Thomas P. Bruetsch

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 from 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

Bruetsch 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.

Mr. Bruetsch is 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.

Bar Admissions

  • Michigan Bar ​Association - 2000


  • J.D. summa cum laude - 2000, Wayne State University Law School, Detroit
  • B.A. - 1991, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Practice Areas

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


  • Ottenwess, Taweel & Schenk, Partner, 2018-2020
  • Bodman PLC, Member, 2000 - 2018

Representative Cases

  • Represented Detroit Mayor Duggan in challenge to his candidacy
  • Defended the Detroit Lions against City of Pontiac regarding move
  • Successful no-cause verdict defending major bank
  • Defended pension trustees from class action seeking >$300 million
  • Obtained $6.1 million verdict against Michigan Department of Treasury, reversing an improper Michigan Business Tax audit
  • Obtained dismissal of fraud, contract, and Greek law claims against automobile manufacturer and successfully defended appeal
  • Innovation Ventures LLC v. Liquid Manufacturing, Inc. (499 Mich 491 2016)
  • Panhandle Eastern Pipe Line Co. v Musselman (257 Mich App 477 2003)

Awards and Recognition

  • 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

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

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