Hill, Farrer & Burrill LLP


Stephen J. Tomasulo


Hill, Farrer & Burrill LLP
One California Plaza
300 So. Grand Avenue, 37th Floor
Los Angeles, California 90071-3147

  • (213) 620-0460 - General
  • (213) 624-4840 - Fax

STEPHEN J. TOMASULO is a trial attorney specializing in complex business and real estate disputes.  He has represented a wide array of clients ranging from large publicly traded entities to small, privately held businesses and individuals.  He has tried cases in state and federal courts throughout California and has handled numerous binding arbitrations.  Mr. Tomasulo’s trials have often involved high stakes claims, with the exposure to his clients in some cases exceeding $100 million.

Mr. Tomasulo has extensive experience with all types of real estate litigation, including inverse condemnation, eminent domain, landlord-tenant, easement and usage disputes, quiet title and lien priority disputes.  He also has extensive experience in many other types of business disputes including breach of contract, business torts, unfair competition, partnership disputes, construction defect and professional negligence.

Mr. Tomasulo works hard to tailor his strategy and approach to best suit each of his clients’ needs and achieve their desired results.  In some cases, this may mean aggressively litigating a case all the way through trial.  In others, this may mean positioning a dispute for early resolution while minimizing litigation expense.  Mr. Tomasulo actively works to understand his clients’ goals and concerns and collaborates with them to resolve their cases in the manner that individually suits them best.  Applying this approach, Mr. Tomasulo has successfully represented his clients and protected their interests for more than 20 years.

Mr. Tomasulo graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1991 with a Bachelor of Sciences degree in Economics.  He received his Juris Doctor degree in 1995 from the U.C.L.A. School of Law.  While at U.C.L.A., he served as a judicial extern to Judge Alarcon of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  Mr. Tomasulo was admitted to the California bar in 1995 and is admitted to practice before the United States District Court for the Southern District of California, the United States District Court for the Central District of California and the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.  Mr. Tomasulo is a member of the litigation sections of the State Bar of California and the Los Angeles County Bar Association.

Defense of Real Property Rights

Served as lead counsel for defendant national railroad company in a suit brought by a public water agency.  The agency intended to build a canal that crossed tracks owned and operated by the railroad.  The agency contended that its rights to the land were superior and that the railroad was required to either relocate its operations, or pay millions of dollars for the additional cost to tunnel the canal beneath the tracks as opposed to having an open channel canal on the surface of the land.  Obtained a complete defense verdict at trial.

Banking Class Action Suit

Represented defendant banking institution in class action suit brought by beneficiaries of structured settlement trusts who alleged that the bank had allowed more than $100 million in trust assets to be improperly transferred.  Was a member of the team that obtained a favorable resolution on behalf of the bank.

Banking Multi Million Bond Default

Represented defendant banking institution in a national class action arising out of a $130 million bond default.  Was a member of the team that obtained a favorable resolution for bank.

Business Torts Competitor's Products

Served as lead counsel for plaintiff manufacturer of stainless steel products that were sold to the United States Government for military purposes in an action against a competitor for intentional interference with contract and related business torts.  Tried the case to a successful verdict in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California and prevailed on the subsequent appeal before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal.

Defense for Breach of Contract

Served as lead counsel for defendant national railroad in a breach of contract and declaratory relief claim relating to a public agency’s rights to operate commuter trains on rail lines owned by the railroad.   The potential exposure to the railroad exceeded $100 million.  Obtained a defense verdict for the railroad in arbitration which included the recovery of $581,000 in fees and costs.

Defense of Real Estate Property Rights

Served as lead counsel for defendant national railroad in a real estate dispute in which landowners alleged that the railroad had abandoned property rights, those rights had reverted to the landowners and the railroad violated their rights by attempting to sell those rights on the open market.  Obtained defense verdict at trial and prevailed on subsequent appeal.

Recovered Damages from Train Derailment

Served as lead counsel for plaintiff national railroad in an action to recover damages sustained in a major train derailment.  Negotiated favorable settlement with defendant shipper that had allegedly placed a defective railcar in service on the train that included significant recovery for the railroad.

Insurance Suit Fire Damages

Represented plaintiff subrogated insurer in action against electric utility company arising from fire that caused more than $20 million in damages.  Helped negotiate favorable settlement that included significant recovery for insurer.

Landowner Eminent Domain Action

Represented landowner in eminent domain action arising from a taking by a public agency for roadway improvements.  Obtained verdict at trial that greatly exceeded agency’s settlement offer and included the recovery of fees and costs.

Legal Malpractice Arbitration

Represented large law firm in suit alleging legal malpractice and related claims.  Plaintiff clothing manufacturer alleged that law firm’s negligence in handling a lawsuit brought by its fabric suppliers led to a disastrous result which ultimately put the company out of business.  Was part of team that obtained defense verdict in arbitration that included the recovery of attorney’s fees.

Railroad Contract Breach

Represented plaintiff national railroad in a breach of contract claim against a public agency arising from a railroad construction project.  Negotiated favorable settlement which included a significant recovery for the railroad.

Employment Suit Resolution

Represented industrial film laboratory in suit brought by approximately 50 employees alleging that exposure to chemicals in the laboratory caused them catastrophic physical injuries.  Was part of team that obtained successful resolution for laboratory.