James T. Busenlener is an insurance trial lawyer and managing partner of Matthiesen, Wickert & Lehrer, S.C.’s New Orleans branch office. Jim is licensed to practice law in Louisiana, Texas, and Pennsylvania, as well as numerous federal district and appellate courts. Jim received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia in 1990, his Juris Doctor degree from Tulane University School of Law in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1993. While in college, he received a scholarship to study 15th and 16th Century English Literature and History at Oxford University in England.

For many years, Jim served as MWL’s local subrogation counsel in Louisiana. Prior to joining MWL, Jim was a partner with two well-established insurance litigation firms in New Orleans. Jim has two decades of experience representing insurers in coverage, professional liability, subrogation and defense litigation, and also practices in the areas of maritime and commercial litigation. He has extensive experience representing domestic and foreign insurers, including the London Market, in complex, multi-party insurance coverage, indemnity and casualty defense issues arising out of pipeline ruptures, maritime allisions, well blowouts and industrial accidents. He also has a great deal of experience litigating large loss property and casualty subrogation cases. He has represented excess insurers and re-insurers in disputes with large corporate insureds and primary insurers. Jim handles MWL’s large case load of workers’ compensation, health, Longshore (LHWCA), maritime, auto, and oilfield subrogation in Louisiana and Texas.

Jim is a native of New Orleans and is active in numerous local civic, charitable and social organizations.

Reported Decisions

Collins v. Wellcare Healthcare Plans, Inc., No. CIV.A. 13-6759, 2014 WL 7239426 (E.D. La. Dec. 16, 2014) (Court found private cause of action for Medicare Advantage Organization against enrollee within the Medicare Secondary Payer Act).

Espinosa v. Accor N. Am., Inc., 2014-0001 (La. App. 4 Cir. 9/24/14), 148 So. 3d 244 (La. Ct. App. 2014), reh’g denied (Oct. 23, 2014), writ denied, 2014-2446 (La. 2/13/15), 159 So.3d 466 and writ denied, 2014-2453 (La. 2/13/15), 159 So.3d 467 (insurance coverage dispute involving action to recover for robbery and shooting of patron by third parties).

Corey v. Deepwater Specialists, Inc., No. CIV.A. 10-3354, 2013 WL 1704920, at *1 (E.D. La. Apr. 1, 2013) report and recommendation adopted, No. CIV.A. 10-3354, 2013 WL 1704915 (E.D. La. Apr. 19, 2013) (resolving motion to deposit settlement funds with the registry of the Court pending competing claims).

Innovative Hospitality Sys., LLC v. Abraham, 2010-217 (La. App. 3rd Cir. 4/6/11), 61 So.3d 740 writ denied, 2011-0845 (La. 6/17/11), 63 So.3d 1036 (appeal involving insurance coverage for the fraudulent cashing of checks against businesses where checks were cashed).

Lambeth House, Inc. v. Liberty Restoration Grp., LLC, No. CIV.A. 07-608, 2010 WL 3791777 (E.D. La. Sept. 16, 2010) (decision regarding attorneys’ fees following jury trial over construction contract obligations).

Watkins v. Panco Inc., 2010-0307 (La. App. 1st Cir. 9/10/10) (La. Ct. App. Sept. 10, 2010) (defense of alleged faulty construction of home in Plaquemine, Louisiana).

Advanced Commercial Contracting v. Powell Ins. Agency, 09-758 (La. App. 5th Cir. 12/29/09), 30 So.3d 851 (La. Ct. App. 2009) writ denied, 2010-0230 (La. 4/9/10), 31 So.3d 392 (successful defense of insurance agency based on insured’s claims for breach of duty which alleged resulted in insufficient coverage at the time fire destroyed insured’s property).

Caillou Island Towing Co. v. Martin & Pellegrin, CPA’s, 2009-0795 (La. App. 1st Cir. 12/9/09) (La. Ct. App. Dec. 9, 2009) (successful defense of accounting firm from untimely lawsuit based on the three-year limitations period set forth in La. R.S. § 9:5604).

Kalmanson v. Ducote, 2008-1196 (La. App. 4th Cir. 2/11/09) (La. Ct. App. Feb. 11, 2009) (successful enforcement of foreign judgment over claims of due process based on res judicata).

Atkins v. Lexington Ins. Co., No. CIV.A.07-6977, 2008 WL 4372018 (E.D. La. Sept. 23, 2008) (defense of Hurricane Katrina and Rita claims by homeowner).

Whitfield v. Alpha Ins. LLC, 280 F. App’x 363 (5th Cir. 2008) (successful defense of insurance agent where court held that three-year preemption period for homeowners’ negligence claim against agent began to run when homeowners bought flood insurance policy).

Representative Cases

Fort Worth Community Credit Union v. Multi-Services, Inc. – Recovered $500,000 in a Texas property subrogation case wherein the property insurer (our client) had paid for repairs to a credit union after the water faucets of a sink in an upstairs janitorial closet were left on flooding two floors of the building. A waiver of subrogation clause in the janitorial contract was overcome after it was discovered a subcontractor had performed the janitorial services. Even though the janitor denied using the sink or leaving it running, and there was no direct evidence as to who had entered the closet or left the sink running, Attorney Busenlener was able to achieve a successful recovery from the janitorial company’s insurer by marshaling evidence to prove the janitor was the most likely person to have left the sink faucets flowing.


Tulane University School of Law, New Orleans, Louisiana, 1993, J.D.

Washington & Lee University, Lexington, Virginia, 1990, B.A.

Speaking Engagements

Subrogation is Like Picking a Puppy: The Best Claims Don’t Always Jump on You and Lick Your Face – Virtual webinar to CLM 2020 Focus Cannabis, Environmental, Insurance Fraud, Property Subrogation Claims & Litigation Management Conference on November 5, 2020.

Government Done Me Wrong: Tort Claims Against Local, State and Federal Authority, May 13, 2020 – MWL webinar presented to public.

Pseudo-Subro; Alternative Facts Assignments and Recovery Actions – October 3, 2019 – Panel speaker at CLM Southeastern Claims Conference in Kissimmee, Florida.

Dealing with Coverage Defenses in Large Property Loss Claims from Investigation to Trial, March 14, 2019, Seminar presented to CLM Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida.

Don’t Let A Lienholder Wreck Your Settlement, May 9, 2018, Seminar presented to 2018 SCLA Claims Education Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana.

No Expert? No Evidence? No Problem!, March 22, 2018, Seminar presented at 2018 National Association of Subrogation Professionals (NASP) Subrogation Litigation Skills and Management Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Longshore & Harbor Workers’ Compensation, March 11, 2018 MWL webinar presented to public.

Defeating The Made Whole Doctrine, May 17, 2017, seminar presented at the 2017 SCLA Claims Education Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana.

There’s Gold In Them Thar Waivers of Subrogation, March 8, 2016, webinar presented to National Association of Subrogation Professionals (NASP).

Subrogating Against God: Turning Natural Disasters Into Recoveries, November 6, 2015, seminar presented at 2015 SCLA Claims Education Conference in Orlando, Florida. Co-Presenter: Gary Wickert.

2014: Year In Review, November 11, 2014, seminar presented at 2014 National Association of Subrogation Professionals (NASP) Annual Conference, in Orlando, Florida.

Limiting Liability Risks For Engineers, September 2, 2014, seminar presented at Professional Engineers Seminar for Professional Development Seminars, Inc., in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Professional Associations & Memberships

  • National Association of Subrogation Professionals (NASP)
  • Louisiana Bar Association
  • State Bar of Texas
  • Louisiana Association of Defense Counsel
  • Claims Litigation Management (CLM)
  • Longshore Claims Association (LCA)
  • Inland Marine Underwriters Association (IMUA), Associate Member

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