Thomas Manakides is an experienced litigator known for developing innovative strategies to tackle large and complex litigation matters with an emphasis on environmental and transnational issues. He represents multinational corporations across several industries, including food and agricultural, real estate, aerospace, oil and gas, and waste. Mr. Manakides has extensive courtroom experience in both trial and appellate courts and often advises clients on matters involving mass tort, environmental laws and enforcement and cost recovery actions.
Chambers USA 2022 recognized Mr. Manakides as a top attorney in Environment-California, noting that he is known for his experience in defending companies in high-stakes environmental litigation and he has particular expertise in matters concerning toxic tort and negligence claims.
Mass Tort Litigation. Mr. Manakides has deep experience providing strategic advice and litigating all phases of high-profile mass tort litigation matters across multiple industries and involving a wide-range of alleged sources—from benzene, methane, TCE, and DBCP to odor and noise, to name a few. Representative matters include:
In addition, Mr. Manakides was a key member of the Gibson Dunn team, which unearthed a massive attorney-orchestrated fraud emanating from Nicaragua that was imported into California courts. This work culminated in a dismissal with prejudice of several California cases consolidated as Mejia v. Dole Food following a bench trial exposing the egregious fraud. Mr. Manakides also successfully defended, on appeal, a ruling in Tellez v. Dole Food vacating a jury verdict and the entry of a new judgment in Dole’s favor based on the post-trial discovery of fraud on the court and extortion of defendants.
Environmental Laws and Enforcement. Mr. Manakides advises clients on best practices to navigate through a variety of federal, state and local laws and regulations, including issues before the Regional and State Water Boards, South Coast Air Quality Management District, and the California Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM). Representative non-confidential matters include:
Oil and gas litigation: Mr. Manakides is experienced in litigating upstream oil and gas issues. He currently represents Chevron U.S.A. Inc. in defense of claims for negligence and private nuisance and trespass, by a neighboring oil operator purportedly arising from Chevron’s cyclic steam operations. Chevron filed a cross-complaint in May 2017. The action is proceeding in Kern County Superior Court.
Cost Recovery. Mr. Manakides is experienced in litigating disputes over cleanup costs and other damages associated with environmental contamination. Representative matters include:
Appellate Matters. Mr. Manakides briefs and argues appellate matters, often in conjunction with the Firm’s appellate practice group, that stem from his trial and administrative work. Most recently, he argued an appeal before the California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District involving a challenge to a cleanup and abatement order.
Community Involvement. Mr. Manakides sits on the Board of Directors for The Priority Center, which serves at-risk children and families in crisis to prevent and break the generational cycle of child abuse. Mr. Manakides is also on the Board of Directors for the Public Law Center, Orange County’s non-profit pro bono law firm that provides access to justice for low-income residents.
Mr. Manakides dedicates significant time to pro bono matters. Mr. Manakides spent two months participating in the Trial Attorney Partnership Program in conjunction with the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, gaining valuable trial experience. He also represented the Council for Endangered Species Act Reliability to compel the United States to act on a listing petition for the delta smelt under the Endangered Species Act. In addition, Mr. Manakides successfully pursued an action on behalf of a pro bono client who alleged claims for false imprisonment and the California Labor Code. After the trial court denied defendants’ motion to dismiss, the action was settled favorably for the client.
Education and Background. Mr. Manakides received his law degree from the University of Southern California Law School, where he was a member of the Order of the Coif. At USC, he was the Submission Editor for the Southern California Law Review. He graduated magna cum laude from Pepperdine University earning his B.A. degree in Political Science.
Mr. Manakides is admitted to practice in the State of California, before the United States District Courts for the Central District of California, the Eastern District of California and the Southern District of California, and before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth and Fifth Circuits.
University of Southern California - 2003 Juris Doctor
Pepperdine University - 2000 Bachelor of Arts