A California native, Tom Tosdal graduated from Harvard Law School in 1975. Tom took time off from law school to work for the defense in the Pentagon Papers case in Los Angeles. While in law school, Tom spent time working with the Lowell Legal Aid Society, providing legal services to the poor and marginalized.
After law school, Tom clerked for the Honorable Edward J. Schwartz, Jr., Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District Court of California in San Diego. Then, after two years with the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board, Tom entered private practice in 1978.
In private practice, Tom has focused on bringing justice for people harmed by the misdeeds of others. He has tried over 60 jury trials, mostly for plaintiffs, and settled many more cases, resulting in a number of seven and eight figure recoveries for his clients. A recent jury trial pitted Tom and a couple colleagues against two utilities in New Mexico to determine fault for the massive Las Conchas Fire. After an 18 day trial, the jury ruled the utilities had negligently ignited the fire and harmed the plaintiffs. In a settlement with one utility, Tom and his team recovered millions of dollars for their clients.
Tom’s experience in power line fire cases started with the three San Diego fires in 2007, which were started by three different types of power line failures, all in high wind conditions. In these and other cases since, Tom has taken a leadership role in establishing liability and proving damages for hundreds of people, farmers, and businesses, and even two telecommunications companies, while obtaining for them full and fair compensation for their losses. The total amount of recoveries by Tom and his teams of law firms in power line fire cases is well over $500 million. The power line fires in which Tom has taken a leadership role and been deeply involved both as to utility fault and client damages include:
Witch Creek Fire (2007, San Diego)
Guejito Fire (2007, San Diego)
Rice Canyon Fire (2007, San Diego)
Las Conchas Fire (2011, New Mexico)
Presently, Tom is one of two leads for a group of ranchers and home owners in another fire case in New Mexico, the “Dog Head Fire,” which is in in its early phases.
Tom has been fortunate to receive many awards, including “Best Lawyers,” “Trial Lawyer of the Year,” and “the Top 1%.”
Read Chief Justice Vern Payne’s Letter of Recommendation for Tom