Picture of W. Thomas Smith

W. Thomas Smith

Recently Retired Principal (Years of Service from 1977-2015)
Download VCard

Phone: (617) 542-1000

Prudential Tower
800 Boylston Street, 30th Floor
Boston, Massachusetts 02199-8001

Tom Smith brought to his practice a calm demeanor and unwavering determination to successfully represent the injured and families of those killed as a result of the fault of others.  His in-depth understanding of the unique needs of the seriously injured enabled him to advocate for his clients and, at the same time, educate them about the legal system and their rights within the system.  Named one of 10 Top Lawyers of the Year by Massachusetts Lawyer's Weekly, Tom, along with SUGARMAN partner, Ben Zimmermann, secured the largest wrongful death/personal injury verdict of 2011 - a $20.6 million verdict against Toys "R" Us for a defective pool slide.  This verdict was recently upheld by The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

For over 35 years, Tom successfully represented clients with injuries caused by defective consumer products, medical devices, motor vehicles, and industrial equipment, construction site accidents, medical malpractice, negligent service of alcohol, defects in commercial and residential premises, car accidents, and the negligence of gas and electric utilities.  Tom also represented clients in such diverse areas of civil practice as claims for sexual abuse, claims on behalf of minority shareholders, claims against lawyers and accountants for malpractice, claims against adoption agencies and social workers for wrongful adoption, and claims on behalf of bank depositors as a class action.

Recognized by his peers for his achievements, Tom is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.  He was also elected to the American Board of Trial Advocates with the rank of Advocate, and served as president of the Massachusetts Chapter from 2000 to 2001.

Tom joined SUGARMAN IN 1977 and was a principal of the firm until his retirement in May 2015.


J.D., Boston University, 1975

B.A., Yale University, 1972

Bar Admission Massachusetts, 1975
United States District Court, Massachusetts, 1976
United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit, 2013

Massachusetts Bar Association

American Bar Association

American Association for Justice

Massachusetts Academy of Trial Lawyers

Massachusetts Bar Foundation


Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers

Advocate, American Board of Trial Advocates

“The Best Lawyers in America”, 1993-2015

“Massachusetts Super Lawyers”, Law and Politics, 2004-2014

"10 Top Lawyers of 2011", Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly

“Top 100 Massachusetts Super Lawyers”, 2012-2014

Local Litigation Star: Benchmark Plaintiff - The Definitive Guide to America's Leading Plaintiff Firms and Attorneys, 2012-2013

Selected Cases

Escalator death of four-year old, A four-year old boy fell to his death through a gap between an escalator and the adjacent railing.  The escalator had been installed as a replacement and was narrower than the original escalator.  The escalator construction company failed to install deck barriers as required by the construction plans and by state escalator and building codes.  Settlement with escalator contractor, store and mall owner for the boy's parents.

Pool slide fatality, SUGARMAN lawyers secured $20.6 million in punitive and compensatory damages for a Colorado man whose wife was critically injured from a defective pool slide sold online and in stores by Toys "R" Us. The slide was imported from China and did not comply with federal standards regulating swimming pool slides. The jury award was the largest wrongful death/personal injury verdict in Massachusetts in 2011.

Industrial plastic roll-stand, Settlement in product liability suit where the plaintiff suffered a workplace hand injury caused by roll-stand. The manufacturer of the machine had failed to properly guard a nip point with a barrier guard, light curtain, electric eye, trip wire, or presence-sensing device to prevent workers from coming into contact with nip rolls.

Sexual assault by school van driver, Settlement from the driver's employer after a 13-year-old special-needs student was sexually assaulted by her school van driver.

Roofer suffered burns while attaching flashing to two family house, Settlement for worker's multiple injuries from burns and fall from roof height.

Liquor server's liability, Settlement against bar that over-served patron to intoxication.  The patron drove a short distance from the bar and collided with the plaintiff's car. The drunken patron had .27 BAC.

Selected Appellate Decisions
Aleo v. Toys R Us, Inc., 466 Mass. 398 (2013), Supreme Judicial Court upholds jury verdict of $20.6 million, including the jury's award of punitive damages, in landmark wrongful death case.

Hooper v. Davis-Standard Corp, et al, 482 F. Supp 2d 157 (2007), After SUGARMAN lawyers successfully resolved a product liability action in favor of a machine worker (recovering a substantial settlement from the machine manufacturer), the worker's employer tried to bring an action against the same manufacturer for its business loss. The machine manufacturer successfully defeated the claims of the employer.

Leibovich v. Antonellis, 410 Mass. 568 (1991), The Supreme Judicial Court upheld a jury verdict won by SUGARMAN lawyers for a teenager who was injured in a car crash.  The case established that the teenager's parents could also recover damages for their injuries that resulted from their son's physical injury.

Karlin v. Massachusetts Turnpike Auth., 399 Mass. 765 (1987), SUGARMAN lawyers won appeal, which established that the Turnpike Authority was not immune from a suit in which it caused a quadriplegic injury, and that the amount of recovery was not limited by statute.