Bird, Marella, Boxer, Wolpert, Nessim, Drooks, Lincenberg & Rhow, P.C.
Thomas R. Freeman is a principal at Bird Marella and a graduate of the Northwestern University School of Law. His practice is focused on civil litigation at the trial and appellate levels, and criminal appeals.
He is certified as an appellate specialist by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization and has argued countless cases before federal and state appellate courts and case-dispositive motions before trial courts.
Tom has handled a broad range of complex matters, including claims brought under federal and state antitrust and false claims statutes, federal communication laws, California’s Unfair Competition Law and Consumers Legal Remedies Act, healthcare law, copyright law, securities laws, the U.S. and California Constitutions, and RICO. Tom also works with Ron Nessim on entertainment litigation representing talent in disputes with major studios.
Tom has represented large manufacturers and retailers in several cases, successfully defending against class action complaints. He pioneered the now widespread practice of moving to “strike” class allegations in state court after he prevailed on a petition for writ of mandate, setting precedent for pre-discovery attacks on class-related allegations. He has successfully argued against class certification of claims about allegedly defective phones, printers and copiers. He also prevailed at the trial and appellate levels in defending against claims about supposedly deceptive “rebate” practices under the California’s Unfair Competition and Consumer Legal Remedies Acts.
He represented the proponents of Measure B, a 2012 ballot initiative in Los Angeles County mandating the use of condoms in adult films. The ballot proponents had intervened to defend the constitutionality of Measure B after the County declined to take a position on the Measure’s constitutionality. Tom prevailed before the Ninth Circuit both in arguing that the ballot proponents had the right to participate in the litigation because they were not required to demonstrate Article III standing and that Measure B passed constitutional muster because it was reasonably tailored to protect public health.
Tom has been lead appellate counsel in a wide variety of precedent-setting appeals. He successfully argued to the California Supreme Court a case of great significance to the health care field, where the Supreme Court held that emergency-care providers cannot “balance bill” HMO enrollees for the difference between the amount billed by the provider and the amount paid by the HMO. In another precedent-establishing case, Tom prevailed in arguing that parties in civil cases cannot be interrogated at deposition about the legal basis for their claims or defenses, such areas may be inquired into only by written interrogatories, where answers can be carefully crafted by their lawyers. Tom also prevailed in arguing that an established Ninth Circuit causation standard in civil rights cases implicated the First Amendment was inconsistent with recent Supreme Court precedent, causing the Circuit to adopt a new standard.
Tom has been listed as a “Southern California Super Lawyer” by Los Angeles Magazine and is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, the Trial Lawyer Honorary Society.