Tom is a trial lawyer. He believes in the power of the courtroom – the great equalizer. Regarded among his peers as an outstanding trial attorney and tenacious advocate, Tom relishes the challenge of helping his clients. He has a track record for successfully litigating complex cases against the toughest opponents. He loves his work.
Tom focuses his practice on three areas. He represents those injured from products that were dangerously designed or manufactured. This includes harms caused by a car manufacturer or a company that used asbestos containing products that caused mesothelioma, as well as a myriad of other products. He also represents those who have been harmed due to the neglect of professional service providers, such as a nursing home facility, a medical professional, and other professionals; these cases include sexual assault and professional malpractice. Lastly, Tom accepts cases where trial is imminent or likely. He has represented clients in employment matters, contract disputes and other general litigation issues.
Tom began his law career as a Deputy King County Prosecutor where he first-chaired scores of trials to verdict. Prior to joining SGB, he was lead counsel for the litigation team of a boutique law firm, and worked at a commercial litigation firm, where he tried a variety of cases in court and at arbitration.
Prior to law school, Tom completed two years of public service with Teach for America, and taught college in Spain and in San Francisco, California. During law school Tom clerked for celebrated trial attorney Dick DeGuerin and was the recipient of a Cain fellowship, which sent him to Latin America to work on environmental law issues for Brazilian Supreme Court Justice Antonio Herman Benjamin.
Tom is a publisher of the Washington Product Liability blog and a contributing author to the Washington Product Liability Deskbook. Tom is also a frequent presenter on trial techniques. He also serves on the faculties of the National Institute of Trial Advocacy and the University of Washington School of Law, instructing lawyers and law students on trial advocacy. He has been selected a Super Lawyer by Washington Law and Politics. He is fluent in Spanish and speaks Portuguese.
- $16.67 million jury verdict, recovered for a widow in a wrongful death product liability action. The defendant refused to make an offer to settle the matter. Holdsworth v. Scapa. The verdict was top 100 verdict in the US for 2021 and the second highest ever for its kind in Washington State.
- $11.3 million settlement representing a severely injured Plaintiff in a defective road design case. Khaleghi v. City of Bellevue.
- $7.5 million settlement in automobile defect case.
- $7.0 million settlement in product liability case.
- $4.5 million settlement in product liability case.
- $3.5 million settlement in employment sexual harassment case against a national retailer.
- $3.5 million settlement in product liability case.
- $3.0 million judgment in a wrongful withholding of wages claim, totallying $750,000, for an in-house corporate lawyer; After a four week trial, the jury found the withholding was willful. The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s reduction of the verdict, Chism v. Tri-State decision.
- $2.0 million settlement in sexual assault case against a youth organization.
- $1.5 million for a worker who suffered from a workplace fire.
- $1.0 million settlement in product liability case, with international corporation agreeing to a full apology.
- $1.0 million settlement in sexual assault case against a national retailer.
- $1.0 million settlement in mild brain injury case.
- Millions in settlements in wrongful death cases.
- High stakes consumer protection action resulting in a winning arbitration award with full award of attorney fees.
- Two jury verdicts in sexual assault cases, many multiples above the highest pre-trial offer.
- Bet the business winning arbitration award with substantial attorney fee award.
- Successful settlements in professional malpractice claims: legal, medical, psychiatrist.
- In an employment law matter, representation in an earn-out dispute involving substantial sums resulted in full earnouts.
Bar Admissions & Education
- Washington State
- U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
- University at Albany, State University of New York, B.A., magna cum laude, 1993
- Middlebury College, M.A., 1994
- The University of Texas School of Law, J.D., 2003
Civic & Professional Activities
- Speaker, WSBA, Evidence and Objection Skills Boot Training CLE: “How to Prepare for the Unexpected at Trial” (2011)
- Speaker, WSBA, Jury Selection and Other Jury Skills CLE: “How to Avoid Having 12 Angry Jurors: The Fundamentals for Excelling In Front of a Jury” (2010)
- Speaker, King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office: “Effective Cross Examination” (2011)
- Member of the William L. Dwyer American Inn of Courts
- Adjunct faculty, University of Washington School of Law, Trial Advocacy
- Faculty member, National Institute of Trial Advocacy
- Mock trial coach, University of Washington, American Association for Justice competition
- Faculty member, University of San Francisco (1997—1998)
- Faculty member, La Universidad Europea de Madrid (1996—1997)
- Literacy Academy Director for Latin American immigrant students, Redwood City (1996—1997)
Thomas Breen was included in the 2021 and 2022 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America© for Personal Injury Litigation.
Selected to Washington Super Lawyers by Super Lawyers® (2014-2022)
- Super Lawyer Washington Law & Politics (2014—2019)