Thomas P. Sartwelle

Houston, TX

Thomas Sartwelle has forty-eight years of experience defending and trying business, commercial, personal injury, product liability, medical, hospital, and legal malpractice cases. He also handles medical and legal administrative, credentialing and discipline hearings.

  • The University of Texas School of Law, Austin, Texas (LL.B., 1967)
  • University of Texas Austin (B.B.A., 1965)
Admissions to Practice
  • Texas
  • U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Western Districts of Texas
Board Certifications
  • American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys – Diplomate – Medical Professional Liability (Recertified 2003, 2008) (accredited by ABA)
  • American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys – Diplomate – Legal Professional Liability (accredited by ABA)
  • National Board of Trial Advocacy, a division of the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification – Civil Trial Advocate (Recertified 2005) (accredited by ABA)
  • National Board of Civil Pretrial Practice Advocacy, a division of the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification – Civil Pretrial Practice Advocacy (accredited by ABA)
  • Texas Board of Legal Specialization – Personal Injury Trial Law (recertified 2005, 2010) 
Honors and Awards

(Partial List)

  • Selected for inclusion in "Best Lawyers in America," Medical Malpractice, 2011, 2016
  • Selected for inclusion in "Best Lawyers in America," Commercial Litigation, 2016
  • Selected for inclusion in Super Lawyers Corporate Counsel Edition, 2008 & 2009
  • Selected for inclusion in "Texas Super Lawyer," Texas Monthly, 2003-2012
Representative Cases
  • Defended to verdict the first Texas corporation indicted for murder in the longest trial in Texas history in State of Texas v. Autumn Hills Nursing Homes. This murder trial is the subject of Steve Long's book "Death Without Dignity" (Texas Monthly Press)
  • Defended to verdict medical malpractice claim against two pediatric ophthalmologistinvolving the world's only blind and deaf triplets
  • Defended to verdict the transferring hospital in the first alleged patient dumping trial in Texas
  • Defended to Verdict highway contractors in wrongful death and catastrophic injury cases
  • Represented the plaintiff in fraudulent stock transfer cases involving claims of fraud, conspiracy, conversion, and tortuous interference with a business relationship
  • Tried to verdict various complex drug and medical device litigation throughout Texas
  • Defended to verdict the hospital in the four month trial of the infamous Pasadena liposuction doctor whose patients developed flesh eating infections
  • Tried to verdict nursing home cases involving alleged nursing and medical malpractice and alleged elder abuse and injury
  • Represented the defendant in breach of fiduciary duty case involving Sam Houston Race Park stock transaction dispute
  • Represented the defendant in the first Texas trial where a jury found a plaintiff's negligence in failing to wear a seat belt caused the plaintiff's injuries
  • Defended to verdict the defendant lawyer in the trial of one of the first Texas legal malpractice cases where an excess carrier alleged the lawyer's negligent mishandling of the defense caused a settlement over primary limits
  • Defended to verdict the obstetrician in one of the first successful defense verdicts in Texas in a birth-related permanent brain injury cerebral palsy case
  • Represented numerous physicians and hospitals  in cases involving alleged birth asphyxia, brain damage, and cerebral palsy
  • Defended to verdict a legal malpractice case against a prominent Houston plaintiffs’ personal injury firm in a two-month trial
Representative Publications
  • Thomas P. Sartwelle , James C. Johnston M.D., J.D., & Berna Arda, M.D., Med. Spec., PhD., Perpetuating, Myths, Fables and Fairytales: A Half Century of Electronic Fetal Monitoring, The Surgery Journal, November 2015
  • Thomas P. Sartwelle & James C. Johnston M.D., Neonatal Encephalopathy 2015: Opportunity Lost and Words Unspoken, The Journal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine, June 2015
  • Thomas P. Sartwelle & James C. Johnston M.D., Cerebral Palsy Litigation: A Continuing 21st Century Epidemic, Legal Medicine and Medical Ethics, 9th Ed., Ch 23, Module 6
  • Thomas P. Sartwelle & James C. Johnston M.D., Cerebral Palsy Litigation: Change Course or Abandon Ship, J. Child Neurology 30(7) J. Child Neurology 828-841 (2014)
  • James C. Johnston M.D. & Thomas P. Sartwelle, The Expert Witness In Malpractice Litigation: Through The Looking Glass, 28(4) J. Child Neurology 484-501 (April 2013)
  • "Electronic Fetal Monitoring: A Defense Lawyer's View," Reviews in Obstetrics & Gynecology, January, 2013
  • "Electronic Fetal Monitoring: A Bridge Too Far," The Journal of Legal Medicine, September, 2012
  • "Your Doctor Is Board Certified. Is Your Lawyer?," 20(4) The Professional Lawyer (May 2011) (Published by ABA Center For Professional Responsibility)
    Defending A Neurologic Birth Injury: Asphyxia Neonatorum Redux, 30(2) Journal Legal Medicine 181-247 (April-June 2009)
  • Annual Survey of Texas Law, Workmen's Compensation Section, Volumes 29, 30, 31, 32, 33  Southwestern Law Journal of Southern Methodist University
  • "A Defense Lawyer's View of Medical Malpractice Reform,"  Houston Business Journal, February, 2003
  • "Twelve Steps to the Courthouse," Can You Successfully Defend a Malpractice Suit?  Medical Journal Houston, September, 2003
  • Chapter 11, Occupational Disease Texas Workers' Compensation: Law & Practice (Matthew Bender), 1990
  • "The Case for Professional Jurors," The Houston Chronicle (Outlook Section), January 18, 1987
Presentations and Seminars

(Partial List)

  • "Your Doctor is Board Certified. Is Your Lawyer?," American Board of Professional Liability Lawyers Annual Meeting, Atlanta, Georgia
  • "The Expert Witness & The Legal Process: Joys & Pitfalls" Forensic Expert Witness Association Houston Chapter Meeting
  • "Tort Reform in Texas," ACE, New York City, NY
  • Co-author, "Head Games: Coming Out On Top In Your Brain Injury Cases ," DRI Products Liability Conference, Scottsdale AZ
  • "Malpractice", Washington, D.C. Academy of Surgery, Annual Meeting
  • "Sexual Claims Against Physicians: Easy to Make, Hard to Prove, Harder to Defend", Medical Malpractice Conference, Texas Tech University and St. Mary's University Schools of Law, San Antonio, Texas
  • "Anesthesia Malpractice: The Trip to Death's Front Door"
  • "Twelve Steps to the Courthouse" (With Priscilla Ray, M.D.), Cook Children's' Medical Center CME Lecture for Faculty and Staff, Fort Worth, Texas
  • "Defending a Brain Damaged Baby Case", Medical Malpractice Conference, Texas Tech University and St. Mary's University Schools of Law, San Antonio, Texas
  • "Lawyers, Liars, and Litigation" (with Priscilla Ray, M.D.), Grand Rounds at Baylor College of Medicine
  • "Anesthesia Malpractice: The Presumption of Guilt at Death's Front Door", Medical Malpractice Conference, Texas Tech University and St. Mary's University Schools of Law, San Antonio, Texas
  • "Malpractice and Other Litigation" (with Fernando Stein, M.D.), Pediatric Residents, Baylor College of Medicine
  • "Defending Sexual Claims Against Physicians", Houston Psychiatry Society Quarterly Meeting
  • "Sex Claims and Doctors", Houston Legal Assistants Association
  • "Malpractice in Nursing Homes: Who Stole the Torts", American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants National Conference
Memberships & Affiliations
  • American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys
    • First Vice President, 2010
    • Board of Governors , 2007 - 2010
  • American Bar Association
  • American Board of Trial Advocates
    • Advocate
  • State Bar of Texas
  • Texas Association of Defense Counsel
  • Defense Research Institute, Inc.
  • Texas Center for Legal Ethics and Professionalism
  • American Diabetes Association
  • Special Olympics
  • Houston Bar Association
    • Sustaining Life Fellow
  • Texas Bar Foundation
    • Life Fellow
Pro Bono Activities
  • Successfully proved a twice convicted inmate was wrongfully convicted of sexual assault.
  • Successfully defended a physician accused of sexual assault on eight patients in his medical office