Overview

About Tom

Tom Woods practices in the firm’s Trial and Litigation practice groups. He is a complex civil litigator with multiparty, mass tort and class action litigation experience. He represents corporate and individual clients in state and federal courts, and at arbitration, in cases involving a range of issues including defense of consumer protection and unfair, unlawful and fraudulent business practice claims; breaches of fiduciary duties and duties of loyalty; misappropriation of trade secrets; fraud; breaches of contract; negligence; and contractual and equitable indemnity claims, as well as shareholder derivative claims and corporate governance disputes. In the last several years assisting secured lenders in the real estate and banking industries, Tom has developed substantial experience litigating real estate (title) and secured lending disputes. Tom’s corporate clients span industries from medical device and household product manufacturing to banking and lending.

Since joining Stoel in 2011, Tom has developed substantial experience representing clients in industries ranging from consumer product manufacturing and retail to commercial lending. Many of his cases involve claimed violations of state and federal consumer and business protection laws, including, but not limited to, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), and state and federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Acts (the RFDCPA and FDCPA). This is in addition to Tom’s experience providing regulatory compliance advice and litigation services concerning a collection of other state consumer protection laws aimed at respecting consumer privacy and preventing unfair and deceptive disclosures and other business practices.

Before joining Stoel, Tom was of counsel at Greenberg Traurig LLP (2008–2011) and an associate with Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P. (2004–2008). During those seven years, Tom developed substantial experience representing pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers and other clients in complex state-coordinated proceedings and multidistrict litigation (MDL). From 2001 to 2004, Tom served as a Lieutenant and trial attorney for the U.S. Navy JAG Corps and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney (SAUSA) in federal civil litigation for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of California, in San Diego. He received an Honorable Discharge from the U.S. Navy in 2008.

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Experience

Experience

Recent Complex Litigation Experience

  • For a national consumer lending client and also a prominent retailer, Tom has served as lead defense counsel in federal class actions alleging TCPA violations. Aggressive defense of one recent case led to a dismissal of the complaint with prejudice prior to class certification filings. Other of Tom’s TCPA cases have resolved quickly and efficiently with nominal impact on clients and their operations. In one approximate two-plus-year period, Tom successfully led the representation of one national lender in over 30 cases asserting claims under the FCRA, the TCPA, and state and federal FDCPA violations in California state and federal courts, and at arbitration.
  • For another national lender and loan servicing company, Tom proficiently served as the client’s Northern California lead trial counsel in over 400 cases. In one recent matter disputing the client’s business practices, an early and aggressive litigation strategy resulted in case-terminating and monetary sanctions against the plaintiff and plaintiff’s counsel prior to the client having to answer to the complaint in Sacramento Superior Court. In two recent cases involving theft of property used to secure repayment of the client’s loans to borrowers, Tom litigated the preservation of the property in favor of the client and otherwise enabled the client’s monetary recovery on its secured debts. Tom’s experience successfully litigating disputes over secured lending for many years has enabled him to build efficiencies into client case portfolios and ensure their business continuity.
  • For a pharmaceutical manufacturing client, Tom successfully defended claims of unlawful advertising and competition brought against the client under the Lanham Act (15 U.S.C. § 1051 et seq.) In each case, Tom’s early and comprehensive litigation defense strategies enabled the client to avoid claims for injunctive relief aimed at preventing the client’s sale of competitive pharmaceutical products. Each case was dismissed pre-trial.
  • For several local corporate clients, Tom has successfully defended against shareholder claims for alleged fraud, waste, and abuse of corporate assets. In these and other cases, Tom has litigated disputes over corporate governance, alleged breaches of fiduciary duties and employment agreements, and challenges to client exercise of business judgment in the best interests of corporations and their shareholders.
  • In a federal trial for a national metal producer and recycler, Tom successfully tried and defended a plaintiff’s claim for breach of contract and allegations that an indemnity agreement’s terms were ambiguous. The federal district court interpreted the contract in the client’s favor after trial testimony, and indemnity was owed to the client.
  • For the same client at a week-long arbitration, Tom secured an arbitrator’s award denying a claimant’s multimillion-dollar claim for indemnity owed after an asset-purchase sale. The client was awarded compensation on its own claim for indemnity against the unsuccessful claimant.
  • For a local hotelier at arbitration, Tom secured an award compelling an opponent’s performance under a contract for transfer of title to property upon which the client’s hotel and regional business center were planned for construction. The award also provided the client’s recoupment of damages and fees.
  • For a national medical device manufacturing client, Tom recently collaborated with Stoel’s registered patent litigators to represent the client’s defense of a patent infringement case filed in the Eastern District of California. After a partial motion to dismiss was granted, the team successfully opposed a motion for preliminary injunction seeking to halt the client’s sales of the product in dispute.
  • For a national cleaning product manufacturer, Tom successfully litigated and negotiated claims brought by the State of California in a civil enforcement action, alleging that the client’s product labeling deceived, or was likely to deceive, buyers of the client’s product in violation of sections 17200 and 17500 of California’s Business and Professions Code (the “UCL”), and California’s “slack-fill” laws. The resolution of this case for a value notably below comparative settlements has led Stoel to represent the client successfully in other regulatory matters. Tom’s results in the area of California civil enforcement and UCL actions are borne from his success in defending corporate clients in similar cases prior to joining Stoel. Tom has defended these cases for clients in industries including those that manufacture household cleaning products, medical devices, dietary supplements, cosmetics, and beauty supplies.

Recent Regulatory Compliance and Advice Experience

  • For a national clothing retail chain, Tom recently provided comprehensive advice and assistance on the client’s desire to institute a state-wide fraud and theft prevention program in its stores. Tom thoroughly evaluated several California consumer protection laws impacting the implementation of this useful program, not limited to the Song–Beverly Credit Card Act and California Business and Professions Code sections 17200, et seq. and 17500, et seq.
  • For two food and beverage manufacturing clients, Tom has provided extensive guidance on corporate compliance with state and federal consumer protection laws aimed at ensuring accurate and substantiated labeling and product claims for natural and organic food and beverage products. Tom’s service to clients in this area has gone beyond product labeling and packaging advice to review and evaluation of the potential for litigation or regulatory compliance exposure arising out of product claims or “likes” published on social media.
  • For the national cleaning product manufacturer discussed above, Tom has provided experienced advice on California-compliant product labeling and packaging for household cleaning products.
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Honors

Honors & Activities

  • Listed in Sacramento Magazine’s Top Lawyers, 2022
  • Past-President (2016), Federal Bar Association, Sacramento Chapter
  • Board Member, Federal Bar Association, Sacramento Chapter, 2012–present
  • Volunteer, Eastern District of California Pro Bono Litigation Program
  • Co-director of the Stoel Rives Trial Skills and Mock Trial Program for Litigation and Trial Practice Group associates, 2014–present
  • Advisory Committee Member, Sacramento Area Regional Technology Alliance (SARTA), 2012–2015
  • Member, Sacramento County Bar Association
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, Defense Research Institute, Drug and Medical Device Committee
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Insights & Presentations

Insights & Presentations

  • Business in California: Website Accessibility Suits” (co-author), Corporate Counsel, October 4, 2022
  • “What’s New for the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA): Addressing Risks to Ensure Compliance,” Knowledge Group webcast, August 4, 2021
  • Website Accessibility: Unseen Liability,” (co-author), Artisan Spirit Magazine, Spring 2021
  • “2019 Trends and Developments in the TCPA: How Will It Affect the Future of Litigation and Compliance,” The Knowledge Group webinar, August 16, 2019
  • Moderator, “A Panel Discussion: Innovations From Employers Driving System Reform,” 2016 Northern California State of Reform Health Policy Conference, Sacramento, April 6, 2016
  • Yvanova v. New Century Mortgage Corp.: Perceived Victories And Defeats On All Sides,” Stoel Rives Litigation and Real Estate Law Alert, February 18, 2016
  • “Crowdfunding: A Potential Cash Source for Business That Could Make a Well-Intentioned Company’s Financial State Worse,” Stoel Rives Litigation and Technology Ventures Law Alert, September 30, 2015
  • Compliance with California Foreclosure Recording Law: What Level of ‘Defect’ in Foreclosure Recordings ‘Void’ a Sale?” Stoel Rives Litigation and Real Estate Law Alert, February 13, 2015
  • “An Update on ‘State-of-the-Art’ in California Products Liability Cases,” Stoel Rives Products Liability Law Alert, July 18, 2012
  • “California Buyer’s Remorse Litigation: The Latest Round of ILSA Litigation is Further Complicated by California’s Subdivided Lands Act” (co-author), California Real Property Journal, Spring 2012
  • “Tort Wars: The California Legislature Strikes Back,” Law360, March 7, 2012
  • “‘All Natural’ Class Action Litigation in California—Trend Will Continue in 2012,” (co-author), Guide to U.S. Food Labeling Law, February 2012
  • “Plaintiff Sues Tropicana Over ‘100 Percent Natural’ Orange Juice Claims,” The Bradenton Herald, January 25, 2012
  • “Labels Matter in California ‘All Natural’ Claims,” Law360, January 24, 2012
  • “Facing State Enforcement Actions,” Law360, January 9, 2012
  • “What Companies Need to Know as FDA Warning Letters Allege ‘Misleading Ads’ for ‘Lap-Band’ Surgeries—and California Regulators Take Notice,” Stoel Rives Litigation Law Alert, December 21, 2011
  • “‘All Natural’ Class Action Litigation in California: What’s in Store for 2012?” Stoel Rives Litigation Law Alert, December 20, 2011
  • “Judgment Enforcement,” Lorman Education Services, March 2009



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