Tom R. Pabst

Tom R. Pabst

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Civil Rights Attorney in Flint, MI

Tom R. Pabst, PC
 | 2503 South Linden Road, Suite 185
Flint, MI 48532
Phone: 810-732-6792
Fax: 810-732-8430
Selected To Super Lawyers: 2007 - 2019
Licensed Since: 1977
Practice Areas:
  • Civil Rights (30%),
  • Personal Injury - General: Plaintiff (30%),
  • Employment Litigation: Plaintiff (30%),
  • General Litigation (10%)
Attorney Profile

          Tom R. Pabst has dedicated his legal career to obtaining justice for the underdog, the weak, the powerless and those without a voice.

            Attorney Tom R. Pabst has been practicing law since November, 1977, having both a law degree and a master’s in tax degree (with an all-A average) from Wayne State University.

            Trial experience includes over 80 major trials with substantial verdicts in the following areas of law:  wrongful discharge, civil rights, Whistleblower Protection Act, Federal Constitutional rights, personal injury, medical malpractice and commercial litigation (such as fire loss, minority shareholder oppression and contract disputes).  

            Awards include being recognized as a 2011 “Leader in the Law” in Michigan and a Michigan “Super Lawyer” since 2007.

            Notable positions include being the President of the Genesee County Bar Association (1994-95), the President of the Flint Trial Lawyers Association (1991-1994) and a Chairperson of the Bench and Bar Committee.

           Articles written by Tom R. Pabst include: "Increased Protection for Whistleblowers of Michigan", Michigan State Bar Journal.

            Tom R. Pabst is also a decorated combat veteran, receiving a Purple Heart and Combat Infantry Badge.  Additionally, he was the Chairman of the Grand Blanc, Michigan American Legion Post.

About Tom Pabst

Admitted: 1977, Michigan

Professional Webpage:


  • The award is presented "in recognition of extraordinary effort and achievement as an advocate fighting for justice and equality.", Advocate of the Year, Flint Trial Lawyers, 2013
  • Also see the Michigan Lawyer's Weekly article "Tom R. Pabst – Leaders in the Law 2011" written by Douglas Levy, Leader in the Law, Michigan Lawyers Weekly, 25 Mich L.W. 411, 2011

Bar/Professional Activity:

  • President of the Flint Trial Lawyers Association (1991-1994), 1994
  • Board of Directors, Genesee County Bar Association, 1987
  • President of the Genesee County Bar Association, 1994

Scholarly Lectures/Writings:


  • $100,000 ADR settlement.  Defendant employer withheld sales commissions promised to a star sales manager and retaliated against him when he complained to the State of Michigan.  Plaintiff then filed a lawsuit in Genesee County Circuit Court alleging (1) Whistleblower Protection Act violation, (2) breach of contract, (3) breach of implied in-fact contract, and (4) violation of Sales Representative Commission Act.  Michigan Lawyers Weekly Write-Up., 2019
  • $600,000 settlement for Dr. John Doe who was locked out of his practice by a medical center.  While he was locked out, the medical center contacted his patients and referred them to doctors in their network.  Michigan Lawyers Weekly Write-Up., 2018
  • $145,000 ADR settlement.  Plaintiff, an African-American female factory worker, dealt with 20-years of harassment, such as bathroom lights would be turned off frequently while she was using the bathroom; racial and threatening comments were made when she walked by; and an employee came at her with a knife.  Eventually, the harassing employees carved the word "NIG" in the bathroom.  Plaintiff again turned to the white management for help, nothing was done to stop the harassment. Even after defendant was made aware that someone had carved a racially offensive word into a stall in the women’s bathroom, the word remained on the stall for over 8 ½ months.  Lawyers Weekly Write-Up., 2018
  • $167,500 settlement.  Plaintiff, Assistant Prosecutor for Lapeer County, believed her firing stemmed from whistleblowing.  When she went to the prosecutor about this suspected scheme, she said that he turned against her, began cruelly mocking her accent (she is a Russian refugee), laughing at her and giving her the cold shoulder. She later was terminated shortly afterwards.  Lawyers Weekly Write-up., 2017
  • $100,000 ADR settlement.  Plaintiff, an African-American female, had a male supervisor who used race as a factor in the workplace and tried to single her out and push her to (1) fail or (2) quit.  Specifically, the male supervisor allegedly made her job as onerous as possible by taking work from other, non-complaining employees and assigning plaintiff it as extra required job duties.  Stephanie, however, stayed true to her work ethic, and worked 15 hours per day to keep up.  Evidence in discovery showed the white supervisor was plotting to get rid of Plaintiff even before she had a chance to do the work he assigned.  Lawyers Weekly Write-Up., 2017
  • $145,000 ADR settlement.  Glenn Gray, reported, amongst other things, suspected Medicaid fraud to his “public body” employer, and further, that he refused to go along with the said Medicaid fraud.  The circuit court correctly recognized that a WPA cause of action and a WDPP cause of action are not always mutually exclusive, plaintiff’s counsel stated. He recognized that is the general rule, but that there are exceptions. Here, the circuit court followed the published case law which provides that because an employee’s refusal to violate a law is not something that is covered by the WPA, then a WDPP claim brought on this basis cannot be preempted.  After defendants’ Motion for Summary Disposition was denied, the case settled for the ADR award of $125,000., 2017
  • $100,000 Settlement.  Housing Commission Director filed whistleblower claim.  Plaintiff was the Housing Director for 17 years, but only removed after he says he reported the Board was engaging in improper activities.  Lawyers Weekly Write-up., 2016
  • $450,000 Settlement prior to third trial.  Trial #1 Plaintiff won a $750,000 verdict.  Trial #2 Plaintiff won a $721,400 verdict.  Even though both parties agreed to time-limits prior to trial #2, Defendants still appealed claiming they did not have enough time cross-examine the Plaintiff.  In January 2016, the circuit court ordered a settlement conference and also issued an order requiring the city’s emergency manager to attend. After several hours of negotiations, plaintiff settled for $450,000.  Lawyers Weekly Write-up., 2016
  • $300,000 settlement.  Plaintiff Tenbusch was a superindentent of a school who was a whistleblower who reported violations and assisted others with their reports against the school district. Before the case was set to go to trial, defendants paid $275,000 to settle. In addition, defendants also paid Bruce Richards, the IT expert under Tenbusch’s superintendent capacity, $25,000 to avoid having to go to trial on his case, where he was going to testify how defendants requested he put “spyware” on Clio Schools administrators’ and teachers’ computers.  Lawyers Weekly Write-up., 2016
  • $300,000 Settlement.  Plaintiff Marion “Pat” Paad was defendant Village of Oxford’s deputy clerk, and became aware that taxpayers’ money was being misappropriated and/or stolen. Plaintiff went outside her chain of command to report this to the village council.  After this, she felt she was scapegoated by the Village Manager and falsely prosecuted after making her reports of stolen funds.  Type of action: 42 USC §1983, First Amendment retaliation, state and federal “malicious prosecution” claims  Lawyers Weekly Write-up., 2015
  • $275,000 ADR Settlement.  Gary Sergent was a long-term X-ray technician in the Genesee County community, who spent 15 years working for defendant hospital.  Plaintiff argued that there was a change at the hospital, in which management started to weed out all of the older employees.  Plaintiff's position was that this was done through selective enforcement of rules, including a phantom “patient misidentification” rule, which defendants claimed plaintiff and other older employees violated. Plaintiff contended that this tarnished their records in such a way that if they dared choose to not retire early, then they knew they wouldn’t be able to find work elsewhere in the medical community.  Plaintiff contended that the evidence showed that the hospital had a de facto policy of giving older male employees a deluge of write-ups in a short period of time, then pressuring them to resign or be fired. Plaintiff argued that this was evidence of discrimination in the form of dissimilar treatment of similarly situated individuals.  Lawyers Weekly Write-up., 2015
  • $275,000 Settlement.  Ex-financial advisor contended sexual harassment She argued instances of retaliation after she made a report to HR and her supervisor, who wanted to protect the advisor/harasser who had a large profile.  After hearing her reports, instead of making a papertrail and documenting it with an investigation, their solution was to suggest Plaintiff should "just f--- him" to make it go away.  Lawyers Weekly Write-up., 2015
  • $160,000 Settlement.  Plaintiff reported truthfully when questioned by her governing public body, which made one of the trustees/board member very angry.  That Trustee made it her mission to get rid of Plaintiff any way possible.  Plaintiff was falsely accused of stealing money; was singled out for selective enforcement of rules; received dissimilar treatment compared to male employees; was falsely perceived as being disabled; and was retaliated against for opposing discrimination in the workplace.  Lawyers Weekly Write-up., 2015
  • $1.08 million Verdict.  Plaintiff was the head of technology for the GISD, and a favorite with many for the open Superintendent position.  When she did not get it, the new Superintendent created a smear-campaign to discredit what could be viewed as competition.  It further upset the new administration when Plaintiff was subpoenaed and was going to testify truthfully at her deposition.  Before the date of her deposition she was accused of, and fired for, theft of $480.00. After Plaintiff obtained legal counsel, the new Superintendent had to justify her actions, so she paid $76,000 to a CPA firm to find a reason. At trial, a male board member was asked, “Why did you spend $76,000 to create a 4-inch book when you already had enough to fire her before creating the book?” The board member responded, “To create a defense to this lawsuit.” After two days of deliberation, a Genesee County jury awarded plaintiff $760,000 for the WPA violation and $320,000 for the breach of contract. The jury did not award plaintiff on her Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act claim for gender discrimination.  Lawyers Weekly Write-upLawyers Weekly 2014 Million-Dollar Verdicts Write-up., 2014
  • $1.375 million settlement -- Art Van pays $1.375 million to end lawsuit against deceased father ----- Type of Action: Wrongful Death (automobile accident) Description of Case: We understand that  no amount of money can bring this loved son, brother, father and friend back.  We hope that the proper questions are asked of the parties involved and that the family finally finds closure. Lonnie Moore, Plaintiff, and his fiancée had just started a new chapter in their lives. Lonnie had a new job and they just had their first baby together five months prior. After months at home with just the baby, Lonnie decided they both needed just one night away from it all to celebrate their good fortune, future and new family. So, on the night of June 30, 2013, Lonnie and his fiancée set out for an evening in downtown Detroit. The evening was going great per Lonnie's brother, who was last person to talk to Lonnie, who received a phone call after the evening was underway and said he hadn't heard that much joy in his brother’s voice in months. On their way back, their car experienced mechanical problems which affected some of the exterior lights, so they put on their hazards and continued at a reduced speed. The rest of what is known comes from a crucially important eyewitness, Steven Mildge, who was also a Border Patrol Officer and 15-year veteran truck driver who was traveling one lane over from Lonnie and Defendant Art Van’s tractor trailer rig. He said Lonnie's car was there to be seen, "plain as day", and that Defendant Art Van Truck Driver had "ample time to avoid what happened" and he did not understand why the truck did not simply switch lanes to avoid it. In fact, Eyewitness Mildge testified that he had enough time to think over and over and over again in his mind, “Why isn’t the Art Van truck taking evasive action? Why isn’t he pulling over? Why isn’t he doing something to avoid the crash?”, until finally, the eyewitness had to look away. After the terrible rear-end collision by a huge Art Van semi-truck that killed the Art Van Driver claimed he had no recollection of even hitting the car. After Defendant's driver admitted he wasn't paying attention while driving, Defendants then resorted to attempting to intimidate Lonnie's surviving family members, including his mom, the Personal Representative, by going on an all-out smear campaign against him. Specifically, Defendants deposed Lonnie’s ex-wife and ex-girlfriends and even their relatives, including Lonnie's 18 year-old daughter from his first marriage, to try to find someone who would say that Lonnie was a worthless person, a bad father. In other words, that Lonnie was someone a jury should not consider worthy and whose life didn't matter much. However, everybody testified the same way, namely, that Lonnie was a good and caring man, a great father, and their best friend. This case settled through an Oakland County ADR panel for $1,375,000. Injuries Alleged: Lost future income, death, mental anguish, emotional distress Name of Case: Moore v. Art Van, et al Court: Oakland County Circuit Court Case No: 14-139524-NI  Name of Judge: Patrick O'Brien ADR/Settlement: $1,375,000, 2014
  • $273,000 Settlement.  Police Chief Hilliker reported violations he witness as a police officer, and, in response, the City Administrator "relieved [him] of his duties.", 2012
  • $721,400 Verdict.  This case was tried twice to a jury verdict. In the first trial, plaintiff Beverly Garvin sought damages from defendant Detroit Board of Education and individual defendants Mary Anderson, Laurie Washington, Debra Williams and Rosa Jackson, after being terminated for alleged retaliatory reasons.  On Nov. 12, 2013, the second jury in the retrial returned a $721,400 verdict for Beverly Garvin, finding liability against each of the individual four defendants, including $52,000 in punitive damages against Williams, the school district’s human resources director.  Lawyers Weekly Write-up., 2013
  • $750,000 verdict -- GARVIN V. DETROIT PUBLIC SCHOOLS (April, 2010, Wayne County, Judge Gillis)  Former teacher Beverly Garvin’s good name and reputation cleared. Fired for reporting sexual abuse of students. Social Significance: Teachers who protect and stand up for the rights for students being sexually abused at home and at school will themselves be protected.  Michigan Lawyers Weekly Write-Up, 2010
  • $232,500 verdict -- WHITMAN V MAYOR SMILEY & CITY OF BURTON (2009, Genesee County, Judge Neithercut) $232,500 verdict. Police Chief Bruce Whitman’s name is cleared. He was fired for doing his job and enforcing a law Defendant Mayor wanted to violate. Social Significance: You can fight City Hall and win! --On May 1, 2013 the Michigan Supreme Court found in Police Chief Whitman's favor after hearing arguments from the attorneys --More Details--, 2009
  • $100,000 verdict -- HOFFMEYER V KANG, ET AL (2008, Genesee County, Judge Fullerton) 58-year old woman Bonnie Hoffmeyer had her appendix removed—twice! Dr. Kang’s inept 1st surgery left Bonnie with a gangrenous infection which required a 2nd surgery to remove the rest of the appendix Dr. Kang hadn’t removed. Social Significance: Enforced our right to proper medical care and brought to light doctors who make mistakes and do not want to admit or correct them., 2008
  • $655,000 settlement -- POLICE CHIEF TERRY VANKEUREN V ARGENTINE TWP. (2008, Genesee County) Chief of Police of Argentine Township unjustly fired for refusing to cover up/go along with exposing women motorists to sexual abuse dangers. Social Significance: Enforced our civil rights law, protected women motorists, vindicated the Chief’s honor and “cleared his name” and gave him a clean slate to seek other employment given his numerous skills and professionalism.  Michigan Lawyers Weekly Write-Up, 2008
  • $1,200,000+ fire loss settlement. -- GRAND BLANC RACQUETBALL & FITNESS COURT CENTER -- FIRE LOSS SETTLEMENT (2008, Genesee County) Social Significance: While television and newspapers sullied the insured’s business owner’s good name and reputation by raising suspicion of “arson”, it was not arson, as the settlement proves. The insurance company was made to pay in accordance with its written promises, which it was paid significant money to make. The insurance settlement was published in the newspapers, and vindicated the business owner’s honor and “cleared his name”, to the extent that was possible given the previous bad press and television coverage. It also gave him a new start in life, as he was a young businessman proud to be a member of the business community.  Michigan Lawyers Weekly Write-Up, 2008
  • $300,000 verdict -- HANCOCK V WESTWOODHEIGHTSSCHOOL DISTRICT (2008, Genesee County, Judge Fullerton) 20-year teacher/administrator Mark Hancock and alum of Westwood Heights was a victim of reverse gender discrimination, in that women less qualified than him were promoted, while he was demoted. Social Significance: Enforced our civil rights law prohibiting reverse gender discrimination and vindicated long-time employee’s, and alum’s, honor.  Michigan Lawyers Weekly Write-Up, 2008
  • $687,750 verdict -- WOJAHN V VIENNATOWNSHIPAND ANTHONY McKERCHIE (2007, Federal Court, Judge Denise Page Hood) $687,750 verdict based on First Amendment retaliation. Social Significance: You can fight City Hall and win! Michigan Lawyers Weekly Write-Up, 2007
  • $1,102,500 settlement -- SZIKSZAY V SZIKSZAY FAMILY FARMS, INC. (Jan. 2007, Berrien County Circuit Court).  $1,102,500 settlement for Plaintiff Wayne Szikszay, a minority shareholder, who had his rights vindicated.  The defendant was a family-owned corporation, Szikszay Family Farms, Inc., and the majority shareholders were the plaintiff’s brothers.  Minority Shareholder Oppression gives any shareholders powerful weapons to protect their interests, including a right to obtain corporation papers, and even dissolution of the company. The plaintiff also brought causes of action under Michigan law for: common law fraud, conversion, and breach of fiduciary duties .  Michigan Lawyers Weekly Write-Up: "Minority shareholder action settles for $1.1M – Family-owned business set brothers against each other", 2007
  • $122,500 verdict -- SABO V TONEY (2007, Genesee County, Judge Yuille) Mike Sabo’s hand and arm became badly infected when his sister’s cat, “Randy,” bit him. He spent 2 weeks in the hospital and 2 ½ months lost work. Social Significance: Vietnam veteran rights vindicated when hurt by pets gone wild.  Michigan Lawyers Weekly Write-Up Article: "Ill-tempered cat bite worth more than $122,000" --- USA Today Article: "Michigan man gets $122K for cat bite", 2007
  • $1,200,000 verdict -- STEVENS, ET AL V CITY OF FLINT (2006, Genesee County, Judge Fullerton) $1,200,000 verdict in trespass nuisance case when the City of Flint caused raw sewage to back up into 7 Plaintiffs’ homes, destroying their property. Social Significance: When they could not get justice from the City, they got it from a Genesee County jury.   Michigan Lawyers Weekly Write-Up, 2006
  • POLICE CHIEF JOEL DOBIS V CITY OF ZILWAUKEE (2005, Saginaw County) (Confidentiality Agreement against disclosing dollar amount). 22-year Chief of Police of Zilwaukee, with two silver stars in the line of duty as a Zilwaukee police officer, unjustly fired for “cell phone abuse”! Social Significance: Enforced our civil rights law, vindicated the Chief’s honor and “cleared his name”, as well as purged his personnel file of bogus charges against him, and gave him a new start in life (who was 44 years old)., 2005
  • $715,000 verdict -- FILLMORE V CITIZENS BANK (2004, Genesee County) White supervisor of bank policy which resulted in black customers being singled out for thumb printing, but not white customers, protested unfairness of policy to bank. Bank fired the supervisor, then made up a cover story that the supervisor was a “thief” and “Simon Legree” supervisor to his employees. Citizens further tried to “blackball” the supervisor from getting bank repo work when supervisor tried to develop private repo business. Social Significance: Enforced our discrimination laws against a powerful bank, and “cleared name” of innocent supervisor who had been branded a “thief” and “Simon Legree boss” unfairly.  Michigan Lawyers Weekly Write-Up, 2004
  • $815,000 verdict -- BROWN V THYGESEN (2000, Genesee County) $815,000 verdict, reduced to $520,000 because of comparative negligence. Young 21 year old mother suffered severe and substantial injuries when her car was t-boned by a speeding truck. Social Significance: Enforced our traffic safety laws and got private monetary justice for severely injured young mother., 2000
  • $2,100,000 verdict -- HASKIN V GERACE CONSTRUCTION COMPANY (1997, Midland County—co-tried with Attorney John van Benschoten)  Midland jury awarded victim of handicap discrimination $2,100,000 for loss of job. Haskin, the company star superintendent, wanted to come back to work after suffering a low back injury, but the company refused to let him do his old job. Social Significance: Enforced our discrimination law, and forced company to change its policies. Michigan Lawyers Weekly Write-Up, 1997
  • $550,000 verdict -- LEONARD V RADIO STATION (1999, Genesee County) Whistleblower Protection Act claim of good citizen and Samaritan Robert Leonard, whose radio show was going to blow the whistle on a local bar serving alcohol to minors, many of whom later were seriously injured. Bar was big $$ sponsor of the radio station. Social Significance: Enforced Whistleblower Protection Act, and vindicated the honor and good name of Robert Leonard, former premier prosecuting attorney for Genesee County for many years.  Michigan Lawyers Weekly Write-Up, 1999
  • $535,000 verdict -- GOINS V CONNERLY (1984, Genesee County) Young woman whose car was t-boned by a tractor trailer rig, and she suffered severe and substantial injuries. Social Significance: Enforced our traffic safety laws, and got monetary justice for this young woman., 1984

Other Outstanding Achievements:

  • Vietnam Veteran, Purple Heart and Combat Infantry Badge, 1971
  • Flint Trial Lawyers Association's Advocate of the Year Award, 2013
  • Michigan Lawyers Weekly's Leaders in the Law, 2011


Educational Background:

  • Wayne State University Law SchoolDoctor of Law (J.D.), 1977
  • Wayne State UniversityMaster's degree in Taxation (with an all "A" avg.), 1980
  • University of Michigan - Flint Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), 1974
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Office Location for Tom R. Pabst

2503 South Linden Road
Suite 185
Flint, MI 48532

Tom R. Pabst:

Last Updated: 5/29/2019

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