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Robert F. Tom

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Memphis
T: 901.577.2159
F: 901.577.0818

Robert F. Tom represents clients in litigation involving contract disputes, consumer banking and finance disputes, commercial torts, and real estate and residential mortgage disputes.

Featured Video

The State of the TCPA Post-ACA May 23, 2018

Featured Experience

Obtained the reversal of a trial court's denial of a motion to dismiss the claims against a national mortgage servicing company based on the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), and established Tennessee law that there is no private right of action under HAMP.

Enforced a retail installment contract arbitration provision on behalf of an automobile finance company pursuant to the Federal Arbitration Act, saving the company substantial amounts of time and attorneys' fees that would have been incurred in litigation.

Successfully enforced rights of a farm equipment finance company by obtaining judgment against defendants who had defaulted on credit agreements.

Professional Biography

Overview

With an emphasis on banking, financial services and class action litigation, Mr. Tom has successfully defended clients against claims asserting violations of the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), Tennessee Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and Right to Financial Privacy Act (RFPA).

Mr. Tom routinely defends clients against common law claims, such as breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, conversion, negligence, tortious interference, inducement of breach of contract, civil conspiracy and fraud. Mr. Tom is also experienced in creditors' rights litigation, is well-versed in limited-recourse guaranty issues, and has obtained numerous restraining orders, injunctions and receivership appointments on behalf of lenders and servicers.

In addition to his business litigation practice, Mr. Tom also has significant experience defending manufacturers and retailers in product liability litigation, involving drugs, medical devices, and food and food labeling.  

Representative Matters
  • Obtained the reversal of a trial court's denial of a motion to dismiss the claims against a national mortgage servicing company based on the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), and established Tennessee law that there is no private right of action under HAMP.

  • Enforced a retail installment contract arbitration provision on behalf of an automobile finance company pursuant to the Federal Arbitration Act, saving the company substantial amounts of time and attorneys' fees that would have been incurred in litigation.

  • Successfully enforced rights of a farm equipment finance company by obtaining judgment against defendants who had defaulted on credit agreements.
  • Successfully defended an automobile finance company in a number of consumer-related actions arising out of credit and installment agreements and other finance issues.

  • Defended an international automobile manufacturer in a class action lawsuit alleging violations of the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act and breach of implied warranties under Tennessee law. After filing motions to dismiss and to strike class action allegations on behalf of the automobile manufacturer, the plaintiff filed a notice of voluntary dismissal dismissing his case.

  • Defended a national insurance company in federal court against claims of breach of contract, violations of the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act and fraud, among others, based on the denial of an insurance claim for $1 million under an insurance policy. Obtained dismissal with prejudice from the district court, then argued before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and secured an affirmance of the dismissal.
  • Successfully defended a national financial institution against Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), Tennessee Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and breach of contract claims. Obtained dismissal of the HAMP, TCPA and breach of contract claims on a motion to dismiss, and negotiated a global settlement with the plaintiff and co-defendant, which resulted in dismissal of the remaining TILA claim with the client having to pay nothing.
  • Obtained summary judgment on liability for lender and special servicer against guarantors based on a limited recourse guaranty after certain triggering events in the guaranty were discovered. Successfully persuaded the judge that the lender's interpretation of contract language under the loan documents at issue were proper under Tennessee law.
  • Successfully defended a bank against a breach of contract claim brought by the bank's client after the client's former treasurer embezzled funds out of the client's checking account, because the checks were not properly payable within the meaning of UCC Article 4 and the terms of the deposit agreement governing the account. After filing a motion to strike the jury demand and a motion for judgment on the pleadings, the bank client voluntarily dismissed its claims.
  • Successfully defended city school system in a jury trial in a breach of contract action in which a locally-owned bus company was seeking millions of dollars in damages. After a seven-day jury trial, the jury deliberated for less than two hours before returning a complete defense verdict.
  • Defended a financial institution in a declaratory judgment action against the plaintiff's assertions that his two loans had been discharged and released, and successfully prosecuted a counterclaim for breach of contract, receiving the full amount of damages sought plus attorneys' fees. Successfully argued before the Tennessee Court of Appeals and obtained an affirmance of the trial court's judgment, in addition to an award of appellate attorneys' fees.
  • Obtained summary judgment for a national financial institution in a lawsuit alleging multiple violations of the Right of Financial Privacy Act.

  • Received a judgment on the pleadings on behalf of a real estate developer in a lawsuit seeking reimbursement of more than $1 million in earnest money.
Professional Honors & Activities
  • Tennessee Bar Association's 2014 Leadership Law Program
  • Leadership Council on Legal Diversity Fellow (2013); Regional Committee (2014); Outreach Committee (2014) 
  • Secretary – Tennessee Asian Pacific American Bar Association (2009 – 2013)
  • Listed as a Mid-South Super Lawyer Rising Star in Business Litigation (2012 – 2017)
  • Member – National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA)
    • Member – Litigation Committee 
  • Member – Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Tampa Bay
  • Managing Editor, Tulane Maritime Law Journal
  • CALI Excellence for the Future Award in Conflict of Laws
  • Named to Lawyers of Color's Inaugural Hot List (2013)
Speaking Engagements
  • Moderator – "Risks and Emerging Issues in Privacy and Data Security," NAPABA Southeast Regional Conference (August 2014)
  • "Landlord-Tenant Issues in Business Bankruptcy," NAPABA Bankruptcy, Restructuring & Creditors'/Debtors' Rights Committee webinar (July 2014)
  • Moderator – "When the Jury Does Not Look Like You," 2013 National Asian Pacific American Bar Association annual convention, Kansas City, Missouri (November 2013)
Webinars
Videos

Education

  • Tulane University Law School, J.D., 2004, cum laude
    • Member – Asian Pacific American Law Students Association
  • Emory University, B.B.A., 2000

Admissions

  • Arkansas, 2013
  • Tennessee, 2007
  • United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, 2011
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, 2010
  • United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, 2007
  • United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, 2005
  • Florida, 2004

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