Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.
Member and former Global Chair of Latham’s Product Liability, Mass Torts & Consumer Class Actions Practice.
Trial lawyer who has tried cases in every region of the US. My practice focuses on difficult and high-profile lawsuits, including toxic tort, high-stakes energy, utility, resource and business contract, and tort disputes.
Tried and won the high-profile US$4 billion Pro Football Lockout Fund trial. Defended and won the lead high school football concussion class action. Recently tried and won the CONSOL Energy US$765 million contract case. Won the Gulf Spill MDL cases for the chemical dispersant manufacturer.
My energy and utility litigation practice covers a wide variety of cases, including trials involving nuclear power plants and the management and operation of electric generating plants. Served as lead trial counsel in the first steam generator replacement case; tried a six-month jury trial over a pressure-suppression containment system; tried the qui tam nuclear security case at the Rocky Flats Arsenal. Extensive upstream and downstream oil and gas trial experience.
Tried cases arising from catastrophic industrial accidents (including the tragic Ford-Rouge powerhouse explosion), served as lead trial counsel in 5,000 personal injury toxic tort suits in Mississippi, and have successfully defended toxic tort cases in California, Illinois, Michigan, Louisiana, Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Nebraska.
Serve as professor of Intensive Trial Advocacy at Cornell University Law School. Featured in The American Lawyer: "On the Gridiron, the Ice, or in the Court, Latham Partner Thomas Heiden Plays to Win." Chaired the Practicing Law Institute Faculty on Corporate Responsibility for seven years. Frequent guest on CNN's "Big Trials of the Day" segment. Coached a North American Championship hockey team.
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· Partner, Latham & Watkins, Chicago and Houston,
(October, 2002 - Present)
· Chicago Sports Commission, Board of Directors
(2010 - Present)
· University of Notre Dame, College of Arts and Letters
Board (2011 - 2019)
· Equal Justice Works, Board of Counsellors
(2016 - Present)
· Cornell University Law School, Faculty - Intensive Trial
Advocacy (2015 - Present)
· Chair, American College of Trial Lawyers - Diversity
Trial Advocacy Program (2019 - Present)
Chair, American College of Trial Lawyers - Corporate
· JD, Cornell Law School, 1971
· BA, University of Notre Dame, 1967
West Michigan Coyotes Mite A, Mite AA, Squirt AA, Pee Wee A Elite
Champions Michigan (Silver Stick 1999);
Michigan (Silver Stick 2000);
Little Caesar Division & Play-offs
North American Champions (2000 Atom A)
North American Finalists (2001 Atom Major AA)
Forest Hills Central High School, Hockey Coach, 1973-1977
West Michigan Champions, 1975, 1976, 1977
State Semi-Finalists, 1976
Coach of various baseball, softball and other hockey teams
University of Notre Dame Intercollegiate Hockey, 1963-1967
The right of any petitioner to present her grievance to an independent court has been a hallmark of our democratic system. The right is under attack in legislatures and courtrooms across our country. Our system for fair and peaceful dispute resolution is the best devised by humankind. That system should be nurtured and preserved. Our courthouse doors should remain open.
There have been health, safety, and moral concerns about injury in sports for decades. Those concerns are now focused on head injuries associated with contact sports. The legal risks and exposures are now so elevated they may threaten the very existence of some sports.
The lead football concussion case was a class-action filed on behalf of all current and former high school football players. The high schools defended and won that case in state court in Chicago. Here is the story of that victory, and its aftermath.
The Gulf Spill resulted in more than 400,000 lawsuits and over $60 Billion in damages, fines, and settlements. We were there. Contrary to the conventional views, the great majority of those monies were caused by events remote in time and remote in place from the blow-out at the Macondo Well and the explosions on the Deepwater Horizon.
In an epic struggle between the professional athletes and owners, the National Football League decided to shut down the league and lock out the players in order to exact billions of dollars in concessions from the players. The League entered new contracts with the broadcasters to pay for their lockdown, ensuring the owners would be paid 100% of the television monies even if no games were televised because no games were played because the owners locked out the players. The owners amassed a 4 Billion, 73 Million dollar war chest to fund their lockout. The same owners had, however, pledged, in a written contract, their best efforts to maximize the revenues for the players during that same locked-out season. The trial of the players’ lawsuit was high-profile, featuring well-known figures, and resulted in a total victory for the players.
Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent – hurricanes, tornados, droughts, epic floods, and uncontrolled fires. The human and financial costs are huge. Some of the events can now be predicted. The legal risks and exposures of companies, insurers, vendors, and planners for contributing to those events, on the one hand, and not taking adequate mitigating precaution, on the other, are only beginning to be recognized. We explore the bases for those risks and suggest steps to avoid or lessen their legal implications.
Large portions of Louisiana, south Florida, Venice, New York City, and Holland will disappear beneath the seas if current sea rise continues. Shanghai will be submerged. Legal battles are ongoing in Louisiana courts over who is to blame for large parts of parishes sinking before the rising ocean levels. Some blame the canals and wells built over a century by oil and gas companies; others blame the U S Government’s levees for stripping the Gulf of replenishing Mississippi River sediments; some point to centuries of post-ice age sea rise. At stake are the very future of large parts of Louisiana and untold billions of dollars.
Courtrooms and trials are often the venues and subject in movies, television, and theaters. Real trials are theater. Trial lawyers are the producers, directors, and lead actors in that theater. Trials have many of the trappings and drama of theater. Explore the similarities and differences, the successes and the failures.
A group of lawyers met to lecture on the case which resulted in the biggest award in the history of our court system. Each lawyer had a view on what fact, event, or legal theory drove that result. One well-known trial lawyer finally said: “You are all wrong. A young lawyer repeatedly told us there is too much at stake to fail. He willed it to happen. His message was right and his will was contagious.” A veteran high school football coach said: You know why you ought play football? Cuz on each play you get knocked down; you have to pick yourself up and run back to the huddle. Just like in life.” There are various recipes for success: determination, focus, discipline, and resilience are essential to each recipe.
An engrossing series of war stories from actual trials and cases in each corner of the United States. Filled with colorful (fictional) characters – trial lawyers, judges, and larger-than-life personalities – and their confrontations, outrages, and humor in and outside the courtroom. Told by a trial lawyer who was in each of those courtrooms, watching, jousting with, and sometimes simply enjoying these characters and their performances.
A young hockey team makes an improbable but successful quest for a North American hockey championship. The real purpose and real journey was, however, to instill in them life lessons important and transferable to other things in their lives. This tell their story from West Michigan to Newmarket, Ontario and beyond.
Many things are difficult and complex – a huge pile of facts, volumes of statistics, concepts of physics and chemistry, principles of science and medicine. Audiences often simply give up and tune out when difficult topics are presented or discussed. A good communicator can discipline herself to understand, retain, and retrieve those facts and concepts. The best communicator can then sequence and present those same difficult concepts in language and in form that can be understood and comprehended by ordinary people with no special knowledge or training in the topic. That best communicator is essential in the courtroom, in the classroom, in the boardroom, and in the legislature. Those skills, through discipline and organization, can be acquired skills.
When I talk, people tend to listen. I am engaging, articulate, organized, persuasive, passionate.