Thomas F.A. Hetherington
Phone: (713) 337-5583
Fax: (713) 337-8843
Tom Hetherington is a trial partner in the firm’s Houston office. His practice focuses on a wide range of commercial litigation matters, including securities litigation; energy litigation; class actions; shareholder litigation; corporate merger litigation; financial services litigation; life, health and disability insurance litigation; stranger-owned life insurance (“STOLI”) litigation; ERISA litigation; business tort litigation; internal investigations; FINRA arbitrations; stop-loss insurance litigation; construction litigation; and real estate litigation. Tom has extensive experience litigating class/mass actions and complex commercial disputes.
Tom’s litigation practice is national in scope. He is known as a “go-to” lawyer for some of the nation’s largest energy and financial services companies, and is regularly hired as lead trial counsel in complex matters throughout the United States.
Tom has extensive experience in state and federal courts and before arbitration panels across the country, including Texas, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Tom has trial experience in a wide variety of cases, including multimillion-dollar commercial litigation matters.
Tom is an eight-time Texas Super Lawyer Rising Star and has been named one of the top attorneys in Houston by H Texas Magazine. Tom was a partner at Bracewell & Giuliani LLP before leaving in January 2009 to form Edison, McDowell & Hetherington LLP.
Tom is actively involved in his community. He served as President of the University of Houston Law Alumni Association, is an enthusiastic supporter of Rice University where he was captain of the football team, and currently serves on the Rice Owl Club Board of Directors, among other activities.
Tom enjoys spending time with his wife and three children, is an avid wine enthusiast, and enjoys traveling and attending college and professional sporting events.
- “Texas Rising Star” (Business Litigation), 2004–2006, 2008–2012
- Named a Top Attorney in Houston by H Texas Magazine, 2010
- Texas Bar Foundation Fellow
- Represented insurance carriers in connection with a wide variety of STOLI litigation matters around the country, including multi-million dollar litigation brought by hedge fund investors.
- Tom has obtained a number of nationally significant opinions for his clients in STOLI cases, including from the Delaware Supreme Court, the First Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States District Courts for the Southern District of California and the District of Utah, among others.
- Represented numerous life, health and disability insurers in hundreds of complex insurance and financial services cases all over the country.
- Represented AGL Life Assurance Company and certain senior officers in multi-million dollar state securities law class action in Boulder, Colorado arising out of the Bernard Madoff and Thomas Petters ponzi schemes. Hired as lead trial counsel to replace a large New York law firm and obtained favorable settlement for the Company and its officers.
- Represented Kinder Morgan Inc. and its independent directors in class action shareholder lawsuits pending in state court in Kansas and in state and federal court in Texas relating to one of the largest going-private transactions in American history.
- Represented The Phoenix Companies, Inc., its CEO, and CFO in federal class action securities fraud claims arising out of an announced restatement of financials. Obtained stipulated dismissal of all claims.
- Represented W-H Energy Services, Inc., and its board of directors in connection with class action shareholder litigation filed to enjoin the acquisition of W-H by Smith International, Inc.
- Represented Cornell Companies, Inc., and its board of directors in connection with shareholder class action litigation relating to a proposed buyout transaction.
- Represented Enron Corporation’s General Counsel in various cases stemming from the collapse of Enron. Instrumental in obtaining one of the few dismissals in the Enron securities litigation for his client and represented his client in Enron-related proceedings in Texas and New York and in connection with the investigation by the Enron bankruptcy examiner.
- Represented El Paso Corporation in shareholder class action litigation pertaining to Kinder Morgan, Inc.’s acquisition of El Paso.
- Represented Rockies Express Pipeline LLC in contract dispute with transportation services customer relating to force majeure event on the Rockies Express Pipeline.
- Represented Direct Energy, and obtained dismissal, of class action arising out of tax charges passed on to Direct Energy customers.
- Represented Kinder Morgan, Inc. and Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, L.P. in contract and tort action litigation brought against one of the world’s largest crop nutrition development companies.
- Represented WellPoint, Inc., and various of its subsidiary companies in numerous first-party health and disability insurance litigation matters in Texas and around the country.
- Represented Assurant Health and various of its affiliated companies in numerous first-party health insurance litigation matters in Texas.
- Successfully tried an ongoing battle against stranger-originated life insurance in which the Court ruled in favor of EMH’s client and rescinded a $10 million life insurance policy based on fraudulent misrepresentations made in the policy application. The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court’s judgment.
- Successfully tried and obtained a no liability verdict before a federal jury in Los Angeles, California in litigation brought by Fortress Investment Group involving millions of dollars in complex life insurance transactions.
- Defended Kinder Morgan Treating LP in a suit involving a claim for contractual reformation of a finder’s fee agreement brought by Fox Private Equity, LLC. The suit was successfully resolved following a jury trial and prior to entry of final judgment.
- Successfully tried to conclusion and obtained a no-liability verdict for Bechtel Corporation in a complex construction litigation case.
- Arbitration styled In the Matter of the Arbitration Among Teco Pipeline Company, Individually and on behalf of TransTexas Pipeline Partnership vs. Valero Energy Corporation, et al. Arbitrated complex pipeline litigation for many months and obtained a favorable result for Valero.
- Arbitration styled Claudio Herrera and Fernando Morales-O’Horan v. Service Corporation International, MFS Acquisition Corporation, and SCI Texas Funeral Services Inc. Arbitrated a contract dispute for the world’s largest funeral home company and obtained a favorable result.
- Successfully tried to conclusion and obtained a no-liability verdict for PrimeSource Building Products in a complex commercial dispute.
- Arbitration styled Donald Garland v. UniCare Life & Health Insurance Company. Successfully defended UniCare in a dispute brought by a former agent alleging wrongful termination of his agency contract. The arbitrator found that UniCare acted properly in terminating the agent contract, that the former agent take nothing, and that the former agent pay costs.
- Successfully tried to conclusion and obtained no liability verdict for Metro.
PUBLICATIONS & SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS
- “STOLI: Hedging Insurable Interest,” white paper presented at numerous conferences (with David McDowell and Jarrett Ganer).
- 10-01-2013, “Litigation: How the Latest Decisions are Shaping Up.” Life Settlements Conference, Las Vegas, Nevada.
- 05-20-2012, Panel discussion regarding recent developments in STOLI litigation and retained asset litigation. Association of Life Insurance Counsel Annual Meeting, Ponte Vedra, Florida.
- 05-01-2012 “Litigation: How Rulings in Court Cases Affect Investors.” International Life Settlements Conference, London, England.
- “Stranger-Initiated Annuity Transactions and the Case for Insurable Interest” NY Business Law Journal, Vol. 16, No. 1 (2012).
- “Stranger-Initiated Annuity Transactions and the Case for Insurable Interest” Connecticut Insurance Law Journal, Vol. 19, No. 1 (2012).
- “We Were Never Told That!”: Avoiding Litigation By Disclosure and Explanation of Annuity Taxation to Customers, presented at the International Claims Association Annual Education Conference, October 2011, Las Vegas, Nevada.
- “Litigation: Will Favorable Court Decisions Bring New Capital to the Market?” Presented at the Life Settlements Conference, September 2011, Las Vegas, Nevada.
- “Stranger Originated Life Insurance: Why We Care,” presented to The Actuaries’ Club of the Southwest, June 2011, Corpus Christi, Texas.
- “Hot Topics in Life Claims,” Western Claims Conference, June 2006.
- “Confusing Conflicts: National Medical Enters. Inc. v. Godbey and The Problem Of Disqualification When No Previous Attorney-Client Relationship Exists,” 34 Houston Law Review 909, 1997.
- United States Supreme Court
- United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas
- United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas
- United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas
- United States District Court for the Western District of Texas
- United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
- United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois
- United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana
- United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio
- United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas
- United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas
- United States District Court for the District of Colorado
- United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
- United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
- United States District Court for the District of New Mexico
- United States Courts of Appeals for the First, Second, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Circuits
- University of Houston Law Center, J.D., summa cum laude, 1998
- Rice University, B.A., Managerial Studies, 1995