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Thomas E. Gibbs

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Thomas E. Gibbs is a partner in the firm’s Orange County office. He focuses on business litigation, trial work and dispute resolution, as well as insurance coverage. Over his 30 years of practice, Tom has handled a wide variety of business challenges. He has significant experience in real estate matters primarily representing developers/owners in actions concerning:

  • purchase agreements (e.g. specific performance and damage actions)
  • partnerships/LLCs (e.g. breach of fiduciary duty and dissolution actions)
  • leases (e.g. unlawful detainer, breach of covenant, waste)
  • finance (e.g. lender liability, loan agreement disputes, foreclosures)
  • construction and development (e.g. course of construction problems, delay claims, and defects)
  • land use and entitlements (e.g. CEQA, compliance, entitlement problems, takings and due process violations), and
  • other problems or issues which arise in property development.

In addition, Tom acts as coverage counsel for developers and other businesses, and specializes in comprehensive general liability policies (including wraps, OCIP and CCIP), title policies, errors and omissions policies, and property policies. He has significant experience in dispute avoidance, mediation and arbitration/trials. He speaks and writes on dispute avoidance, and over the course of his career, has handled thousands of lawsuits, disputes and problems with favorable resolutions, tried numerous major cases and handled more than 25 appeals, most recently the ground breaking decision in Avalon Pacific v. HD Supply, 192 Cal.App.4th 1183.

Tom represents a wide variety of clients, including commercial, industrial, residential and retail developers, apartment REITs and other multi-family companies, landlords, home builders, retail operators, property managers, lenders, foundations, high tech companies, major manufacturers (including such products as medical instruments, batteries, solar panels, and flooring), and other commercial businesses.

Tom employs what he calls the “Strategic Dispute Resolution" (SDR) approach as distinguished from the “Process” approach.

Tom was a litigation associate with the law firm of O'Melveny & Myers LLP from 1980 to 1984. He joined Allen Matkins in 1984 and was promoted to a partner in 1987.


  • American Bar Association
  • Orange County Bar Association, Business Litigation Section and Real Estate Section
  • Association of Business Trial Lawyers (ABTL)
  • The Orange County Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society


Tom graduated from the University of California, Irvine, with two Bachelor's degrees, in economics and in social ecology, having graduated with the honors of summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. In 1980, Tom graduated from the UCLA School of Law, placing 10th in the class and honored with Order of the Coif. He also served as Notes Editor for the Federal Communications Law Journal.

Bar Admissions

  • California