Peter A. Tomaras, a Chicago-based partner in the Litigation Department of Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP, passed away on December 28 from complications of pancreatic cancer. He was 59.
Tomaras was well-known for his handling of high-profile product liability matters. He served as national and regional counsel for a series of companies in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries, defending cases involving childhood vaccines, oral and implantable contraceptives and appetite suppressants, as well as multiple medical devices, including silicone gel breast implants. Tomaras also represented chemical and energy companies in toxic tort litigation across the country. Clients for whom he provided legal services included Wyeth, Bausch & Lomb, and Becton Dickinson.
Born in Oak Park, Illinois in 1952, Tomaras received his BS in Biology and Chemistry from Elmhurst College in 1975. He received his JD from John Marshall Law School in 1981 and joined the firm of Wildman, Harrold, Allen & Dixon, the predecessor firm of Edwards Wildman. He spent his entire legal career at the firm and served as a member of the firm's Executive Committee.
Tomaras was active for many years in the Defense Research Institute and served on the Steering Committee of the Drug and Medical Device Committee. He was a guest lecturer on litigation matters at John Marshall Law School.
He also was active in his community. Tomaras was an elected trustee and was involved with Glen Ellyn athletics for three decades. He also served on the Boards of Directors of The Institute of Human Development and the Ray Graham Association, organizations which provide services to families with disabled adults and children.
Tomaras was well known and widely respected in the Chicago legal community. "He was a terrific lawyer," said Edwards Wildman's deputy managing partner, Bob Shuftan, "but he was an even better person. More than a generation of lawyers and staff at our firm had the good fortune to be able to share and learn from Peter. We all have been made better as people for having known and worked with him."
He is survived by his wife Zoe Ann, four children and two grandchildren. Funeral services were held on January 3, 2012.