C. Thomas (Tom) Miller
Tom is an Alabama native and Murray State graduate who worked in music and banking before earning his law degree from Vanderbilt University in 1991. He served as law clerk to the Hon. U.S. District Judge Edward H. Johnstone (sitting in Paducah and Louisville) from 1992 – 1994. He practiced with a regional defense firm and its successors in Paducah and Louisville from 1994 – 2000, while also serving as acting general counsel for Murray State University from 1996 – 1997. He joined Whitlow, Roberts, Houston & Straub, PLLC as a Member in 2000.
Tom’s maritime law experience began with a clerkship at Ingram Barge while in law school and continued with a two-year clerkship for the legendary Judge Edward H. Johnstone, then Chief Judge for the Western District of Kentucky, where he assisted with multiple maritime disputes. Tom is a member of the Maritime Law Association and has litigated maritime cases in Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Tennessee and Mississippi courts involving allisions, submersions, tow breakaways, Limitation of Liability actions, vessel seizures, product liability and a variety of Jones Act and unseaworthiness claims.
Employment and Business Disputes
Tom has regularly advised and represented municipalities and private employers regarding personnel policies and issues and in litigation involving alleged discrimination, wrongful termination, civil rights claims and wage and hour disputes. He has represented general contractors, subcontractors, architects and owners in construction defect and contract disputes in arbitration and in state and federal courts. He has significant experience in business litigation, fraud, insurance coverage disputes and general insurance defense. He has served as lead counsel in multi-district False Claims Act litigation consolidated in Washington D.C.; argued successfully before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and Kentucky Court of Appeals; and in 2007, became one of the few Kentucky counsel to have filed a merits brief for the prevailing parties and appeared at counsel table before the Supreme Court of the United States. Tom served on the Evidence Rules Review Commission for the Supreme Court of Kentucky from 2003 – 2008, and has held the AV Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell since 2001.
Tom’s legal assistants are Connie DeRezza, who has over 25 years’ experience as a maritime paralegal in both litigation and transactional matters, Kasi Lahndorff, who has been a general litigation paralegal for over 13 years.
Sample court opinions in Tom’s cases include Foster v. Jennie Stuart Medical Center, Inc., 435 S.W.3d 629, 631 (Ky.App.,2013); Kopacz v. Hopkinsville Surface and Storm Water Utility, 714 F.Supp.2d 682 (W.D.Ky., 2010); Osborn v. Haley, 549 U.S. 225, 127 S.Ct. 881; 422 F. 3d 359 (6th Cir. 2005); on remand, 2008 WL 974578 (W.D.Ky.,2008); Vannoy v. Milum, 171 S.W. 3d 745 (Ky. App. 2005); Midwestern Ins. Alliance, Inc. v. Coffman, 7 S.W.3d 393 (Ky. App. 1999) and Winchester v. City of Hopkinsville, 93 F.Supp.3d 752, 754 (W.D.Ky.,2015); Burkhead & Scott, Inc. v. City of Hopkinsville, 666 Fed.Appx. 407 (6th Cir. 2016); Scarborough v. Ingram Barge Company, 2016 WL 6901693 (W.D. Ky.); CHS v. Yellow Banks River Terminal, 2017 WL 4542225 (W.D. Ky. 2017); United Propane Gas, Inc. v. NGL supply, 2018 WL 1357480 (Ky. App.).
Licenses and Associations
- Kentucky Bar, 1992
- United States District Court, Western and Eastern Districts of Kentucky
- United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
- Supreme Court of the United States
- Kentucky Bar Association, Construction and Employment practice sections
- Western Kentucky Construction Association
- Evidence Rules Review Commission for the Supreme Court of Kentucky, appointed member 2003-2008
- Maritime Law Association
- Propeller Club of Paducah
- Vanderbilt University Law School, J.D. 1991
- American Jurisprudence Award in Commercial Paper
- Bureau of National Affairs Law Student Award
- Murray State University, B.M. 1981
Publications and Presentations
- Western Kentucky Constructor magazine (multiple articles)
- Wrongful Termination Claims in Kentucky: Lessons Learned from the Cold Call, Peel & Holland Employer Forum
- What Civil Court Judges Want You To Know, Program Moderator, National Business Institute presentation
- West Kentucky Community and Technical College 2013: Completed training course concerning the inland waterways and the towing industry, including classroom lectures, deckhand demonstrations, and tour of a towing vessel
- Community Foundation of West Kentucky, Former Member of Board and Executive Committee
- Paducah Symphony Orchestra
- Board of Directors, former President
- Member of the Orchestra’s original horn section, 1979-1981
- Paducah First Presbyterian Church, Trustee, Elder and Musician
- Child Watch Children’s Advocacy Center, Former Board Member, Pro Bono Counsel
- Carson Four Rivers Center for the Performing Arts, former Board Member
- Paducah River Industry Crawfish Boil, Organizer 2015-present
Tom is married to Paducah native Cindy Bagget Miller, who works as Development Coordinator for Paducah’s Market House Theatre, where she has also performed as Music Director and pianist for numerous productions. Tom and Cindy serve as musicians at Paducah’s First Presbyterian Church and are original members of The Paducah Singers, a semi-professional choral ensemble. They also enjoy traveling to visit their three grown daughters, Katy, Maria, and Kye, who are all performing artists.