Thomas M.


Thomas M Cole
Thomas M.


Thomas M. Cole’s practice has primarily included litigation of various matters, including workers’ compensation, torts (automobile, negligence, and medical malpractice), insurance agency errors and omissions, contracts, conservatorships, defense of section 1983 civil rights actions, occupational diseases, and mental health matters.

Over the course of the past several years, Mr. Cole has served as counsel for thousands of mental health commitment court hearings, has been called upon regularly to furnish advice regarding various issues on an as needed and often urgent basis to mental health care provider clients regarding commitments, patient rights, records confidentiality, policies and procedures, and various other miscellaneous matters. Mr. Cole was the principal drafter of the current Tennessee statute permitting mental health commitment hearings to be conducted via video conference. Mr. Cole is often called upon to assist other firm attorneys with difficult or unusual representation problems.

Mr. Cole has served as an invited speaker regarding topics including confidentiality of patient records or seminars for medical records professionals, business, and office managers (March 1990, 1991, 1992, and June 2003). Mr. Cole has presented topics of interest for seminars for mental health care professionals, e.g., Mental Health and the Law in Tennessee, June 2000; Medical Educational Services; Tennessee Mental Health and the Law of 2000; Health ED, LLC.; Mental Health Law 2001; Current Developments in Tennessee; Health ED, LLC; has presented topics regarding mental health law and medical records with the Blount County Bar Association; and Mr. Cole has served as a presenter regarding mental health law on several occasions for law enforcement officer training sessions.


  • Associate, Daniel, Duncan and Claiborne 1977 to 1980
  • Associate, Walter, Gilbertson and Claiborne 1975 through 1977


  • Ellison v. Garbarino, 48 F. 3d 192 (C.A. 6th), February 24, 1995 (Civil rights §1983 claim due to involuntary hospitalization) (co-counsel)
  • Hazelwood v. Tennessee Department of Safety, et al., 322 Fed. Appx. 441, 2009 WL 1066778 (C.A. 6 (Tenn.)) not selected for publication in the Federal Reporter, April 22, 2009. (civil rights §1983 claim)
  • Cannon v. Peninsula Hospital, 2003 WL 22335087, Tenn. Ct. App., Sept. 25, 2003 (unpublished). (alleged malicious prosecution)
  • James Phillips vs. Consolidation Coal Company, 2000 WL 85911, Tenn. Workers’ Comp. panel, Jan. 25, 2000 (unpublished). (workers’ compensation, coal workers pneumoconiosis)
  • Johnson v. Transportation Unlimited, Inc., 1999 WL 728395, Tenn. Sept. 20, 1999 (unpublished) (workers’ compensation)
  • Baird v. Consolidation Coal Co., 1995 WL 601417, Tenn., Oct. 11, 1995 (unpublished). (workers’ compensation, coal workers pneumoconiosis)
  • Hensley V. Consolidation Coal Co., Inc., 658 S.W. 2d 94, Tenn., Oct. 11, 1983. (workers’ compensation, coal workers pneumoconiosis)
  • Argonaut Ins. Co. v. Williams, 580 S.W. 2d 784, Tenn., May 7, 1979. (workers’ compensation)

Mr. Cole’s litigation representations have included defense and plaintiff assignments.

  • Litigation
  • Mental Health
  • Health Records Privacy
  • Conservatorships
  • Torts
  • Insurance Agent Errors and Omissions
  • Contracts
  • University of Tennessee College of Law, 1975 J.D.
    *The Order of the Coif 
  • University of Tennessee, B.S.,
    Business Administration, 1972
    with high honors
  • Tennessee – 1975
  • United States District Court
    Eastern District of TN – 1976
  • United States Court of Appeals
    Sixth Circuit – 1994

*The Order of the Coif is an honor society for law school graduates in the top 10% of their class.