Overview

Tom is known as the firm’s problem solver. He enjoys unravelling complex issues using creativity and intellect. In addition to work for clients, Tom has also served as Thompson Hine’s Loss Prevention Partner, where he counsels lawyers and management, as well as defending claims. He has held that role for over a decade, demonstrating the level of regard his colleagues have for him. Tom also represents lawyers outside the firm on issues related to legal ethics, compliance, disciplinary investigations and related professional responsibility matters. Tom advises businesses who deal with lawyers about all aspects of professional responsibility and compliance in the legal profession and has represented both sides in fee disputes and related issues.

Recent roles have included defense of law firms in disciplinary investigations and proceedings, counseling attorney clients with disciplinary complaints or who could be facing sanctions and defending and prosecuting motions to disqualify lawyers. Tom has spoken and written frequently on the ethical and professional issues lawyers face.

In addition to his role regarding professional liability issues, Tom handles a wide variety of complex civil litigation matters, including general commercial and insurance, shareholders' rights, contract claims, product liability and toxic tort, class actions, securities, fiduciary duty and employment related issues.

Regardless of the issue, Tom is recognized for his experience, intellect, dedication and persistence. He strives to exceed client expectation by providing sound legal counsel and seeking win/win solutions for his clients.

Professional Liability and Ethics

Tom has counseled and represented hundreds of lawyers and law firms on avoiding and responding to claims of malpractice or ethical breaches, covering most any areas of practice, including:

  • Construction and Real Estate
  • Probate and Estate Planning
  • Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Conspiracy
  • Litigation
  • Fee Disputes
  • Intellectual Property

Commercial

  • Represented investors defrauded of multimillion dollar investments by financial advisor.
  • Numerous representations of shareholders in closely held corporations against co-shareholders regarding usurpation of corporate opportunities, wasting or theft of corporate assets and other disputes.
  • Defense of international manufacturer of industrial hose and fitting in multimillion dollar international arbitration over alleged breach of technology sharing agreement.
  • Multiple representation of parties in post-closing disputes.
  • Defense of class action privacy claims regarding mobile phone applications.
  • Representation of CEO in dispute against company and its counsel over removal and breach of compensation agreement.
  • Representation of developer in zoning and construction disputes regarding residential developments, including constitutional claims for improper shutdown of construction.

Product Liability and Personal Injury

  • Nationwide defense of multiple chemical industry defendants against claims involving employee injuries and related fraud and conspiracy allegations industry wide conspiracy to hide cancer links in chemical projects
  • Defense of pipe manufacturer in catastrophic injury claims resulting from truck loading accident.

Probate and Trust Litigation

  • Representation of parties in numerous litigations involving breach of fiduciary duty claims regarding investments, administration of significant trust assets and corporate governance.
  • Representation of trustees in actions involving claimed breaches of duty and resulting investment losses.
  • Representation of will and trust beneficiaries in disputes regarding interpretation of multiple instruments controlling disposition of multimillion dollar trust corpus.

Insurance

  • Defense of national commercial real estate operator against claims by national tenant regarding existence and charges of insurance.
  • Defense of captive medical malpractice insurer against enforcement of collusive settlement.
  • Represented customer of international oceanic freight carrier on claims of insurance coverage.
  • Multiple class action cases involving insurance coverage under auto and boat coverage.
  • Class claims against Directors of insolvent medical malpractice carriers.
Experience
  • Representation of parties in numerous litigations involving breach of fiduciary duty claims regarding investments, administration of significant trust assets and corporate governance.
  • Representation of chemical industry in matters involving employee injuries and related fraud and conspiracy allegations in numerous cases across the United States.
  • Representation of developer in disputes with city over zoning and construction disputes regarding residential developments, including constitutional claims for improper shutdown of construction.
  • Representation of trustees in actions involving claimed breaches of duty and resulting investment losses.
  • Representation of will and trust beneficiaries in disputes regarding interpretation of multiple instruments controlling disposition of multimillion dollar trust corpus.
  • Representation of investors defrauded of multimillion dollar investments by financial advisor.
  • Numerous representations of shareholders in closely held corporations against co-shareholders regarding usurpation of corporate opportunities, wasting or theft of corporate assets and other disputes.

Reported Cases

Commercial Litigation

  • Best Buy Stores, L.P. v. Developers Diversified Realty Corp., 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 88771, 247 F.R.D. 567, 69 Fed. R. Serv. 3d (Callaghan) 1035
  • Home Fed. S&L Ass'n v. Fed. Ins. Co., 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68558, 2007 WL 2713060
  • Boyd v. Bressler, 18 Fed. Appx. 360, 2001 U.S. App. LEXIS 19918
  • FDIC v. Malik, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41178, 2012 WL 1019978
  • State ex rel. Haber Polk Kabat, L.L.P. v. Sutula, 2018-Ohio-2223, 114 N.E.3d 649, 2018 Ohio App. LEXIS 2396 (procedendo)

Trust and Probate Litigation

  • Nixon v. Wilmington Trust Co., 543 F.3d 354, 2008 U.S. App. LEXIS 20439, 2008 FED App. 0354P (6th Cir.)
  • Rothstein v. Steinberg, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108003, 2008 WL 5716138
  • Nat'l City Bank v. Noble, 2005-Ohio-6484, 2005 Ohio App. LEXIS 5843

Professional Liability and Ethics

  • In re Thelen LLP, 24 N.Y.3d 16, 20 N.E.3d 264, 995 N.Y.S.2d 534, 2014 N.Y. LEXIS 1577, 2014 NY Slip Op 4879, 2014 WL 2931526 (law firm liability)
  • Geron v. Robinson & Cole LLP, 476 B.R. 732, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 128678, 56 Bankr. Ct. Dec. 269 (law firm liability)
  • Geron v. Seyfarth Shaw LLP (In re Thelen LLP), 736 F.3d 213, 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 23123, 58 Bankr. Ct. Dec. 198, 2013 WL 6037232 (law firm liability)
  • In re Thelen LLP, 24 N.Y.3d 16, 20 N.E.3d 264, 995 N.Y.S.2d 534, 2014 N.Y. LEXIS 1577, 2014 NY Slip Op 4879, 2014 WL 2931526
  • Geron v. Seyfarth Shaw LLP (In re Thelen LLP), 736 F.3d 213, 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 23123, 58 Bankr. Ct. Dec. 198, 2013 WL 6037232
  • Sutton v. Stevens Painton Corp., 193 Ohio App. 3d 68, 2011-Ohio-841, 951 N.E.2d 91, 2011 Ohio App. LEXIS 727 (law firm liability)
  • In re Jones, 2018-Ohio-4182, 2018 Ohio LEXIS 2470, 2018 WL 5076017 (Ethics and Unauthorized practice of law)

Class Action Litigation

  • Boedeker v. Rogers, 140 Ohio App. 3d 11, 746 N.E.2d 625, 2000 Ohio App. LEXIS 1841
  • Boedeker v. Rogers, 136 Ohio App. 3d 425, 736 N.E.2d 955, 1999 Ohio App. LEXIS 6056
  • Schachner v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield, 77 F.3d 889, 1996 U.S. App. LEXIS 3958, 1996 FED App. 0080P (6th Cir.)
  • Peterson v. Progressive Corp., 2006-Ohio-6175, 2006 Ohio App. LEXIS 6144
  • Steiner v. Van Dorn Co., 104 Ohio App. 3d 51, 660 N.E.2d 1256, 1995 Ohio App. LEXIS 1937
  • Rackemann v. LISNR, Inc., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112467, 2018 WL 3328140 (fees)
  • Rackemann v. LISNR, Inc., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 162567 (privacy)
  • Rackemann v. LISNR, Inc., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47408, 2018 WL 1448875 (privacy Class action), affirmed Rackemann v. LISNR, Inc., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 163618, 2018 WL 4574342
  • Rackemann v. LISNR, Inc., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 164247

Employment Litigation

  • Raines v. College Now Greater Cleveland, Inc., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 75373
  • Jones v. Sumser Retirement Village, 209 F.3d 851, 2000 U.S. App. LEXIS 6956, 2000 FED App. 0139P (6th Cir.), 10 Am. Disabilities Cas. (BNA) 790
  • Porter v. Litigation Mgmt., 2000 Ohio App. LEXIS 2022, 2000 WL 573197
  • Porter v. Litig. Mgmt., 146 Ohio App. 3d 558, 767 N.E.2d 735, 2001 Ohio App. LEXIS 4215, 2001-Ohio-4298
  • Mackey v. Cleveland State Univ., 837 F. Supp. 1396, 1993 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14552, 64 Empl. Prac. Dec. (CCH) P42,980, 2 Am. Disabilities Cas. (BNA) 1392

Product Liability

  • Hogan v. Goodrich Corp., 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2004, 2006 WL 149011
  • Eastridge v. Goodrich Corp., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 140134, 2013 WL 5460868
  • Roney v. Gencorp, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84859, 2009 WL 3015211 (product liability expert evidence)
  • Roney v. Gencorp, 431 F. Supp. 2d 622, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27709
Publications
  • Co-editor, Thompson Hine's legal ethics blog, The Law for Lawyers Today
  • Co-author, "The Evolution of Personal Jurisdiction to Protect Attorneys and Other Out-of-State Professional," For the Defense, April 2019
  • "Keeping It All In The Family: Addressing Concentrations of Stock for Grantor, Trustees and Beneficiaries," Cleveland Bar Journal, December 2005
Presentations

Tom has presented at seminars on a variety of civil litigation topics including fiduciary duty, lender liability, employment issues, arbitration and depositions in civil matters. These include:

  • "Unauthorized Practice of Law by Relocating Attorneys," Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association
  • Guest Lecture Western Mass School of Law, "Expert Scientific Evidence" 
  • "Conspiracy Theory: Defending Industry Wide Conspiracy Claims," Defense Research Institute TTEL Annual Meeting
  • "Top Ten Lessons in Defending Industry Wide Conspiracy Claims," Defense Research Institute
  • "Fiduciary claims against Hedge Funds"
  • "Fiduciary Duties and Confidentiality," Ohio State Bar Association
  • "Evidentiary Issues in Adversary Matters in Probate Court," Ohio State Bar Association
  • "Taking and Defending Depositions in Ohio"
Distinctions
  • Litigation Star by Benchmark Litigation, 2015, 2017 - 2019
  • Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America, 2016 to 2020; recognized in The Best Lawyers 2019 Lawyer of the Year
  • AV® Preeminent Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Selected for inclusion in Super Lawyers by Ohio Super Lawyers magazine, 2007 to present
Professional and Civic

Professional Associations

  • Trustee, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association 2015- present
  • President, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Foundation 2014-2015
  • Ohio State Bar Association, Section on Litigation
  • Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, Litigation Committee; Probate & Estate Committee; former chair, Practice and Procedure Clinic on Civil Litigation

Community Activities

  • Family Connections of Northeast Ohio, past president, Board of Trustees
  • Cleveland Marshall Law Alumni Association, former member, Board of Trustees
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