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Thomas C. Hays

Partner

T: 317.453.8638 | Mobile: 317.258.2307
F: 317.630.2790
E: thays@lewiswagner.com

Legal Assistant

Debi Alexander

T: 317.237.0500
E: dalexander@lewiswagner.com

Biography

Read Articles by Thomas C. Hays

A veteran lawyer and Partner at Lewis Wagner, LLC, Tom concentrates his practice in the areas of alternative dispute resolution and litigation involving construction, premises liability and product liability. As an experienced mediator, Tom understands that preparation is the key to success. Mediation has become one of the most effective ways to resolve a case in today’s practice of law, so he believes it’s imperative to use the same level of preparation for mediation as with trials.

One of Tom's many strengths is his thorough investigation of his client's matter, followed by a thoughtful, strategic preparation of their case and a straight-forward appraisal of their legal situation and possible options. He has been recognized multiple times as The Best Lawyers in America® in the fields of Arbitration, Mediation and Personal Injury Litigation, as well as Indiana Super Lawyers®.

Tom is a membr of several professional organizations, including the American Bar Association, Indiana State Bar Association, Indianapolis Bar Association, Georgia State Bar Association, American Board of Trial Advocates, Defense Research Institute, Defense Trial Counsel of Indiana, International Association of Defense Counsel, National Association of Distinguished Neutrals, and the Association of Attorney-Mediators.

Experience

Trials/Appeals:

Trials:

  • Donald Stauffer v. Steak n Shake, Inc.
    • Facts: a slip and fall case where Plaintiff slipped and fell and cut his hand on a corner guard while Plaintiff was walking toward the restroom.
    • Venue: Marion County
    • Result:  Defense Verdict
    • Year:  2014 
  • Amber Hamilton v. Steak n Shake, Inc.
    • Facts:  An altercation between two groups of customers inside a Steak n Shake restaurant.  The altercation included verbal threats.  Ultimately, the Plaintiff was shot in the face by non-party, Ricky Jackson after Plaintiff lunged and punched Mr. Jackson.
    • Venue:  Marion County
    • Result:  Favorable settlement half way through trial
    • Year: 2019 
  • Jeffrey Certa v. Steak n Shake, Inc.
    • Facts: An altercation between two groups of customers outside of the Steak n Shake restaurant, in the parking lot.  Altercation culminated in Plaintiff being struck by a motor vehicle, which was driven by non-party, Mikal Gillham.  Plaintiff suffered a torn ACL.  
    • Venue:  Tippecanoe County
    • Result:  Jury apportioned 10% fault to Steak n Shake, 40% fault to Plaintiff, 20% to Mikal Gillham, and the remaining fault to various non-parties.  Plaintiff was awarded $160,000, and Steak n Shake responsible for $16,000.
    • Year: 2019 

Appeals:

  • Amber Hamilton v. Steak n Shake, Inc.
    • Facts:  An altercation between two groups of customers inside a Steak n Shake restaurant.  The altercation included verbal threats.  Ultimately, the Plaintiff was shot in the face by non-party, Ricky Jackson after Plaintiff lunged and punched Mr. Jackson.
    • After the Supreme Court passed the Goodwin v. Yeakle and Rogers v. Martin opinions, the trial court granted Steak n Shake’s Motion for Summary Judgment holding that Steak n Shake did not owe Plaintiff a duty of care.  Specifically, the Supreme Court in Goodwin and Rogers created a foreseeability test which mandated that trial courts must determine whether a duty exists in 3rd party criminal premises liability cases.  The Supreme Court held that the appropriate test was to determine (without taking into consideration the facts of a case): (1) the broad type of plaintiff; and (2) the broad type of harm involved.  We argued that although Amber Hamilton would certainly be considered the broad type of Plaintiff, namely a customer of Steak n Shake, the harm of being shot in the face was not foreseeable as a broad type of harm.  The trial court agreed and granted summary judgment.  
    • Plaintiff appealed and argued that given how long the argument lasted inside the restaurant, the animosity shown between the 2 groups, and the fact that Steak n Shake took no efforts to mitigate the fight, this all meant that Plaintiff and the fact that she was shot in the face was foreseeable in the context of at least establishing a duty of care.  The Court of Appeals overturned the trial court’s decision granting summary judgment.
    • Petition to the Supreme Court was denied.
    • Year: 2018 
  • Jefferey Certa v. Steak n Shake, Inc.
    • Facts: An altercation between two groups of customers outside of the Steak n Shake restaurant, in the parking lot.  Altercation culminated in Plaintiff being struck by a motor vehicle, which was driven by non-party, Mikal Gillham.  Plaintiff suffered a torn ACL.  
    • We filed summary judgment for the same reason in the Amber Hamilton v. Steak n Shake.  Specifically, under the new test established by the Supreme Court, we argued that the Plaintiff being struck by a motor vehicle in the parking lot was unforeseeable as a matter of law.  The Trial court agreed and granted summary judgment in favor of Steak n Shake. 
    • Plaintiff appealed and made the same argument as opposing counsel made in the Amber Hamilton v. Steak n Shake case.  Specifically, opposing counsel argued that a back and forth verbal altercation which escalated into a physical fight outside of the restaurant was foreseeable to Steak n Shake, and Steak n Shake should have foreseen that someone would be injured. The Court of Appeals agreed with Plaintiff and overturned the trial court’s decision granting summary judgment.
    • Petition to the Supreme Court was denied.
    • Year: 2018

Honors & Awards

  • Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rated AV® Preeminent
  • The Best Lawyers in America® in the fields of Arbitration; Mediation; Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants, 2010-2021
    • Best Lawyers' 2020 Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants - Lawyer of the Year
    • Best Lawyers' Inaugural Business Litigation Issue - Personal Injury Litigation, Summer 2019
    • Best Lawyers' 2019 Indianapolis Mediation - Lawyer of the Year
    • Best Lawyers’ 2018 Indianapolis Arbitration - Lawyer of the Year
    • Best Lawyers’ 2016 Indianapolis Arbitration - Lawyer of the Year
  • Indiana Super Lawyers®, 2005–2020 
    • Top 50, Indiana Super Lawyers®, 2012-2020
  • Distinguished Barrister, The Indiana Lawyer, 2016
  • Indiana State Bar Association, Litigation Section's Civility Award, 2005

Professional Associations

  • American Bar Association, 1977 - present
  • American Board of Trial Advocates, 1994 - present
    • President, Indiana Chapter, 2006
  • Association of Attorney-Mediators
  • Defense Research Institute
    • State Liaison
    • Trial Tactics Committee
  • Defense Trial Counsel of Indiana, 1982 - present
    • President, 2015
    • President-Elect, 2014
    • Board of Directors, 2004 - present
    • Diplomat, 2009
    • Trial Tactics Chair, DTCI Annual Meeting, 1999 - 2004
    • Chair, Spring Business Seminar at the Indianapolis Speedway, 2004
  • Georgia State Bar Association, 1977 - present
  • Indiana State Bar Association, 1979 - present
  • Indianapolis Bar Association, 1979 - present
    • Litigation Section
  • Indianapolis Bar Foundation
    • Distinguished Fellow, 2007
  • International Association of Defense Counsel, 2002 - present
  • National Association of Distinguished Neutrals
  • Johnson County Bar Association, 1986 – present
  • National Institute for Trial Advocacy
    • Diplomat, 1989
  • The National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals, 2015

Publications

Presentations

  • Opening and Closing Statements, Indianapolis Bar Association, Indianapolis, IN, May 30, 2019. 
  • "Negotiating and Litigating the Damages: Defense Perspective," Damages in Personal Injury, National Business Institute, Indianapolis, IN, March 15, 2018.
  • Advanced Civil Mediation Roundtable, Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, French Lick, IN, November 9-10, 2017.
  • 9 Ancillary Issues in Personal Injury Litigation, Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Indianapolis, IN, September 28, 2016, Speaker.
  • Structuring the Closing Argument in the TBI Case, Trying the Traumatic Brain Injury Case, Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, December 18, 2013.
  • Sharpening Your Tools of Persuasion, Defense Trial Counsel of Indiana annual meeting, French Lick, IN, November 16 – 18, 2011, Chair.
  • It's Not A Crap Shoot!, Trial Skills, IndyBar Las Vegas Destination CLE, October 2011.
  • Opening Statements, DTCI 2010 Annual Meeting, Trial Tactics Section.
  • Taking Depositions that Win or Lose Your Case, Indianapolis Bar Association, March 2009.
  • Trying Cases for Premises Owners, Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, February 2009.
  • Are you Prepared for Accidents? Legal Considerations for the Construction Employer, National Business Institute,  August 2008.
  • 60 Minutes to Better Jury Instructions, Indianapolis Bar Association; August 2008.
  • New Trial Rules, Strategies and Tips, ISBA Indiana Solo and Small Firm Conference, 2007.
  • Mediation and Jury Trial In Indiana, Zurich North America, 2006.
  • Premises Liability – Slip, Trip and Fall, Closing Arguments From a Defense Perspective,  Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, 2005.

Civic & Community Involvement

  • Indianapolis Bar Association - Homeless Program, 2006 - Present
  • NCAA Final Four—Special Events Committee, 1997
  • Indiana University School of Law
    • Judge, mock trial, 1997
    • Volunteer, mock interview program, 1997

Schedule a Mediation

Click Here to Schedule.

Recent Training

  • Advanced Attorney-Mediator Training: Race for Excellence AOAMED, 2018
  • National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals (NADN) Advanced Mediation Training Program, 2017
  • IndyBar Bench Bar Conference, 2017

In The News

    Media Mentions

  1. Dec 03, 2014

    Thomas Hays Will Lead DTCI as it Embarks on New Long Range Plan
    The Indiana Lawyer

    Published Articles

  1. May 02, 2018

    Prepare to break through mediation impasses
    Indiana Lawyer

  2. May 03, 2017

    Do Not Treat Mediation as Routine and Ordinary
    The Indiana Lawyer

  3. Sep 30, 2009

    There's more to Arbitration than you think
    The Indiana Lawyer

  4. Dec 24, 2008

    DTCI: Note New Interpretation of additional insured
    The Indiana Lawyer

        Seminars and Speaking Engagements

      1. Mar 15, 2018

        "Negotiating and Litigating the Damages: Defense Perspective," Damages in Personal Injury, National Business Institute, Indianapolis, IN

        Press Release

        1. Aug 20, 2020

          2021 The Best Lawyers in America®

        2. Feb 07, 2019

          Lewis Wagner Announces 2019 Indiana Super Lawyers & Rising Stars

        3. Aug 15, 2018

          10 lawyers from Lewis Wagner were recognized in The Best Lawyers in America© 2019

        4. Feb 20, 2018

          Lewis Wagner Announces 2018 Indiana Super Lawyers® & Rising Stars

        5. Aug 15, 2017

          Lewis Wagner Attorneys Selected For Inclusion In The Best Lawyers In America® 2018

        6. Feb 15, 2017

          Twenty Lewis Wagner, LLP Attorneys Named on 2017 List of Indiana Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

        7. Aug 15, 2016

          Lewis Wagner attorneys selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2017

        8. May 04, 2016

          Tom Hays recognized by The Indiana Lawyer as a Distinguished Barrister.

        9. Feb 12, 2016

          Lewis Wagner Attorneys Selected by Indiana Super Lawyers as Top Attorneys
          Indiana Super Lawyers Magazine

        10. Aug 17, 2015

          90% of Lewis Wagner, LLP’s Equity Partners Selected For Inclusion in The Best Lawyers In America 2016; Four Named ‘Lawyer Of The Year’

        11. Feb 13, 2015

          100% of Lewis Wagner's Equity Partners Named Indiana Super Lawyers

        12. Jan 01, 2015

          Thomas C. Hays Installed as President of DTCI

        13. Oct 15, 2014

          DRI And the Defense Wins: A Jury Returned a Full Defense Verdict in a Case Involving Injuries Suffered by a Forty-four Year Old Indianapolis Woman
          DRI And the Defense Wins

        14. Aug 18, 2014

          80% of Lewis Wagner’s Equity Partners Selected for Inclusion in The Best Lawyers In America 2015; Three Named ‘Lawyer Of The Year’

        15. Feb 12, 2014

          70% of Firm Partners named Indiana Super Lawyers®

        16. Aug 15, 2013

          Robert Wagner, Tom Hays, John Trimble, Jerry Hammond, Rick Shoultz, Susan Cline, Dina Cox, Rich Blaiklock & Kyle Lansberry Selected for Inclusion in The Best Lawyers In America 2014

        Practice Areas

        Bar Admissions

        • State of Georgia, 1977
        • State of Indiana, 1979

        Courts of Practice

        • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia, 1977
        • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, 1979
        • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, 1979

        Education

        • Woodrow Wilson College of Law, Atlanta, Georgia, J.D., 1977
        • Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, B.A., dean's list, 1973