Before his career as a professional Mediator/Arbitrator for Litigation Alternatives, Inc., Tom practiced law, first as an associate at Gordon, Muir & Foley in Hartford and then as a partner at Sack, Spector & Barrett in West Hartford. Tom distinguished himself in the area of general civil litigation where he represented plaintiffs as well as defendants in all areas of civil disputes to the exception of divorce. For the most part, he concentrated in personal injury and products liability cases, though he was a versatile enough litigator to work in other areas of civil law.
In 1999, Tom made what was then a somewhat risky decision to engage in the full-time practice of Mediation and Arbitration and has become one of the leading practitioners in the state. The cases he has mediated and decided range in value from $0 to $10,000,000.00 and number in the thousands.
The combination of subject matter versatility, intellectual curiosity, reputation for integrity and personal charm have resulted in not only great expansion in his areas of expertise (including real estate, professional malpractice, employment, probate, construction, employment and contract law to name a few), but in his ability to withstand the test of time in a profession where longevity is rare.
Although numerous cases stand out from his career as a Mediator, some of the more notable successful Mediations include cases where:
- A 5 year old jury verdict against an installation contractor that was reversed on appeal where the scope of damages ordered by the remand was unclear to the parties. The main areas of dispute involved the evaluation of the partial completion of the repairs already made, whether costs were measured from the time of trial or from the date of the hearing in damages and finally, disputed issues of post-judgment interest that alone would have been over a million dollars.
- A negligent supervision case where a near drowning of one identical twin settled between the parties in excess of $10,000,000.00.
- A contentious and colorful wrongful death case involving insanity, depravity, beheading and suicide. Initially the homeowner’s insurance company was only providing a defense while simultaneously filing a declaratory judgement motion as to coverage, claiming that defendant’s actions were intentional. Ultimately the key to the settlement was an agreement by the parties, after a lengthy hearing, that there was a high likelihood of a determination that the defendant was insane which would have rendered his actions unintentional.
- An extremely emotional hit and run accident with considerable injuries where the plaintiff initially refused to release a judgement-proof defendant after his policy had been tendered. While the defendant had been sent to prison for the accident, the plaintiff was so angry that when the hearing commenced he had been unwilling to settle. Another difficult case involving sexual molestation also falls in the category of numerous emotionally difficult, yet successful Mediations Tom has conducted.
When he began his ADR career, mediation and arbitration were only starting to be understood as the important litigation tools they are today. At that time, Litigation Alternatives’ case managers worked more closely with parties in the quality control aspects of ADR facilitation. Now that parties to litigation are much more sophisticated in the use of ADR, Tom’s reputation alone usually is the reason for case submissions. Parties from both sides of the aisle trust his judgement and ability to deal with the subject matter of the litigation.