Tom Cartmell is a founding partner of the firm, and a leading trial attorney for individuals, businesses and public entities in cases pending across the United States. Tom has been appointed by federal judges throughout the United States to leadership in over a dozen MDL matters, and is widely recognized for his trial skills. Tom has been selected for membership in many prestigious, invitation-only trial lawyer organizations, including the American College of Trial Lawyers and the International Society of Barristers.
Tom is a multiple time recipient of Best Lawyers of America’s “Lawyer of the Year” Award and is listed in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business. He holds the Martindale-Hubble peer review rating of AV Preeminent.
Tom has also been recognized locally for his achievements as a trial lawyer. He is the Past President of the Kansas City Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). In 2001, Tom received the Thomas J. Conway Award from the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association, recognizing a lawyer with courage and zeal for the client and a collegial attitude toward fellow lawyers. In 2003,based upon the recommendation of State Court Judges, Tom received the Lon O. Hocker award as one of three outstanding trial lawyers in Missouri. He also received honors as a Missouri and Kansas Super Lawyer from 2006 to present. The Kansas City Business Journal has recognized Tom as “Best of the Bar” more than 15 times. Tom served as the Municipal Judge for the City of Mission Hills, Kansas for 16 years, and served as an adjunct professor of trial advocacy at the University of Kansas Law School for eight years.
Tom’s cases span the spectrum from high-profile MDL matters involving dangerous medications, defective products or other complex issues to representing businesses in commercial disputes or high exposure injury cases. He has recovered more than a billion dollars for clients in jury verdicts and settlements. He is regularly chosen to act as lead counsel in major trials. For example, in the recent Transvaginal Mesh MDLs– one of the largest MDLs in history– he was lead or co-lead trial counsel in five bellwether trials. Settlements in these MDLs are reported to total more than $8 billion.
Described by Chambers as “a top-notch lawyer” for his representation of plaintiffs in contentious matters, Tom has a long history of achieving top-notch results in high stakes matters. He currently represents two dozen counties – including Buchanan County, Missouri, with one of the highest rates of opioid prescriptions in the country over the past five years – and he has taken nearly a dozen depositions of opioid company corporate witnesses in the MDL, In Re: National Prescription Opiate Litigation, MDL No. 2804. He was recently appointed by Judge Orrick in the Northern District of California to serve as Government Entity Liaison Counsel for plaintiffs in In re: JUUL Labs, Inc. Marketing, Sales Practices & Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2913, and represents over 75 school districts across American in this litigation against the vaping company, Juul Labs, Inc. Tom also represents the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the State of Oregon in consumer protection litigation against Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon involving transvaginal mesh sales within the state. He was also named by the Honorable M. Casey Rogers to a five-attorney Executive Committee providing leadership in the 3M Combat Arms™ Earplugs Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2885,pending in the Northern District of Florida.
Tom has a history of leadership and record-breaking results in MDL litigation. Brief highlights and notable litigation are as follows:
In Re: Ethicon, Inc., MDL No. 2327
Tom was appointed Co-Lead Counsel of the Ethicon MDL and served as a member of the Executive Committee on all of the Pelvic Repair System Products Liability Litigation MDLs in the Southern District of West Virginia in front of the Honorable Joseph R. Goodwin.
Bodziony et al v. Federal Signal Corporation
Tom represented Federal Signal Corporation, a manufacturer of sirens for emergency vehicles, in this mass tort product liability litigation in Missouri involving firefighters’ product liability claims of hearing loss.
Big Tobacco v. State of Kansas – Contract Arbitration
Tom and his partners represented the State of Kansas in arbitration proceedings against tobacco companies arising out of the tobacco companies seeking payment adjustments of more than $1.1 billion from 35 states based on the interpretation of the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement between tobacco companies and the State of Kansas.
3M-MDL Bellwether Trial
Tom acted as trial counsel for the first Bellwether trial of this matter, resulting in a jury verdict of over $7M for the three bellwether plaintiffs, including punitive damages.