- Meet Tom
“Listening to somebody and knowing I’m going to be able to help them — that’s what I find rewarding.”
Coming from a family of lawyers, Tom Jones came by his love of the law honestly. But it was his desire to help people undergoing their biggest life challenges that focused his direction to plaintiffs law.
Tom graduated from the University of Missouri- Columbia in 1985 before attending law school at the University of Missouri – Kansas City and graduating in 1988.
Tom concentrated his practice on railroad-related ligation and in 1997 he won the largest railroad case settlement in the country for its time. This innovated case approach became a launchpad for this kind of litigation, setting a precedent for cases going forward and focusing Tom’s career more acutely on railroad injury work.
In 2001, Jones founded DBJ with his partners Scott S. Bethune and Grant Davis. The three men share a strong friendship and even stronger work philosophy: to fight tirelessly for each and every client and help people who need them.
If Tom isn’t working hard at DBJ, you can find him spending time with his wife, Susan and their kids, Henry and Ellie.
Though not exclusive to railroad litigation, Tom has concentrated much of his practice on fighting the rail industry’s titans on issues of public safety. He regularly speaks and teaches other lawyers nationally on trial issues related to rail litigation. He and DBJ receive calls from lawyers across the country wanting to gain knowledge about “train” cases, and are often sought to co-counsel on cases.
Having Kansas City, the nation’s second largest rail hub, as home, Tom has the knowledge and experience, and together with the firm, has resources to regularly take on the largest railroads in the U.S. Tom regularly litigates cases against all of the major Class 1 railroads (Union Pacific, BNSF, Norfolk Southern, CSX, Kansas City Southern and Canadian National) in Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, North Dakota, Ohio, West Virginia, Missouri, Kansas and other states. Cases against the U.S. rail industry are fraught with complex legal issues, are against highly organized and well-financed adversaries and require a great amount of expertise to even have a chance of success. The rail industry has affirmatively chosen to pay its lawyers to fight in a scorched-earth manner instead of doing the simple things for public safety like:
- Putting flashing lights/automatic gates signal systems at its crossings that need them;
- Sounding a proper horn always and without fail;
- Removing trees, vegetation that block the view of oncoming trains; and
- Maintaining its tracks and operating its trains at safe speeds so as to avoid derailments
Tom gained acclaim for trying a nationally renown case to jury verdict that resulted in the largest grade-crossing collision verdict in American trial history, $160,000,000. This verdict helped change how the railroad industry looks at its most dangerous crossings.
Tom also lead the charge in Arkansas’s largest rail crossing case settlement of $12.5M in a case involving a crossing with a very dangerous history of over twenty-five (25) prior wrecks.
The forces involved in train collisions are immense and have been likened to a fully loaded tractor-trailer running over an empty Coke can. As a result, the unfortunate victims who are inside the vehicle are confronted with forces that often result in debilitating brain injury. As a result of litigating numerous train collision cases, Tom has vast experience in helping brain injured adults and children.
In addition to representing those injured by negligent rail companies, Tom represents train operators in railroad employee job injury (FELA) cases.
Tom’s trial work has has not been exclusive to battling the rail industry over public safety issues. A select few other successes include:
- Tom representing the surviving family of an army reservist killed in a helicopter collision with dangerously hidden overhead power lines, which resulting in two jury trials and over $30M collected from a $21M verdict, plus interest;
- Tom representing a teenage boy injured when Arkansas’ largest children’s hospital operated on the wrong side of the brain, removing critical tissue, resulting in a $20M verdict; and
- Tom helping represent Abengoa Bioenergy, an Ethanol company, in its trial against Chicago Title Insurance Company for botching a zoning application and costing the Spanish biofuels company plans for a $200 million ethanol plant near Wichita, Kansas. The trial resulted in a $48M verdict for Abengoa Bioenergy. This verdict was collected on, with interest added, after unsuccessful appeal by Chicago Title.
Kansas City Business Journal – Best of the Bar
Best Lawyers in America – Lawyer of the Year
Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association Sustaining Member
Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys Board of Governors
American Association for Justice – Past National Chair, Railroad Litigation Section; Board of Governors, Traumatic Brain Injuries
National Trial Lawyers Board of Governors