Biography

Tom serves as managing partner for the firm’s Raleigh office.  He defends businesses in a wide variety of complex commercial litigation matters, including: construction defect claims; catastrophic fires and equipment failures; serious personal injury and death claims; professional negligence claims; unfair trade practice claims; and real estate disputes. He also maintains an active general liability practice, defending motor vehicle, premises liability and products liability cases and advising carriers on coverage issues.

Tom is licensed to practice before all of the state and federal courts in North Carolina and has advocated for clients before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Licensing Board for General Contractors, the North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners, and the North Carolina Real Estate Commission.

Tom was honored to be selected for membership in two invitation-only, vetted membership defense groups, the Association of Defense Trial Attorneys and the International Association of Defense Attorneys.  He is AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell and has been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© for Commercial Litigation and Insurance Law since 2013.

When he isn’t practicing law, Tom can hopefully be found loading his mountain bike or kayak into his truck or continuing his search for local craft beers, new alt country music, and the occasional inside straight.  He and his wife, Jennifer, live in Holly Springs with their two tall children and their very short dog.

Experience and Involvement

PROFESSIONAL AND CIVIC INVOLVEMENT:

  • Association of Defense Trial Attorneys
    • National Legal Issues Committee
  • International Association of Defense Counsel
    • Construction Law Committee and Professional Liability Committee
  • North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys
    • Construction Law Practice Group (past chair), Employment Law Practice Group, and Commercial Law Practice Group
  • Defense Research Institute
  • Metals Service Center Institute
    • Counsel for South Atlantic Chapter Board of Directors
  • North Carolina Bar Association
    • Commercial Litigation and Construction Law sections
  • St. Mary Magdalene Church
    • Church Construction Committee

PUBLICATIONS:

Welcome to the Party: Risk Sharing in Construction Defect Disputes, Modern Contractor Solutions Magazine, November 2016. Read the full story here.

When Lawyers Use Safety Rules Against You, Modern Contractor Solutions Magazine, March 2016. Read the full story here.

OSHA’S “Nudge” On Workplace Safety, Modern Contractor Solutions Magazine, June 2016. Read the full story here.

 

Representative Matters

Cases or matters referenced are for illustrative purposes only, and do not represent the lawyer’s or law firm’s entire record.  Each case is unique and must be evaluated on its own merits.  The outcome of a particular case cannot be predicted based upon a lawyer’s or law firm’s past results. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Lancaster v. Harold K. Jordan and Company, Inc., 776 SE2d 345 (2015), in which the court upheld summary judgment by the Business Court.  A prior arbitration between an entity controlled by the individual plaintiffs and HKJ, a general contractor had been decided in HKJ’s favor.  The court upheld summary judgment on the grounds of collateral estoppel, holding that the Lancasters were bound by the arbitration findings because they controlled the litigation, had a financial stake in its outcome, and had notice of it.  The court further held that the granting of summary judgment had not deprived the plaintiffs of their right to a jury trial.

Cantillana v. Five Oaks Homeowners Association (2012, unpublished), in which the court upheld a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss a complaint by a homeowner that sought injunctive relief preventing the Association from imposing fines for failure to comply with architectural guidelines.  The court found that the trial court was correct in dismissing the action, given that the Association’s guidelines provided the requisite authority to impose fines to enforce those guidelines.

Harris v. Barefoot, 704 SE2d 282 (2010), in which the court upheld summary judgment in a dog bite case on the ground that the plaintiffs failed to project evidence that the dog had a vicious propensity, let alone that defendant had reason to know of a vicious propensity.  The court noted that the plaintiff’s attempt to establish a vicious propensity of the breed based on a Wikipedia article were not persuasive.

Haynes v. B&B Realty Group, 663 SE2d 691 (2006), in which the court upheld summary judgment of claims of breach of a profit sharing agreement and unfair trade practices.  The court held that since the profit sharing had not vested at the time of termination of the relationship, there was no breach of contract, and further that plaintiff’s past services for the company could not constitute legal consideration for any transfer of ownership.  Dismissal of the unfair practices claim was upheld on the ground that there was no showing of an impact on commerce beyond the relationship of the parties.

Honors

HONORS:

  • AV peer-rated by Martindale Hubbell
  • Selected by peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2013-2016 for Commercial Litigation and Insurance Law
  • Selected to the North Carolina Super Lawyers list in Civil Litigation every year since 2010
  • Selected as Legal Elite by Business North Carolina Magazine since 2009