Thomas A. Burns
Thomas Burns is board-certified by The
Florida Bar as an appellate specialist. He is experienced with
appellate matters, as well as having extensive experience defending
and prosecuting lawsuits at the trial level in both federal and
state courts. Mr. Burns has a demonstrated commitment to
pro bono service, having won Sidley Austin LLP's Vincent Prada Pro
Bono Award in 2006 and 2007 and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP's
Frank Wheat Memorial Award in 2008. He was selected as a Florida
Super Lawyer in Appellate Practice in 2018.
Mr. Burns opened
a firm as a sole practitioner in 2013, and while he continues to
maintain a separate practice, he also joined Creed & Gowdy in
2015 in an of-counsel capacity. Before opening his own
firm, Mr. Burns practiced for five years with the appellate
departments of Sidley Austin LLP and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher
LLP in Washington, D.C. and served as a law clerk for the Hon.
Susan H. Black of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh
Burns was born and raised in Lincoln, Nebraska. His mother is a
retired architect from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and his father is a
retired atomic physicist from Belfast, Northern Ireland. Mr. Burns
is proficient in French and speaks rudimentary Greek and Spanish.
Outside the office, Mr. Burns enjoys playing tennis, reading, and
watching movies and sports.
- Moton v. Cowart,
631 F.3d 1337 (11th Cir. 2011) (No. 09-11730) (Martin, J.)
(reversing summary judgment against prisoner's First
Amendment retaliation claim because mere use of capital
letters in grievance, viewed alone, was not
- Ford v. Hunter,
534 Fed. App'x 821 (11th Cir. 2013) (No. 12-10431) (Baldock,
J.) (reversing dismissal of pretrial detainee's First
Amendment free speech claim and vacating dismissal of
his Sixth Amendment right to counsel, First Amendment
retaliation, and Fourth Amendment unreasonable search
claim when prison interfered with legal mail).
- Walter v. Avellino,
564 Fed. App'x 464 (11th Cir. 2014) (No. 13-13081) (per
curiam) (reversing dismissal of Madoff securities fraud
lawsuit based on untimeliness and failure to plead with
- United States v. Cavallo,
790 F.3d 1202 (11th Cir. 2015) (Nos. 12-15660 &
13-12009) (Julie Carnes, J.) (vacating $13 million
restitution order after three-month jury trial regarding
$37.5 million mortgage fraud conspiracy).
- Dimanche v. Brown,
783 F.3d 1204 (11th Cir. 2015) (No. 12-13694) (Rosenthal,
J.) (reversing dismissal of prisoner's lawsuit because
his grievance administratively exhausted his claim that guards
had gassed him).
- Wilson v. City
of Tampa, 209 So. 3d 646 (Fla. 2d DCA 2017) (No.
2D15-3953) (Casanueva, J.) (reversing dismissal
of lawsuit because notice of claims was sufficient).
- Turk v. Bergman,
685 Fed. App'x 785 (11th Cir. 2017) (No. 16-14295) (Hull, J.)
(reversing summary judgment based on qualified immunity
when there were "massive disputes of material fact" whether
a suicidal veteran repeatedly shot by police had posed
an immediate threat of serious bodily harm to the
- Kumar v. Patel,
2017 WL 4296212 (Fla. Sept. 28, 2017) (No. SC16-1457) (Lawson,
J.) (quashing Second District opinion because Stand Your
Ground law does not confer civil liability immunity to
a criminal defendant who is determined to be immune
from prosecution in the criminal case).
- Navigating the New Florida Appellate Mediation Rules,
LAWYER,Summer 2011, at 14-15
- Florida State and Federal Appellate Rules: Distictions
with a Difference, FLA. B.J., June 2010, at 74-76
Recent Speaking Engagements:
- Distictions between State and Federal Appellate Practice,the
Florida Bar Appellate Section Practice Section (March 18,