Cleveland Thornton, Attorney at Law

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Resume of Cleveland Thornton


Member in good standing:

The Virginia State Bar (1985)
The District of Columbia Bar (1982)
The Alabama State Bar (1971) (special membership status)


Instructor, Sequoia Professional Development Corp. 1998-Present
Software Licensing and E-Commerce Agreements
E-Commerce and the Law
Cleveland Thornton, Attorney at Law 1994-Present
Emphasis in computer, high tech, and intellectual property law, including
copyright, trade mark and service mark, software license and e-commerce agreements.
Bromley, Green & Walsh 1991-1994
Non -Equity Partner
Rubenstein & Thornton, Partner 1988-1991
Fairfax, Virginia and Washington, DC
Kellogg, Williams & Lyons, Of Counsel 1985-1988
Washington, D.C. and Vienna, Virginia
Office of the Secretary, Office of the General Counsel for Litigation, 1979-1985
U.S. Department of Transportation, Senior Trial Attorney
Office of Chief Counsel, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1978-1979
U.S. Department of Transportation, Trial Attorney
Legal Aid Society of Alabama, Birmingham, Alabama 1976-1978
State Coordinator for Legal Services
Legal Aid Society of Alabama, Birmingham, Alabama 1975-1976
Managing Attorney
County Solicitor of Macon County, Alabama
Appointed by Governor to fulfill unexpired term
Attorney, private practice, Tuskegee, Alabama
Grey, Seay & Langford, Tuskegee, Alabama 1972-1975
Office of the United States Attorney Ira DeMent 1971-1972
(now U.S. District Judge, Middle District, Alabama),
Montgomery, Alabama, Legal Assistant
Richard Shelby, Attorney and State Legislator, later elected U.S. Senator 1969-1971
Law Clerk
University of the South, Sewanee, TN Summer, 1964
University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL 1964-1968
B.A. in political science, minor in philosophy
University of Alabama Law School 1968-1971
Juris Doctor degree
U.S. Army Command and General Staff College 1983

Bench and Bar Legal Honor Society
Member, John A. Campbell Moot Court Board
Finalist, John A. Campbell Moot Court Competition
Board of Directors, Tuscaloosa Legal Aid Clinic


Member, Science and Technology Section, American Bar Association
Member, Computer Law Association, Inc
D.C. Computer Law Forum (past president)
Board Member, JEDDI Foundation (electronic filing and use of high tech by courts)
Participated in several on-line discussion groups and live forums concerning legal high tech issues (list available upon request)
Panelist in several presentations concerning intellectual property and high issues.


Federal Circuit Court Decisions.

1. Geoplex Corp. v. CACI, Inc., 911 F.2d 722 (4th Cir, 1990)(Unpublished Opinion)

Anti-Trust and business tort action involving conspiracy by CACI and certain individuals to put Geoplex Corporation out of business.

2. Dahn v. District of Columbia, 865 F.2d 1257 (4th Cir, 1988)

Action for wrongful death by plaintiff against the District of Columbia where escaped convict from half-way house murdered plaintiff's wife while she worked as a cashier at a gasoline station in Virginia.

3. Sierra Club v. Hassell, 636 F.2d 1095 (5th Cir. 1981).

Plaintiff sued to stop construction of a bridge from the mainland to Dauphin Island, Alabama. The bridge had been destroyed by Hurricane Frederick. The Department of Transportation was rebuilding the bridge using disaster relief money. Plaintiff claimed that because the bridge was much larger and did not have a draw bridge that the destroyed bridge had, Dauphin Island, which is an occupied barrier island, would be destroyed. DOT countered that the bridge had to be built to 1980 standards, not the 1930 standards of the destroyed bridge, and that the claimed environmental harm would not occur. In addition, DOT claimed that existing local environmental laws would prevent any harm the existence of the rebuilt bridge might cause.

4. Brantley v. Union Bank & Trust Company, 498 F.2d 365 (5th Cir. 1974).

Suit to declare unconstitutional the self-help repossession statute under Alabama's Uniform Commercial Code.

5. U.S. v. Varner, 467 F.2d 659 (5th Cir. 1972).

Mandamus action against a U.S. District Court Judge.

Federal District Court Decisions

6. Independent U.S. Tanker Owners Committee v. Dole, 620 F. Supp. 1289 (D.D.C. 1985).

Suit by independent owners and operators of ocean going vessels challenging a rule by Secretary of Transportation that would allow subsidized vessels to enter the domestic shipping market if subsidies were repaid.

7. Sea-Land Service, Inc. v. Dole, 596 F. Supp. 1143 (D.D.C. 1984)

Suit to declare order of Secretary of Transportation that allowed American Presidential Lines to carry cargo between Dutch Harbor, Alaska, and Vancouver, British Columbia, arbitrary and capricious and an abuse of discretion.

8. U.S. v. State of Conn., 566 F. Supp. 571 (D. Conn, 1983).

Suit by United States for an injunction barring Connecticut from enforcing a statute that prohibited trailers on Connecticut highways. Injunction granted. Tandem trailers were authorized by Surface Transportation Act and Congress exercised its legitimate authority under the commerce clause.

9. National Tank Truck Carriers v. Lewis, 550 F. Supp. 113 (D.D.C. 1982).

Suit to invalidate rule requiring certain amounts of insurance on tank trucks that carry gasoline. Complaint dismissed for lack of standing of plaintiff.

10. Sierra Club v. Hassell, 503 F. Supp. 552 (S.D. Ala. 1980).

See description under Circuit Court opinion, above.

11. U.S. v. Firestone Tire & Rubber Co., 455 F. Supp. 1072 (D.D. C. 1978)

One of several cases involving the recall of the Firestone 500 tires, until that time the largest recall of safety defective automobile parts in U.S. history. Resulted in change of statute by Congress. Firestone's actions during recall studied at Harvard Business School.

12. Pollard v. United States, 69 F.R.D. 646 (M.D. Ala, 1976)

Suit against government for carrying on a secret experiment of untreated syphilis on black persons in Alabama. The Federal Government, through the U.S. Health Services, and Tuskegee Institute, conducted an experiment on black men to determine the course of syphilis that was latent and left untreated. The black men were uneducated and from a poor and rural part of Alabama. The true nature of the study was kept from these men. The study started about 1930 and ended only when a story of the study was published in the New York Times in 1972. A book has been written and a movie made of this study.

13. Snowden v. Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority, 407 F. Supp. 394 (N.D. Ala., 1975)

Suit under certain statutes that govern the Urban Mass Transportation administration and under section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act to make new buses purchased by Transit Authority accessible to persons in wheel chairs.

14. Pollard v. U.S., 384 F. Supp. 204 (M.D. Ala, 1974).

See description, above.

15. Baker v. Keeble, 362 F. Supp. 355 (M.D. Ala, 1973).

Suit to declare Alabama's self-help repossession statute under UCC unconstitutional.

16. Yates v. Sears Roebuck & Co., 362 F. Supp. 520 (M. D. Ala., 1973).

Suit to declare Alabama's self-help repossession statute under UCC unconstitutional.

17. Wyatt v. Stickney, 344 F. Supp. 373 (M.D. Ala., 1972).

Suit by patients at Alabama's mental health hospital who were confined against their will to require the state to provide appropriate treatment for their mental illness or to release them. First case to declare that there is a constitutional right to treatment. This was a landmark case in this area.

18. Wyatt v. Stickney, 344 F. Supp. 387 (M.D. Ala.. 1972)

See description, above.

State Court Decisions

19. Lapesarde v. State, 54 Ala. App. 654, 312 So.2d 60 (Ala. Cr. App., 1975)

Mandamus action to require State to give defendant preliminary hearing before indictment.

20. Ross v. State, 54 Ala. App. 730, 312 So. 2d 61 (Ala. Cr. App., 1975).

Appeal of criminal conviction.

Administrative Cases.

21. Atlas Van Lines, Inc. - Pooling, 127 MCC 799 (ICC 1983).

Proceeding involving question of whether certain pooling arrangements between a carrier principal and exclusively noncarrier-agent are subject to ICC jurisdiction. Represented DOT in the presentation of its policy views.

22. Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad Company, Debtor (Williams Gibbons, Trustee) - Abandonment - Entire System, 363 I.C.C. 150 (1980).

Proceeding to decide whether the Trustee of the Rock Island and Pacific Railroad Company should be permitted to abandon all lines and discontinue all operations. Represented the views of the Department of Transportation.

Other Publications

U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, Access to Over-the-Road Buses for Persons With Disabilities, OTA-SET-547 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, May 1993). (Contract with OTA for legal background on legal issues involved in the study).

Mark D. Rasch & Cleveland Thornton, E-Commerce and the Law, Sequoia Professional Development Corporation, (2001).

Cleveland Thornton, The Year 2000 Problem, Sequoia Professional Development Corporation, (1999)

©Copyright 2002 by Cleveland Thornton All Rights Reserved