Thomas P. Bruetsch
  • Partner


Detroit, MI





Partner Tom Bruetsch is one of Michigan’s top commercial litigators, and leads the firm's commercial and governmental litigation practice.  His clients rely on him for insightful counsel, creative analysis, and a litigation approach that is both aggressive and pragmatic.  He comes to Ottenwess, Taweel & Schenk after 18 years at one of Detroit’s leading large firms, where he was a principal and served on the firm's executive and hiring committees. 

From Detroit’s mayor to its professional football team, clients come to Mr. Bruetsch to resolve difficult legal problems.  He has represented banks, prominent political leaders, governments, auto manufacturers and suppliers, large corporations, and family businesses.  Mr. Bruetsch is well versed in virtually all areas of commercial litigation, but has a particular focus on finance, fraud and fiduciary issues; municipal and election law and policy; public authorities and utilities; franchise, supplier, and distribution issues; appeals; and class action, contract and general commercial disputes.

Mr. Bruetsch aggressively pursues his clients’ interests and gets results.  He has significant trial experience, and has taken matters to trial or arbitration in Michigan, Arizona, Texas, and the United Kingdom.  He has argued before the Michigan Supreme Court and maintains a strong appellate practice.  But Mr. Bruetsch is also pragmatic and believes in partnering with his clients to define and achieve their goals. Although he has tried many cases to verdict, and won dozens more on summary judgment, Mr. Bruetsch has also resolved many large matters in the early stages of litigation though active case development and the utilization of alternative dispute resolution tools, saving his clients’ money and time.

Leading publications have acknowledged Mr. Bruetsch as among the very best litigators.  These include Chambers USA and Benchmark Litigation, both of which incorporate client feedback into their rating processes, and DBusiness Magazine.  Mr. Bruetsch was also accepted as a fellow of the Michigan State Bar Foundation, an honor reserved to 5% of lawyers in the State of Michigan.

Representative Cases – Trial Court & Arbitration

• Represented Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan in challenge to his candidacy
• Defended the Detroit Lions against claims by City of Pontiac after the Lions announced that they would leave the Pontiac Silverdome for Ford Field
• Successfully tried to a no-cause verdict claim that a major bank conspired with corporate officer to breach fiduciary duties
• Defended pension trustees from class action lawsuit asserting mismanagement of pension fund and investments and seeking over $300 million in damages
• Obtained $6.1 million verdict against State of Michigan Department of Treasury, reversing an improper Michigan Business Tax audit.
• Obtained dismissal of fraud, contract, and Greek law claims against automobile manufacturer by its distributor for the County of Greece, and successfully defended the dismissals on appeal

Areas of Practice

  • Finance, Fraud, and Fiduciary issues
  • Municipal and Election Law and Litigation
  • Public Authorities and Utilities
  • Franchise, Supplier and Distribution issues
  • Class Actions
  • Appeals
  • Contract and General Commercial Disputes

Bar Admissions

  • Michigan, 2000
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Michigan
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 6th Circuit
  • U.S. District Court Western District of Michigan


  • Wayne State University Law School, Detroit, Michigan
    • J.D. - 2000
    • Honors: summa cum laude
    • Honors: Order of the Coif
    • Honors: Numerous Academic Honors
    • Honors: Captain, Student Trial Advocacy Program National Team
  • University of Michigan
    • B.A. - 1991

Representative Cases

  • Innovation Ventures LLC v. Liquid Manufacturing, Inc., 2016, 499 Mich 491
  • Panhandle Eastern Pipe Line Co. v Musselman, 2003, 257 Mich App 477

Honors and Awards

  • Fellow, Michigan State Bar Foundation
  • “Litigation Star” – Benchmark Litigation: The Definitive Guide to America’s Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys
  • Recognized as top litigator by Chambers USA
  • Named a “Top Lawyer” by DBusiness Magazine
  • Order of the Coif
  • Nominated for Three Local Emmy Awards for Work as a Television Producer

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Member, Advisory Council, Association of Certified Fraud Examiners
  • Member, Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, Administrator
  • State Bar of Michigan
  • Detroit Bar Association
  • Detroit Progress Fund, Secretary
  • University of Michigan Alumni Association

Past Employment Positions

  • Bodman PLC, Member, 2000 to 2018