C. Thomas Kruse has more than two decades' worth of trial experience along with appeals and arbitration of complex commercial matters. He has represented clients before the ICC Court of Arbitration as well as in AAA arbitration. He clerked for the Hon. Ricardo H. Hinojosa in the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas from 1989 to 1990. Tom is board-certified in Civil Trial Law by The Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He has been recognized professionally numerous times by legal institutions and directories, including Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, The Best Lawyers in America and Texas Super Lawyers.
Tom's practice focuses on commercial litigation, appeals and high-value arbitration. He is highly experienced in representing clients in financial, energy, engineering/EPC and oil field services industries. Tom routinely advises clients in a number of matters involving both long-term and short-term implications, including advising clients before disputes arise. A supremely skilled litigator, he is also adept at keeping his clients' proceedings out of litigation where possible.
Representative Legal Matters
Prior to joining the Firm, Tom handled the following matters:
- Successfully defended, as lead trial counsel, a lawsuit against an international engineering firm for over USD 33 million in damages over the design and engineering of a petrochemical plant. The case was dismissed with no payment by his client after a year of investigations and litigation.
- Defended and obtained a dismissal of claims by the US Department of Justice for over USD 42 million, in fines and penalties, over cross-border matters against a major automobile manufacturer. The DOJ dismissed all of its claims after motions, discovery and depositions.
- Worked as lead counsel prosecuting a claim for a major international engineering firm as claimant in an arbitration before the American Arbitration Association in Houston, Texas, for over USD 50 million in damages under a contract against the owners of a petrochemical plant in Texas. After discovery and motions, the case was settled favorably for his client before trial.
- Defended a major international energy firm in an arbitration case before the International Chamber of Commerce over claims involving construction and engineering of facilities in South America for electric power generation, processing of petrochemicals, and natural gas pipelines. After the arbitration, handled a related lawsuit challenging the award for a successful decision in the US District Court in Houston, Texas.
- Obtained a jury verdict for the plaintiff in a US District Court in Houston, Texas case involving minority shareholder oppression and breach of fiduciary duty. Collected more than USD 6 million in stock and patent portfolios for the client after entry of the judgment.
- Argued and won an appeal to the Texas Supreme Court, after five years of appeals, in a landmark case involving the sovereign immunity of a Texas city to claims by an international engineering company under a USD 40 million contract. The case is currently pending for trial.
- Successfully obtained a summary judgment in the US District Court in Houston, Texas, on behalf of the defendant, a large Chinese manufacturing company, against more than USD 12 million in claims involving alleged breaches of production and distribution contracts and allegations of fraud.
- Acted as lead counsel in the defense of a shareholder derivative suit in the US District Court in Houston, Texas, with more than USD 40 million in claims. The case settled favorably immediately after the deposition of the lead plaintiff.
- Worked in federal court as lead trial counsel to a Fortune 500 medical and scientific equipment company from a hostile attempt to force the sale of shares in a subsidiary in which the client had invested USD 30 million. Obtained a take-nothing judgment on USD 25 million in counterclaims and recovered and collected more than USD 3.6 million in attorneys’ fees over several years in a bench trial in Houston.
Professional Associations and Memberships
- American Bar Association - Member
- Texas State Bar - Member
- Texas State Foundation - Life Fellow
- Houston Bar Association - Life Fellow
- U.S. Court of International Trade~United States (2009)
- U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas~United States (2005)
- U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas~United States (2001)
- U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas~United States (1994)
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit~United States (1991)
- U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas~United States (1990)
- Texas~United States (1989)
- Vanderbilt University Law School (JD) (1989)
- University of St. Andrews (Bobby Jones Scholar) (1986)
- Emory University (BA Economics) (1985)
Baker & McKenzie LLP is a Limited Liability Partnership organized under the laws of the State of Illinois (USA) and is a member of Baker & McKenzie International, a Verein organized under the laws of Switzerland.