Thomas Donlon’s practice focuses on appellate and complex trial matters. He is a member of the firm's Appellate Team within the Business Litigation Group.
Tom has successfully prepared briefs and presented arguments in various federal Courts of Appeals as well as state appellate courts in both Connecticut and New York. These appeals have involved multimillion-dollar cases covering diverse topics, including health care fraud, securities, anti-trust, bankruptcy, employment, insurance, contract and construction disputes, condemnation, land use, and environmental regulation. Tom appears regularly before the Second Circuit, where he won a precedent-setting case limiting state immunity in bankruptcy cases. He also has handled cases before the Third, Ninth and Federal Circuits.
In the Connecticut Supreme Court, Tom won a series of cases of first impression under the state wetlands protection statute, defining the scope of private actions, the limits on special use exceptions, and the entitlement to attorney's fees. He won an appeal which established the state’s rule of priorities in foreclosure actions. Recently, he won an appeal of a multimillion-dollar lease termination dispute involving a major defense contractor. In the New York appellate courts, he was successful on the appeal upholding the largest condemnation award, for over $125 million plus interest, against the State of New York. Tom also handled significant cases regarding the duties of insurance companies in hurricane and fire damages. He has represented individuals pro bono before both the Second Circuit and the Connecticut Supreme Court on issues involving prisoner and family rights.
Tom is involved in all aspects of complex litigation in trial courts, with a concentration on motion practice, particularly complex dispositive motions requiring the briefing of challenging legal issues. Working with other members of the firm’s litigation group, his cases have run the gamut of civil litigation, including the representation of one of America's largest corporations in an international contract dispute, the defense of insurance companies against bad faith claims, the enforcement of arbitration agreements against class action attack, defense of Native American corporations, disputes over major government construction contracts, and enforcement of penalties and attorney’s fees in bankruptcy. He litigated a series of Daubert motions in patent cases which significantly assisted the successful resolution of the matters and has also assisted in a number of land use and environmental cases in support of the firm’s practice in those areas.
Tom was an attorney on active duty with the U.S. Coast Guard for over 20 years before coming to the firm. He served as the senior government appellate counsel, responsible for all Coast Guard appeals nationwide, and represented the Coast Guard in the first military case directly appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. He also served an assignment with the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division, litigating Coast Guard cases in federal district courts and Courts of Appeal. In his last Coast Guard assignment, Tom served as a legal advisor to the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.