Thomas P. Gmelich

Litigation Team Head P: 818 243 5200
F: 818 243 5266

Tom Gmelich is a co-founder of the firm and leads our Litigation team. A leading trial lawyer with extensive experience, Tom handles complex litigation matters throughout the state of California.

Thomas P. Gmelich is one of the firm’s founding partners and has over 25 years of litigation experience. Mr. Gmelich’s practice focuses on the defense of catastrophic injury cases, focusing on general civil liability litigation, personal/commercial auto, private security guard litigation, recreational sports injury litigation, insurance fraud litigation, complex business litigation, construction defect, and maritime and cargo loss. He has successfully defended claims against a wide variety of clients, including retail and restaurant owners, commercial building owners / property management companies, fitness clubs, all construction trades, product manufacturers, private security companies, and transportation companies, including ocean, rail, and air carriers.


  • Southern California Super Lawyer honoree – 13 consecutive years from 2006 to present
  • AV Preeminent Peer Rated by Martindale Hubbell


  • In Ester Dazo vs. Globe Airport Security Services, Inc., et al (2002) 295 F.3d 934: Federal Appellate Court opinion, which provides significant liability protection for airport security companies relating to property loss claims. The Ninth Circuit upheld the liability limitation provisions of the Warsaw Convention in favor of airport security companies for property losses sustained by plaintiffs engaged in international travel.
  • Jacques Jacobs vs. Coldwell Banker (2017) 4 Cal. App. 5th 438: California Court of Appeals opinion stating the listing broker did not have a duty to warn potential purchaser about risks inherent of standing on a diving board over an empty pool, as such risk of danger was open and obvious. The broker did not invite potential purchaser to approach the empty pool and warnings had been placed in the MLS regarding the danger.
  • Authored various articles for California Clubs of Distinction Monthly Newsletter on topics ranging from enforcement of waivers and releases to premises liability defense.
  • Authored articles for American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal
  • Authored articles which have appeared in numerous publications relating to security guard defense, including third party criminal assaults and negligent security
  • Authored articles in for various insurance carriers on topics ranging from defending

Professional Activities

  • Claims & Litigation Management Alliance (CLEM)
  • National Retail & Restaurant Defense Association (NRRDA)
  • International Health, Racquet & Sports Club Association (IHRSA)
  • California Clubs of Distinction (regional affiliate to IHRSA) (CCD)
  • American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS)
  • Retail Special Agents Association (RSAA)
  • International Association for Healthcare Security & Safety (IAHSS)
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association
  • Glendale Bar Association
  • Irish-American Bar Association
  • Association of Southern California Defense Counsel – Committee Chair – Law Firm Management
  • Los Angeles County Superior Court – Personal Injury Hub Steering Committee


Speaking Engagements

Mr. Gmelich has lectured extensively throughout California to various insurance carriers, third party administrators, insurance company associations, defense attorney associations, health clubs, and health club associations (including Combined Claims Conference, Association of Southern California Defense Counsel, CNA Insurance Company, Sedgwick Claims, Hartford Insurance Company, Zurich Insurance, Berkley Risk, TJX Companies, California Clubs of Distinction, International Association for Healthcare Security & Safety, and American Society of Industrial Security) on topics pertaining to premises liability, negligence, contracts, risk management, and trial strategies.


  • Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, JD, CA, 1993
  • University of California, Berkeley, BA, Dean’s List Honors, 1989


  • State Bar of California (All Courts)


  • United States District Court for the Central, Eastern, Northern and Southern Districts
  • United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit