Thomas F. Murphy


Tom Murphy is a first-chair trial lawyer with more than 25 years’ experience focusing his practice in the area of commercial litigation. He is a versatile litigator who has achieved favorable results for his clients on contracts, real estate, employment law and creditors’ rights matters.

Tom has been litigating cases in the state and federal courts throughout the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and around the country. Additionally, he has argued appeals in a variety of state and federal appellate courts.

A seasoned trial attorney, Tom has an established track record of success in bench trials, jury trials and commercial arbitration hearings.

Tom’s representative matters include:
(past performance/results not indicative of future performance/results)

  • Defended luxury hotel developer against general contractor asserting $17 million in claims arising from a disastrous construction project. At the conclusion of a two-week trial in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, the general contractor was awarded nothing and Tom earned the developer $1.5 million on counterclaims related to construction defects and delay damages.
  • Represented nationally known civil rights law firm in arbitration action against a former attorney who alleged numerous employment discrimination and hostile work environment claims. In addition to defeating each claim, the firm was awarded a six-figure judgment against the attorney because of her failure to report hundreds of billable hours.
  • Obtained $24 million judgment against prominent real estate developer in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Following trial, the developer confidently claimed his prior estate planning efforts had rendered him judgment proof. After more than a year of relentless collection efforts — including four fraudulent conveyance suits filed in three jurisdictions — the developer negotiated a payment plan that yielded the client a nearly complete recovery.
  • Defended security contractor in arbitration action. Claimant demanded $130 million in damages for breach of contract, usurpation of corporate opportunity, tortious interference and misappropriation of trade secrets. Following a nine-day arbitration hearing, all claims were denied and the client was awarded nearly $400,000 in attorneys’ fees.
  • Represented diamond retailer in suit against a commercial landlord for specific performance and lost profit damages due to neglect of the leased premises. After a week-long bench trial, the Montgomery County Circuit Court awarded specific performance of the lease, more than $2 million in lost profit damages and attorneys’ fees. On appeal, the specific performance award was affirmed, but the lost profit damages award was vacated and remanded for new trial. The court awarded an even greater amount in lost profit damages as well as an additional award of attorneys’ fees in the resulting six-day trial. After two attempts to avoid the judgment in bankruptcy, the landlord ultimately paid the client approximately $2 million.
  • Defended security contractor in $1 million action brought by 12 employees in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland asserting contract, tort and Fair Labor Standards Act claims. After the client prevailed on a series of pretrial motions, nine of the employees settled for nuisance value and the remaining three dismissed their claims, with prejudice, on the eve of trial. Subsequently, Tom earned his clients nearly $50,000 in attorneys’ fees against the employees’ counsel.
  • Represented dental practice in suit against commercial developer that wrongly demanded the practice close on its retail condominium purchase before the unit was substantially complete. After an eight-day bench trial, the client was awarded the relief it demanded and 80% of its attorneys’ fees. The judgment was affirmed by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals and a cross-appeal to increase the attorneys’ fees award succeeded.
  • Represented law firm sued by former partner seeking liquidated damages pursuant to an employment contract. Motions in limine led to the dismissal of all claims at pretrial conference. The Superior Court’s rulings were affirmed by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.

Reported Decisions

  • Presidential Bank, FSB v. 1733 27th St. SE LLC, 404 F. Supp. 3d 1 (D. D.C. 2019).
  • German Am. Capital Corp. v. Morehouse, 714 Fed. Appx. 286 (4th Cir. 2018).
  • Presidential Bank, FSB v. 1733 27th St. SE LLC, 318 F. Supp. 3d 61 (D. D.C. 2018).
  • Presidential Bank, FSB v. 1733 27th St. SE LLC, 271 F. Supp. 3d 163 (D. D.C. 2017).
  • Donnelly v. Branch Banking & Trust Co., 91 F. Supp. 3d 683 (D.Md. 2015).
  • Nest and Totah Venture, LLC v. Deutsch, 31 A.3d 1211 (D.C. 2011).
  • Congressional Hotel Corp. v. Mervis Diamond Corp., 28 A.3d 75 (Md. App. 2011).
  • BSA 77 P Street LLC v. Hawkins, 983 A.2d 988 (D.C. 2009).
  • 3511 13th Street Tenants’ Assoc. v. 3511 13th Street, N.W. Residences, LLC, 922 A.2d 439 (D.C. 2007).

Community Involvement

  • Tom is actively involved with the Animal Welfare League of Arlington fostering rescue animals.