Recommended for Environment: LitigationThe Legal 500 US 2017

Thomas J. Heiden

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

Tom Heiden serves as global Chair of the firm's Product Liability, Mass Torts & Consumer Class Actions Practice.

Mr. Heiden 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. He has received numerous awards and accolades, including:

  • Recommended for Environment: Litigation by The Legal 500 US 2017 
  • National Law Journal Litigation Department of the Year Award for 2016
  • Named to the Magnificent Seven by the National Law Journal for 2016
  • Recognized by The Best Lawyers in America 2017 for his work in government contracts
  • Recommended for Product Liability and Mass Tort Defense: Consumer Products and General Commercial Disputes by The Legal 500 US 2016
  • Recognized as a " Local Litigation Star" by Benchmark Litigation 2013 - 2015

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 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 more than 5,000 personal injury toxic tort suits in Mississippi, and has successfully defended toxic tort cases in California, Illinois, Michigan and Nebraska.

Mr. Heiden recently tried and won the high-profile US$4 billion Pro Football Lockout Fund trial. He most recently defended and won the lead high school football concussion class action.

He was recently featured in The American Lawyer: "On the Gridiron, the Ice, or in the Court, Latham Partner Thomas Heiden Plays to Win." Mr. Heiden serves as visiting professor of Intensive Trial Advocacy at Cornell University Law School. He 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.

Mr. Heiden’s matters include:

  • 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 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)
  • 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 Wells Dairy in litigation stemming from March 1999 fire and explosion at Wells Dairy's South 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
  • Six-month jury trial in Phoenix over the design and engineering of a pressure-suppression containment boiling-water reactor
  • Defense of Chevron against 143 plaintiffs’ claims for personal injury and/or property damage from alleged releases of radioactive, hazardous and toxic substances from a nuclear fuel processing facility; 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
  • Trial defense for only US maker of hybrid engines of alleged long-term supply contract

*Matter handled prior to joining Latham & Watkins.

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