Thomas C. Fitzhugh III

Partner / Houston

P: 713.588.0446 X. 431

F: 713.574.2942

Tom Fitzhugh is one of the most published leading maritime federal trial and appellate attorneys in the country. His distinguished career is highlighted by his appointment as a special master and mediator for the federal courts. He regularly appears before the U.S. Court of Appeals, the Benefits Review Board, and administrative law judges in cases of admiralty and maritime law, maritime personal injury (the Jones Act, the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, 904(b), among others), federal trials and appeals, the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (and its extensions: Defense Base Act and the Non-appropriated Fun Instrumentalities Act), and mediation. He is also an expert in maritime security, having created the Maritime Security Council of the United States and spoken on maritime security issues at the invitation of governments in Asia, South and Central America, and Europe.

Tom also has experience as a research geophysicist, which has afforded him the breadth and depth essential to examining marine law and policy issues from a broad, cross-industry perspective. This knowledge has directly influenced his representation of the law and his prolific compilation of writings.

A frequent lecturer and author on maritime law topics and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act, Tom is a proctor member of the Maritime Law Association of the United States, serving on its Marine Torts and Casualties; Stevedores, Marine Terminal and Vessel Services; and Carrier Security committees. Tom authors and edits The Longshore Newsletter, the Longshore Procedure Manual, and publications interpreting the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (and its extensions), in addition to presenting seminars on the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act to the bar and insurance industry. He also edited International Perspectives on Maritime Security.

Tom is a recurring guest lecturer at Texas A&M University in maritime administration as well as classroom adjunct instructor conducting courses in business and environmental law, labor and employment law, and graduate topics in maritime law. Additionally, he has served as executive vice president and general counsel for the Maritime Security Council (the international shipping organization devoted to commercial vessel security), and as the president of The Longshore Institute.

In addition to Tom’s academic involvement at Texas A&M, he also serves on the university’s student- centered advisory boards, among them the Chancellor’s Century Council and the President’s Advisory Council, and is lecturer and underwriter of the Champe Fitzhugh Jr. International Honors Leadership Seminar, held in Santa Chiara, Italy. Tom is a prominent member of Christ Church Cathedral’s Lay Ministry and Liturgical Advisory council and is deeply involved in community functions. Tom is fluent in German and has a working knowledge of Spanish, Italian and French.

Practice Areas

Education

  • B.S., Texas A&M
  • J.D., University of Texas (with honors)

Professional Memberships

  • The Longshore Institute
  • American Bar Association – State Bar of Texas
  • Proctor Member of the Maritime Law Association of the United States,
    Committee on Stevedores, Marine Terminals, and Vessel Services
  • Association of Average Adjusters of the United States and Canada
  • Association of Average Adjusters UK
  • Life Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation
  • Charter Member of the College of the State Bar of Texas
  • Houston Bar Association
  • Houston Maritime Arbitrators Association
  • Propeller Club Port of Houston
  • Houston Mariners Club
  • Houston International Seafarers’ Center
  • Texas Navy Association
  • Maritime Security Council
  • Admiralty Law Institute
  • American Continuing Legal Education Association
  • Defense Research Institute
  • Texas Association of Defense Counsel

Community Involvement

Texas A&M:

  • Chancellor’s Century Council
  • President’s Advisory Council
  • Champe Fitzhugh Jr. International Honors Leadership Seminar, Santa Chiara, Italy

Christ Church Cathedral:

  • Lay Ministry
  • Liturgical Advisory Council

Episcopal Diocese of Texas:

  • Executive Board
  • General Convention Lay Deputy

Court Admissions

  • State of Texas: All Courts
  • District of Columbia: All Courts
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Iowa
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California

Representative Cases

  • Amerada Hess v. Dir., OWCP, 543 F.3d 755 (5th Cir. 2008)
  • BPU Management v. Dir., OWCP, 732 F.3d 457 (5th Cir. 2013)
  • New Haven Terminal v. Lake, 337 F.3d 261 (2nd Cir. 2003)
  • Holcim (US) v. Reed, 291 Fed.Appx. 647 (5th Cir. 2008)
  • Randolph v. Laeisz, 862 F.2d 964 (5th Cir. 1990)
  • Oceanic Butler v. Nordahl, 842 F.2d 773 (5th Cir. 1988)
  • TEIA v. Jackson, 862 F.2d 491 (5th Cir. 1988)
  • Leeward Marine v. Dir., OWCP, 647 Fed.Appx. 627 (9th Cir. 2017)
  • Kalaris v. Donovan, 697 F.2d 376 (D.C. Cir. 1983)
  • Villasenor v. Marine Maintenance Industries,17 BRBS 99 (1985)

Certifications

  • Proctor in Admiralty, Maritime Law Association of the United States
  • Maritime Arbitrator, Houston Maritime Arbitrators Association

Honors and Distinctions

  • Rated AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Texas Top Lawyer, 2020
  • Texas Top Lawyer, 2017
  • Houston’s Best Admiralty Lawyer, 2015
  • The Gold Band Award
  • The Hammer Award
  • The Vice President’s National Performance Review
  • Award of Excellence from the U.S. Secretary of Transportation
  • Outstanding Classroom Teacher, Texas A&M University

Books and Periodicals

  • The Longshore Newsletter (Managing Editor)
  • The Longshore Procedure Manual (Publisher)
  • Longshore Court Index (Editor)
  • International Perspectives on Maritime Security (Editor)
  • The Longshore Textbook (Contributing Author)
  • Benefits Review Board Reporter (Advisory Board Member)
  • SeaNotes, SeaBright Insurance (2007-2012)

Recent Articles

  • “Summary Disposition,” Benefits Review Board Service: Longshore Reporter, October 2019
  • “Will ALJ’s Become Political Pawns?” Benefits Review Board Service: Longshore Reporter, October 2018
  • “Precedent or Not? Confusions About Use of Unpublished Decisions,” Benefits Review Board Service: Longshore Reporter, October 2017
  • “Deepwater Horizon,” Benefits Review Board Service: Longshore Reporter, December 2016
  • “Significant Judicial Decisions Impacting Claims Under the Act,” Loyola Annual Longshore Conference, New Orleans, Louisiana, March 2016
  • “About Time! The ALJ Rules Are Finally Final!” Benefits Review Board Service: Longshore Reporter, December 2015
  • “Are Section 22 Modifications Boundless?” West Coast Longshore Symposium, San Francisco, California, September 2015
  • “Longshore Case Updates & Hot Topics,” Workers’ Compensation Institute, Orlando, Florida, August 2015

Recent Speeches and Presentations

  • University of Texas Admiralty Law Seminar, Houston, Texas, December 2019
  • Longshore Comprehensive Seminar, San Diego, California, February 2019; Tampa, Florida, June 2019; New Orleans, Louisiana, November 2019
  • Longshore Comprehensive Seminar, New Orleans, Louisiana, November 2018
  • Ultimate Jones Act Seminar, New Orleans, Louisiana, November 2018
  • Longshore Comprehensive Seminar, Tampa, Florida, April 2018
  • Longshore Comprehensive Seminar, San Diego, California, February 2018
  • Longshore Advanced Seminar, San Diego, California, February 2018
  • Longshore Comprehensive Seminar, New Orleans, Louisiana, November 2017
  • Longshore Advanced Seminar, New Orleans, Louisiana, November 2017
  • Longshore Comprehensive Seminar, Chicago, Illinois, May 2017
  • Longshore Advanced Seminar, San Francisco, California, February 2017
  • Longshore Comprehensive Seminar, San Francisco, California, February 2017
  • Longshore Advanced Seminar, New Orleans, Louisiana, November 2016
  • Longshore Comprehensive Seminar, New Orleans, Louisiana, November 2016
  • Ultimate Jones Act Seminar, Houston, Texas, October 2016
  • University of Texas Admiralty Law Seminar, Houston, Texas, August 2016
  • Workers’ Compensation Institute, Orlando, Florida, August 2016
  • University of Texas Maritime Law Conference, Houston, Texas, August 2016
  • Annual Longshore Conference, Loyola University, New Orleans, Louisiana, March 2016
  • Longshore Advanced Seminar, San Diego, California, February 2016
  • Longshore Comprehensive Seminar, San Diego, California, February 2016
  • Ultimate Jones Act Seminar, Houston, Texas, March 2016
  • Longshore Advanced Seminar, New Orleans, Louisiana, November 2016
  • Longshore Comprehensive Seminar, New Orleans, Louisiana, November 2016
  • Longshore Advanced Seminar, Las Vegas, Nevada, October 2016
  • Longshore Comprehensive Seminar, Las Vegas, Nevada, October 2016
  • West Coast Longshore Symposium, San Francisco, California, September 2015
  • Workers’ Compensation Institute, Orlando, Florida, August 2015
  • Longshore Advanced Seminar, Orlando, Florida, June 2015
  • Longshore Comprehensive Seminar, Orlando, Florida, June 2015
  • Ultimate Jones Act Seminar, Houston, Texas, April 2015
  • Longshore Advanced Seminar, San Francisco, California, February 2015
  • Longshore Comprehensive Seminar, San Francisco, California, February 2015

Classes and Seminars Taught

Texas A&M University

  • MARA 212, Business Law
  • MARA 421, Admiralty Law
  • MARA 435, Labor Law and Policy
  • MARA 470, Environmental Law
  • MARA 485, Directed Studies
  • MARA 486, International Maritime Business (London)
  • MARA 689, Graduate Topics in Maritime Law