Tom Ferguson represents clients across the U.S. in complex commercial litigation in the following industries and areas: energy/natural resources, electric and gas utilities, healthcare, insurance and intellectual property. For years, clients have relied on Tom to structure the best options for them, whether the dispute goes to trial or they find acceptable alternatives prior to trial. His focus is always on uncovering the right business solutions.
Tom has successfully defended business-destroying cases, having secured and collected judgments as large as $100 million, and having brokered business settlements worth even larger amounts. To keep business needs in focus, Tom believes each engagement should start with the same question: “What do you want to accomplish?” Once that business objective is set, then the legal team is fully aligned with the interests of the business stakeholders.
Tom has been involved in a number of civic and charitable organizations, providing both volunteer leadership and pro bono legal representation. He has been involved in community education, serving as a guest speaker in community college classes as well as serving on the Workforce Development Advisory Board for Tulsa Community College. Tom is a former Mayor and member of the City Council of Sand Springs, Oklahoma. In that capacity he served on numerous state and local boards, authorities, and commissions. Tom is a former President of Restore Hope Ministries, a low income transitional services program. He has served on a variety of local and district boards and committees for the United Methodist Church. Tom has been involved with youth sports for twenty years, serving as a coach in numerous sports and as an Athletic Advisory Board member for the Salvation Army/Boys and Girls Clubs of America.
Tom has represented clients in a variety of matters involving multi-jurisdictional disputes, millions of pages of documents, terabytes of electronically stored information, dozens to hundreds of witnesses, and amounts in controversy ranging from the tens of millions into the billions of dollars. These matters, which are often bet-the-company engagements, require close coordination with clients, a high level of procedural and practical experience, a keen recognition of trial issues, and an advanced ability to manage the significant logistical, personnel, and legal issues associated with this kind of complex litigation. Tom’s experience in this area includes:
Florida Gas Transmission. Following a multi-week trial, a Broward County, Florida jury awarded Florida Gas Transmission $82.7 million in damages for failure by the Florida Department of Transportation to reimburse FGT for relocation of its natural gas pipelines. After the verdict was affirmed on appeal, the judgment was satisfied with a payment from the FDOT in excess of $100 million. The trial also resulted in the trial court entering an order interpreting rights in over one hundred miles of easement.
Southwest Gas Merger Litigation. A decade of litigation in several jurisdictions followed the unsuccessful tender offers by two competing utilities for Nevada-based Southwest Gas Corporation. The failed tender offers spawned litigation in Oklahoma, Nevada, California, and Arizona, appeals before the Ninth and Tenth Circuits, as well as ancillary proceedings in other states and before administrative agencies. Disclosed damages claims by our client were approximately one billion dollars. The legal effort resulted in numerous settlements as well as a two month trial in Arizona federal court that led to a jury verdict of $60.3 million dollars against an elected member of the Arizona Corporation Commission. The verdict, recognized by the National Law Journal as a Top 100 Verdict for the year, was the largest punitive damage verdict ever awarded against an individual. The various cases involved depositions of hundreds of witnesses, a substantial number of whom were presented at the Arizona trial, and production and management of millions of pages of documentary evidence and emails.
Warranty Wind Up. Litigation and settlement of thousands of warranty claims, both individual and through servicing dealers, on behalf of a large national insurer. The insurer was the remaining solvent defendant after large books of warranty business were written in contravention of company policy. The effort involved litigation, administrative proceedings, and resolution of un-filed claims throughout the Midwest and Southern United States, including successfully resisting administrative efforts in several states to impose penalties and business restrictions on the insurer, including cancellation of licenses to do business.
Take or Pay Gas Contracts. Litigation and settlement of take or pay claims arising from a public utility’s gas contract portfolio. The effort involved resolution of approximately $500 million in claims arising under thousands of contracts covering Oklahoma gas produced from approximately 5,000 wells. In addition to litigating approximately 50 cases filed in state and federal courts in Oklahoma and Texas, the effort involved administrative matters related to the ratable taking of gas under Oklahoma Statutes and Oklahoma Corporation Commission rules.
Grynberg Qui Tam Litigation. Representation of clients in connection with multi-district litigation arising from qui tam claims brought by relator Jack Gynberg on behalf of various public entities alleging that the natural gas industry had underpaid gas royalties by systematic mis-measurement.
Lignite Mine litigation. Representation of a Louisiana-based electric utility against claims by contract partner in connection with operation of an east Texas lignite mine. The litigation involved reconstruction of decades of business practices and legal opinions.
Re-roofing Patent Litigation. Representation of a Houston-based metal roofing manufacturer against claims that hundreds of projects throughout the United States were built in contravention of plaintiff’s patent rights. The case involved a significant historical analysis and investigation of the re-roofing industry. After a two-week trial, the jury determined by clear and convincing evidence that the patents in issue were invalid. The result was affirmed by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
Manufactured Gas Toxic Tort Litigation. Representation in connection with claims by over two hundred plaintiffs that their property had been contaminated by toxic manufactured gas plant waste. The waste was allegedly deposited from the late 1800’s to the mid 1950’s. The case involved hundreds of witnesses and millions of pages of documents, the majority of which were ancient records.
Medicaid Fraud. Representation of healthcare providers in connection with investigations and actions by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority and the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Fraud division relating to alleged fraud and abuse in receipt of Medicaid funds.
Professional, Community and Pro Bono Involvement
- Listed in Best Lawyers for Commercial Litigation, 2009-2017
- Listed in Super Lawyers®, 2007-2016
- AV® Preeminent™ Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating
- J.D., with highest honors, University of Oklahoma College of Law, Order of the Barristers, Order of the Coif, Editor-in-Chief of the Oklahoma Law Review, 1987
- B.A., summa cum laude, Communications, Criminal Justice, Northeastern Oklahoma State University, Honors Scholar, Top Ten Outstanding Seniors, National Debate Tournament, 1984
Bar & Court Admissions
- Oklahoma, 1987
- United States District Court Northern District of Oklahoma, 1988
- United States District Court Eastern District of Oklahoma, 1988
- United States District Court Western District of Oklahoma, 2004
- United States Court of Federal Claims, 2007
- United States Court of Appeals Federal Circuit, 1998
- United States Court of Appeals Tenth Circuit, 1989
- United States Court of Appeals Ninth Circuit, 2000
- United States Court of Appeals Eighth Circuit, 2010
- United States District Court District of North Dakota, 2013