Thomas Lesser


Biography

Tom’s practice is focused on the representation of clients in complex civil litigation and criminal law.

Tom has been rated as a “Super Lawyer” in Massachusetts and New England since that designation was established by the Thompson Reuters rating service. Tom is one of only three attorneys designated as a Super Lawyer in the field of plaintiff personal injury in the four Western Massachusetts counties, Hampshire, Franklin, Hampden and Berkshire. It is an honor the organization gives to less than five percent of the lawyers in Massachusetts.  Tom has also been included in the 22nd edition of the “Best Lawyers in America.”

Tom’s civil practice is concentrated on personal injury, medical malpractice and wrongful death cases. However, he regularly represents clients in business and real estate litigation, First Amendment and civil rights claims, and environmental, zoning and municipal law.

Tom’s criminal practice is diverse, ranging from representing clients charged with first degree murder, white collar violations, drug related crimes, and operating while under the influence violations.

Tom graduated from Harvard Law School in 1972. In addition to practicing throughout Massachusetts, he is admitted to the United States District Courts in Vermont and Connecticut. He has taught at Western New England School of Law, as well as continuing legal education courses in the fields of personal injury law, criminal law and technology.

Martha's Vineyard (August 11, 2014)

Martha’s Vineyard (August 11, 2014)

Tom with First Lady (laughing)

Tom was active in the Obama campaigns in 2008 and 2012, serving on the New England Steering Committee since 2007 and on the National Finance Committee in 2011 and 2012.

Senator Elizabeth Warren selected Tom as one of five attorneys in western Massachusetts to serve on the Advisory Committee on Massachusetts Judicial Nominations for the purpose of recommending candidates for federal judicial vacancies in Massachusetts.

In November 2014, Maura Healey named Tom as a member of her Transition Team to offer guidance as she prepares to take over as one of the nation’s leading state Attorney General Offices.

Tom Lesser 3 31 (2)In 2015, Tom joined Hillary for America’s Regional Finance Committee in support of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

In 2016, Tom joined the Advisory Board for the Abortion Rights Fund of Western Massachusetts.

 

 

Representative Cases

Personal

Injury

  • Jury award of $1,160,000 in a medical malpractice action in United States District Court in Vermont. The defendant was a nationally known surgeon, who improperly treated the plaintiff, a 460 pound man, for a foot burn that he received from a heating pad. More than 20 depositions were conducted prior to trial.
  • A $750,000 settlement on the third day of trial for the Estate of a 38 year-old man, snowmobiling with a blood alcohol reading of .15. The decedent drove into the back of an abandoned truck late at night on a public road, resulting in his death. The firm spent $70,000 preparing and trying the case. Counsel purchased an identical snowmobile and filmed a reenactment of the accident and also conducted a mock trial with two juries in order to better understand how jurors would react to the decedent’s blood alcohol reading.
  • A $1,375,000 settlement for the Estate of a Tibetan immigrant, who died in a boardinghouse arson when the fire alarms failed to go off. Tom went to India, where the plaintiff’s wife and children resided, to film them as part of a 35 minute mediation video. Counsel returned to India a second time to persuade the US embassy to support the family’s entry into the United States on humanitarian grounds.
  • $1.3 million settlement for a young man injured at an indoor play center in eastern Massachusetts when he leaned against an unsecured door on the top level of a play structure and fell to the ground. After a short admission to Massachusetts General Hospital, the plaintiff treated with a pediatric neurologist, who felt that after one year he had made a remarkable recovery and was back almost to normal.Counsel then had the young man examined in Utah by a world-renowned neuropsychologist and radiologist, who conducted 3-D magnetic resonance brain imaging not available on the East Coast. Based on the imaging, the expert was prepared to testify that the young man had suffered permanent damage to his frontal lobe, leaving him at increased risk of depression, epilepsy, early onset of dementia, and executive function deficits.An award-winning videographer prepared a docudrama settlement DVD for mediation where the case settled for $1.3 million. The plaintiff is now a junior at a well known college.
  • A $675,000 settlement for a central Massachusetts laborer, who claimed he suffered a back injury while helping unload a pallet of sheetrock from a forklift.
  • $415,000 jury verdict in a Federal Employee’s Liability Act (FELA) case where a trackman slipped while on the job injuring his ankle. The plaintiff claimed the railroad failed to provide appropriate equipment in the form of ice grippers.
  • $750,000 settlement in a failure to diagnose breast cancer case.
  • Currently representing five young women, two of whom are now in high school, who allege they were sexually abused by a school counselor while in grade school.

Criminal Law

  • Obtained the suppression of a confession in a first degree murder/arson case from Massachusetts’ highest court. The trial judge in that case had found that without the confession there was insufficient evidence to charge the defendant.
  • Obtained a dismissal of all charges and return of over $80,000 in cash seized pursuant to a search warrant that had also resulted in the seizure of over 30 pounds of marijuana.
  • Obtained a sentence of probation in Federal Court for a former employee of a Fortune 500 company who admitted using insider information in a scheme that resulted in a $636,000 profit.
  • Represented five juveniles on first degree murder charges. None were sentenced to incarceration.
  • Represented a defendant with a prior felony drug conviction charged with growing over 200 marijuana plants. The case was continued in Superior Court, over the Commonwealth’s objection, without a finding of guilty.
  • Obtained dismissal of all charges stemming from a stop by a Smith college police officer when he stopped the defendant on a street adjoining the campus. The legality of the stop is now pending before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.
  • Currently representing a client on gambling and tax charges in an internet café sweepstakes case.

Civil Litigation

  • The Bank of Mexico brought a defamation lawsuit in New York Supreme Court against the publisher of the largest daily newspaper in the Yucatan, the publisher of an Internet news site and the Internet site itself in New York City. The bank was represented by Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, one of the largest law firms in the United States. Lesser, Newman & Nasser undertook the defense of the defendants.The New York Supreme Court found that Internet publishers are entitled to the same First Amendment protections as newsprint publishers, and that given those protections, the plaintiffs could not prove the malice required in a defamation lawsuit. It was the first reported lawsuit in the Northeast and one of the first in the United States in which Internet reporting sites were afforded the same First Amendment protections as newspapers and magazines.
  • Represented the owner of a bar who was attempting to open an adult entertainment establishment. Counsel won four separate motions for summary judgment overturning various zoning ordinances. Counsel was awarded $280,000 in fees by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.
  • Represented a business woman in Boston who was denied a special permit to open a tattoo business. The court found that tattooing was a First Amendment protected activity and that the special permit ordinance was invalid. Full counsel fees were awarded.

Appellate Cases

  • Commonwealth v Anthony P. Baye, 462 Mass. 246 (2012) (Massachusetts’ highest court reversed a trial court decision and suppressed the defendant’s confession, holding that the confession was involuntary because the investigating police officers used multiple improper interrogation techniques).
  • Mendoza v. Licensing Board of Fall River, 444 Mass. 188 (2005) (Massachusetts’ highest court held that the Massachusetts constitutional guarantee of freedom of expression provides greater protection for nude dancing than the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and overturned a local indecency ordinance).