Ira Thomas KingAttorney at Law
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EXPERIENCED • CREATIVE • PROFESSIONAL
Tom King has been the owner since 1993 of a general civil trial practice in the Dallas/Ft. Worth and Austin/Central Texas areas with a primary focus on civil, commercial, and defense litigation. Tom has expanded his practice to include mediation and arbitration services in all areas of dispute, including personal injury, employment, construction, and family law matters.
Tom is a skilled and effective trial lawyer with nearly four decades of experience representing a multitude of clients in a wide variety of commonly litigated areas, including personal injury, wrongful death, legal malpractice, medical malpractice, breach of contract, real estate litigation, employment disputes, and construction defects.
His legal representation has included such noteworthy matters as toxic mold, nursing home malpractice, fen-phen diet pills, Firestone tires, chemical plant explosions, and transfusion-transmitted HIV infection. He has been described online by his peers and opponents as “skilled,” “knowledgeable,” “creative,” “resourceful,” “detail oriented,” “professional,” “ethical,” and a “man of his word.”
Tom’s employment history includes experience as an associate attorney with two small but distinguished civil litigation law firms in Austin (Tom Long’s insurance defense firm and Doug Hearne’s commercial litigation firm) as well as experience as a shareholder at a large Dallas civil litigation and insurance defense firm (Cowles & Thompson). While with the Dallas law firm, Tom’s duties included two years of service on the firm’s Executive and Fee Committees, one year as Chief of the Business Litigation Section, two years as Director of Continuing Legal Education (where he established an in-house mock trial training program), and two years as Chief of the General Litigation Section.
Before moving to Dallas from Austin, Tom served for one year (1986-1987) with the Attorney General of Texas as a Special Prosecutor with the title of Chief of the Insurance Investigation and Rating Section (Special Project). During that time he was a member of the 1986 National Association of Attorneys General Task Force on the “Affordability and Availability of Insurance Crisis.” His work on the national task force provided the legal and factual basis for a subsequent antitrust lawsuit filed by the State of Texas against several large insurance companies which later resulted in a multi-million dollar settlement for the benefit of Texas. For his service to the State, Tom received the Texas Attorney General Outstanding Service Award in 1987.
Tom is an honorably discharged veteran of the United States Army (1967-1971). He was born in Florence, Alabama but has lived in Texas since age 6. He graduated from Texas City High School with the Class of 1967. During his high school years, and for a few years thereafter, he was a member of the Cedar Point Exhibition Surf Team (1965-1969). He has been married since 1973 to Deborah, a Registered Nurse who is also his nurse-paralegal and office manager. Tom is a Life Member of the United States Ju- Jitsu Federation (USJJF) and an attorney member of the USJJF Law and Legislative Committee.
PRACTICE AREAS – Civil, Commercial, and Defense Litigation
- Personal Injury
- Construction Litigation/Contracts
- Real Estate Litigation/Contracts
- Land Use and Zoning
- Insurance/Bad Faith
- Premises Liability
- Professional Liability
PRACTICE AREAS – Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR)
- Member of the Texas Association of Mediators.
- Completed the educational and training requirements of the Texas Alternative Dispute Resolution Act for certification and practice as a mediator in Texas, including the 40-hour Mediation Training Course and the 30-hour Advanced Family Law Mediation Course provided by Mediators of Texas/The International School of Mediation.
- Served for three years as a consultant for a New York company involved in multiple studies on the effectiveness of alternative dispute resolution and the management of legal costs.
- Served for one year as a consultant for a national insurer on the development of a national in-house alternative dispute resolution training program.
- Served as a volunteer mediator and arbitrator for the Williamson County and Austin Bar Associations.
- Outstanding Achievement Award in 2017 from the Austin Bar Association’s Fee Dispute Committee for service as a volunteer mediator and arbitrator.
- Lecture – A Review of Research Concerning the Benefits and Shortfalls of Mediation in Family Cases (presented on May 28, 2015 in Georgetown, Texas at the Advanced Family Mediation Course sponsored by Mediators of Texas, a Division of Austin Texas Mediators, LLC.)
- Lecture – The Psychology of Settlement – Preparing the Parties for Conflict Resolution (presented on July 20, 2015 in Austin, Texas at the Basic Mediation Course sponsored by Mediators of Texas, a Division of Austin Texas Mediators, LLC.)
- Lecture – Changing a “No” to a “Maybe” to a “Yes” (presented on October 13, 2015 in Austin, Texas at the Basic Mediation Course sponsored by Mediators of Texas, a Division of Austin Texas Mediators, LLC.)
- Lecture – How Emotions Influence Decision Making (presented on August 9, 2017 in Georgetown, Texas at the Basic Mediation Course sponsored by Mediators and Arbitrators of America, a Division of Austin Texas Mediators, LLC.)
- Lecture – Recognizing and Coping with the Five Most Common Styles of Negotiation (presented on October 10, 2017 in Round Rock, Texas at the Basic Mediation Course sponsored by Mediators and Arbitrators of America, a Division of Austin Texas Mediators, LLC.)
- Speaker – Using ADR for Fee Disputes to Avoid Grievances and Negative Reviews (presented on October 27, 2017 in Georgetown, Texas at the Williamson County Bar Association Fall CLE)
- State Bar of Texas – November 6, 1978
- U. S. District Court-Northern District of Texas, 1987
- U. S. District Court-Southern District of Texas, 1983
- U. S. District Court-Eastern District of Texas, 1988
- U. S. District Court-Western District of Texas, 1980
- State Bar of Texas (member-Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution sections)
- American Bar Association (member-Dispute Resolution section)
- Austin Bar Association (member-Mentoring Program and Fee Dispute committees)
- Williamson County Bar Association (member-Veteran’s Assistance Committee)
- Defense Research Institute
- Texas Association of Defense Counsel
- Assistant Coach for Southwestern University Mock Trial Team (2016-2017)
PROFESSIONAL HONORS AND RECOGNITIONS
- AV-Preeminent® rating from Martindale-Hubbell® for the past 20 years (the highest possible rating in both legal ability and ethical standards).
- AVVO lawyer rating of “Superb” in Litigation (the highest possible rating).
- Listing in Martindale-Hubbell’s Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers™.
- Recognition by Martindale-Hubbell® as a Top Rated Lawyer in Litigation 2015.
- Recognition by Martindale-Hubbell® as a Top Rated Lawyer in Texas 2015.
- Member, College of the State Bar of Texas (an honorary society of lawyers recognized for their dedication to training).
- Fellow-Austin Bar Foundation
- Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America (an invitation-only trial lawyer honor society representing less than one-half of one-percent of American lawyers).
- Member, Trial Law Institute (an association of trial lawyers whose primary purpose is to perpetuate, preserve, and elevate the art of trial presentation and techniques).
- Barrister, Order of Juris (comprised of Fellows of the Litigation Counsel of America who have tried to verdict at least fifty jury and/or bench trials in trial courts of record).
- Selected as a biographee for listings in Marquis Who’s Who in Practicing Attorneys® (1990, 1997, and 1998) and Marquis Who’s Who in American Law® (1986, 1988, 1989, 1998, 2005, and 2007). Founded in 1899, Marquis Who’s Who LLC operates today as a subsidiary of News Communications, Inc.
- Recipient in 1988 of the Dallas Bar Association’s Private Bar Involvement Award.
- Recipient in 1987 of the Texas Attorney General Outstanding Service Award.
- J.D., the University of Texas School of Law, Dec. 1977 (Phi Alpha Delta Legal Fraternity; Law clerk for the Attorney General of Texas, Opinions Committee, 1976-1977)
- B.A., Magna Cum Laude, Sam Houston State University, Dec. 1974 (American Legion Award for Academic Excellence, 1973; Alpha Chi and Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Societies)
SEMINARS AND PAPERS
- [Presented at various accredited CLE courses] – Cross-examination of a Medical Expert; Cross-examination of an Economist; Voir Dire Tactics and Techniques; Use of Hypnosis and Other Extraordinary Investigative Tools; Understanding and Using Medical Records; History of the Texas Supreme Court; Significant Texas Court Decisions; The Evolution of Bad Faith in Texas; Antitrust and Insurance; History of the Insurance Industry; Communication in the Insurance Industry; Defense of a Construction Case; Duties and Liabilities of a Contractor; Automobile Tort Liability in Texas; Defending the Low-Impact Automobile Case; Representing the Difficult Insured; Avoiding Bad Faith in Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Cases; Subrogation in a Personal Injury Case; Premises Liability for Rape; Defense of a Nursing Home; Procedural and Tactical Problems in Nursing Home Litigation.
- Former adjunct instructor in Business Law and Torts at Austin Community College.
- Former adjunct instructor on “The Duties of a Personal Injury Secretary/Paralegal” at the Executive Secretarial School in Dallas.
- Represented a multinational, industrial recycling machine manufacturer in multiple product liability lawsuits filed throughout the United States, including Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and Michigan.
- Represented a national hotel chain in multiple lawsuits arising from a series of criminal assaults at hotel facilities located throughout North Texas.
- Represented several national health care corporations in medical liability lawsuits filed throughout Texas involving maltreatment, injuries and death of elderly patients in nursing homes.
- Represented a multinational Japanese construction company in multiple lawsuits, including a Dallas product liability/wrongful death lawsuit alleging that gross employer negligence and poorly designed controls for a tunnel boring machine resulted in the crushing death of a miner during a construction project at the Superconducting Super Collider Project in Waxahachie, Texas.
- Represented a national insurer in a lawsuit involving requests for claim file materials collected during the insurer’s investigation of the August 23, 1990 multiple fatality storage tank explosion at a Wichita Falls manufacturing facility operated by the National Tank Company. This case defined the Texas standard for the “anticipation of litigation” investigative privilege. Nat’l Tank Co. v. Brotherton (Tex. 1993).
- Represented a national insurer on multiple premises liability issues, including the necessity for barricade protection of the entrance, arising from the October 16, 1991 fatal shootings at the Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas.
- Represented a national insurer in the defense and coordination of multiple claims, including 8 fatalities, arising from the May 1, 1991 explosion at the IMC-operated ANGUS Chemical/Fertilizer Plant in Sterlington, Louisiana.
- Represented a Dallas subcontractor in a construction defect lawsuit alleging that the July 17, 1988 retaining wall collapse at the 20,000 seat Starplex Amphitheatre at historic Fair Park in Dallas was caused by defective soil compaction in the area of the wall.
- Represented a prominent national masonry contractor in a construction defect lawsuit alleging that negligent design and faulty exterior masonry construction caused pervasive water leaks at the Loews Anatole Hotel in Dallas resulting in millions of dollars in lost revenue.
- Represented a national engineering firm in lawsuit alleging that defective design and faulty construction caused an explosion at the FINA Oil and Chemical Company Plant in Beaumont, Texas.
REPRESENTATIVE TRIAL RESULTS
- Defense verdict in Dallas County, Texas for a prominent general contractor in construction defect lawsuit alleging that foundation problems at the Lomas & Nettleton Service Center in Dallas, Texas were causing the building to “sink” and become unstable. The amount in controversy was $80,000,000.
- Defense verdict in Dallas County, Texas for a Dallas electrical subcontractor in a construction defect lawsuit alleging that faulty electrical work caused a fire which destroyed a commercial business.
- Defense verdict in Dallas County, Texas in multiparty, construction defect lawsuit alleging that substandard materials and faulty construction caused the collapse of a subdivision cul-de-sac. The amount in controversy was $1,000,000 dollars.
- Defense verdict in Dallas County, Texas for a prominent Dallas physician in an employment-based lawsuit filed by an ex-employee alleging sexual harassment, physical assault, retaliation, hostile work environment, invasion of privacy, and Title VII civil rights violations. Plaintiff had requested $2,000,000 in damages from the jury.
- Defense verdict in Denton County, Texas for a Dallas-based national blood bank in a medical liability/wrongful death lawsuit alleging gross negligence in pre-transfusion blood screening. This was the first medical liability lawsuit to be tried in Texas involving the transfusion-related death of a patient from HIV/AIDS (co-counsel with Billie Ballangee, a fellow shareholder at Cowles & Thompson). Trial results were referenced in article entitled Blood Money – D Magazine, December 1989.
- Defense verdict in Somervell County, Texas for a prominent general contractor in personal injury/construction defect lawsuit alleging that water leaks at the Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant in Glen Rose, Texas were due to faulty roof construction and the leaks caused plaintiff to fall and suffer serious neck and back injuries and to develop crippling fibromyalgia. Plaintiff had requested $25,000,000 in damages from the jury.
- Defense verdict in Tarrant County, Texas for a commercial welding company and its driver in a wrongful death/automobile-bicycle lawsuit alleging that the impact and subsequent dragging death of an adult bicyclist was caused by the gross negligence of the vision-impaired, commercial truck driver. Plaintiff requested $20,000,000 from the jury.
- Defense verdict in Titus County, Texas in workers compensation lawsuit in which the jury denied plaintiff’s request for a finding of total and permanent disability from injuries received at work.
- Defense verdict in Harris County, Texas for the truck driver of a state-wide trucking company in a wrongful death/personal injury/automobile-trucking accident lawsuit involving a deceased passenger and a seriously injured driver. Plaintiffs’ vehicle collided with an overturned tractor-trailer during an early morning fog. The driver of the truck testified that a “phantom vehicle” had forced him to the shoulder of the road and when he attempted to return to the roadway, he struck a driveway culvert and lost control of his truck. The trailer separated from the tractor, turned sideways and overturned, blocking the road. Plaintiffs’ vehicle impacted the overturned trailer. Plaintiffs’ received a $1,000,000 verdict against the trucking company for failure to provide road flares, but the jury found that the defendant truck driver was not negligent.
- Defense verdict in Galveston County, Texas in a personal injury/automobile lawsuit alleging that a teen driver’s failure to stop at stop sign resulted in serious neck and back injuries to an elderly plaintiff.
- Defense verdict in McLennan County, Texas in a personal injury/automobile lawsuit alleging that a rear-end collision resulted in serious neck and back injuries and permanent right leg and knee injuries to a college rodeo athlete.
- Defense verdict in Comal County, Texas in personal injury/automobile lawsuit alleging that multiple collisions resulted in serious injuries to plaintiff, including fractures, right knee ligament damage, and amputation of left leg. Plaintiff alleged that while traveling on IH-35 defendant impacted the rear of his vehicle at 100 mph knocking him across the grass median and into oncoming traffic where his vehicle was then “T-boned” by a third vehicle traveling at high speed. The investigating police officer agreed with plaintiff. The jury disagreed and found no negligence on Defendant. Plaintiff requested $500,000 from the jury.
- Defense verdict in Travis County, Texas in a personal injury/automobile lawsuit alleging that a teen driver’s running a red light resulted in serious neck and back injuries requiring surgical repair of both shoulders. Plaintiff had requested $220,000 in damages from the jury.
- Defense verdict in Travis County, Texas in personal injury/automobile lawsuit alleging that defendant’s failure to yield to oncoming traffic while entering the roadway from a parking lot resulted in neck and back injuries to plaintiff.
- Defense verdict in Travis County, Texas in a personal injury/automobile lawsuit alleging that multiple collisions caused by a motorist entering the freeway at rush hour resulted in serious neck and back injuries to plaintiff.
- Defense verdict in Travis County, Texas in personal injury/automobile lawsuit alleging that the rear-end collision resulted in serious neck and back injuries. Defendant successfully argued that plaintiff’s stop in front of defendant was sudden and unexpected.
- Defense verdict in Travis County, Texas in personal injury/automobile lawsuit alleging that defendant cab driver’s brake failure and running a red light resulted in neck and back injuries to multiple law students in plaintiff vehicle. Defendant successfully argued unavoidable accident.
- Defense verdict in Travis County, Texas in personal injury/automobile lawsuit involving multiple vehicles involved in a “chain collision.”
- Defense trial loss in Tarrant County, Texas in a wrongful death/gross negligence/medical liability lawsuit filed against an infamous Fort Worth nursing home. Plaintiff alleged, and the jury found, that an elderly patient’s death was caused by infected decubitus ulcers resulting from negligent wound care. The trial court’s judgment was upheld by the Texas Supreme Court.
- Defense result in Dallas County, Texas for a prominent Missouri law firm in a multi-million dollar lawsuit alleging that legal malpractice, breach of fiduciary duty, and fraudulent accounting practices contributed to the financial collapse and economic failure of a large chain of Caribbean Hotels. Defendant’s special appearance challenging Texas jurisdiction was granted by trial court and affirmed on appeal.
- Defense result in Dallas County, Texas for plumbing contractor in wrongful death lawsuit alleging faulty construction resulted in electrocution death of small child while in bathtub. Amount in controversy was $17,000.000. Defendant’s motion for summary judgment was granted by trial court and affirmed on appeal
- Defense trial result in Dallas County, Texas in premises liability/personal injury lawsuit alleging that an animal owner’s negligence resulted in serious injuries and permanent scarring from a dog attack. The jury awarded plaintiff 4% of the amount requested. Plaintiff’s appeal of the low verdict was rejected by the appellate courts.
- Defense trial result in Dallas County, Texas in a medical liability lawsuit alleging that negligent orthodontic work by a dentist for an adolescent girl resulted in permanent TMJ and facial disfigurement after she was kept in braces for years longer than necessary and had improper and infrequent adjustments. Plaintiff requested $1,000,000, but the jury awarded only 5% of amount requested.
- Defense trial result in Collin County, Texas in medical liability/wrongful death lawsuit alleging negligent medical care by a cardiologist after a patient in his mid-30’s died shortly after taking an office-administered stress test (co-counsel with Mark Stinnett, a fellow shareholder at Cowles & Thompson).
- Defense trial result in Collin County, Texas in medical liability/nursing home malpractice lawsuit alleging negligent wound care by physician and nursing home for an elderly patient.
- Defense trial result in Travis County, Texas in a personal injury/automobile lawsuit involving a rear-end collision by an unlicensed driver of a company vehicle. Plaintiff requested a little over $1,500,000 in damages, but the jury awarded less than 7% of amount requested.
- Defense trial result in Travis County, Texas in a multi-million dollar, personal injury/automobile lawsuit alleging that a rear-end automobile collision caused by a teen driver resulted in permanent neck, back, shoulder, and TMJ injuries to a practicing dentist that would require multiple surgeries and that had destroyed her ability to practice dentistry. The jury awarded plaintiff 25% of amount requested.
- Defense trial result in Travis County, Texas in a personal injury/automobile lawsuit alleging that defendant’s improper and unsafe left turn across congested traffic caused a multiple-vehicle automobile accident resulting in serious injuries to plaintiff, including the surgical repair of plaintiff’s left shoulder. The jury awarded plaintiff 20% of amount requested.
- Defense trial result in Bell County, Texas in a multi-million dollar, personal injury/automobile lawsuit alleging that a negligent lane change by defendant caused a collision which resulted in permanent neck and back injuries requiring multiple surgical repairs and resulting in permanent physical impairment. The jury awarded plaintiff 17% of amount requested.
- Defense trial result in Williamson County, Texas in a personal injury/automobile lawsuit alleging that defendant’s failure to yield from a stop sign resulted in serious leg, neck, and shoulder injuries to plaintiff requiring surgical repair of both shoulders. Plaintiff requested $300,000 in damages but the jury awarded less than $10,000, the amount of his initial emergency room visit.
- Defense trial result in Victoria County, Texas in personal injury/automobile lawsuit alleging that an elderly driver’s failure to stop at a stop sign resulted in serious neck, back, and shoulder injuries to an elderly plaintiff. The jury awarded an amount which was less than defendant’s settlement offer and represented about half of Plaintiff’s requested medical bills.
- Defense trial result in Victoria County, Texas in a gross negligence/personal injury/automobile lawsuit alleging that defendant’s high-speed impact to the rear of plaintiff’s vehicle while he was stopped at a traffic light caused serious neck and back injuries and permanent disfigurement (torticollis). Plaintiff alleged gross negligence for alcohol and illegal drug-impaired driving and for fleeing the scene. The jury did not find gross negligence and awarded plaintiff 25% of amount requested.
- Defense trial result in Calhoun County, Texas in a personal injury/automobile lawsuit alleging that an elderly defendant’s failure to yield from a stop sign resulted in brain injuries to a prominent local politician. The jury awarded plaintiff 10% of amount requested.
- Defense trial result in Hidalgo County, Texas in a product liability/wrongful death lawsuit alleging that the electrocution death of a young boy in an apartment swimming pool was caused by a defective pool light and negligent maintenance of the pool’s lighting and electrical systems.
- Defense trial result in Grand Rapids, Michigan in a product liability/personal injury lawsuit alleging that the loss of a worker’s arm while he was clearing a jammed machine was due to design and manufacturing defects in an aluminum recycling machine.
- Plaintiff trial result for Mr. King in Travis County, Texas in personal injury/automobile lawsuit with allegations by both parties that the other driver had “run the red light.”
- Plaintiff appellate result for Mr. King in Tarrant County, Texas in a premises liability/personal injury lawsuit in which Mr. King alleged that the fall by his client, a wedding guest, while she was making a night-time descent of an unlit outside stairway at the Japanese Gardens in Fort Worth was due to design defects and maintenance failures by the City of Fort Worth and other defendants (Defendant’s plea to the jurisdiction was granted by trial court but reversed on appeal. Case settled while on remand after appeal to Texas Supreme Court).
Sullivan v. City of Fort Worth, 2011 Tex. App. LEXIS 3866, 2011 WL 1902018 (Tex. App. Fort Worth May 19, 2011); pet. denied, City of Fort Worth v. Sullivan, 2012 Tex. LEXIS 80 (Tex. Jan. 27, 2012). Horizon/CMS Healthcare Corp. v. Auld, 34 S.W.3d 887, 2000 Tex. LEXIS 88, 43 Tex. Sup. J. 1151 (Tex. 2000). Hotel Partners v. Craig, 993 S.W.2d 116, 1994 Tex. App. LEXIS 3336 (Tex. App. Dallas 1994). Dallas Mkt. Ctr. Hotel Co. v. Beran & Shelmire, 865 S.W.2d 145, 1993 Tex. App. LEXIS 2458 (Tex. App. Corpus Christi 1993).