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Advocacy at a Higher Level

Horvitz & Levy is a solutions-based firm focused on appellate success. We are distinguished by our commitment to responsive service and on-going innovation in the areas of civil appellate litigation, amicus curiae support, and trial strategy consultation.

Our firm history, honors and awards, and locations speak to our collaborative approach and commitment to serving clients as well as the outstanding legal resources we bring to bear.

H. Thomas  Watson

H. Thomas Watson

Partner - Los Angeles Office

How Tom Helps Clients

Business entities, including hospitals, medical centers, healthcare providers, national insurance carriers, and others all rely on Tom Watson’s extensive appellate experience in procedural, tort, contract, insurance, and health law issues (including MICRA). Clients also benefit from Tom’s guidance regarding trial strategy, pre-and post-trial motions, and frank assessments concerning the likelihood of securing appellate and/or writ relief.

Tom is a partner at the firm, where he has practiced since 1992. He has been a California State Bar Certified Appellate Specialist since the first year the State Bar offered that certification in 1996. Tom edits and updates the firm’s MICRA Manual and its Evidence Code section 1157 Manual, and has prepared the health law appellate updates for both the California Society for Healthcare Attorneys and the Health Law Committee of the California Lawyers Association Business Law section since 2014. From 2007 to 2012 he prepared the insurance law appellate updates for the Insurance Law Committee of the California State Bar Business Law Section. Tom has extensive experience litigating before the California Supreme Court as appellate counsel for both parties and amici curiae, and has worked on numerous cases in the California Court of Appeal, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and appellate courts in other jurisdictions. Tom publishes and presents extensively on numerous areas of the law, including appellate procedure, medical expense damages, health law, and insurance law.

Representative Matters

Franklin v. Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital (2022)
Horvitz & Levy successfully defends summary judgment for hospital in medical malpractice action on actual and ostensible agency grounds.

Cuevas v. Contra Costa County (2017)
California Court of Appeal reversed an award of $9.6 million for future medical expenses to permit evidence of Medicaid and Affordable Care Act benefits.

El-Attar v. Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center (2013)
Represented the hospital and convinced a unanimous California Supreme Court to reverse the Court of Appeal and hold that the hospital’s governing board properly appointed the hearing officer and physician members of the judicial review committee for peer review proceedings when the medical staff executive committee declined to do so.

Howell v. Hamilton Meats & Provisions, Inc. (2011)
Represented a dozen insurers and insurance trade organizations as amici curiae before the California Supreme Court, making successful arguments leading to a landmark decision holding that medical expense damages are limited to amounts actually paid for medical services, not the higher billed amount.

Diaz v. Carcamo (2011)
Represented insurance trade organizations as amici curiae before the California Supreme Court, making successful arguments leading to an important decision holding that an employer who admits vicarious responsibility for conduct of employee may not be sued for direct liability under theories of negligent hiring, supervision, or training.

Mileikowsky v. West Hills Hospital and Medical Center (2009)
Represented hospital before the California Supreme Court in case holding that a hearing officer who presides over medical staff peer review proceedings is not authorized to enter terminating sanctions, but clarifying that a hospital is not obligated to renew or extend medical staff privileges to a physician who engages in discovery abuse or other obstructive conduct delaying peer review proceedings.

Parnell v. Adventist Health System/West (2005)
Represented insurance trade organizations as amici curiae before the California Supreme Court, making successful arguments why hospitals may not assert liens for the unpaid portion of healthcare bills when they already accepted lower amounts as payment in full for their services.

Bird v. Saenz (2002)
Represented the California Medical Association, California Dental Association, and the California Healthcare Association as amici curiae, making successful arguments to limit the scope of liability for negligent infliction of emotional distress in the context of surgical procedures.


  • University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law
    J.D., Order of the Coif, 1992
  • Pepperdine University
    M.B.A., 1988
  • University of Idaho
    B.S., summa cum laude, 1982

Bar Admissions

  • California
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

Professional Associations


  • Highest Possible Rating in Both Legal Ability & Ethical Standards (2022) Martindale Hubbell
  • “AV Preeminent” rated by Martindale Hubbell
  • Listed in ALM’s “Top Rated Lawyers” section for Appellate Attorneys
  • Super Lawyers (2009-2024)
  • Best Lawyers (2010-2024)