Thomas Lawson Selden

Contact Tom

205-868-6021 - Direct
205-868-6099 - Fax
Email Tom tselden@starneslaw.com

100 Brookwood Place
7th Floor
P.O. Box 598512
Birmingham, AL 35259

Download vCard

Thomas Lawson Selden
Partner

Tom is a partner at Starnes Davis Florie, and has been with the firm since 1986.

Practice

Tom devotes 100% of his practice to civil litigation. He has extensive experience with construction litigation, surety and fidelity claims, probate and bankruptcy litigation, and the defense and prosecution of business and commercial claims. Tom has represented various national and regional companies, including Liberty Mutual Insurance, CNA Surety, Travelers Casualty and Surety Company, Hartford Insurance Company, Insurance Company of the West, and Old Republic Surety Company.

Highlights

* Prevailed on appeal before the Alabama Supreme Court which affirmed a ruling by Mobile County Circuit Court that the surety, under the terms of an indemnity agreement, was entitled to unilaterally settle its bonded contractor’s claims against the architect on a construction project, notwithstanding strenuous objections by the contractor.

* Obtained favorable Ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in favor of a surety company in a suit by a subcontractor under the Federal Miller Act.

* Prevailed in representing a surety company on a construction project involving renovations to a local mental health facility in an Interpleader action brought by the facility in Mobile County following the completion of work by the surety.

* Successfully represented surety in interpleader action brought by owner in Mobile County Circuit Court following surety's completion of a bonded construction project for the owner.
 
* Prevailed before Eleventh Circuit in appeal of summary judgment entered in surety's favor by the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama.
 
* Obtained summary judgment in favor of surety in Mobile County Circuit Court, which was affirmed on appeal by the Supreme Court of Alabama, upholding surety's right to unilaterally settle its bonded principal's claims against a third party.

* Prevailed in jury trial in Jefferson County Circuit Court brought by sub-subcontractor against surety under various payment bonds.

* Successfully defended sureties that issued bonds on behalf of former conservator who was accused of misappropriating assets of living and deceased wards in multiple probate estates.

* Successfully defended notary public in will contest in which plaintiff claimed signature to will was forged and/or decedent lacked requisite mental capacity to execute will.

* Successfully argued that performance bond surety was not conclusively bound by a default judgment entered against a bonded contractor and prevailed at trial on merits in action brought by owner.

* Obtained a dismissal with prejudice of a bad faith claim asserted against a performance bond surety in the Circuit Court of Jefferson County, Bessemer Division.

* Obtained a summary judgment in favor of a surety against a bonded contractor and its owners in the amount of $1,086,487.25 in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama.

* Obtained a dismissal with prejudice of a bad faith claim asserted against a payment bond surety in the Circuit Court of Tuscaloosa County.

* Successfully objected to bonded conservator’s discharge in Bankruptcy due to debtor’s defalcation while serving in a fiduciary capacity.

* Obtained summary judgment in favor of a surety against its bonded contractor for 100% of loss, including all attorney’s fees, after surety paid amounts to owner for claims under performance bond.

* Successfully defended surety against claims of bad faith by owner and obtained full recovery against bonded contractor for amounts paid to owner, plus all attorney’s fees and expenses.

* Obtained summary judgment, which was affirmed on appeal by the Supreme Court of Alabama, in favor of a surety on a bank renovation project in South Alabama based upon owner’s failure to meet conditions precedent to invoke surety’s obligations under performance bond.

* Successfully defended claims of bad faith made by bonded contractor and obtained full recovery from contractor of amounts paid under payment bond, plus attorney’s fees and expenses.

Honors And Awards

As a student at The University of Alabama School of Law, Tom was the recipient of the Walter Gwin Best Brief Award in the 1985 Moot Court Competition. Tom also served as a member of the International Law Moot Court Team which competed successfully in Miami, Florida. Tom further was a member of the Bench and Bar Legal Honor Society and Order of Barristers.

Community Involvement

Tom is actively involved at Trinity United Methodist Church where he served as a member of the Administrative Board and has been a mentor for confirmation classes. Tom has also served on various committees of the Birmingham Bar Association, worked on numerous cases on a pro bono basis through the Birmingham Volunteer Lawyers Association and regularly serves meals at local community shelters with his wife, Kristi, and six children.

Speeches And Publications

* Quick Hits: Update on Recent Topics of Interest, Southern Surety & Fidelity Claims Conference, Charleston, SC (April 2016).

* The Surety's Contractual Right of Indemnity, Southern Surety & Fidelity Claims Conference, Clearwater, FL (April 2015).

* Defenses of Indemnitors, Southern Surety & Fidelity Claims Conference, New Orleans, LA (April 2014).

* Objecting to Discharge of Debt Due to Defalcation by Debtors, Southern Surety & Fidelity Claims Conference, Charleston, SC (April 2013).

* Underwriters in the Claims Process, Southern Surety & Fidelity Claims Conference, Clearwater, FL (April 2012).

* Dealing with Your Principal's Affirmative Claims, Southern Surety & Fidelity Claims Conference, Clearwater, FL (April 2012).

Ethical Issues in Tenders of Defense and Joint Defense Agreements, Southern Surety & Fidelity Claims Conference, New Orleans, LA (April 2011).

* Fidelity Law Update, Southern Surety & Fidelity Claims Conference, New Orleans, LA (April 2011).

* Surety Law Update, Southern Surety & Fidelity Claims Conference, Clearwater, FL (April 2009).

* Salvage: Practical Tips and Considerations for the Fidelity Insurer, Southern Surety & Fidelity Claims Conference, Charleston, SC (April 2008).

* Presented a paper on "Manifest Intent" during Fidelity and Surety Law Committee Mid-Winter Meeting, New York, NY (January 2008).

*Objecting to the Discharge of the Debtor in Fidelity and Miscellaneous Bond Cases, Southern Surety & Fidelity Claims Conference (2007).

* Recent Developments in Surety Law, Southern Surety & Fidelity Claims Conference, Charleston, SC (2005).

* Bad Faith: A Survey of Current Law for Sureties and Fidelity Carriers, Southern Surety & Fidelity Claims Conference, St. Pete Beach, FL (2004).

* Potential Set-Offs and Defenses Available to a Probate Surety, Southern Surety & Fidelity Claims Conference, New Orleans, LA (2003).

* Surety Law Update, Southern Surety & Fidelity Claims Conference, Charleston, SC (2002).

* Necessity for Default Declaration and Other Conditions Precedent to Invoke Surety’s Obligations under Performance Bond, Southern Surety & Fidelity Claims Conference, St. Pete Beach, FL (2001).

Contributing author of the following ABA publications:

* "The Law of Probate Bonds - Second Edition" (Jeffrey M. Frank and Sharon A. Sergeant , Editors) (2015).

* "The Law of Motor Vehicle Dealer Bonds" (William Downing, Lisa Jennings-Baroun, James Keamer and Aaron McKee, Editors) (2006).

* "Contractor’s State License Bonds Desk Reference" (Edward Lodgen, Catherine Squillace and Mark Herbert, Editors) (2006).

Reported Cases

Insurance Co. of the West v. Ollinger Constr., Inc., 2012 WL 6651923 (S.D. Ala. Dec. 20, 2012), aff’d, 525 Fed. Appx. 921 (11th Cir. Aug. 14, 2013)

In re Hastings, 438 B.R. 743 (Bankr. N. D. Ala 2008).

In re Pierce, 2004 Bankr. LEXIS 1133 (Bankr. S.D. Ala, April 15, 2004).

Bank of Brewton, Inc. v. International Fidelity Ins. Co., 827 So.2d 747 (Ala. 2002).

Frontier Ins. Co. v. International, Inc., 124 F.Supp.2d 1211 (N.D. Ala. 2000).

City of Gulf Shores v. Harber Int’l, 608 So.2d 348 (Ala. 1992).

Tittle v. Giattina, Fisher & Co., 597 So.2d 679 (Ala. 1992).

Travelers Ins. Co. v. Fountain City Credit Union, 889 F.2d 264 (11th Cir. 1989).

Related News

6/28/2016 Tom Selden Prevails on Appeal Before the Alabama Supreme Court on Behalf of Surety Company

6/23/2016 Selden & Keenan Prevail in Surety Trial

6/23/2016 Selden & Keenan Obtain Favorable Ruling from the 11th Circuit in a Surety Case

4/27/2016 Starnes Attorneys Present at the 2016 Southern Surety & Fidelity Claims Conference

7/1/2015 Tom Selden Contributes to "The Law of Probate Bonds" Publication

3/21/2014 SDF Attorneys Selden & Keenan Obtain Jury Verdict in Surety Trial

9/30/2013 Starnes Davis Florie Attorney Tom Selden Prevails in a Will Contest

Practices

Business Litigation
Construction Litigation
Fidelity & Surety Litigation
Professional Liability
Professional Licensing Defense

Education

J.D., University of Alabama School of Law (1986)
B.A., The University of the South (1983)

Bar Admissions

Alabama

Courts

U.S. Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Alabama
U.S. District Court, Middle District of Alabama
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Alabama
United States Court of Claims