tom bio

Nature of Practice

After practicing law in Des Moines for over thirty years, Tom returned home to Iowa City in 2017, where he focuses his energy representing individuals throughout Eastern Iowa.  Tom represents individuals of all stripes from executives to professionals to professors to hourly workers.  He has a passion for correcting wrongs and has always cheered for the underdog.  He is dedicated to giving the powerless a voice in both the courtroom and the workplace.

Tom focuses his practice on representing individuals in employment discrimination, workplace harassment, wrongful discharge, noncompete, and similar workplace disputes.  Tom has also represented individuals in civil rights actions, and individuals and small business owners in shareholder disputes, trade secret claims, and similar commercial litigation.

Representative Cases and Matters

Examples of the type of cases Tom handles include:

  • Represented six former employees of Warren County in an action under Iowa’s Open Meeting law challenging decision to terminate their employment. Won a case of the first impression before the Iowa Supreme Court.  Hutchison v. Shull, 878 N.W.2d 221 (Iowa 2016).
  • Pursued claims of invasion of privacy, intentional interference, and intentional infliction of emotional distress on behalf of Dr. Nancy Sebring, former Superintendent of Schools for the Des Moines Independent Community Schools District, pertaining to the public disclosure of private emails; obtained $350,000 settlement.
  •  Asserted wrongful discharge and discrimination by association claims on behalf of top salesman fired for allegedly going on an unauthorized fishing trip; settled case after the trial court denied the employer’s motion for summary judgment, Myers v. Hog Slat, Inc., 55 F.Supp.3d 1145 (N.D. Iowa 2014).
  • Represented six former employees of Dakota County, Nebraska in sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit against County and former deputy sheriff.  Obtained $375,000 settlement based on four of six claims.  Crutcher-Sanchez v. County of Dakota, 687 F.3d 979 (8th Cir. 2012).
  • Defended start-up manufacturer and one of its supervisors in alleged trade secret disclosure and use case; defeated attempt by a multi-national corporation to obtain an injunction and close client’s business.  InterbakeFoods  v. Tomasiello, 461 F.Supp.2d 943 (N.D. Iowa 2006).

Awards and Designations

An experienced trial attorney with a state-wide reputation, Tom has been recognized for his advocacy skill by Best Lawyers and Super Lawyers of the Great Plains.  His peers have given Tom a Martindale-Hubbell rating of AV Preeminent and Best Lawyers designated him as the Lawyer of the Year for 2013 and 2016 in the Individual Rights.

Education and Publications

Tom was raised in Iowa City and graduated from Regina High School in 1978.  He received a Bachelor’s of Business Administration degree from the University of Iowa in 1982 and obtained a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Iowa, College of Law, with high distinction, in 1985.

Tom is a frequent speaker and commentator on employment law topics.  He is a published author on various employment-related matters including:

  • “Freedom of Contract v. The Right to Work:  An Analysis and Some Thoughts on Iowa’s Covenant Not to Compete Law,” 61 Drake Law Review 205 (2012).
  • “Keeping a Company’s Confidences Secret; Trade Secret Enforcement Under Iowa’s Uniform Trade Secrets Act,” 59 Drake Law Review 1 (2010).
  • “Employment Torts:  Emerging Areas of Employer Liability,” 39 Drake Law Review 1 (1989)(co-author).

Admission Details

  • Admitted in 1985, Missouri
  • 1986, Iowa
  • U.S. District Court, Northern and Southern Districts of Iowa
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

Law School Attended

  • University of Iowa, Class of 1985, J.D., with high distinction

University Attended

  • University of Iowa, Class of 1982, B.B.A., with honors

Associations & Memberships

  • Polk County, Iowa State and American Bar Associations
  • Labor and Employment Law Section Council National
  • National Employment Law Association.