Thomas M. Pohl, Associate

tpohl@bernsteinlaw.com
412-456-8100
412-456-8137 fax

Twitter: @BBLawFirmPA

Tom is an associate in the firm’s Litigation practice group.

Tom’s practice focuses on complex civil litigation and business disputes and he is a former Assistant United States Attorney and former law clerk on the United States Court of Appeals.  He has handled trial-level and appellate-level litigation matters for clients in federal courts across the country, as well as within the Pennsylvania state court system.  Tom has first-chair jury trial experience, and he has tried cases to verdict in Pennsylvania’s federal and state courts.  He has experience litigating matters involving commercial breach of contract, fraud, and other tort claims for a variety of clients, including those in the aerospace and defense industries, as well as manufacturing, procurement, energy, financial, newspaper and media, and non-profit sectors.  He has handled civil appellate matters in state and federal courts, including multiple matters in the United States Supreme Court, as well as in three U.S. Courts of Appeals, the Pennsylvania Superior Court, and the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court.  Tom’s experience includes serving as counsel for both defendants and plaintiffs.

Tom also has international arbitration experience. He has arbitrated under the procedures of the International Centre for Dispute Resolution, as well  as under the rules of the American Arbitration Association. Tom advises clients on matters of commercial and international arbitration, and he has previously provided commentary on international arbitration for the Allegheny County Bar Association’s “Third Circuit Review.”

Tom has managed large-scale civil discovery projects, and has served as temporary in-house counsel to a major pharmaceutical company, managing that company’s litigation portfolio and personnel. His practice has also included meeting with corporate boards to discuss litigation-avoidance planning.

Prior to joining Bernstein-Burkley, Tom served within the Department of Justice as an Assistant United States Attorney and Deputy Chief of the Civil Division for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Western District of Pennsylvania.  Prior to that, he was an attorney in the complex civil litigation group at one of the world’s largest law firms; and, prior to that, he served as judicial law clerk to U.S. Circuit Judge Rhesa Hawkins Barksdale on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and as a judicial intern to U.S. Senior District Judge T.S. Ellis, III on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Previously, Tom also taught for several years as a guest lecturer in United States District Judge Arthur J. Schwab’s business course at Grove City College, where he instructed business students in the fundamentals of contract law and personal jurisdiction in the age of e-commerce and global supply chains.

Sample Representative Matters:

  • Represented a health care insurer in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and in the U.S. Supreme Court in an action involving the client’s ability to recover its attorneys’ fees and costs under Section 285 of the Patent Act when targeted with baseless patent infringement allegations. After hearing oral argument, the Supreme Court issued a 9-0 decision for Tom’s client.
  • Represented an NFL Hall of Famer in a fraud action against an automotive company with which he had partnered. The case involved the sale of an automotive logistics Minority Business Enterprise. The district court entered summary judgment in favor of Tom’s client on all counterclaims asserted against him and at the same time denied the opposition’s own motion for summary judgment on fraud claims. The case was settled shortly thereafter.
  • Represented an American defense contractor, defending against an attempt to overturn, in district court, an arbitration result under the Federal Arbitration Act that was favorable to Tom’s client. The matter involved payment of commissions for sales of defense-industry equipment in Slovakia. The district court upheld the finding for Tom’s client in its entirety and awarded attorneys’ fees, and a settlement was subsequently reached among the parties concerning Tom’s client’s   recovery of its attorneys’ fees and costs.
  • Represented an individual—a private pilot—in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and then in the U.S. Supreme Court in an action involving the scope of damages recoverable for violations of the Privacy Act of 1974.
  • Represented a global pharmaceutical company in long-running litigation against the United States, concerning the company’s entitlement to certain research and development tax credits from the Internal Revenue Service. The case involved a multi-decade e-discovery effort, and ended with a favorable settlement.

Background:

  • Princeton University, A.B., summa cum laude, 2000
  • University of Notre Dame Law School, J.D., cum laude, 2008
    • Notre Dame Journal of Legislation – Editor in Chief
    • Notre Dame Appellate Moot Court Team – Board Member

Admissions:

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • State Supreme Court – Pennsylvania (all Pennsylvania courts)
  • U.S. Court of Appeals – Third Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals – Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals – Federal Circuit
  • U.S. District Court – Western District of Pennsylvania
  • U.S. District Court – Eastern District of Michigan

Affiliations and Memberships:

  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Pennsylvania Bar Association
  • Allegheny County Bar Association
  • Federalist Society

Military Service:

  • United States Marine Corps – Captain (Active Duty, 2000-2005; Reserve, 2005-2010)
  • Tom is a former Aviation Maintenance Officer (MOS 6002) and certified aircraft weight and balance technician. His experience includes two six-month deployments managing aircraft maintenance for Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 362 (“The Ugly Angels”) and the squadron’s fleet of Sikorsky CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopters.
  • Tom also previously served as Assistant Avionics Officer for Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 24, where he gained experience working with components for the Sikorsky SH-60 Seahawk, Sikorsky H-3 Sea King, and Lockheed P-3 Orion, as well as the CH-53D.
  • Tom’s awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and Naval Aircrew Wings.

Community Affiliations:

  • Captain, Fox Chapel (PA) Volunteer Fire Department; recipient of Fox Chapel’s “Firefighter of the Year” award
  • Member, Parish/Pastoral Council, St. Scholastica Catholic Church, Aspinwall, PA