising a congressional staff of approximately 20 individuals. One of his most interesting assignments was to assess the evidence submitted by the U.S. House Judiciary Committee at the time that Committee was preparing to vote on the Bill of Impeachment involving President Richard M. Nixon. Over a two-year period, the office was able to put together a coalition to help defeat a bill which would have restricted genealogists and medical researchers from access to census data. He worked personally with the Speaker of the House at that time, Carl Albert, and helped defeat passage of the bill.

II.         From 1987 to 1989 Mr. McConkie represented the Children's Aid Society, a non-profit adoption agency. On their behalf he drafted and personally negotiated a covenant with the Minister of Justice for the government of El Salvador which was signed by the respective parties in August of 1987. The covenant grants to the Children's Aid Society preferred rights and privileges in the adoption of El Salvadorian children by United States residents. This matter involved multiple visits to San Salvador for discussions with government officials and U.S. Embassy personnel as well as visits by El Salvadorian officials to Utah.
Children's Aid Society also hired Mr. McConkie to set up a foreign adoption program in Guatemala which involved multiple visits to Guatemala City for consultation with government officials.

III.        In 2004 Mr. McConkie and Mr. Parker successfully lobbied the Utah legislature to overthrow legislation which allowed health care provided to deny medical care if patients did not agree to sign mandatory arbitration agreements.

IV.        In the early part of 2000 Mr. McConkie and Mr. Parker started Citizens Against Radioactive Waste (CAR), a bipartisan group which opposed the storage of radioactive waste in the State of Utah. A past Republican governor from the State of Utah, a Republican U.S. Senator, and past Democratic Congressman sat on the Board of CAR. In 2006 CAR joined with HEAL, another non-profit entity opposed to the storage of radioactive waste in the State of Utah. In conjunction with HEAL Mr. McConkie, Mr. Parker and Mr. Tiche filed a law suite challenging the Utah Radiation Control Board’s authority to grant a license to Energy Solutions to double the amount of toxic waste that it could store at its facility. See Heal Utah vs. Utah Radiation Control Board (HEAL Utah v. Utah Radiation Control Board (In the Utah Court of Appeals, 2006).

Professional Activities:

- Adjunct faculty, Westminster College, Salt Lake City, UT. 1990 to 2000.

- Mr. McConkie team-taught one class on the vice presidency and was thereafter asked to teach Constitutional Law which he did until 1999. He also taught a criminal law course in 2000. These classes were taught for legal assistants seeking a diploma as paralegal assistants. He was the teacher-of-the-year for this program in 1995-1996.

- Member of the Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Improving the Jury System. 1996 - 1999.

- Member of the Supreme Court Advisory Committee on the Rules of Evidence.1994 - 1995.- Member of the Inns of Court. 1986 - 1989.

- Member of the American Trial Lawyers Association. 1981 – 2000.

- Member of the Board of Directors for Wasatch Youth, a drug rehabilitation program for teenagers. 1982-89.

- Chairman of the International Student Coordinating Committee (Program setup to host foreign students attending the University of Utah). 1984 - 1986.

- Chairman of Utah Democratic Convention. 1982.- Legal counsel for Utah Odyssey House (volunteer position). 1981 - 1982.

- Chairman of the Utah State Bar Committee on Advertising and Specialization. 1981 - 1982.

- Member of the Utah State Bar Committee on Advertising and Specialization.1980 - 1981.

- Democratic Party Candidate for Utah Attorney General. 1980.

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