Thomas Donlon is a member of the firm's Appellate Team within the Business Litigation Group. His practice focuses on appellate and complex trial matters.
Mr. Donlon has successfully prepared briefs and presented arguments in state appellate courts in both Connecticut and New York, as well as in the federal courts of appeals. These appeals have involved multimillion-dollar cases covering diverse topics, including health care fraud, securities, contract disputes, bankruptcy, condemnation, land use, and environmental regulation. Mr. Donlon 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 Federal Circuit and the Ninth Circuit. In the Connecticut Supreme Court, Mr. Donlon 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 another first impression appeal establishing the rule of priorities in foreclosure actions. He has handled numerous other cases that include decisions determining the standing of professional associations to sue corporations with arbitration agreements and the application of double damages under the Connecticut wage statute to securities employment arbitrations. Most recently, Mr. Donlon won an appeal of a multimillion-dollar lease termination dispute involving a major defense contractor. In the New York appellate courts, Mr. Donlon was successful on the appeal upholding the largest condemnation award, for over $125 million plus interest, against the State of New York.
Mr. Donlon serves as co-chair of the Amicus Curiae Briefs Committee of the American Bar Association's Section of Litigation and as vice chair of the section's Appellate Practice Committee. He previously served as co-chair of that committee from 2010 to 2013. Mr. Donlon also is a member of the Council of Appellate Lawyers. On the state level, Mr. Donlon serves as co-chair of the Rules Committee of the Connecticut Bar Association's Appellate Advocacy Section.
Mr. Donlon 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. Significant cases have involved 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, and the enforcement of a purchaser's contract right to alternate dispute resolution.
Mr. Donlon 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. Mr. Donlon was assigned to the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division, for two years as a trial attorney, litigating Coast Guard (and other federal agency) cases in courts throughout the eastern half of the United States as well as in the federal courts of appeal. In his last Coast Guard assignment, Mr. Donlon served as a legal advisor to the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.