Cozen O’Connor: O'Rourke, Thomas M.

Thomas M. O´Rourke

Member

Philadelphia

(215) 665-5585

(215) 665-2013

Thomas M. O’Rourke focuses his practice on litigation services in a wide range of industries and subject areas including health care, manufacturing (food and products), and entertainment matters. Thomas has experience representing businesses and individuals in complex commercial cases, including commercial contract disputes, business torts and antitrust at both the state and federal levels.

His defense practice includes cases involving the health care industry, antitrust compliance, and product liability. He also has appellate experience in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, the Second Circuit and the Fourth Circuit. Thomas has represented many types of clients in a wide variety of cases, including a school district in an appeal involving the constitutionality of the Pennsylvania Tort Claims Act. He has also represented, manufacturers and distributors, such as fire alarm and foam product manufacturers, food companies, health care companies, and insurers, casinos, and music promotion companies.  Thomas also regularly provides advice to clients regarding the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and the effectiveness of class action waiver and arbitration clauses in consumer contracts.  He has also dedicated his practice to representing individual criminal defendants in fraud cases, including health care fraud, at the federal level.

Prior to joining the firm, Thomas completed two federal clerkships, serving as a law clerk to the Honorable David R. Strawbridge of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania from 2009-2010, and as a law clerk to U.S. District Court Judge Mitchell S. Goldberg of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania from 2010-2012.

Thomas regularly provides pro bono services to a nonprofit reuse center dedicated to promoting creative reuse, recycling, and resource conservation, where he represents the company in a dispute pertaining to the center’s commercial lease.

During law school, Thomas served as lead research editor of the Temple Law Review and was recognized for outstanding achievement in oral advocacy, evidence, constitutional law, corporate law, and criminal law.

Experience

Antitrust

Defended a large polyurethane foam manufacturer in more than 45 antitrust class actions in multidistrict litigation filed in the United States and Canada. The client was the only defendant in the case to secure partial summary judgment, which removed $5 billion in sales from plaintiffs’ proposed damages calculation and led to a favorable settlement.

Commercial Litigation

Represented a large food manufacturer in contract litigation against its contract manufacturer and packaging supplier to recover damages from a nationwide recall of baby food.  The matter settled favorably prior to trial.

Represented a large computer software company in a contract dispute with a former officer who became CEO of a competitor.  The matter settled favorably prior to trial.

Successfully represented a large medical marijuana company in a contract dispute in federal court.

Litigation

Successfully represented the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, defeating an effort to overturn the statutory damages cap that limits recovery against state agencies to $250,000. Responding to the plaintiffs’ King’s Bench petition, the Cozen O’Connor team argued that the extraordinary relief sought was improper and that the plaintiffs’ arguments regarding potential changes to the sovereign immunity statute were inappropriately directed to the Court, rather than to the legislature.

Products Liability

Successfully represented a manufacturer of consumer safety products facing wrongful death claims in several states arising out of deaths and serious injuries as a result of residential fires. 

Publications

Federal Judge to Rule on “Fundamental Clash” Between PA’s Medical Marijuana Act and Federal Law [Cannabis Alert]

March 15, 2018

Thomas G. Wilkinson and Thomas M. O’Rourke discuss a case pending in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania that could seriously undermine the ability of medical marijuana businesses to operate.

Federal Budget Deal Reaffirms Executive Legislative Branch Split in Legalized Medical Marijuana Policy [Cannabis Alert]

February 12, 2018

Thomas M. O’Rourke and Nicole Sprinzen discuss how the budget deal affects the cannabis industry.

A Ticket to Sue – Pennsylvania’s Registration Requirement for Foreign Business Entities [Lexology]

April 01, 2015

In an article titled “A Ticket to Sue – Pennsylvania’s Registration Requirement for Foreign Business Entities,” Thomas Wilkinson, a member of Cozen O’Connor’s Commercial Litigation Department, and Thomas O’Rourke, an associate in the Commercial Litigation Department, discuss the new registration regime for foreign businesses that will come into effect on July 1, 2015. Under the new requirements, foreign businesses that are “doing business” in Pennsylvania without proper authorization will still be without legal capacity to sue in Pennsylvania. It will remain critical, therefore, for each foreign business to ensure that it is properly registered, if necessary, before seeking recovery in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Considers Whether Social Science Is 'Common Sense' or a Tool to Correct Juror Misconceptions [Civil Litigation Update]

September 19, 2014

In an article titled ''Pennsylvania Supreme Court Considers Whether Social Science is ‘Common Sense’ or a Tool to Correct Juror Misconceptions,'' Thomas Wilkinson, a member of Cozen O’Connor’s Commercial Litigation Department, and Thomas O’Rourke, an associate in the Commercial Litigation Department, discuss two recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court decisions regarding the use of social science experts in criminal cases.

Psychology in the Courtroom - Is Social Science "Common Sense" or a Tool to Correct Juror Misconceptions? [Lexology]

July 09, 2014

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently issued two decisions regarding the use of social science experts in criminal cases. As noted by University of Pittsburgh law professor David Harris, however, the opinions appear to “come from two different worlds.”

When Is It Appropriate to Prosecute a 'Faceless' Corporation? [The Legal Intelligencer]

April 16, 2014

In an article titled "When Is It Appropriate to Prosecute a 'Faceless' Corporation?" Hayes Hunt and Thomas O'Rourke, members of Cozen O'Connor's Commercial Litigation Department, discuss the September 9, 2010 natural gas explosion in San Bruno, CA and the 12-count indictment charging PG&E with violations of the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act.

Drawing a Bright-line Rule on Discovery of Attorney-Expert Communications: Should All Work Product be Off Limits? [Civil Litigation Update]

December 01, 2013

Consider the following scenario: You have been retained in a personal injury case and your opponent has hired a medical expert to testify at trial. In response to a discovery request seeking materials from the expert’s file, your opponent turns over certain documents but withholds “letters and emails” exchanged with the expert. The basis for this nondisclosure is that the correspondence is protected “attorney work product.”

Are Attorney Communications With Non-Reporting Experts Discoverable? The Answer May Depend on Who You Talk To [Civil Litigation Update]

May 01, 2013

It may be surprising to hear that there are two categories of expert witnesses under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and that the scope of discovery available from each is different. Indeed, before 2010, the federal rules addressed only a single class of expert witnesses: experts who were required to produce a written report.

Industry Sectors

Education

  • Temple University—James E. Beasley School of Law, J.D., 2009
  • Ithaca College, B.A., summa cum laude, 2004
  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court -- Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court -- New Jersey
  • Supreme Court of Pennsylvania

Hon. David R. Strawbridge, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania (2009-2010)

Hon. Mitchell S. Goldberg, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania from (2010-2012)

University of Pennsylvania Inn of Court

American Bar Association

Pennsylvania Bar Association – Civil Litigation Section