"A good deal is a state of mind."
﹘Lee Iacocca , American Businessman
Experienced • Creative • Professional
Ira Thomas "Tom" King
TOM KING has been described online by his peers and opponents as “skilled,” “knowledgeable,” “creative,” “resourceful,” “detail oriented,” “professional,” “ethical,” and a “man of his word.” Tom is a skilled and effective trial lawyer with four decades of experience representing a multitude of clients in a wide variety of commonly litigated areas. His client legal representation and his federal and state jury trial experience (90+ trials) includes such noteworthy matters as toxic mold, nursing home malpractice, fen-phen diet pills, Firestone tires, chemical plant explosions, and transfusion-transmitted HIV infection. He has been the owner since 1993 of a general trial civil practice with a focus on business, commercial, personal injury, insurance, and defense litigation. He has been a member of the Austin Bar Association's Fee Dispute Committee and Mentor Committee and was a Coach for Southwestern University Mock Trial Team in 2016-2017.
He first served as a mediator and an arbitrator in the late 1990's. Today, Tom continues to offer mediation and arbitration services for individuals and businesses who can benefit from the depth and breadth of his litigation, negotiation, and ADR experience.
In addition to the decades of owning his own law firm, Tom’s employment history includes experience as an associate attorney with two small but distinguished civil litigation law firms in Austin - Tom Long’s insurance defense firm and Doug Hearne’s commercial litigation firm. It also includes experience as a shareholder at a large Dallas civil litigation and insurance defense firm (Cowles & Thompson). While with the Dallas law firm, Tom’s shareholder duties included two years of service on the firm’s Executive and Fee Committees, one year as Chief of the Business Litigation Section, two years as Director of Continuing Legal Education (where he established an in-house mock trial training program), and two years as Chief of the General Litigation Section.
Before moving to Dallas from Austin in 1988, Tom served for one year (1986-1987) with the Attorney General of Texas as a Special Prosecutor with the title of Chief of the Insurance Investigation and Rating Section (Special Project). During that time he was a member of the 1986 National Association of Attorneys General Task Force on the “Affordability and Availability of Insurance Crisis.” His work on the national task force provided the legal and factual basis for a subsequent antitrust lawsuit filed by the State of Texas against several large insurance companies which later resulted in a multi-million dollar settlement for the benefit of Texas. For his service to the State, Tom received the Texas Attorney General Outstanding Service Award in 1987.
- Member - State Bar of Texas since November 6, 1978
- Admitted - United States District Courts for the Northern , Southern, Eastern, and Western Districts of Texas
- J.D. degree, the University of Texas School of Law, Dec. 1977
- Law Clerk for the Attorney General of Texas, Opinions Committee, 1976-1978
- B.A., Magna Cum Laude, Sam Houston State University, Dec. 1974
- Completed the educational and training requirements of the Texas Alternative Dispute Resolution Act for certification and practice as a mediator in Texas, including the 40-hour Mediation Training Course and the 30-hour Advanced Family Law Mediation Course.
- Served for three years as a consultant for a New York company involved in multiple studies on effectiveness of alternative dispute resolution and management of legal costs.
- Served for one year as a consultant for a national insurer on the development of a national in-house alternative dispute resolution training program.
- Served as a volunteer mediator and arbitrator for the Williamson County and Austin Bar Associations.
- Recipient - Outstanding Achievement Award in 2017 from the Austin Bar Association’s Fee Dispute Committee for service as a volunteer mediator and arbitrator.
ADR Seminars and Papers
- A Review of Research Concerning the Benefits and Shortfalls of Mediation in Family Cases (presented on May 28, 2015 in Georgetown, Texas)
- The Psychology of Settlement – Preparing the Parties for Conflict Resolution (presented on July 20, 2015 in Austin, Texas)
- Changing a “No” to a “Maybe” to a “Yes” (presented on October 13, 2015 in Austin, Texas)
- How Emotions Influence Decision Making (presented on August 9, 2017 in Georgetown, Texas)
- Recognizing and Coping with the Five Most Common Styles of Negotiation (presented on October 10, 2017 in Round Rock, Texas)
- Using ADR for Fee Disputes to Avoid Grievances and Negative Reviews (presented on October 27, 2017 in Georgetown, Texas)
- Conflict Resolution vs. Dispute Resolution: The Role of the Mediator (presented on December 13, 2017 in Round Rock, Texas)
- Avoiding Mediation Failure, If Possible (presented on January 17, 2018 in Round Rock, Texas )
- The Mediation Mindset (presented on April 17, 2018 in Round Rock, Texas)
- Mediation "Success" vs Mediation "Victory" (presented on June 21, 2018 in Round Rock, Texas)
- Using Avoidance as a Negotiation Style or "If it's so Hard to Make Important Decisions, Why Mediate?" presented on September 11, 2018 in Round Rock, Texas)
- Developing and Using Your People Skills as Tools for Conflict Resolution (presented on September 18, 2018 at Texas A&M in Killeen, Texas)
- Interpreting the Language of Negotiation or "Are You Listening or Just Waiting for your Turn to Speak?" (*to be presented on December 5, 2018 in Round Rock, Texas)
Litigation Seminars and Papers
- [Presented at various accredited CLE courses] History of the Texas Supreme Court; Significant Texas Court Decisions; The Evolution of Bad Faith in Texas; Defense of a Construction Case; Duties and Liabilities of a Contractor; Automobile Tort Liability in Texas; Defending the Low-Impact Automobile Case; Premises Liability for Rape; Defense of a Nursing Home; Procedural and Tactical Problems in Nursing Home Litigation; Cross-examination of a Medical Expert; Cross-examination of an Economist; Voir Dire Tactics and Techniques; Use of Hypnosis and Other Extraordinary Investigative Tools; Understanding and Using Medical Records; Antitrust and Insurance; History of the Insurance Industry; Communication in the Insurance Industry; Representing the Difficult Insured; Avoiding Bad Faith in Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Cases; Subrogation in a Personal Injury Case.
Representative Legal Assignments
- Represented a multinational, industrial recycling machine manufacturer in multiple product liability lawsuits filed throughout the United States, including Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and Michigan.
- Represented a national hotel chain in multiple lawsuits arising from a series of criminal assaults at hotel facilities located throughout North Texas.
- Represented several national health care corporations in medical liability lawsuits filed throughout Texas involving maltreatment, injuries and death of elderly patients in nursing homes.
- Represented a international Japanese construction company in multiple lawsuits, including a Dallas product liability/wrongful death lawsuit alleging that gross employer negligence and poorly designed controls for a tunnel boring machine resulted in the crushing death of a miner during a construction project at the Superconducting Super Collider Project in Waxahachie, Texas.
- Represented a national insurer in a lawsuit involving requests for claim file materials collected during the insurer’s investigation of the August 23, 1990 multiple fatality storage tank explosion at a Wichita Falls manufacturing facility operated by the National Tank Company. This case defined the Texas standard for the “anticipation of litigation” investigative privilege. Nat’l Tank Co. v. Brotherton (Tex. 1993).
- Represented a national insurer on multiple premises liability issues, including the necessity for barricade protection of the entrance, arising from the October 16, 1991 fatal shootings at the Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas.
- Represented a national insurer in the defense and coordination of multiple claims, including 8 fatalities, arising from the May 1, 1991 explosion at the IMC-operated ANGUS Chemical/Fertilizer Plant in Sterlington, Louisiana.
- Represented a Dallas subcontractor in a construction defect lawsuit alleging that the July 17, 1988 retaining wall collapse at the 20,000 seat Starplex Amphitheatre at historic Fair Park in Dallas was caused by defective soil compaction in the area of the wall.
- Represented a prominent national masonry contractor in a construction defect lawsuit alleging that negligent design and faulty exterior masonry construction caused pervasive water leaks at the Loews Anatole Hotel in Dallas resulting in millions of dollars in lost revenue.
- Represented a national engineering firm in lawsuit alleging that defective design and faulty construction caused an explosion at the FINA Oil and Chemical Company Plant in Beaumont, Texas.
Representative Trial Results
- Defense verdict in Dallas County, Texas for a prominent general contractor in construction defect lawsuit alleging that foundation problems at the Lomas & Nettleton Service Center in Dallas, Texas were causing the building to “sink” and become unstable. The amount in controversy was $80,000,000.
- Defense verdict in Dallas County, Texas for a Dallas electrical subcontractor in a construction defect lawsuit alleging that faulty electrical work caused a fire which destroyed a commercial business.
- Defense verdict in Dallas County, Texas in multiparty, construction defect lawsuit alleging that substandard materials and faulty construction caused the collapse of a subdivision cul-de-sac. The amount in controversy was $1,000,000 dollars.
- Defense verdict in Dallas County, Texas for a prominent Dallas physician in an employment-based lawsuit filed by an ex-employee alleging sexual harassment, physical assault, retaliation, hostile work environment, invasion of privacy, and Title VII civil rights violations. Plaintiff had requested $2,000,000 in damages from the jury.
- Defense verdict in Dallas County, Texas in federal district court for the Northern District of Texas for insurer in bad faith case with diversity jurisdiction.
- Defense verdict in Denton County, Texas for a Dallas-based national blood bank in a medical liability/wrongful death lawsuit alleging gross negligence in pre-transfusion blood screening. This was the first medical liability lawsuit to be tried in Texas involving the transfusion-related death of a patient from HIV/AIDS (co-counsel with Billie Ballangee, a fellow shareholder at Cowles & Thompson). Trial results were referenced in article entitled Blood Money – D Magazine, December 1989.
- Defense verdict in Somervell County, Texas for a prominent general contractor in personal injury/construction defect lawsuit alleging that water leaks at the Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant in Glen Rose, Texas were due to faulty roof construction and the leaks caused plaintiff to fall and suffer serious neck and back injuries and to develop crippling fibromyalgia. Plaintiff had requested $25,000,000 in damages from the jury.
- Defense verdict in Tarrant County, Texas for a commercial welding company and its driver in a wrongful death/automobile-bicycle lawsuit alleging that the impact and subsequent dragging death of an adult bicyclist was caused by the gross negligence of the vision-impaired, commercial truck driver. Plaintiff requested $20,000,000 from the jury.
- Defense verdict in Titus County, Texas in workers compensation lawsuit in which the jury denied plaintiff’s request for a finding of total and permanent disability from injuries received at work.
- Defense verdict in Harris County, Texas for the truck driver of a state-wide trucking company in a wrongful death/personal injury/automobile-trucking accident lawsuit involving a deceased passenger and a seriously injured driver. Plaintiffs’ vehicle collided with an overturned tractor-trailer during an early morning fog. The driver of the truck testified that a “phantom vehicle” had forced him to the shoulder of the road and when he attempted to return to the roadway, he struck a driveway culvert and lost control of his truck. The trailer separated from the tractor, turned sideways and overturned, blocking the road. Plaintiffs’ vehicle impacted the overturned trailer. Plaintiffs’ received a $1,000,000 verdict against the trucking company for failure to provide road flares, but the jury found that the defendant truck driver was not negligent.
- Defense verdict in Galveston County, Texas in a personal injury/automobile lawsuit arising from a teen driver’s failure to stop at stop sign that resulted in serious neck and back injuries to an elderly plaintiff.
- Defense verdict in McLennan County, Texas in a personal injury/automobile lawsuit alleging that a rear-end collision resulted in serious neck and back injuries and permanent right leg and knee injuries to a college rodeo athlete.
- Defense verdict in Comal County, Texas in personal injury/automobile lawsuit alleging that multiple collisions resulted in serious injuries to plaintiff, including fractures, right knee ligament damage, and amputation of left leg. Plaintiff alleged that while traveling on IH-35 defendant impacted the rear of his vehicle at 100 mph knocking him across the grass median and into oncoming traffic where his vehicle was then “T-boned” by a third vehicle traveling at high speed. The investigating police officer agreed with plaintiff. The jury disagreed and found no negligence on Defendant. Plaintiff requested $500,000 from the jury.
- Defense verdict in Travis County, Texas in a personal injury/automobile lawsuit alleging that a teen driver’s running a red light resulted in serious neck and back injuries requiring surgical repair of both shoulders. Plaintiff had requested $220,000 in damages from the jury.
- Defense verdict in Travis County, Texas in personal injury/automobile lawsuit alleging that defendant’s failure to yield to oncoming traffic while entering the roadway from a parking lot resulted in neck and back injuries to plaintiff.
- Defense verdict in Travis County, Texas in a personal injury/automobile lawsuit alleging that multiple collisions caused by a motorist entering the freeway at rush hour resulted in serious neck and back injuries to plaintiff.
- Defense verdict in Travis County, Texas in personal injury/automobile lawsuit alleging that the rear-end collision resulted in serious neck and back injuries to plaintiff. Defendant successfully argued that plaintiff’s stop in front of defendant was sudden and unexpected.
- Defense verdict in Travis County, Texas in personal injury/automobile lawsuit alleging that defendant cab driver’s brake failure and running a red light resulted in neck and back injuries to multiple law students in plaintiff vehicle. Defendant successfully argued unavoidable accident.
- Defense verdict in Travis County, Texas in personal injury/automobile lawsuit arising from a “chain collision” involving multiple vehicles and resulting in serous injuries to plaintiffs.
- Defense verdict in Travis County, Texas in personal injury/automobile lawsuit alleging negligent lane change resulted in neck, back, and knee injuries, and also involving disputed presence of passenger in vehicle.
- Defense trial loss in Tarrant County, Texas in a wrongful death/gross negligence/medical liability lawsuit filed against an infamous Fort Worth nursing home. Plaintiff alleged, and the jury found, that an elderly patient’s death was caused by infected decubitus ulcers resulting from negligent wound care. The trial court’s judgment was upheld by the Texas Supreme Court.
- Plaintiff trial result in Travis County, Texas for Mr. King as attorney for plaintiff in personal injury/automobile lawsuit with disputed accident facts and allegations by both parties that the other driver had “run the red light.”
- Plaintiff appellate result in Tarrant County, Texas for Mr. King as attorney for plaintiff in a premises liability/personal injury lawsuit in which Mr. King alleged that the fall by his client, a wedding guest, while she was making a night-time descent of an unlit outside stairway at the Japanese Gardens in Fort Worth was due to design defects and maintenance failures by the City of Fort Worth and other defendants (Defendant’s plea to the jurisdiction was granted by trial court but reversed on appeal. Case settled while on remand for trial after successful appeal to Texas Supreme Court).
- Defense result in Kent County, Michigan after five days of trial in personal injury/product liability lawsuit filed against manufacturer of recycling machine for employee’s loss of hand.
- Defense result in Hidalgo County, Texas after five days of trial in multi-party wrongful death/product liability case involving electrocution death of young boy and injuries to rescuers in an apartment swimming pool with a defective pool light.
- Defense result in Madison County, Texas after five days of trial in multi-party personal injury/product liability lawsuit involving a farm machine accident with serious personal injuries, including amputation of leg.
- Defense result in Dallas County, Texas for a prominent Missouri law firm in a multi-million dollar lawsuit alleging that legal malpractice, breach of fiduciary duty, and fraudulent accounting practices contributed to the financial collapse and economic failure of a large chain of Caribbean Hotels. Defendant’s special appearance challenging Texas jurisdiction was granted by trial court and affirmed on appeal.
- Defense result in Dallas County, Texas for plumbing contractor in wrongful death lawsuit alleging faulty construction resulted in electrocution death of small child while in bathtub. Amount in controversy was $17,000.000. Defendant’s motion for summary judgment was granted by trial court and affirmed on appeal
- Defense trial result in Dallas County, Texas in premises liability/personal injury lawsuit alleging that an animal owner’s negligence resulted in serious injuries and permanent scarring from a dog attack. The jury awarded plaintiff 4% of the amount requested. Plaintiff’s appeal of the low verdict was rejected by the appellate courts.
- Defense trial result in Dallas County, Texas in a medical liability lawsuit alleging that negligent orthodontic work by a dentist for an adolescent girl resulted in permanent TMJ and facial disfigurement after she was kept in braces for years longer than necessary and had improper and infrequent adjustments. Plaintiff requested $1,000,000, but the jury awarded only 5% of amount requested.
- Defense trial result in Collin County, Texas in medical liability/wrongful death lawsuit alleging negligent medical care by a cardiologist after a patient in his mid-30’s died shortly after taking an office-administered stress test (co-counsel with Mark Stinnett, a fellow shareholder at Cowles & Thompson).
- Defense trial result in Collin County, Texas in medical liability/nursing home malpractice lawsuit alleging negligent wound care by physician and nursing home for an elderly patient.
- Defense trial result in Travis County, Texas in a personal injury/automobile lawsuit involving a rear-end collision by an unlicensed driver of a company vehicle. Plaintiff requested a little over $1,500,000 in damages, but the jury awarded less than 7% of amount requested.
- Defense trial result in Travis County, Texas in a multi-million dollar, personal injury/automobile lawsuit alleging that a rear-end automobile collision caused by a teen driver resulted in permanent neck, back, shoulder, and TMJ injuries to a practicing dentist that would require multiple surgeries and that had destroyed her ability to practice dentistry. The jury awarded plaintiff 25% of amount requested.
- Defense trial result in Travis County, Texas in a personal injury/automobile lawsuit alleging that defendant’s improper and unsafe left turn across congested traffic caused a multiple-vehicle automobile accident resulting in serious injuries to plaintiff, including the surgical repair of plaintiff’s left shoulder. The jury awarded plaintiff 20% of amount requested.
- Defense trial result in Bell County, Texas in a multi-million dollar, personal injury/automobile lawsuit alleging that a negligent lane change by defendant caused a collision which resulted in permanent neck and back injuries requiring multiple surgical repairs and resulting in permanent physical impairment. The jury awarded plaintiff 17% of amount requested.
- Defense trial result in Williamson County, Texas in a personal injury/automobile lawsuit alleging that defendant’s failure to yield from a stop sign resulted in serious leg, neck, and shoulder injuries to plaintiff requiring surgical repair of both shoulders. Plaintiff requested $300,000 in damages but the jury awarded less than $10,000, the amount of his initial emergency room visit.
- Defense trial result in Victoria County, Texas in personal injury/automobile lawsuit alleging that an elderly driver’s failure to stop at a stop sign resulted in serious neck, back, and shoulder injuries to an elderly plaintiff. The jury awarded an amount which was less than defendant’s settlement offer and represented about half of Plaintiff’s requested medical bills.
- Defense trial result in Victoria County, Texas in a gross negligence/personal injury/automobile lawsuit alleging that defendant’s high-speed impact to the rear of plaintiff’s vehicle while he was stopped at a traffic light caused serious neck and back injuries and permanent disfigurement (torticollis). Plaintiff alleged gross negligence for alcohol and illegal drug-impaired driving and for fleeing the scene. The jury did not find gross negligence and awarded plaintiff 25% of amount requested.
- Defense trial result in Calhoun County, Texas in a personal injury/automobile lawsuit alleging that an elderly defendant’s failure to yield from a stop sign resulted in brain injuries to a prominent local politician. The jury awarded plaintiff 10% of amount requested.
Sullivan v. City of Fort Worth, 2011 Tex. App. LEXIS 3866, 2011 WL 1902018 (Tex. App. Fort Worth May 19, 2011); pet. denied, City of Fort Worth v. Sullivan, 2012 Tex. LEXIS 80 (Tex. Jan. 27, 2012). Horizon/CMS Healthcare Corp. v. Auld, 34 S.W.3d 887, 2000 Tex. LEXIS 88, 43 Tex. Sup. J. 1151 (Tex. 2000). Hotel Partners v. Craig, 993 S.W.2d 116, 1994 Tex. App. LEXIS 3336 (Tex. App. Dallas 1994). Dallas Mkt. Ctr. Hotel Co. v. Beran & Shelmire, 865 S.W.2d 145, 1993 Tex. App. LEXIS 2458 (Tex. App. Corpus Christi 1993).