Thomas K. Hockel

Mr. Hockel is a partner with Kelly, Hockel & Klein, P.C., and has been with the firm since 1999.  He is a civil litigator with significant trial experience. His primary practice areas include employment law, ERISA, business torts, and insurance bad faith.


  • University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, J.D. (1994)
  • University of San Francisco, B.A., Philosophy (1987), magna cum laude
  • Saint Ignatius Institute Certificate ( four-year interdisciplinary  study of literature, philosophy, history, and theology)
  • University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck Austria (1985-1987)


  • Admitted to California Bar, December 1994
  • Admitted to practice in all federal and state courts in California
  • Admitted pro hac vice in federal and state courts in Wyoming, New Mexico, Utah, and Nevada


  • Broad experience in civil litigation and trial in state and federal courts
  • Defends and and counsels California employers
  • Extensive representation of insurance companies in all phases of breach of contract and first party bad faith litigation throughout California
  • Counsels and represents plan administrators in ERISA

Representative Litigation Achievements

  • Fries v. Rite Aid Corporation (2009) 173 Cal. App.4th 182. Successfully defended appeal of costs award following dismissal of action.  The First District Court of Appeal held that defendants seeking costs after plaintiff’s voluntary dismissal did not have to file a proposed judgment together with memorandum of costs.  A copy of the opinion is attached here.
  • Co-tried a six-week bad faith jury trial that resulted in a complete defense verdict in favor of major disability insurance carrier.
  • Co-tried restitution counterclaim on behalf of insurer in bad faith case, resulting in a $600,000 judgment against malingering insured.
  • Dwyer v. Dynetech Corp. (Northern District of California). Secured order enforcing employer’s arbitration provision and forum selection clause and dismissing action against employer.
  • Obiajulu v. Rite Aid Corporation (9th Circuit Court of Appeals). Secured summary judgment in favor of employer in racial discrimination case upheld on appeal.
  • Moser v. Continental Casualty Company (Eastern District of California). Won complete summary judgment in favor of insurer in ERISA action.
  • Armstrong v. Rite Aid Corporation (Eastern District of CA). Won complete summary judgment in favor of employer in invasion of privacy action.
  • Secured a $1,010,000.00 jury verdict for plaintiff in an invasion of privacy case.
  • Co-prosecuted complex First Amendment litigation, including successful constitutional challenge to California’s campaign finance restrictions (Proposition 208)

Affiliations and Memberships

  • California State Bar
  • Defense Research Institute
  • San Francisco Bar Association
  • St. Thomas More Society of San Francisco, Board Member and Secretary

Hobbies and Interests

  • Former teacher
  • Songwriter, musician, and vocalist
  • Enjoys literature, poetry, and cooking
  • Avid fan of the San Francisco Giants (we finally won a championship!) and the Oakland Raiders (will we ever win again?)
  • Married 21 years with six sons and a daughter

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