J. Stephen Simms | Principal


Complex Civil and Bankruptcy Litigation

Mr. Simms has successfully defended a range of complex insurance coverage disputes, including Keene v. Columbia Casualty, in which the court upheld the insurer’s refusal to extend coverage under $15 million of general liability excess policies. (11 No. 7 Mealy’s Litig. Rep.: Ins. 3, Nov. 27, 1996). His successful defenses in complex business matters also include a $4 million lender and directors’ and officers’ liability civil racketeering claim and a $5 million suit alleging civil racketeering and legal malpractice after a financial institution collapsed. He also defended successfully the former Chief Financial Officer of Maryland’s largest health insurer in a $50 million action brought by that insurer’s subscribers.

Closely related is Mr. Simms’ practice concentration in complex bankruptcy litigation. Mr. Simms has represented clients in each major United States maritime bankruptcy for the last ten years; presently he is lead counsel for clients whose claims exceed $20 million in the bankruptcies of prominent U.S., Brazilian, and Venezuelan steamship lines. He has also participated in four major international bankruptcies, involving Canadian, United Kingdom, Dutch, Venezuelan, Brazilian bankruptcy proceedings. His reported opinions in bankruptcy include the first to determine the legal standard for post-petition “use and benefit” of marine containers under 11 U.S.C. §365(d)(10) and the first determining who is an “officer” under 11 U.S.C. §101(31) for the purpose of recovering preferences under the U.S. bankruptcy laws.


Casualty Defense

He has successfully defended a range of corporations and individuals in connection with personal injury, cargo, and property damage, including one of the tug owners involved in a multi-vessel collision on the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, and boat owners involved in the death of Francis Ford Coppola’s son on the South River (near Annapolis), and the defense of wrongful death and injury suits brought against a marine surveyor alleging failures to detect defects in a charter fishing boat that capsized in the Chesapeake Bay.


Vessel Arrest

Mr. Simms’ maritime practice also emphasizes the arrest of vessels world wide and has recovered over U.S. $25 million for clients as the result of ship arrest and maritime attachment proceedings in India, Chile, Japan, at the Panama Canal, the Canary Islands, Guam, New Zealand, Israel, Houston, New Orleans, Savannah, Ft. Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Baltimore, New Jersey, and New Haven.


Civil False Claims Act
(“Qui Tam”) Litigation

Mr. Simms is recognized as one of the nation’s leading lawyers working in the area of civil False Claims Act litigation. Simms Showers currently represents clients in a significant number of ongoing False Claims Act cases, alleging health care and defense contracting fraud.