Thomas M.


Tom Byrne litigates complex business disputes, with a primary focus on the defense of consumer and policyholder class actions and creditors’ rights litigation. His experience ranges from arguing in the Supreme Court of the United States to first chairing jury trials in four states. He served as lead counsel in more than 100 putative class actions. Tom regularly represents secured lenders and other parties in Chapter 11 bankruptcies and related litigation.

Tom joined Sutherland in 1982 after completing clerkships with the Honorable Robert A. Ainsworth, Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit; and the Honorable Morey L. Sear of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

Selected Experience

Sutherland client prevails in U.S. Supreme Court.
Sutherland argued in the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of a pro bono client seeking a discharge in bankruptcy. Construing the statutory term “defalcation,” the Supreme Court unanimously vacated the judgment against the client.
Sutherland defends auto lender in fair lending class actions.
Sutherland defended Ford Motor Credit Company in a series of putative class actions across the country under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act challenging the alleged disparate impact of originating dealer finance terms. The defense included the only trial of one such class action.
Sutherland successfully defends insurer in “gap coverage” case.
Sutherland prevailed in defending a life insurer in a putative nationwide class action asserting so-called gap coverage claims about a life insurance policy.

Awards and Rankings

National Law Journal Appellate Lawyer of the Week (May 28, 2013)

Named to The Best Lawyers in America in the areas of commercial litigation (2008-2014), litigation – real estate (2012-2014) and litigation – banking & finance (2012-2014)

Selected for inclusion in Georgia Super Lawyers® (2005-2006, 2008-2013)

Professional Activities

Chair, Evidence Study Committee - State Bar of Georgia (2008-2011)
Vice Chair, Evidence Study Committee - State Bar of Georgia (2003-2007)
Member, Governing Committee, Conference on Consumer Finance Law
Fellow, Lawyers Foundation of Georgia
Member, Lawyers Club of Atlanta
Member, Legal Committee, Association of Consumer Vehicle Lessors

  • J.D., magna cum laude, Notre Dame Law School, Articles Editor, Notre Dame Law Review
  • A.B., cum laude, University of Notre Dame
Bar Admissions
  • Georgia
  • Honorable Robert A. Ainsworth Jr., U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • Honorable Morey L. Sear, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana

Our Story

Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP is a law firm helping the Fortune 100, industry leaders, sector innovators and business entrepreneurs solve their biggest challenges and reach their business goals. Dedicated to unfaltering excellence in client service, we are known for our business savvy and industry intelligence, providing creative and custom solutions for each of our clients. Industry and business experience makes the difference for our clients.

click to watch Commitment to Excellence
Commitment to Excellence
Mark D. Wasserman, Managing Partner
Atlanta, GA
© 2014 Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP.
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