Thomas J. Johnston

Top rated Personal Injury attorney in Los Angeles, California

Johnston & Hutchinson LLP
Thomas J. Johnston
Johnston & Hutchinson LLP

Practice Areas: Personal Injury, Products Liability; view more

Licensed in California since: 2000

Education: Loyola Law School Los Angeles

Selected to Super Lawyers: 2004 - 2005, 2013 - 2024

Johnston & Hutchinson LLP

350 S. Grand Ave.
Suite 2220
Los Angeles, CA 90071 Visit website


Thomas J. Johnston concentrates his practice on the trial of personal injury, including catastrophic personal injury and wrongful death matters.  He represents clients throughout the United States.

Johnston has recovered numerous significant verdicts and settlements for his clients, including four verdicts and three settlements against transportation companies in excess of $75 million dollars.  In 2016, he obtained a $22.4 million jury verdict against the City of Los Angeles in a wrongful death matter – the largest verdict of its kind in the United States.  In 2017, Johnston obtained a $5 million dollar verdict in a wrongful death matter against a property owner for failing to warn of a dangerous condition on a roadway.   In 2018, Johnston settled a spinal cord injury case against a major paving contractor for $11 million.   In 2018, Johnston also settled the wrongful death case against the Department of Water and Power for $6 million.    In 2015, Johnston obtained a $9.5 million recovery for a pedestrian injured by a Los Angeles County bus operator.   In 2014, he was co-lead counsel in a significant case that went to the California Courts of Appeal resulting in a landmark decision regarding the duties of landowners who have dangerous conditions on their property.

In 2017, Super Lawyers Magazine ranked Johnston one of the Top 100 lawyers in Southern California.  In 2012, Los Angeles Daily Journal named Johnston to its list of the top 20 lawyers in California under the age of 40.  Mr. Johnston is also featured in the 21st edition of the publication "The Best Lawyers in America" and was a finalist for the Consumer Attorneys of California's Street Fighter of the Year award in 2011, and a semifinalist for the CAALA Trial Lawyer of the Year in 2016.

Johnston is an officer of the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates, a prominent invitation-only organization, and has spoken on litigation-related topics for professional organizations and educational institutions.  Mr. Johnston is also staff instructor at the prestigious Trial Lawyers College.

Johnston served as an intelligence officer for a US Navy special operations unit (EOD Mobile Unit 3 BN) in Baghdad, Iraq during the Surge Campaign of 2007 and 2008.

Practice areas

Personal Injury - General: Plaintiff, Personal Injury - Products: Plaintiff

Focus areas

Motor Vehicle Defects, Personal Injury - Plaintiff, Wrongful Death

  • 50% Personal Injury - General: Plaintiff
  • 50% Personal Injury - Products: Plaintiff

First Admitted: 2000, California

Professional Webpage:

Educational Background:
  • Loyola Marymount University, Political Science, 1997
Verdicts/Settlements (Case Results):
  • $4,725,000 settlement on behalf of plaintiff who suffered serious brachial plexus injury in motorcycle and ambulance collision., 2023
  • $5,000,000 wrongful death settlement involving a tractor trailer and motorcycle collision., 2023
  • $2,600,000 jury verdict for wrongful death against San Joaquin County Sheriff's Dept.  for Plaintiff who was in prison at the time of his son's untimely death., 2023
  • $4,250,000 settlement against school district for failure to supervise minor who suffered a traumatic brain injury during an on campus fight.  (Clay v. YCJUSD), 2022
  • $1,500,000 jury verdict for PTSD and general damages suffered during Plaintiff's evacuation from apartment fire.   The verdict followed two other phases of trial and came at the end of 5 years of litigation., 2022
  • $1,000,000 settlement for case involving jet ski collision causing serious injury. , 2022
  • $1,750,000 settlement for premises liability case arising from burn injuries suffered by licensee.   Case resolved within 30 days of trial and after two summary judgment motions were denied., 2021
  • Plaintiff's Verdict:  Healy v. Coachella Partners et al: verdict against defendant developer for negligence arising out of structure fire that destroyed an adjacent apartment complex., 2021
  • $1,500,000 confidential settlement against defendant for causing a structure fire resulting in destruction of real property., 2022
  • Garwood v. Hilton et al, $850,000 settlement for professional golfer injured in premises liability matter in South Dakota., 2022
  • $4,200,000 confidential settlement in case against a school district for personal injuries (traumatic brain injury) suffered by student., 2022
  • CA v. LAUSD - Obtained $2,600,000 settlement for adult plaintiff who was a childhood victim of faculty sexual misconduct. , 2020
  • JD v. Confidential Company: obtained $1,100,000 plus confidential settlement for breach of contract and wrongful termination. , 2021
  • JD v. Confidential Company - obtained $4,000,000 confidential settlement on behalf of family of deceased purchaser of defective product. , 2020
  • MG v. BBB Trucking Inc.  $11,000,000 settlement for young man with a spinal cord injury., 2018
  • Guilmette v. City of Los Angeles wrongful death arising out of dangerous condition of public roadway.  Jury verdict (unanimous): $22,400,000, 2016
  • Liu v. MTA: $9,500,000 settlement for traumatic brain injury case arising out of bus versus pedestrian collision, 2015
  • Reyes v. City of Los Angeles (DWP).   $6,000,000 settlement for wrongful death of undocumented teenager on behalf of his parents.   Death arose out of power pole appartus that collapsed after a pole strike., 2018
  • $6,000,000 confidential settlement against major automotive manufacturer for safety component failure., 2018
  • Annocki v. Turner et al. $5,000,000 verdict for adult parents of 42 year old decedent in motorcycle crash.  Case involved restaurant and Caltrans's failure to warn of one way traffic on PCH. , 2017
  • Kerr v. Union Pacific:  $1,800,000 premises liability - auto liability settlement after commencement of trial., 2017
  • Vinson v. Sazeh et al.  $4,350,000 settlement in burn case arising out of electrical panel explosion, 2013
  • Chau v. Doe Trucking Company.  Auto v. Pedestrian Case: $1,000,000 settlement, 2011
  • DB v. Doe Trucking Company:  $1,015,000 settlement for truck v. biycle collision, 2013
  • Jane Doe v. John Roe: $1,600,000 settlement in pick up truck versus pedestrian case.   Case settled before Judge Ferns in Los Angeles Superior Court, 2011
  • Briscoe v. Caltrans:  Dangerous Condition of Roadway.  Case settled during jury deliberations.  $1,000,000., 2013
  • Ace v. Confidential Amusement Park.  Breach of Contract trial that began with a 0 dollar offer from defendant and ended with defendant paying $700,000 to settle after the conclusion of plaintiff's case in chief., 2014
  • Ding et al v. C.O.S.T: $2,500,000 settlement after commencement of trial for lumbar fusion and loss of earnings., 2017
  • Arroyave v. Doe Defendant:  $750,000 settlement for premises liability case, 2011
  •  JD v. Doe City (bus collision) $850,000 settlement for bus v. pedestrian collision, 2013
  • Perez v. Confidential Government Hospital:  $1,600,000 settlement arising out of medical negligence causing death, 2014
  • Lau v. Northwestern: $1,000,000
  • Chan v. Haq: catastrophic personal injury case arising out of motor vehicle collision.  Settled on eve of trial for $1,030,000., 2015
  • Sprague v. Calinex: $6,700,000
  • Webb v. ARB: $5,400,000  
  • O'Leary v. Raines: Joint $1,250,000 verdict in wrongful death case ($675,000 per plaintiff).
  • Rivera v. San Miguel et al: $13,600,000 verdict in trucking collision
  • Wong v. Doe Transportation Authority: $675,000 settlement, 2011
Scholarly Lectures/Writings:
  • Selected as adjunct professor of Torts teaching advanced torts to future trial lawyers., Professor - Teaching Torts II, Adjunct Professor at Loyola Law School Los Angeles, Loyola Law School, Legal, 2023
  • Trial skills instructor at prestigious Gerry Spence Methods advanced trial training program., Trial Skills Instructor at Gerry Spence Methods , Staff Instructor (Trial Skills), Gerry Spence Methods , 2023
  • Presenter on issue of presenting medical evidence at trial at ASCDC Annual Seminar., Presenter - Medical Evidence , Presenter at Association of Southern California Defense Counsel Annual Meeting , ASCDC , 2023
  • Instructor at Trial Lawyers College in Dubois, Wyoming., Staff Instructor - Trial Skills, Trial Lawyers College, 2020
  • Staff Instructor (Trial Skills) at Trial Lawyers College, Trial Skills Instructor, Staff Instructor at Trial Lawyers College, 2019
  • Staff instructor on trial skills at Spence Methods at Thunderhead Ranch., Trial Skills Instructor, Staff Instruction , Spence Methods at Thunderhead Ranch, 2013
  • Comment contributor for CA CIVIL JURY INSTRUCTION COMPANION HANDBOOK by Justice Elizabeth A. Baron (Ret.) and Judge Judge Holzer Hersher published by Thomson Reuters. Contributed comment on jury instructions related to causation.   Invitation to contribute by authors as result of significant verdict., Contributor, Cal. Civil Jury Instruction Companion Handbook, 2017
  • Lecturer at Loyola Law School, Mass Torts, 2008
  • Lectured on Hearsay Evidence and Hearsay Exceptions, Lecturer, Hearsay and Hearsay Exceptions, Consumer Attorneys Of California, 2012
  • Lectured on Hearsay evidence to Young Lawyers Division of Consumer Attorneys of California during MCLE seminar, Lecturer, Consumer Attorneys of Los Angeles, 2012
  • Faculty Member ABOTA Trial Skills School, Trial Skills - Civility Matters, Voluntary Faculty Member, ABOTA Trial School, 2019
Other Outstanding Achievements:
  • Selected by Loyola Law School to be an adjunct professor teaching advanced torts class., 2023
  • Joint Counsel on Annocki v. Peterson Enterprises, a published Court of Appeal decision that has received national attention for its holding that extends the duty of tortious landowners to known dangerous conditions off the landowners' property.  (Annocki v. Peterson Enterprises LLC 232 Cal.App.4th 32), 2014
  • Awarded the Bronze Star Medal for service in Baghdad, Iraq as member of US Navy EOD Mobile Unit 3, 2008
  • Best Lawyers in America, 2019
  • Semifinalist for Trial Lawyer of the Year by Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles, 2017
  • Nominated Trial Lawyer of the Year by ABOTA - LA, 2017
  • Adjunct professor at Loyola Law School teaching an advanced torts to motivated class of future trial lawyers., Adjunct Professor at Loyola Law School Los Angeles, Loyola Law School, 2023
  • Selected as Tier One Civil Litigation Firm., Best Lawyers in America, US News & World Report, 2021
  • Honored by selection to International Academy of Trial Lawyers - an invitation only organization limited to 600 attorneys worldwide., Fellow (select) , International Academy of Trial Lawyers, 2022
  • Selected as Tier One Civil Litigation Firm. , Best Lawyers in America, US News and World Report, 2022
  • One of three finalists for the prestigious "Street Fighter of the Year" award given for advocacy on behalf of citizen of California. , Street Fighter of the Year - Finalist, Consumer Attorneys of California, 2020
  • US News & World Report - Best Lawyers in America, Best Lawyers in America, US News & World Report, 2018
  • , Best Lawyers in America, US News & World Report, 2020
  • , Best Lawyers in America, US News & World Report, 2021
  • Nominated for Trial Lawyer of the Year in Los Angeles Chapter of ABOTA, Nominated Trial Lawyer of Year, ABOTA - LA, 2017
  • Top 10 Wrongful Death Verdicts in the United States, Verdict Search: Top 10 National Verdicts, Verdict Search , 2017
  • Semifinalist for Trial Lawyer of the Year by CAALA, Semi Finalist for Trial Lawyer of the Year - CAALA, Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles, 2016
  • Top 20 Under 40, The Daily Journal (Los Angeles & San Francisco), 2012
  • Finalist for Law Dragon Top 500 Lawyers in the United States, Law Dragon 500 Finalist, Law Dragon Magazine, 2010
  • Best Lawyers in America, 2014
  • Street Fighter of the Year Finalist, Consumer Attorneys of California, 2011
  • Best Lawyers in America, 2016
  • Best Lawyers in America, 2017
  • New Star, Lawdragon Magazine, 2007
  • Super Lawyers, Law & Politics Magazine, 2005
  • Top 100 Trial Lawyers, The National Trial Lawyers, 2014
  • Best Lawyers in America, 2015
Pro bono/Community Service:
  • Instructor - Trial Skills - Spence Method at Thunderhead Ranch, 2023
  • Professional Sponsor: Loyola Marymount University Mock Trial Team, 2019
Representative Clients:
  • Represent family of a man killed in a helicopter crash in allegations of product defect against the helicopter manufacturer and component part manufacturer., 2023
  • Student who suffered catastrophic traumatic brain injury on school grounds., 2022
  • Represented various major hotel and restaurant chains in insurance litigation arising out of denial of COVID-19 Business Interruption Claims., 2020
  • Represented clients against major utility for damages arising from wildfire., 2020
  • Lani and Grayson Guilmette.   Firm obtained a $23,000,000 verdict against the City of Los Angeles for the wrongful death of Tom Guilmette.  This was a dangerous condition of public property case and set a courthouse record and was the largest dangerous condition verdict in the United States in 2016., 2016
  • Eileen and Joseph Annocki:   Obtained a $5,000,000 verdict against a property owner and driver for the death of Eileen and Joseph's 40 year old son who was riding a motorcycle on PCH. This was one of the Top 10 wrongful death verdicts in California in 2017., 2017
  • Maria Reyes - the mother of a teenager who was killed after he struck a Department of Water and Power pole with his truck.   The pole strike caused an electrical appartus to collapse on his truck.   The case settled for $6,000,000., 2018
  • Hoover Bus Crash Disaster, 2009
  • M.G. - a 25 year old man who suffered spinal cord injury in dump truck collision.  Case settled for $11,000,000 shortly before trial.  The case involved complicated issues of agency and course and scope of employment., 2018
  • Miguel et al v. Shekell et al.  Wrongful death and catastrophic personal injury case arising out of highway collision with wrong way driver, 2010
  • Chatsworth Metrolink Disaster, 2009
  • Sha v. JIT Packing Supplies Inc.:  Significant spine injury case arising from trucking accident, 2010
  • Wong v. MTA: catastrophic personal injury case arising out of bus versus pedestrian accident, 2010
  • Mick Taylor, formerly of the Rolling Stones, 2010
  • Chau v. American Efird Inc.:  Catastrophic personal injury case arising out of van versus pedestrian collision, 2010
Bar/Professional Activity:
  • Fellow, International Academy of Trial Lawyers, 2023
  • Adjunct Professor at Loyola Law School teaching Advanced Torts (Torts II), 2023
  • Officer (Treasurer) - Los Angeles Chapter of ABOTA (Appointed to 3rd two-year term), 2023
  • Member, American Board of Trial Advocates, 2008
Industry Groups:
  • Personal injury and wrongfuld death victims throughout the United States

Office location for Thomas J. Johnston

350 S. Grand Ave.
Suite 2220
Los Angeles, CA 90071

Phone: 213-542-1978


14 Years Super Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers: 2004 - 2005, 2013 - 2024

Top Lists

Top 100: Southern California Super Lawyers: 2017

Certificates and credentials

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