Tom Williams has extensive experience in business and commercial litigation, libel litigation, intellectual property litigation, and media law matters and is active in a wide range of professional and civic organizations.
Tom has handled matters which include the following:
- Representation of numerous publishing and broadcasting companies in a variety of matters including defense of libel and invasion of privacy claims, access to public information matters, and free press/fair trial issues.
- Representation of numerous commercial clients in copyright and trademark litigation and a wide range of general commercial litigation, including employment, securities, and real estate litigation matters.
- Representation of a major market Texas television station in the successful defense of a libel suit in a five week jury trial.
- Representation of an international entertainment company in a two-week jury trial in federal court in a breach of contract action arising out of a video distribution agreement.
- Representation of one of the first defendants to obtain attorney’s fees in a motion to dismiss under the Texas anti-SLAPP statute.
- Representation of a national financial services company in opposing in both the trial court and the Court of Appeals a motion for class certification by a statewide group of borrowers.
- Representation of a national accounting firm in litigation concerning accountants' liability issues in both audit and tax services.
- Representation of a national retailer in litigation concerning enforcement of product exclusivity clauses in shopping center leases.
- Representation of a major Texas newspaper in two appeals to the Texas Supreme Court in a significant invasion of privacy case.
- Representation of a Texas daily newspaper in an interlocutory appeal from a trial court's denial of summary judgment in a libel action brought by a former state court judge.
- Representation of a national book publishing company in successful defense of libel and privacy claims.
- Representation of a national direct response marketing company in trademark and copyright infringement litigation.
- Successful defense of a multi-national chemicals manufacturing corporation in a federal court case where plaintiff was seeking more than $15 million in damages for fraud in the sale of an alleged defective product.
- "Recent Developments in Media, Privacy and Defamation Law," ABA’s Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Law Journal, Vol. 48, No. 1, Fall 2012 (co-author)
- Annual Texas Survey of Media Privacy and Related Laws, Media Law Resource Center (co-author)
- Included in 2013 edition of Best Lawyers in America in three categories: Commercial Litigation, First Amendment Litigation, and Intellectual Property Litigation; listed in "The Best Lawyers in America" in every edition of the publication since 1991
- Chosen by his peers as one of Fort Worth's Top Attorneys in Civil Litigation, Fort Worth, Texas, The City's Magazine, 2011-2012
- Selected for inclusion in Texas Super Lawyers, 2003-2012
- Received Tarrant County Bar Association Professionalism Award, 2006
- Martindale Hubbell® Law Directory with a Peer Review Rating of AV® Preeminent™
Selected Representative Experience
Murphy v. Reynolds, 2011 WL 4502523 (Tex. App.-Fort Worth Sept. 29, 2011)
Represented the author of a financial newsletter who was found not liable under Texas Securities Act to a subscriber who claimed to have lost money in the market based on the author's advice.
NFL Properties LLC, Green Bay Packers, Inc. and Pittsburgh Steelers Sports, Inc. v. Does 1 through 100; Cause No. 352-250686-11, in the 352nd District Court of Tarrant County, Texas
Represented the NFL in obtaining "John Doe" injunctive relief to enable the League and its member teams to obtain civil enforcement orders allowing seizure of counterfeit merchandise that infringed upon NFL trademarks sold in and around the area where Super Bowl XLV was held.
Force Majeure Lease Termination
The issue in this case was whether the force majeure clause in an oil and gas lease operated to extend the primary term. Representing the owner of the minerals, we obtained summary judgment holding that the lessee’s efforts to obtain requisite governmental permits were, as a matter of law, insufficient to trigger the force majeure clause and extend the primary term. We obtained a declaratory judgment that the lease terminated, allowing the owner to sign a new, more favorable, lease with another operator.
DDB Technologies v. Schlumberger and MLB Advanced Media LLC
Represented Major League Baseball in series of state and federal court suits pertaining to certain game simulation patents owned by a Texas company and assigned to MLBAM by Schlumberger.
DDB Technologies, Inc. v. MLB Advanced Media, L.P. Case No. A 04 CA 352 Western District of Texas, Austin Division
Defense of Major League Baseball in a patent dispute over interactive features of its website. Summary judgment was granted for MLBAM. Plaintiff appealed to Federal Circuit, which reversed and remanded. The case ultimately settled on confidential terms involving transfer of patents.
Thermacor Process, LP v. BASF Corp., 567 F.3d 736 (5th Cir. 2009)
Won summary judgment in a case involving fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and DTPA claims and alleged damages in excess of $10 million, and successfully defended the summary judgment on appeal.
Harvest House Publishers v. The Local Church, 190 S.W.3d 204 (Tex. App. - Houston [1st Dist.] 2006, pet. denied)
In an interlocutory appeal following the trial court’s denial of summary judgment, obtained rendition of a take-nothing judgment for a media defendant in a defamation case.
06/17/2011 - Recent Developments in Media, Privacy, and Defamation Law
The U.S. Supreme Court dominated this survey period, with decisions affecting media interests in privacy and access to information. Meanwhile, state and lower federal courts engaged in the serious jurisprudence involving celebrity, soccer balls, Serbian financiers, subpoenas and shield laws, canine software, and solicitations by fax blasts.
03/03/2011 - Nothing Personal: Supreme Court Denies Corporate Privacy Exception Under FOIA
Corporate documents provided to the government as part of an investigation of the company are not excepted from disclosure for “personal privacy” purposes under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). In Federal Communications Comm. v. AT&T Inc.,
the Supreme Court held AT&T did not have a personal privacy interest in documents the company provided to the FCC during an investigation.
01/10/2011 - Employer Has Standing Under PIA to Seek Mandamus Relief When Information Requested by Employee is Not Released
Under the Texas Public Information Act, a “requestor” may file suit for a writ of mandamus compelling the release of public information. In The City of Dallas v. The Dallas Morning News,
the Dallas Court of Appeals held that an employer has standing to file such a suit when its employee made the initial request.
02/23/2010 - Texas Supreme Court Resets Public Information Act’s Ten-Day Deadline
When a governmental entity believes that information requested from it under the Texas Public Information Act (“PIA”) is exempt from disclosure, the PIA requires the entity to request an attorney general’s opinion within 10 business days after receiving the request. However, the PIA also allows the governmental entity to ask the requestor to clarify a request it finds to be unclear.
05/12/2009 - Fifth Circuit Enforces Disclaimer Provision in Form Agreement to Bar Misrepresentation Claims Against Manufacturer
On May 7, 2009, the Fifth Circuit affirmed a take-nothing summary judgment for Haynes and Boone, LLP client BASF Corporation, rejecting Plaintiff Thermacor Process, L.P.’s negligent misrepresentation, fraudulent inducement, and Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA) claims based on a standard disclaimer-of-warranty provision and the absence of any actionable misrepresentation. Thermacor Process, L.P. v. BASF Corp., No. 08-10227 (5th Cir. May 7, 2009). This decision reinforces Texas law that manufacturers can rely on standard disclaimers in their form agreements to defeat claims based on the absence of any misrepresentation, particularly when the parties are sophisticated and the disclaimer is conspicuous.
04/01/2006 - Recent Developments in Media, Privacy and Defamation Law