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Calfee’s Utility Tort Defense practice, a key subgroup of the firm’s Tort, Accident and Products Liability (TAPL) group, is comprised of lawyers dedicated to defending tort claims against utility companies and their employees. 

Calfee’s TAPL group was founded in 1997 and is led by Tom Michals, one of the most experienced lawyers in this practice area. Tom has nearly 25 years of experience successfully defending utilities against serious personal injury and wrongful death cases (including cases involving serious disability, disfigurement, burn and traumatic brain injuries). He has argued successfully in the Ohio Supreme Court on behalf of both electric and telephone utility clients.

The team’s core members, including Tom Michals and Anthony F. Stringer, have handled cases on behalf of multiple utility clients across a wide range of industries and in numerous jurisdictions. We have defended virtually every type of tort case a utility is likely to face, from minor property damage claims to personal injury and wrongful death claims with demands over $100 million dollars. The core team members have first-chair trial experience in utility tort defense cases and have successfully defended utility tort claims at trial, on appeal and to the Ohio Supreme Court. 

Calfee’s team is somewhat unique among U.S. law firms practicing utility tort defense law in that we have developed significant knowledge and understanding of utility culture, business practices, and the many complex logistical, engineering and technological issues that come into play when accidents occur involving utility facilities and equipment.

We also have a special expertise in defending post-storm contact incidents and the difference in claims resulting from such incidents as opposed to those that occur on a blue-sky day.

Whereas many lawyers hired by utilities to defend tort claims face a steep learning curve regarding these issues, we are able to “hit the ground running,” having experience in all types of tort claims that may be asserted against a utility.




  • Represented the prevailing utility in a personal injury action from trial through the decision by The Ohio Supreme Court.
  • Represented the prevailing utility in a wrongful death action from trial through the decision by The Ohio Supreme Court.
  • Represented a utility from trial through the decision by The Ohio Supreme Court.
  • Directed verdict in a jury trial on behalf of a public utility in a complex property dispute.
  • Tom Michals is qualified as an expert witness on an attorney’s duty to analyze apportionment issues in tort cases.



  • Personal injury claims
  • Wrongful death claims
  • Property damage claims
  • Mass tort/toxic tort claims
  • Intentional tort claims
  • Fraud investigations
  • Excess exposure issues in litigation or coverage

Calfee attorneys are experienced in conducting post-incident investigations. They know what to look for and where to find it.

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