James L. Bruner


A native of Columbia, Jim attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he received a B.A. in 1971. Jim then attended the University of South Carolina School of Law and earned his Juris Doctor in 1975.

Upon graduation, Jim joined the Belser Law Firm as an associate from 1975-1978. He served as a 1LT-JAG for the SC Army National Guard from 1976-78, and as the chief financial, administrative and legal office for a heavy construction and mining company from 1978-81. Jim then became a partner in the Belser Law Firm, working in that capacity from 1982-89. With Warren Powell, Jim formed the law firm of Bruner Powell in 1991, which later became Bruner, Powell, Wall & Mullins in 1999. Jim has represented general contractors, owners, subcontractors, architects, engineers, homeowners’ associations and sureties in contract negotiation, interpretation, claims negotiations, mediation, arbitration and litigation.

Jim’s prosecution and defense experience in the areas of private and public construction contracts has been valued in excess of $300 million. He has represented mining companies in administrative licensing proceedings and appeals, and he has defended mining companies in civil claims. Additionally, Jim has years of experience in the mediation of complex commercial and industrial construction projects, EIFS claims, real property and business disputes, environmental contamination claims, and personal injury claims. Jim became ‘of counsel’ to the firm in 2015 and retired in 2018. As a certified Circuit Court Mediator and Arbitrator with experience in construction disputes, Jim maintains a part-time alternative dispute resolution practice in retirement.

Reported Cases

  • Fort v. Kudeviz, (In re Genesis Press, Inc.) 559 B.R. 445 (2016)
  • Fort v. Innegra Techs., LLC (In re NMFC, LLC), 522 B.R. 820 (Bankr. D.S.C. 2015)
  • First Nat’l Bancshares, Inc. v. Fed. Deposit Ins. Co. (In re First Nat’l Bancshares, Inc.), 2014 WL 108372 (D.S.C. Jan. 10, 2014)
  • Int’l Payment Grp. v. Sun Trust Bank (In re Int’l Payment Grp., Inc.), 2012 WL 1107840 (D.S.C. April 2, 2012)
  • Crossmann Cmtys. of N.C., Inc. v. Harleysville Mut. Ins. Co., 395 S.C. 40, 717 S.E.2d 589 (2011)
  • Palmetto Health Alliance v. S.C. Elec. & Gas Co., 2011 WL 5027162 (D.S.C. Oct. 21, 2011)
  • Fort v. Leonard, 2007 WL 518593 (D.S.C. Feb. 22, 2007)
  • Kronish Lieb Weiner & Helman, LLP v. Fort, 2005 WL 6111632 (D.S.C. April 5, 2005)
  • Seaside Utilities, Inc. v. McCarter Elec. Co., Inc., 2005 WL 2877733 (D.S.C. Nov. 1, 2005)
  • West v. Newberry Elec. Coop., 357 S.C. 537, 593 S.E.2d 500 (Ct. App. 2004)
  • Stonehenge Eng’g Corp. v. Emp’rs Ins. of Wausau, 201 F.3d 296 (4th Cir. 2000)
  • United States ex rel. Joseph Shisko, Inc. v. Metric Constructors, Inc., 166 F.3d 336 (4th Cir. 1998)
  • United States ex rel. Williams Elec. Co., Inc. v. Metric Constructors, Inc., 325 S.C. 129, 480 S.E.2d 447 (1997)
  • Bradson Mercantile, Inc. v. Vanderbilt Indus. Contracting Corp., 883 F. Supp. 37 (W.D. N.C. 1995), aff’d, 70 F.3d 111 (4th Cir. 1995)
  • Crandall Corp. v. Navistar Int’l Transp. Corp., 302 S.C. 265, 395 S.E.2d 179 (1990)
  • Skipper v. U. S. Fidelity & Guaranty Co., 448 F. Supp. 74 (D.S.C. 1978)
  • U.S. Fidelity & Guaranty Co. v. Welco Constr. & Utilities Co., 463 F. Supp. 510 (D.S.C. 1978)


  • South Carolina Bar
  • Supreme Court of South Carolina
  • Supreme Court of the United States of America
  • U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • United States Court of Federal Claims


  • American Bar Association; Forum on the Construction Industry (Litigation Section Member)
  • South Carolina Bar Association; Fee Disputes Committee
  • Richland County Bar Association
  • American  Arbitration Association; Panel of Arbitrators for the Construction Industry (Former Member)
  • Certified Circuit Court Mediator and Arbitrator
  • Landmarks Commission, City of Columbia
  • Resolute Systems of SC; Arbitration and Mediation Panel for Construction Disputes (Former Member)
  • Attorneys Dispute Resolution Network, Inc.