James J. Kriva

James Kriva

Attorney Contact
T: (414) 577-4013

Legal Assistant
Kathleen Gumm
T: (414) 577-4075

Areas of Practice
Civil Litigation
Fire / Explosion / Property Loss
Individual Representation
Product Liability

James is a senior shareholder with Kasdorf, Lewis & Swietlik, S.C. He represents corporations, insurers and individuals in state and federal court civil litigation including trials and arbitration practice. He has handled a wide range of lawsuits and legal disputes with emphasis on product liability litigation, fire and gas explosion litigation, farm litigation, commercial litigation, general liability and negligence lawsuits. James’s professional practice regularly includes complex litigation, technical issues litigation and catastrophic loss litigation.

James has defended and prosecuted more than 250 fire cases, including large fire losses involving multi million dollar damage claims, and gas and chemical explosion losses. Additionally, he has handled over 350 product liability cases involving a wide variety of mechanical, electrical and chemical product defect claims and failure-to-warn product liability lawsuits.

James was born in Washington, D.C. in 1953 and was raised in Wisconsin. He is a 1975 graduate of Lawrence University and a 1978 graduate of the University of Wisconsin Law School. He joined Kasdorf, Lewis & Swietlik in 1981, became a shareholder in 1987, and served as chair of the law firm’s Management Committee 1998-2012. James is admitted to practice before all state and federal Wisconsin trial and appellate courts, and various Midwestern state and federal courts. James holds the highest AV Preeminent™ Peer Review legal ability rating with Martindale-Hubbell. He is a member of the State Bar of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Defense Counsel Association. He is a Senior Fellow in the Litigation Counsel of America, a Trial Lawyer Honorary Society with invited membership limited to the top one-half of 1% of actively practicing American lawyers.


  • University of Wisconsin Law School, 1978
  • Lawrence University, 1975


  • U.S. Court of Appeals – Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Court-Eastern District of Wisconsin
  • U.S. District Court-Western District of Wisconsin
  • Wisconsin – All Courts

Honors & Recognitions

  • AV® Preeminent™ 5.0 Peer Review Rated in Martindale Hubbell
  • Senior Fellow, Litigation Council of America
  • Selected as a Wisconsin Super Lawyer 2017, 2016 and other years

Professional Memberships and Associations

  • Litigation Council of America
  • State Bar of Wisconsin
  • Wisconsin Defense Counsel

State Decisions

Garfoot v. Fireman’s Fund Ins. Co., 228 Wis. 2d 707 (Ct. App. 1999)

Sedbrook v. Zimmerman Design Group, 190 Wis. 2d 14 (Ct. App. 1994)

Felder v. North River Ins. Co., 148 Wis. 2d 130 (Ct. App. 1988)

Voit v. Madison Newspapers, Inc., 116 Wis. 2d 217 (1984)

Denny v. Mertz, 100 Wis. 2d 332 (Ct. App. 1981)

Gerger v. Campbell, 98 Wis. 2d 282 (1980)


Federal Decisions

Beard v. J.I. Case Co., 823 F.2d 1095 U.S. App. LEXIS 8945 (1987)