The law often provides clear answers to common questions, but intractable problems require innovative solutions. When it looks like a case has hit a roadblock, Colorado lawyers call Thomas Neville to find a way around, over, or through it. A skilled appellate and trial advocate, Thomas helps his clients in insurance disputes, legal malpractice cases, trusts and estates litigation, and appellate matters.
- University of Denver College of Law, J.D., Order of St. Ives
- Gonzaga University, B.A. in History
- U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
Thomas Neville and Mike Cross represented the beneficiaries of a trust and successfully challenged changes made to the settlor’s testamentary documents on the grounds that the trustee exercised undue influence over the settlor to exclude their clients from the estate. Using legal, financial, and medical documents, Thomas and Mike showed that the trustee was using trust assets for personal purposes.
When an insurance company unreasonably refused to settle a lawsuit against its insured, Thomas wrote the appellate briefs and successfully argued before the Colorado Supreme Court in the seminal Nunn v. Mid-Century Ins. Co., 244 P.3d 116 (Colo. 2010). In the decision, the Supreme Court adopted Thomas’ legal argument and decided that an insured defendant whose insurance company unreasonably refuses to settle a claim may enter into a stipulated judgment in excess of policy limits so that the insured can protect himself/herself and assign the bad faith claim to the claimant.
In Bedor v. Johnson, 2013 CO 4, 292 P.3d 294 and Kendrick v. Pippin, 252 P.3d 1052 (2011), Thomas was a key advocate in convincing the Colorado Supreme Court to abolish the archaic “sudden emergency doctrine,” which allowed individuals who had negligently injured others to avoid taking responsibility for their actions by claiming that everyday events, like encountering icy roads, constituted unforeseeable emergency situations.
In McKinley Medical, LLC v. DJO, LLC, et al., Thomas helped develop the legal analysis that that formed the basis for the firm’s suit against the insurer.
In Repsher v. Airbus and Air Methods, Thomas spearheaded the response to the helicopter manufacturer’s argument that Federal law superseded Colorado’s common law standards of care in products liability cases. Although the trial court initially disagreed with his analysis, it ultimately agreed with the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, whose analysis Thomas had anticipated in his briefing.
In April 2014, Thomas helped Michael Mihm obtain a $2.5 million jury verdict on behalf of the owners of a prominent Colorado retail business in a legal malpractice case arising out of an attorney’s breach of fiduciary duty when aiding a trustee in an attempt to seize control of the family-owned company.
When lawyers need innovative solutions for difficult legal issues, they call Thomas Neville. With a background combining appellate and trial experience, Thomas is Ogborn Mihm’s radical legal scholar, finding new and creative paths to solve problems. He brings this unique perspective to his primary practice area, handling insurance disputes for individuals and corporations whose insurance companies have abandoned them by leaving claims unpaid or by refusing to protect their insureds’ assets and livelihood. Thomas represents clients in insurance litigation both at the trial court and appellate levels. He also represents clients in legal malpractice, trusts and estates litigation, catastrophic personal injury and appellate cases.
Thomas grew up in Alaska, where he got his first taste of legal work as a student attorney with the Anchorage Youth Court. Educated at Gonzaga University, he spent six months studying at Oxford University, where he rekindled his passion for the law. Thomas graduated from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law in the top 10% of his class. After graduating from law school, he worked as a law clerk for the Colorado Court of Appeals for two years. During that time, he clerked for three judges, the Honorable JoAnn Vogt, Bob Kapelke, and Bob Hawthorne. Following his clerkship, Thomas went to work with Murray and Mike Ogborn in 2005. His analytical and writing skills make him well suited to address complex, technical issues.
Thomas has been an active member of the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association (CTLA) since 2006. In 2010, he was asked to co-chair CTLA’s Amicus Curiae (Friend of the Court) committee. Members of the Amicus Committee donate their time to support plaintiffs who have appellate issues with far reaching impact for the people of Colorado. In 2011, he was elected to CTLA’s Board of Directors and served in that capacity until 2018, when he was elected as an officer of the organization. He has also volunteered to review legislation for members of the Colorado General Assembly and has testified before the legislature on bills related to the regulation of insurance companies. Thomas’ time on CTLA’s amicus committee and with the legislature ensure the interests of the public are protected. In 2018, Thomas’ leadership and dedication to CTLA was recognized when he was elected Treasurer by the membership. He will serve as President of CTLA starting in 2022. In addition to his work with CTLA, Thomas was selected as one of twenty participants in the Colorado Bar Association’s Leadership Training (COBALT) program for 2018.
Thomas serves as the Cubmaster for Pack 203, a Cub Scout Pack chartered out of the Susan Duncan YMCA. In that capacity, he works with a group of more than 60 boys and girls between the ages of 5 and 11, who are learning about leadership, character, and citizenship. In 2018 and 2019, his Pack learned about each of the amendments of the Bill of Rights. A self-described “geek,” Thomas enjoys playing video and board games with his wife and two sons (when he has time). He also enjoys hiking, camping, and fishing.
- Chapter 30, “Appeals,” in Lawyer’s Professional Liability in Colorado, 2018 Ed. (Michael T. Mihm ed., CLE in Colorado, Inc.).
- “Who Are We?” Trial Talk, Vol. 63, Issue 1, Dec/Jan 2014.
- Co-Authored with Nelson Boyle, “Open and Accepting Your Requests for Amicus Curiae Assistance,” Trial Talk, Vol. 61, Issue 2, Feb/Mar 2012.
- “Raising the Bar from Both Sides of the Fence,” University of Denver Sturm College of Law, Denver, Colorado (March 2019).
- “Discovery in a Post-Ferrer World: New Tactics to Know,” Colorado Trial Lawyers Case Assistance Roundtable, Denver, Colorado (March 2018).
- “Evaluating Self-Funded Insurance Plans for Purposes of ERISA Subrogation,” Colorado Trial Lawyers Association Case Assistance Roundtable, Denver, Colorado (September 2017).
- “The Three Pillars of Ferrer v. Okbamicael and How to Address Them,” Colorado Trial Lawyers Association Case Assistance Roundtable, Denver, Colorado (April 2017).
- “ERISA Subrogation,” Colorado Trial Lawyers Association Legal Staff Committee, Denver, Colorado (May 2015).
- “Preserving the Record for Appeal,” Colorado Trial Lawyers Association New Lawyers’ Boot Camp, Denver, Colorado (April 2015).
- “Preserving the Record for Appeal,” Colorado Trial Lawyers Association Blockbuster Seminar, Denver, Colorado (January 2012).
- Secretary, Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, 2019-2020
- Treasurer, Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, 2018-2019
- Board of Directors, Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, 2011-2018
- Amicus Committee Co-Chair, Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, 2010-2018
- New Lawyers Boot Camp Instructor, Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, 2012
- Participant, Colorado Bar Association Leadership Training (COBALT) program, 2018