Thomas S. Leatherbury

Thomas S. Leatherbury Partner, Appellate

Tom has a wide range of experience in state and federal appeals and trials. His experience includes commercial, intellectual property, and health care litigation, as well as class actions. He has represented publishers and broadcasters in all aspects of media litigation throughout his career.

Tom is a practice group leader of the firm-wide Appellate practice, and currently serves as Chairman of Talent Management.

Experience Highlights

Federal Appeals & Trials

  • (5th Cir.) — Obtained reversal and rendition of a $366 million verdict against a hospital and physician ($33 million judgment)
  • (N.D. Tex) — Successfully defended Lutron Electronics, Inc. in a $218 million patent infringement suit in a three-week jury trial; the jury found no infringement and further found the patent to be invalid
  • (5th Cir.) — Obtained reversal of a $13 million bankruptcy preference judgment
  • (5th Cir.) — Obtained reversal of a $2 million products liability judgment against a manufacturer

State Appeals & Trials

  • (Tex.) — Obtained reversal, partial rendition, and remand of an $84 million personal injury verdict ($45 million judgment)
  • (Tex.) — Obtained reversal in a multibillion dollar dispute over the regulatory accounting treatment of nuclear plants
  • (Tex.) — Obtained reversal in an insurance bad faith case in which the Texas Supreme Court imposed significant limits on punitive damages
  • (Tex. App. − Austin) — Obtained reversal and remand of a Public Utility Commission order denying $4 million in attorney’s fees
  • (Tex. App. − Dallas) — Obtained affirmance of the dismissal of a shareholder derivative action
  • (Tex. App. − Dallas) — Obtained affirmance of a trial court order unsealing an arbitration award
  • (Tex. App. − El Paso) — Obtained affirmance of the actual damages portion of the largest reported wrongful death judgment against a railroad at the time
  • (Tex. App. − Beaumont) — Obtained affirmance of a trial court’s judgment approving the settlement of a nationwide consumer settlement class
  • (Tex. App. − Dallas) — Obtained reversal of a $30 million summary judgment in a breach of contract case
  • (Tex. App. − Houston [14th Dist.]) — Obtained reversal of a $17 million judgment against an insurance company in a bad faith case
  • (Tex. App. − Houston [14th Dist.]) — Obtained reversal of an $8 million judgment against a telephone company in an antitrust case
  • (Tex. Dist. − Dallas) — Obtained an order vacating an $18 million judgment against an insurance company in an alleged misrepresentation case
  • (Tex. Dist. − Dallas) — Handled legal issues for trial team that obtained a defense verdict in a $16 million breach of contract case

Media Litigation

  • (Tex. Dist. − El Paso) — Obtained a defense verdict for a national network in a libel trial
  • (Tex.) — Obtained mandamus relief for The Dallas Morning News in a case seeking to unseal discovery in a wrongful death suit
  • (5th Cir.) — Obtained affirmance of dismissal for lack of personal jurisdiction for foreign publishers
  • Litigated in numerous federal and state trial and appellate courts on behalf of media defendants in defamation and invasion of privacy cases

Insights

Contact Details

Dallas

T +1.214.220.7792
F +1.214.999.7792
tleatherbury@velaw.com
Trammell Crow Center
2001 Ross Avenue
Suite 3700
Dallas, TX 75201-2975
Local time: 4:49 AM
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Tom's Practices

  • Yale Law School, J.D., 1979 (Chair, Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization)
  • Yale College, B.A., History summa cum laude, 1976 (Phi Beta Kappa)
  • Admitted to practice: Texas, 1979; United States Supreme Court; all federal courts in Texas; U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Fifth, Second, Third, Fourth, Ninth, and Federal Circuits
  • Law clerk to the Honorable Robert M. Hill, U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas, 1979–1980
  • Chambers USA, First Amendment Litigation (Nationwide), 2013–2015; Litigation: Appellate (Texas), 2009, 2010, and 2015 
  • Legal 500 U.S., Supreme Court & Appellate – Supreme Court, 2010–2015; Supreme Court & Appellate – Appellate, 2010–2015
  • The Best Lawyers in America© (Woodward/White, Inc.), First Amendment Law, 1993–2016; Commercial Litigation, 2005–2016; Appellate Law, 2007–2016 ("Lawyer of the Year," 2014); and Bet-the-Company Litigation, 2009–2016
  • Access to Justice Commission, Pro Bono Champion, 2014
  • Texas Civil Rights Project, Kristi Couvillon Pro Bono Award, 2013
  • Euromoney’s Benchmark Litigation, Local Litigation Star (Texas), 2013
  • Euromoney’s Benchmark Appellate, Fifth Circuit Litigation Star, 2012 and 2013
  • D Magazine, “The Best Lawyers in Dallas,” Appellate Law, 2011–2014
  • National Law Journal, “Appellate Hot List,” 2009
  • Legal Media Group’s (Euromoney’s) Guide to the World’s Leading Technology, Media & Telecommunications Lawyers, media section, 2003 and 2005
  • Selected to the Texas Super Lawyers list, Super Lawyers (Thomson Reuters), 2003–2014
  • Texas Lawyer, Go-To Guide, Top-Notch lawyer, Media Law, 2007
  • Texas Lawyer, Go-To lawyer, Media Law, 2002
  • Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas, James Madison Award, 1991
  • Member: Executive Committee of the Yale Law School Association (YLSA)
  • Editorial Board: Communications Lawyer
  • Board of Trustees: National Association of Law Placement (NALP) Foundation
  • Fellow: American Bar Foundation; Texas Bar Foundation; Dallas Bar Foundation
  • Research Fellow: The Center for American and International Law
  • Faculty Member: ABA Forum Committee on Communications Law Media Advocacy Workshop
  • Lead Facilitator: ABA Forum Committee on Communications Law Annual Meeting, Hot Issues in Libel and Privacy
  • Member: American Law Institute (since 1998); Forum Committee on Communications Law, Council of Appellate Lawyers, Litigation and Tort & Insurance Practice Sections, American Bar Association; Litigation and Appellate Practice Sections, State Bar of Texas; Appellate and Business Litigation Sections, Dallas Bar Association; State Bar of Texas Pro Bono College
  • Past Director and Past President: Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas
  • Past President: Defense Counsel Section, Libel Defense Resource Center (now known as the Media Law Resource Center)
  • Past Chair: Media Relations Committee, Dallas Bar Association
  • Past Member: Governing Committee, Forum Committee on Communications Law, American Bar Association; Texas Supreme Court Rules Advisory Committee; Yale Law School Executive Committee
  • Co-chair: MLRC/NAA/NAB Conference, Fall 2010 and anticipated, Fall 2012
  • Adjunct Professor: Southern Methodist University, Spring 2004–Spring 2007 (Ethics of Communication; Communications Law)
  • Advisory Board Member: Lawyer Metrics
  • Board Member: Dallas Downtown, Inc., Texas Appleseed
  • Member: Dallas Citizens Council; Mayor’s Business/Arts Action Team
  • Chair: Business Council for the Arts, 2009–2012
  • Chair: Board of Trustees, Greenhill School, 2000–2002
  • Participant: The Aspen Institute, Justice and Society program, 1996