Recommended for Environment: LitigationThe Legal 500 US 2017-2018

Thomas J. Heiden

Chicago | Houston
  • 330 North Wabash Avenue, Suite 2800
  • Chicago, IL 60611
  • USA

Tom Heiden is a member and former Global Chair of the firm's Product Liability, Mass Torts & Consumer Class Actions Practice.

Mr. Heiden is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

He is a trial lawyer who has tried cases in every region of the US. His practice focuses on difficult and high-profile lawsuits, including toxic tort, high-stakes energy, utility, resource and business contract, and tort disputes.

Mr. Heiden tried and won the high-profile US$4 billion Pro Football Lockout Fund trial. He recently defended and won the lead high school football concussion class action. He most recently tried and won the CONSOL Energy US$765 million contract case. He won the Gulf Spill MDL vases for the chemical dispersant manufacturer. 

Mr. Heiden’s energy and utility litigation covers a wide variety of cases, including trials involving nuclear power plants and the management and operation of electric generating plants. He served as lead trial counsel in the first steam generator replacement case; he tried a six-month jury trial over a pressure-suppression containment system; he tried the qui tam nuclear security case at the Rocky Flats Arsenal. He also has extensive upstream and downstream oil and gas trial experience.

Mr. Heiden has 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 has successfully defended toxic tort cases in California, Illinois, Michigan, Louisiana, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Nebraska.

Mr. Heiden serves as professor of Intensive Trial Advocacy at Cornell University Law School. He also teaches Advanced Trial Advocacy at the Georgetown University Law Center. He was featured in The American Lawyer “On the Gridiron, the Ice, or in the Court, Latham Partner Thomas Heiden Plays to Win.” He has been recognized by Best Lawyers in America for his trial work and chaired the Practicing Law Institute Faculty on Corporate Responsibility for seven years. Mr. Heiden has been a frequent guest on CNN’s “Big Trials of the Day” segment. He also coached a North American Championship hockey team.

  • Chicago Sports Commission, Board of Directors
  • University of Notre Dame, College of Arts and Letters Board
  • Equal Justice Works, Board of Counsellors
  • Cornell University Law School, Faculty - Intensive Trial Advocacy
  • Georgetown University Law Center, Faculty – Advanced Trial Advocacy
  • American College of Trial Lawyers, Chair – Teaching Committee
  • Cornell University Law School, Distinguished Practitioner in Residence, 2021-2022
  • Latham, Chair of Trial Advocacy Programs, 2020-2021

Mr. Heiden’s matters include:

  • Trial of US$4 billion Pro Football Lockout War Chest case described as “major victory” (Sports Illustrated); “Big win” (AmLaw); “key” (Associated Press), “dramatic turn of events” (Yahoo Sports); “critical” (New York Times)  
  • Trial of US$765 million Marcellus Shale ROFR contract (2017)
  • Trial of the San Onofre nuclear power plant steam generator failure (2016)
  • Trial of the Houston Ship Channel crude-by-rail facility (2016)
  • Trial of West Yorkshire UK chemical plant explosion and fire (2020-2021)
  • Defense of Illinois High School Association concussion class action (all claims dismissed). “A win...with far reaching implications for high school football and other contact sports.” (AmLaw)
  • Defense of Nalco Company in MDL and other litigation arising out of Gulf of Mexico 2010 oil spill; obtained summary judgment dismissing all Gulf Spill claims
  • Trial of US$500 million River Rouge Powerhouse explosion case brought by a consortium of insurance carriers
  • Defense of Chevron in “Hot Fuels” MDL cases; obtained summary judgement dismissal of all claims against Chevron
  • Defense of Chevron against Oklahoma contamination claim; dismissal of all claims
  • Defense of Wells Dairy in litigation stemming from fire and explosion at Wells Dairy Ice Cream Plant. Wells Dairy was awarded summary judgment dismissing all claims shortly before trial
  • Trial of treble-damage qui tam false claims act case alleging failure of nuclear security system facilities at Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant in Colorado; trial win upheld by the 10th Circuit
  • Six-month jury trial in Phoenix over the design and engineering of a pressure-suppression containment boiling-water reactor
  • Defense of Chevron against Tennessee plaintiffs’ claims for personal injury and/or property damage from alleged releases of radioactive and toxic substances; obtained dismissal of all claims 
  • US$750 million recovery over the design, engineering and construction of South Texas Project generating station; then the largest sum to change hands in history of our judicial system 
  • Defense of American Bumper in four-count corporate homicide prosecution brought by the Michigan Attorney General resulting from fatal industrial accident*
  • Trial for City of San Antonio, Texas of power-plant claims, with US$275 million award to San Antonio

*Matter handled prior to joining the firm.

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