Thomas J. Donlon

Counsel

  • Overview

    Biography

    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. Most recently, 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. 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 vice chair of the American Bar Association's Appellate Practice Committee of the Section of Litigation. He previously served as co-chair of the committee from 2010 to 2013. Mr Donlon also is a member of the Section of Litigation's Leadership Book Development Board and 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.

  • Experience
    • Experience

      Experience

      • Obtained Connecticut Supreme Court decision recognizing officially long-applied land recording principle of "first in time is first in right." Hudson Valley Bank v. Kissel, et al. (February 7, 2012).
      • Gyrodyne Co of America v. State of New York, 89 A.D.3d 988 (2d Dept 2011) leave to appeal denied 19 N.Y.3d 804 (2012) obtained decision upholding largest condemnation award in New York, plus recovery of client's total attorney's fees.

      • Obtained decision by Court of Appeals for Federal Circuit upholding jury verdict in defendants' favor on all counts previously won in the federal District of Connecticut in fraud and patent action. Hoffman v. Glickman, 158 Fed. Appx. 282 (Fed Cir. 2005).
      • Achieved unanimous decision in Connecticut Supreme Court upholding dismissal for lack of standing of potential multimillion-dollar case against client. Connecticut State Medical Society v. Oxford Health Plans (CT), Inc., 272 Conn. 469 (2005).
      • Obtained decision upholding trial court injunction requiring landowner to pay to restore destroyed wetlands. Conservation Commission of Fairfield v. Red 11 LLC, 119 Conn. App. 377 (2010) cert. denied 295 Conn. 924 (2010).
      • Obtained first impression decision interpreting the farming exemption in state wetlands statute as not permitting the destruction of wetlands by filling and reclaiming. Red 11, LLC v. Conservation Commission of Fairfield, 117 Conn. App. 630 (2009) cert. denied 294 Conn 918 (2009).
      • Won decision upholding trial court's ruling that commercial landlord could not force tenant's insurer to defend suit by tenant claiming landlord caused property damage. Insurance Corp. of N.Y. v. Cohoes Realty Assocs., 50 A.D.3d 1228 (N.Y. App. Div. 3d Dept. 2008).
      • Won decision limiting sovereign immunity of state superintendent of banks in bankruptcy action involving foreign banks. In re Deposit Insurance Agency, 482 F.3d 612 (2d Cir. 2007).
      • Won decision determining for the first time that individuals have a private right of action under the state wetlands statute. Windels v. Environmental Protection Commission of Darien, 284 Conn. 268 (2007).
      • Obtained decision of Connecticut Supreme Court upholding statutory double damages in multimillion-dollar arbitration award for securities employment case. Harty v. Cantor Fitzgerald & Co., 275 Conn. 72 (2005).
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    • Professional Associations

      Professional Associations

      American Bar Association (2001 - present)
      Section of Litigation (2004 - present), Vice Chair of Appellate Practice Committee (2013 - present)
      Section of Litigation, Co-chair of Amicus Curiae Briefs Committee (2014 - present)
      Council of Appellate Lawyers (2009 - present)

      Connecticut Bar Association (2001 - present)
      Appellate Advocacy Section, Co-Chair of Rules Committee (2006 - present)
    • Honors + Awards

      Honors + Awards

      Listed in Connecticut Super Lawyers® in the area of Appellate Law for 2013 (Super Lawyers is a registered trademark of Key Professional Media, Inc.)

  • NEWS + PRESS
    • Publications

      Publications

      "Judical Disqualification: What's Next for Connecticut?" published in Connecticut Lawyer (12/2009)

      "The Future of Caperton v. Massey in State Appellate Courts," published in ABA Appellate Practice Journal (Fall 2009)

      "A Few Do's and Don'ts of Oral Argument," published in ABA Appellate Practice Journal (Winter 2007)

      "Supreme Court Boldly Steps Into Global Warming Debate," published in ABA Appellate Practice Committee's News and Developments E-Flash (April 2007)

      "Class Action Arbitration in New York after Greentree Financial v. Bazzle," published in Nassau Lawyer (3/2004)

      "Transfer of Cases from the Appellate to Supreme Court: A Blow to Effective Advocacy?" published in Connecticut Lawyer (May/June 2010)

      "Getting Your Name in Print: Sometimes It Is Not a Good Thing," (Spring 2012), published in American Bar Association's Appellate Practice newsletter

      "Insider's Guide to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit," (2012), published in the Appellate Practice Compendium by the American Bar Association's Council of Appellate Lawyers

    • Presentations

      Presentations

      "For the Record from Start to Finish," panelist for this program presented at the American Bar Association's (ABA) Section of Litigation Annual Conference, Scottsdale, Arizona (4/11/2014)

      "Celebrating Women on the Appellate Bench: A Mock Argument Examining Potential Gender Influences on Decision Making," at American Bar Association Annual Meeting (8/2010)

      "Winning Strategies for Appellate Advocacy: The View from the Bench," at American Bar Association's Section of Litigation Annual Conference (4/2010)

      "Ten Tips for More Persuasive Writing," at Connecticut Bar Association Annual Meeting (6/2009)

      "The Tough Case Is Not Over: Preservation and Waiver on Appeal," at American Bar Association's Section of Litigation Annual Conference (4/2009)

      "Key Differences Between Appeals in the Second Circuit and Connecticut's Appellate Courts," at Connecticut Bar Institute Seminar (9/2007)

      "Winning Management of Legal Issues through Trial and Appeal," at American Bar Association Annual Meeting, co-presented with Judge Michael Daley Hawkins, 9th Circuit, and Ms. Judith Miller, GC Bechtel Corp. (8/2007)

      "What Movies Teach Us About Appellate Advocacy," at American Bar Association annual meeting (8/2006)

    • News

      R+C in the News

      • September 11, 2014

        Tom Donlon Appointed ABA Committee Co-chair

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      • August 14, 2014

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Host Networking Event at 2014 ABA Annual Meeting

      • May 14, 2014

        Robinson+Cole's Appellate Group Wins Connecticut Law Tribune's Litigation Department of the Year Award

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      • May 12, 2014

        Tom Donlon Participates in CLE Panel Discussion at National ABA Conference

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      • September 25, 2013

        Tom Donlon Appointed to New Position with ABA's Section of Litigation

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      • May 17, 2013

        Appellate Team Lawyer Participates in ABA Ethics Panel

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      • December 18, 2012

        Thomas Donlon Comments in Litigation News on the Dangers of Appealing an Attorney’s Fee Award

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      • October 22, 2012

        ABA Title Insurance Litigation Committee Publishes Article by Robinson & Cole Attorney

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      • September 27, 2012

        Appellate Attorneys Author Chapters in The Appellate Practice Compendium

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      • July 23, 2012

        Appellate Attorney's Article Published in American Bar Association Newsletter

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      • April 25, 2011

        Attorney's Article Selected to Help Train Judges on Judicial Ethics

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      • September 2, 2010

        Mock Argument Examines Potential Gender Influence on Decision Making

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      • July 21, 2010

        Court of Claims Adds $100 Million for Eminent Domain Taking

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      • July 20, 2010

        Thomas J. Donlon Appointed Cochair of the ABA Appellate Committee

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      • June 11, 2010

        Robinson & Cole Attorney Writes Second Article Published in Connecticut Lawyer

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      • February 24, 2010

        Robinson & Cole Attorney Publishes Article on Judicial Disqualification

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      • May 28, 2008

        Robinson & Cole Attorney Receives ABA Award

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      R+C News Releases

      • October 17, 2014

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Recognized by Super Lawyers

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