Thomas Burns

Thomas A. Burns

Curriculum Vitae

Sample Briefs

Dempsey & Associates, P.A. v. Harold Dale Lindon, et al. in the Florida Fifth District Court of Appeal
O'Donnell v. North Florida Land Trust, Inc. in the Florida First District Court of Appeal

Sample Oral Arguments

Howard v. Kraus in the United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit (12/18/15)
Jenkins v. Anton in the United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit (9/27/18)
United States v. Aldissi in the United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit (3/21/18)

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 2018-2021 and  highlighted in Florida Trend Magazine's Legal Elite for appellate practice in 2018-2020.

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 Circuit.

Mr. 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.


Notable Cases:

  • Sammons v. Greenfield, __ So. 3d __ (Fla. 2d DCA 2019) (No. 2D17-755) (Kelly, J.) (reversing dismissal of personal injury lawsuit because attorney's failure to timely file motion to substitute estate for decedent due to endocrinological condition was excusable neglect).
  • United States v. Lovelace, 726 Fed. App'x 770 (11th Cir. 2018) (Nos. 16-11207, 16-11466, 17-11028 & 17-11059) (Tjoflat, J.) (reversing convictions for three counts of substantive Medicare fraud after 10-day jury trial in $2.5 million Medicare fraud conspiracy and remanding for resentencing).
  • 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 disrespectful).
  • 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 specificity).
  • 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 officers).
  • Kumar v. Patel, 227 So. 3d 557 (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).

Recent Publications:

  • 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, 2011)