James Ellsworth is Chair of the firm's Construction section and also a member of the firm's Litigation section. His practice focuses primarily on construction contracting as well as development, real property, contract, and related business litigation. He has extensive experience in developing foundational construction agreements for domestic and international clients and in addressing development and construction issues. 

Mr. Ellsworth represents developers, property owners, and contractors through all phases of development. He assists clients in land use approvals, construction contracting, environmental regulatory compliance and clean-up, water issues, wetland compliance, liens, bonding, construction disputes and related litigation involving public and private projects and entities. Projects include shopping malls, retail, manufacturing, office buildings, industrial buildings, commercial uses, redevelopment projects, highways, as well as residential and other land use and construction.

For over 30 years, Mr. Ellsworth has had experience in a wide range of business litigation, including real property, environmental contamination, construction, development, employment, collections, asbestos, products, contracts, and intellectual property.

Mr. Ellsworth has been rated for the highest level of professional excellence as a Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Attorney.

Mr. Ellsworth has been recognized as one of Utah's Legal Elite for construction and often provides training for corporate construction project managers as well as property managers on the legal issues of development, property rights, liabilities, management, and construction.

  • Martindale-Hubbell 2019


  • Represents developers, owners, and contractors in small to multi-million dollar projects and disputes.
  • Negotiates and creates construction contracts.
  • Addresses disputes on multi-million dollar private and public construction projects, domestically and internationally.
  • Provides legal counsel and representation before municipalities and governmental agencies on development and redevelopment projects, such as commercial buildings, public highways, infrastructure and raw land.
  • Represents clients before governmental agencies in complex environmental clean-up as well as in the courts for litigation among property owners attendant environmental contamination, throughout the United States.
  • Represents clients in claims and disputes attendant highway and other public construction projects.
  • Represents clients in claims and disputes for damages to property from fire.
  • Represents clients in negotiating historic issues and disputes related to land use.
  • Specific projects include environmental contamination litigation in New York, strip mall construction stucco dispute in California, shingle and roofing disputes throughout the United States and Canada, asphalt and parking lot defects, consultation for national and international developer on construction and product warranties as well as solar power and other LEED certification items, geotechnical and other site and project testing contracts for domestic and international use, damage claims for contractors failed site protection, contractor fraud under construction contract, misapplication of contract funds, payment and performance bond claims in the United States and Canada, subcontractor claims, defective work claims, adverse possession claims, claims of governmental entity to establish public road, insurance and contractor disputes for destruction of property by fire, residential construction and development claims, successful litigation and settlement of carpet related defects in over 120 buildings, as well as defending claims of injuries to persons and property on construction sites and personal injury from asbestos exposure.
  • Has participated in the creation of owner-focused construction contract forms, including agreement forms with General Contractors, Architects, and Consultants.
  • Provides training for construction project management teams on the legal issues attendant construction projects.
  • Provides training for property management teams on legal issues of property rights, use, maintenance, and contracting.
  • Served as a judge in law student oral advocacy competitions at the J. Reuben Clark Law School at the Brigham Young University.

Representative Clients

  • Maverick, Inc.
  • Intermountain Healthcare.
  • Brigham Young University
  • BYU - Idaho
  • BYU - Hawaii
  • A Proctor Group, Ltd., headquartered in Scotland.
  • Atlas Copco North America and related companies.
  • Milwaukee Electric Tool Company.
  • Triago Ventures.
  • Mateo Holdings.
  • Under Canvas Inc.
  • Plunder Design.
  • Fairstar Resources, Australia.
  • Tuskatella Shopping Center, Orange, California.
  • Smile, Inc. Dental Surgeons, Singapore.
  • The State Grid Corporation of China.
  • Millennial Towers.
  • Logan Blue LLC. 
  • Remote Control Technologies (RCT), headquartered in Australia.
  • The Hershey Company.
  • The Ensign-Bickford Company.
  • Sorenson Companies. MSI Inc. and related entities.
  • Pikus Concrete.
  • City Creek Reserves Inc.
  • Suburban Land Reserve, Inc.
  • Property Reserve Inc.
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  • Numerous other contractors and private developers.

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