James started working at age five in 1962 in Wharton, a small town in Texas sixty miles south of Houston; driving a John Deere tractor on his father’s farm. He grew up in a household where his father was a pastor and his mother was a minister. He shared a four-bedroom “shotgun” house with his eight siblings, in a house that his father built. James Stevens became one of the first African American student body presidents in senior high school.
He was fired in 2004 even though employed for 26 years after he complained of being sexually harassed by his female boss. He was awarded $18.4 million after he sued to get his job back. His fight for justice was not easy as he met with thirty-five attorneys before one took him seriously and took his case.
During the process, he loses a wife of twenty years, ten-year-old son, and a two-year-old daughter. March of 2005 his wife left in the middle of the night with his son and daughter, ironically the day before his trial began.
$18.4 Million, the largest jury award in history for reverse sexual harassment. Thirty-five attorneys and five judges told him that he did not have a chance of receiving justice! The historic trial was held in the exact same courtroom as the infamous Rodney King Trial in Simi Valley, California. The unprecedented jury consisted of scholars; including a movie producer, well-known author, and civil rights attorney, UCLA executive, military policeman, and a bank president. The case contained many elements from ten attorneys involvement, including Gloria Allred, a listening device in his home, brakes mysteriously failing on his car and almost going over a cliff, fifteen visits to the emergency room with chest pains, and his intellectual approach to suicide.
He started his foundation Justice Inc in 2011, whose mission is to keep families intact while assisting them to navigate the judicial process, and educating the youth on current legislation.