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Thomas J. Smith

Thomas J. Smith

Director

1301 McKinney Street
Suite 1400
Houston, Texas 77010

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Office: 713-599-0700
Cell Phone: 713-403-7101
Fax: 713-599-0777
Additional Offices: New Orleans, Dallas
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Tommy Smith has always recognized that a successful litigator achieves the client’s goals in a cost-effective and timely fashion while keeping the client both informed and in control. For the past thirty-seven years Tommy’s aggressive, analytical, and flexible approach to litigation has led to the attainment of those goals in close to  one hundred jury, bench, and administrative trials and arbitrations, as well as appeals. In addition to successfully trying cases, Tommy knows when to guide a client toward a resolution that minimizes the risks inherent in litigation, such as settlement, arbitration, or mediation.

Focused on efficient, economic dispute resolution, Tommy realizes that litigation is frequently not the best or only path to the best possible results. As an experienced litigator and certified mediator, Tommy understands that the opportunity for parties to air their grievances often sets the stage for an acceptable compromise that addresses the interests of all parties. However, the assistance of an experienced litigator who has negotiated many hundreds of settlements often proves indispensable. Tommy has worked with clients to implement and utilize arbitration programs applicable to claims asserted by their employees and other contractors.

As a former New Orleans police officer, Tommy appreciates the importance of having a long-term strategy and adapting tactics to the often-changing positions of opponents. His analysis and precision have helped obtain successful verdicts, dismissals, and settlements for clients, including international drilling companies, oilfield service providers, pipeline transportation and energy storage companies, regional oil and gas exploration firms, one of the world’s largest platform and rig companies, nursing home and long-term care providers, as well as their underwriters and other insurance companies.

Tommy has earned an “AV Preeminent” rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the directory’s highest rating for attorneys. He has been a speaker at seminars for the Jones Act, Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, claims handling and investigation, and employment practices. Tommy is a member of the Texas and Louisiana state bar associations, and the Louisiana and Texas Associations of Defense Counsel. Tommy has also been selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America for Admiralty and Maritime Law since 2019.

Representative Matters

  • Successfully tried jury and bench trials in state and federal courts in Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi (ad hoc).
  • Tried in excess of 50 administrative hearings before the United States Department of Labor in Louisiana, Texas, Pennsylvania, Oregon, and Maryland as well as before the Louisiana and Texas Office of Workers’ Compensation.
  • Appeared before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and litigating age, race and gender bias claims.
  • Argued before the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Louisiana First and Fifth Circuit Courts of Appeal.
  • Handled complex litigation, including the collapse of an offshore drilling rig, death cases, multiple claimant property and personal injury lawsuits arising from drilling operations in populated areas, class-actions involving wage and hour disputes, as well as hundreds of cases arising under the Jones Act and general maritime law, or asserting age, race or gender bias as well as general liability, automobile and trucking liability matters.
  • Litigated commercial claims arising from charter parties, leases, and other contractual arrangements.

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OVERVIEW

Tommy Smith has always recognized that a successful litigator achieves the client’s goals in a cost-effective and timely fashion while keeping the client both informed and in control. For the past thirty-seven years Tommy’s aggressive, analytical, and flexible approach to litigation has led to the attainment of those goals in close to  one hundred jury, bench, and administrative trials and arbitrations, as well as appeals. In addition to successfully trying cases, Tommy knows when to guide a client toward a resolution that minimizes the risks inherent in litigation, such as settlement, arbitration, or mediation.

Focused on efficient, economic dispute resolution, Tommy realizes that litigation is frequently not the best or only path to the best possible results. As an experienced litigator and certified mediator, Tommy understands that the opportunity for parties to air their grievances often sets the stage for an acceptable compromise that addresses the interests of all parties. However, the assistance of an experienced litigator who has negotiated many hundreds of settlements often proves indispensable. Tommy has worked with clients to implement and utilize arbitration programs applicable to claims asserted by their employees and other contractors.

As a former New Orleans police officer, Tommy appreciates the importance of having a long-term strategy and adapting tactics to the often-changing positions of opponents. His analysis and precision have helped obtain successful verdicts, dismissals, and settlements for clients, including international drilling companies, oilfield service providers, pipeline transportation and energy storage companies, regional oil and gas exploration firms, one of the world’s largest platform and rig companies, nursing home and long-term care providers, as well as their underwriters and other insurance companies.

Tommy has earned an “AV Preeminent” rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the directory’s highest rating for attorneys. He has been a speaker at seminars for the Jones Act, Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, claims handling and investigation, and employment practices. Tommy is a member of the Texas and Louisiana state bar associations, and the Louisiana and Texas Associations of Defense Counsel. Tommy has also been selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America for Admiralty and Maritime Law since 2019.

Representative Matters

  • Successfully tried jury and bench trials in state and federal courts in Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi (ad hoc).
  • Tried in excess of 50 administrative hearings before the United States Department of Labor in Louisiana, Texas, Pennsylvania, Oregon, and Maryland as well as before the Louisiana and Texas Office of Workers’ Compensation.
  • Appeared before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and litigating age, race and gender bias claims.
  • Argued before the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Louisiana First and Fifth Circuit Courts of Appeal.
  • Handled complex litigation, including the collapse of an offshore drilling rig, death cases, multiple claimant property and personal injury lawsuits arising from drilling operations in populated areas, class-actions involving wage and hour disputes, as well as hundreds of cases arising under the Jones Act and general maritime law, or asserting age, race or gender bias as well as general liability, automobile and trucking liability matters.
  • Litigated commercial claims arising from charter parties, leases, and other contractual arrangements.

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EDUCATION & ADMISSIONS

Education

  • J.D., Tulane University School of Law, 1985
  • B.C.J., cum laude, Loyola University of the South, 1981

Admissions

  • Louisiana, 1984
  • Texas, 1993
  • Supreme Court of the United States, 2002
  • U.S. District Courts for the Eastern and Middle Districts of Louisiana, 1985
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, 1987
  • U.S. District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of Texas, 1993
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, 2022
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, 2016
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, 1984

PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS

  • State Bar of Texas
  • Louisiana State Bar Association
  • MAPS Mediation
  • Texas Association of Defense Counsel
  • Louisiana Association of Defense Counsel
  • Claims and Litigation Management Alliance
  • Houston Claims Association
  • Houston Mariners Club