Dedicated to the pursuit of justice

Thomas Tosdal Wildfire Lawyer

March 14, 2019 Fire Litigation Team

Thomas Tosdal has focused his 40-year practice on bringing justice for people harmed by the misdeeds of others. He has tried more than 60 jury trials, mostly for plaintiffs, and settled many more cases. Some of his successful recoveries for his clients have reached seven and eight figures.

Tom has taken a leadership role in many power line fire cases, including:

  • Witch Creek Fire (2007, San Diego)
  • Guejito Fire (2007, San Diego)
  • Rice Canyon Fire (2007, San Diego)
  • Las Conchas Fire (2011, New Mexico)

He has been deeply involved in these cases, both as to utility fault and client damages. The total amount of recoveries by Tom and his teams in power line fire cases is well over $500 million.

Tom litigated cases involving the 2007 San Diego fires, which began with three different types of power line failures in high-wind conditions. In these and other cases since then, Tom has taken a leadership role in establishing liability and proving damages for hundreds of people and businesses, and even two telecommunications companies, while obtaining full and fair compensation for their losses.

A jury trial pitted Tom and some colleagues against two utilities in New Mexico to determine fault for the massive Las Conchas Fire.  After an 18-day trial, the jury ruled the utilities had negligently ignited the fire and harmed the plaintiffs. Tom and his team recovered millions of dollars for their clients in a settlement with one utility company.

Presently, Tom is one of two leads for a group of ranchers and homeowners in the Dog Head Fire, a fire case in New Mexico that is in its early phases.

Numerous organizations have honored Tom with awards and recognition such as:

  • Tier 1 rankings in San Diego by U.S. News and Best Lawyers
  • Best Lawyers in Southern California
  • Super Lawyers

A California native, Tom graduated from Harvard Law School in 1975.  Tom took time off from law school to work for the defense in the Pentagon Papers case in Los Angeles.  While in law school, Tom spent time working with the Lowell Legal Aid Society, providing legal services to the poor and marginalized.

After law school, Tom clerked for the Honorable Edward J. Schwartz, Jr., Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District Court of California in San Diego.  Then, after two years with the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board, Tom entered private practice in 1978.