Tom is a Shareholder and Chair of the Admiralty and Maritime practice at Maynard Cooper. He has more than 35 years of experience in representing vessel owners, operators and charterers; P & I clubs; cargo interests; hull underwriters; shipbuilders and repairers; and terminal operators in state and federal courts. He is a member of The Maritime Law Association of the United States and distinguished himself by becoming the only lawyer from Alabama to have served as its president.
Tom is listed by The Best Lawyers in America© in the areas of Admiralty and Maritime Law and Commercial Litigation. He is rated AV-Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell.
He received his J.D. from the University of Alabama School of Law and his undergraduate degree from The University of the South.
- Successfully defended claim that in rem proceedings were unconstitutional, thereby allowing lender to foreclose preferred ship mortgages
- Obtained summary judgment in wrongful death case involving operation of recreational houseboat
- Obtained defense verdict for shipowner in jury trial involving maritime asbestos claim
- Recovered against United States for unpaid maritime contractor via maritime lien
- Successfully defended foreign country/shipper/consignee in claim for freight
- Successfully defended against claim for counter-security in an in rem action
- Successfully defended shipowners in jury trials involving Jones Act claims
- Successfully defended shipowners in longshore claims
- Obtained dismissal of Rule B Attachment on jurisdictional grounds
- Lead counsel for major ship-owner in suit brought by crew members after vessel was boarded by Somali pirates who also took master of vessel hostage and who departed vessel in its lifeboat, resulted in a favorable settlements of all claims
- Obtained defense verdict for HVAC contractor in jury trial of quintuple deaths from asphyxiation
- Obtained summary judgment for foreign wheel manufacturer in single death case
- Obtained jury verdict in favor of crane design/manufacturer which sought damages in commercial contract dispute
- The Best Lawyers in America© 2020 “Lawyer of the Year” in Admiralty and Maritime Law
- The Best Lawyers in America© for Admiralty and Maritime Law and Commercial Litigation (2005-present)
- Who’s Who Legal: Transport, 2017
- Who’s Who Legal: Transport 2016/Shipping
- Meritorious Public Service Award – 2008 – Department of Homeland Security, United States Coast Guard
- John W. Sims Distinguished Admiralty Practitioner in Residence, Tulane Law School – April 2002
- Martindale-Hubbell AV® Preeminent Rating
Tom's Affiliations and Civic Involvement
- President, The Maritime Law Association of the United States, 2004-2006; First Vice-President, 2002-2004; Second Vice-President 2000-2002; Board of Directors 1993-1996
- Member, Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel, Chair of Maritime Law Section, 1997-1999
- Member, Southeastern Admiralty Law Institute; Board of Governors, 1983-1985
- American Bar Association, 1975-present; Chair, Subcommittee on Collision, Committee of Admiralty and Maritime Litigation Section of Litigation, 1983; chair, Admiralty and Maritime Law Committee, 1992-1994, Torts and Insurance Practice Section, 1991-1992.
- Member, National Advisory Board, Tulane Admiralty Law Institute, 2004-present
- Delegate to International P&I Group Correspondents’ Conference; London – 2005; Amsterdam – 2009, 2013
- Member, Planning Committee, Tulane Admiralty Law Institute, 2006-present
- Member, Canadian Maritime Law Association
- Private Sector Advisor to United States Delegation to 87th, 88th, 89th, 90th and 91st Sessions of International Maritime Organization (a division of the United Nations) Legal Committee.
- Editor for Port of Mobile, American Maritime Cases
- Titulary Member of the Comite Maritime International
- 37th Comite Maritime International Conference Singapore, 11-17 February 2001, representative of The Maritime Law Association of the United States.
- Comite Maritime International 2002 Annual Assembly London, 10 May 2002, representative of The Maritime Law Association of the United States.
- Comite Maritime International Colloquium and Assembly Bordeaux, 11-14 June 2003, representative of The Maritime Law Association of the United States.
- 38th Comite Maritime International Conference Vancouver, May 31-June 4, 2004, representative of The Maritime Law Association of the United States.
- Comite Maritime International 2005 Annual Assembly Paris, 16 April 2005, representative of The Maritime Law Association of the United States.
- 39th Comite Maritime International Colloquium Cape Town, 12-15 February, 2006, representative of The Maritime Law Association of the United States.
- Comite Maritime International 2007 Annual Assembly, Dubronvnik, May 11, 2007, representative of the Maritime Law Association of the United States.
- Subscriber to the Association of Average Adjusters UK
- President, Associated Alumni of The University of the South, 1997-2001
- Member, Board of Trustees of The University of the South, 1997-2001
- Member, Vice-Chancellor Search Committee of the University of the South
- Chair, Alumni Director Search Committee, The University of the South
- Government Street Presbyterian Church, Elder; Clerk of the Session; Three Time Chair of the Stewardship Committee; Chair of Evangelism and Membership; Chair of Staff Committee; Chair of Minister Search Committee
- Presbytery of South Alabama Development Fund Trustee Committee on Evangelism and New Church Development
- Synod of Living Waters, Permanant Judicial Commission
- President, Symphony Concerts of Mobile, Inc. 1978-1980
- Habitat for Humanity , Board of Directors, 1990-1992
- Young Life of Mobile, Board of Directors, 1993-2006
University of Alabama School of Law (1974, J.D., Alabama Law Review)
University of the South (Sewanee) (1968, B.A., cum laude)