Law School/Year: J.D., Pittsburgh School of Law, 1970
College/Year: B.A., University of Pittsburgh, 1967
California, 1973; Pennsylvania, 1970; Washington, D.C., 1972
Plaintiffs' litigation with an emphasis in business disputes, condemnation, major injury cases
Some major cases I've been involved in: Arendsee v. SDGE, $3.1 million result for a 15-year-old boy electrocuted by SDG&E power lines equipment whose left arm was traumatically amputated; Passante v. Upper Deck, received a $33 million judgment for an attorney against the Upper Deck Co. for breaching an oral contract promising him a percentage ownership of the company; RVDM vs. County of San Diego, $45 million verdict for business man relating to a property dispute with County of San Diego; Border Business Park v. City of San Diego, received $94.5 million plus attorney fees and costs, resulting in approximately $150 million verdict against the city for breach of a development agreement; Mesdaq v. CCDC, $7.8 million verdict against CCDC for condemning Mesdaq's thriving cigar shop/pastry business and giving the property to another developer; Doe v. Doe Company for personal injuries received by an explosion caused by non-odorized gas.
After graduating from law school, I went on active duty with the U.S. Marine Corps. After starting as an infantry rifleman, an opportunity presented itself to change my military occupational specialty from rifleman to JAG officer. After volunteering for Vietnam and serving there as a JAG officer and part of a Marine Fighter Squadron, I came to San Diego and joined Higgs, Fletcher & Mack (an insurance defense firm). After four years there and an opportunity for partnership, I decided to start my own firm representing the injured victims of tragedy, i.e., plaintiffs. I started Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire in 1978.
Over the years I have been involved in several law-related professional organizations. Specifically, I have been the past president of the San Diego Trial Lawyers Association (now called Consumer Attorneys of San Diego). I also served as the president (and all offices) of the American Board of Trial Advocates, San Diego Chapter and have been recognized as the Trial Lawyer of the Year for California's ABOTA Organization. I'm a master of the American Inns of Court. I have been recognized in Woodward White's Best Lawyers in America since its inception in 1987 in the categories of Commercial, Eminent Domain and Personal Injury litigation.
I was raised with the idea that "giving back" is an important part of life. I have served as chairman of the board of St. Vincent de Paul, co-chair of St. Vincent's 100 Million Dollar Fund Raising Campaign, board member of Nice Guys of San Diego, past president of the American Trauma Society, member of the board of advocates for UCSD Regional Burn Center, coordinator and sponsor of the Mercy Hospital Surgical Programs for more than 1,000 Mexican children, coordinator and project manager of building two Mexican orphanages, board of governors member and past president of Rancho Santa Fe Youth/Community Center, advisory board member of the San Diego Soccer's Professional Soccer Team, former member of Torrey Pines High School Athletic Booster Board and project coordinator for the Year Round Medical Clinic run for orphans in Mexico.
I was born and raised in Monongahela, a small coalmining town in Western Pennsylvania. My father was a coal miner and my mother became a nurse. I have two older sisters and have worked at serious jobs since the age of 10, including paperboy, grocery clerk, stock boy, tractor/trailer unloader, laborer in the blast furnaces at a steel mill and ironworker. I was also a professional scuba diver and received a full athletic scholarship to the University of Pittsburgh, where I played soccer and was a first alternate on the U.S. Olympic team in 1968. I attribute much of my success as a trial lawyer representing plaintiffs as the result of these various jobs. It is easy for me to relate to clients and understand their pain.