For more than 20 years, Tom Cartmell has been trying cases and handling lawsuits for both plaintiffs and defendants throughout the United States. He co-founded Wagstaff & Cartmell LLP in 1997. Since then, he has handled cases in a broad range of areas including professional liability, personal injury, product liability, and complex commercial and business disputes. Tom has significant experience in multi-district litigation and has tried cases to verdict in multiple state and federal courts throughout the country.
Tom has a diverse litigation practice. He has been appointed by several federal courts around the country to help lead multi-district pharmaceutical and medical device litigation. For instance, Tom was Co-Lead Counsel in the In Re Avandia pharmaceutical litigation in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Co-Lead Trial Counsel in the In Re Bextra and Celebrex Product Liability Litigation in the Northern District of California, and he is currently Co-Lead Counsel in the transvaginal mesh litigation against Ethicon, Inc. pending in the Southern District of West Virginia. He has also represented the State of Kansas and several other states in litigation or arbitration. He represents local hospitals, corporations and physicians as well.
Tom has received numerous honors and awards for his work as a trial lawyer. He is particularly proud of having received the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association’s Thomas J. Conway Award, which honors a trial lawyer who represents clients with “courage and zeal,” and the Missouri Bar Foundation’s Lon O. Hocker Memorial Trial Lawyer Award, presented to a trial lawyer for “outstanding expression of the qualities of professional competence, industry, integrity, and courtesy indicative of a trial lawyer.”
Tom has been included in The Best Lawyers in America every year since 2007, in The Kansas City Business Journal “Best of the Bar” publication for twelve consecutive years, and in the Missouri and Kansas Super Lawyers for the past nine years. Best Lawyers named Tom “Lawyer of the Year” in professional malpractice in 2012 and 2014. He is a Fellow in the International Society of Barristers and a past president of the Kansas City Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). He is rated as “AV Preeminent” in Martindale-Hubble’s peer review ratings.
Most recently, Tom has received the high honor of his induction into the American College of Trial Lawyers, which is an “invitation only fellowship of exceptional trial lawyers…who have demonstrated the very highest standards of trial advocacy, ethical conduct, integrity, professionalism and collegiality.”
Tom frequently lectures in Kansas City and around the country on trial tactics/litigation strategy. He has served as an adjunct professor of trial advocacy at the University of Kansas School of Law. In addition, he has served as the Municipal Judge in the City of Mission Hills, Kansas since his appointment in 2003.
Tom and his wife, Shelley, live in Mission Hills, Kansas. He has two children – a son, Trent, and a daughter, Quinci.
In Re Ethicon, Inc., MDL No.2327
Tom has been appointed to the Executive Committee of the four Pelvic Repair System Products Liability Litigation MDLs in the Southern District of West Virginia in front of the Honorable Joseph R. Goodwin. He is Co-Lead Counsel for the Ethicon MDL.
Bodziony et al v, Federal Signal Corporation
Tom represented Federal Signal Corporation, a manufacturer of sirens for emergency vehicles, in this mass tort product liability litigation in Missouri involving firefighters’ product liability claims of hearing loss.
Big Tobacco v. State of Kansas – Contract Arbitration
Tom and his partners represented the State of Kansas in arbitration proceedings against tobacco companies arising out of the tobacco companies seeking payment adjustments of more than $50 million based on the interpretation of the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement between tobacco companies and the State of Kansas.
In Re Zoloft Product Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2342
The Honorable Cynthia M. Rufe appointed Tom to Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee In Re Zoloft (Sertraline Hydrochloride) Product Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2342 in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
In Re: Depuy Orthopedics, Inc. Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2244
Tom serves on the Steering Committee in this case pending in the Northern District of Texas in front of the Honorable Ed Kinkeade. This case involves hip implants and includes claims of negligent design and failure to warn.
In Re Avandia Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 1871
Tom was a member of the steering committee and co-lead trial counsel in this product liability multi-district litigation in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania arising out of the use of the medication Avandia. The lead trial in this matter settled shortly for trial and all cases in this litigation settled for a confidential amount.
In Re Celebrex/Bextra Product Liability Litigation, MDL No. 1699
Tom was a member of the steering committee and co-lead trial counsel in this product liability multi-district litigation arising out of the use of the medications Bextra and Celebrex. The lead case settled on the eve of trial and ultimately all cases in the MDL settled for in excess of $745 million.
In Re Ephedra Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2071
Tom represented clients from across the nation in this product liability litigation in the Southern District of New York arising out of injuries suffered from ingestion of ephedra containing weight loss supplements. Tom acted as settlement-resolution counsel on behalf of plaintiffs in the NVE and MuscleTech litigation, resulting in more than $50 million in settlements.
$5.7 Million Verdict Against Ethicon and Johnson & Johnson
A jury in Bakersfield, California returned a $5.7 million verdict in favor of plaintiff Coleen Perry for damages sustained from a TVT Abbrevo mesh sling device manufactured by Ethicon, Inc., a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.
Blue Cross Blue Shield v Pfizer, Inc.
Represented BCBS in a third party payor case against Pfizer, Inc. in Federal Court in San Francisco. Case settled for a confidential amount.
$1.2 Million Verdict against Ethicon and Johnson & Johnson
A jury in Dallas, Texas returned a $1.2 Million verdict in favor of plaintiff Linda Batiste for damages sustained from a TVT-O mesh sling device manufactured by Ethicon, Inc., a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.
Janet Dick v. Children’s Mercy Hospital
Defense verdict for Children’s Mercy Hospital of Kansas City in case in which plaintiff was claiming catastrophic injury and seeking several million dollars in damages.
Novagradac v. Beverly Manor et al. – $3.02 Million Verdict
Received one of the top-five plaintiffs’ verdicts in the State of Missouri in 2007 – $3.02 million verdict in Platte County, Missouri, while representing a plaintiff in a nursing home abuse action.
Chen Pei v. Kansas City, Missouri – Auto/Pedestrian Accident – $1 Million Verdict
Plaintiff’s verdict against the City of Kansas City, Missouri, on behalf of the family of Chen Pei, a 20-year old student at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, who was tragically hit by a car.
In Re Avandia MDL No. 1871
Confidential settlements for clients who suffered cardiac events after ingesting Avandia, a diabetes medication manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline.
Ephedra-Containing Diet Supplement Litigation
Settlements for multiple clients in excess of $9 Million against manufacturers of diet supplements containing ephedra and caffeine.
In Re Celebrex/Bextra MDL No. 1699
Confidential settlements for hundreds of clients against manufacturers of Bextra/Celbrex, anti-inflammatory medications manufactured by Pfizer, Inc.
J.D., University of Kansas School of Law
• Editor, Kansas Law Review
B.S. in Business Administration, University of Kansas
• Hilltopper Award - 1990
“Best of the Bar”, Kansas City Business Journal (2004 – Present)
Best Lawyers in America (2007 – Present)
2013 & 2014 “Lawyer of the Year” in Medical Malpractice
Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters (2006 – Present)
Lon O. Hocker Memorial Trial Lawyer Award, for Outstanding Trial Advocacy Skills – 2003
Kansas City Missouri Bar Association, Thomas J. Conway Trial Lawyer Award – 2001
International Society of Barristers, Fellow (inducted 2008)
American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) (inducted 2005, Past President 2012)
AV Preeminent Rating by Martindale-Hubbell
American College of Trial Lawyers (inducted 2017)
U.S. District Court, District of Kansas
U.S. District Court, Western District of Missouri
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri
U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association (KCMBA)
Johnson County Bar Association
American Bar Foundation, Fellow