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Thomas M. Wester

Associate

Overview

Thomas Wester represents insurance companies in a variety of coverage-related matters. He has substantial experience representing multiple insurers in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania state and federal courts in all aspects of litigation. Additionally, Tom has defended many insured individuals and companies in lawsuits arising out of automobile accidents, premises liability and commercial disputes.

In addition to his litigation experience, Tom frequently counsels clients in the form of coverage opinions and determinations regarding, for example, the duty to defend, the number of occurrences, if any, the obligations to indemnify or reimburse defense costs, allocation and priority of coverage, and numerous policy conditions and exclusions. Drawing from his extensive first-hand experience, he has lectured to peers and industry representatives on the topic of defending first-party property claims arising from extreme weather.

While in law school, Tom interned for the Hon. Jose L. Linares, U.S.D.J., worked as a legal intern at the Center for Social Justice Civil Rights and Constitutional Litigation Clinic, and assisted fellow students as a member of the Seton Hall Law Mentor Program. Tom was a summer associate at Connell Foley in 2011. Prior to joining the firm, Tom served as a law clerk to the Honorable Thomas R. Vena, J.S.C. (Civil Division, Essex County).

Experience

  • Served as special coverage counsel to major insurers in connection with catastrophic weather-related claims;
  • Defended multiple insurers in hundreds of lawsuits in state and federal court alleging violations of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, bad faith denial of coverage, and first-party property damage as a result of Superstorm Sandy;
  • Achieved dispositive ruling of no coverage for automobile insurer against an unlicensed individual who drove a friend’s car without a reasonable belief that she was entitled to so do;
  • Achieved dispositive ruling of no coverage obligations for a marine insurer in a complex multijurisdictional coverage dispute arising from the alleged partial sinking of a multi-million dollar yacht; and
  • Represents insurers in high-stakes coverage action involving thousands of underlying claims and multi-million dollars in alleged property damage.

Activities

Professional and Community Affiliations

  • Member, New Jersey State Bar Association
  • Member, Essex County Bar Association
  • Barrister, Brennan-Vanderbilt Inn of Court
  • Member, New Jersey Defense Association
  • Fellow, American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA)

Presentations

  • Co-presenter, “Turning Weather into the Next Mass Tort: How Shifting Climate Patterns Gave Rise to a Multi-Million Dollar Industry (and Why It Won’t Stop at Sandy),” (March 2018) 

News & Insights

Honors

  • Graduate, American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) Trial College, Yale Law School (June 2018)
  • "Young Irishman of the Year," Friendly Sons of St. Patrick of the Oranges (2017)

Clerkships

  • Honorable Thomas R. Vena, J.S.C., Civil, Essex

Education

Seton Hall University School of Law (J.D., 2012; Editor, Seton Hall Law Review)

Fordham University (B.A., 2008)

Admissions

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