Tom is a commercial litigator who has handled everything from a nuclear power plant valuation challenge to the defense of a trademark infringement claim against the Weekly World News. He has been counsel in more than 240 reported decisions. Tom appears regularly in state and federal trial and appellate courts, but is best known as an advocate for free speech rights of both large and small clients. Early in his career, he persuaded the Florida Supreme Court to enjoin Sunshine Law violations by the University of Florida College of Law. He later defended a national television network, a local television station, and a national magazine against multimillion dollar libel claims. Most recently he led challenges in three New England states against laws restraining targeted marketing to doctors and defended a national news reporter subpoenaed to testify in a high-profile Texas criminal case.
Since Tom began his practice in south Florida in 1981, speech rights have become increasingly important as new technology has empowered both companies and individuals to collect and publish information on a massive scale. This has created an unprecedented need for legal advice concerning libel and privacy, information access, data breaches, the Communications Decency Act, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the constitutionality of local, state and federal laws regulating information and advertising, social networking, and all things digital. These needs are what are driving Tom’s practice now.
Tom is admitted to practice before the US Supreme Court, the US Courts of Appeals for the First, Second and Eleventh Circuits, and all US District Courts in Florida and the District of Columbia.
- Sorrell v. IMS Health Inc., 131 S. Ct. 2653 (2011) (holding data mining is protected by the First Amendment and invalidating state law restricting use of data for marketing).
- Rosa Nales v. Carnival Corp., 24 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. D259a, (S.D. Fla. Dec. 11, 2013) (Cooke, J.) (granting summary judgment for Carnival Corporation against $35 million appropriation of likeness claim by San Juan television news anchorman Pedro Rosa Nales based on use of likeness in one million brochures and to promote products on sale in Carnival’s global fleet of ships).
- Solymar Investments, Ltd. v. Banco Santander, S.A., 672 F.3d 981 (11th Cir. 2012) (Fay, S.J., Dubina C.J. & Marcus, S.J., concurring) (affirmance of dismissal of claims for breach of contract and fiduciary duties against Banco Santander arising from Bernie Madoff investments and to invalidate settlement agreement in light of arbitration and forum selection clause in settlement agreement)
- Denco v. Tropicana Products, Inc., 78 So. 3d 785 (Fla. 4th DCA 2012) (Polen, Taylor, and Hazouri, JJ.) (Affirmance of summary judgment for Tropicana Products, Inc. against claim for conversion, tortious interference with contract, accounting, and money had and received arising from receipt and processing of oranges from grove of company owned by legendary Palm Beach lawyer Joseph D. Farish. Jr.).
- Witt v. La Gorce Country Club, Inc., 35 So. 3d 1033 (Fla. 3d DCA 2009) (Cortinas, J., joined by Ramirez & Lagoa, JJ.) (affirmance on rehearing of final judgment in favor of ITT Industries, Inc. against $3 million claim arising from failure of reverse osmosis water treatment plant installed to irrigate Miami Beach golf course).
- Wright v. Frankel, 965 So. 2d 365 (Fla. 4th DCA 2007) (en banc) (Taylor, Carole, J.) (holding that West Palm Beach City Commission violated city charter by refusing to place referendum ordinance on ballot).
- Animal Rights Foundation of Florida v. Siegel, 867 So. 2d 451 (Fla. 5th DCA 2004) (Palmer, J., Orfinger, J., concurring, Sawaya, C.J., concurring and dissenting) (upholding First Amendment right to protest on public streets against abuse of animals).
- Rosenauer v. School Board of Manatee County, 17 Fla. L.W. D669a (M.D. Fla. 2004) (Whittemore, J.) (decree in favor of parents of student prohibiting the school board from opening meetings with sectarian prayers).
- Campus Communications, Inc. v. Earnhardt, 821 So. 2d 388 (Fla. 5th DCA 2002) (Sawaya, C.J., Peterson, and Griffin, J.J.) (upholding constitutionality of Public Records Law exemption applicable to Dale Earnhardt autopsy photographs).
- Lane v. MRA Holding, LLC, 242 F. Supp. 2d 1205 (M.D. Fla. 2002) (Conway, J.) (summary judgment against invasion of privacy claims for producer of Girls Gone Wild).
- Florida Outdoor Advertising, LLC v. City of Boynton Beach, 182 F. Supp. 2d 1201 (S.D. Fla. 2001) (Middlebrooks, J.) (ordinance regulating outdoor advertising signs violates First Amendment).
- The Franklin Life Insurance Co. v. Davy, 753 So. 2d 581 (Fla. 1st DCA 1999) (Van Nortwick, Joanos & Wolf, JJ.) (affirmance of jury verdict. against multi-million dollar libel and tortious interference claims).
- Celmins v. America Online, Inc., 748 So. 2d 1041 (Fla. 2d DCA 1999) (Parker, C.J., Northcutt, J., Scheb, S.J.) (affirmance of order dismissing complaint against America Online, Inc. and Steve Case).
- Jaisinghani v. Capital Cities/ABC, Inc., 149 F.3d 1195 (11th Cir. 1998) (Dubina, Tjoflat & Smith, JJ.) (affirmance of summary judgment against $10 million libel claim arising from publication of seven-article investigative report in The Kansas City Star).
- Tobkin v. Jarboe, 710 So. 2d 975 (Fla. 1998) (adopts absolute privilege to protect the filing of grievances with the Florida Bar by clients).
- Gibson v. Lee County School Board, 1 F. Supp. 2d 1426 (M.D. Fla. 1998) (Kovachevich, J.) (preliminary injunction for parents stopping Bible History curriculum from being taught in public high school in violation of Establishment Clause).
- Mobile Press-Register, Inc. v. Witt, 24 Media L. Rep. (BNA) 2336 (Fla. 17th Cir. 1996) (Moe, J.) (order requiring release of investigation of the murder of Adam Walsh).
- Worldwide Primates, Inc. v. McGreal, 26 F.3d 1089 (11th Cir. 1994) (Roney, Tjoflat & Dubina, JJ.) (Rule 11 sanction against primate importer and attorney who brought frivolous suit against protester).
- Friedgood v. Peters Publishing Co., 521 So. 2d 236 (Fla. 4th DCA 1988) (Anstead, Dell & Gunther, JJ.) affirming summary judgment for publisher of US magazine against libel claim filed by woman accused of being an accessory in the murder of her mother).
- Silvester v. American Broadcasting Cos., Inc., 839 F.2d 1491 (11th Cir. 1988) (Johnson, Anderson & Atkinson, JJ.) (affirming summary judgment for ABC News in libel claim based on 20/20 broadcast that accused plaintiff of committing arson).