JurisdictionUnited States
Publication year2021


I am not a lawyer. But I am a writer and I know that the written word is of critical importance to practitioners of the law. The written word was certainly of critical importance to my father, the author of this treatise, the Honorable Thomas A. Dickerson. My father passed away on July 26th , 2018, but his writing lives on—writing that will continue to impact readers from legal scholars to everyday consumers interested in protecting their rights. In this foreword, I am honored to have the opportunity to introduce you to him, hopefully with some insights and anecdotes from inside and outside his legal writing career.

In the late 1970s, my father made the choice to leave a relatively secure position at a Manhattan law firm to become a solo practitioner. At any time that is a tremendous risk. But my father was also recently married, was planning a family, and the economy had seen better days. To make matters more complicated, he chose to navigate waters of the law that very few had navigated before: recreation and travel law. There were very few precedents in this area and he had limited contacts from which to develop his practice. Some people may have viewed the move as reckless. Others saw it as bold.

My father always referred to the travel industry as "The Wild West." The industry includes professionals from areas as diverse as tour operators to promoters, and from hotel chains to theme parks, and a take-it-or-leave-it attitude is the norm. He recognized the abuses hundreds of thousands of travelers suffered annually at the hands of tour operators, airlines, hotels and other organizations and he concluded that the perfect remedy was the class action. His first challenge was Guadagno v. Diamond Tours, in which my father was not only the attorney for a class of 279 tourists alleging breach of contract against a package tour operator for trips to Jamaica, he was also a part of the class. After winning certification for the class, he defeated the defendant's move to disqualify him because he was both plaintiff and counsel. The bonding company for the tour operator agreed to an $80,000 settlement of the complaint, which represented a total refund of the $400 cost to each class member. Whether my father knew it at the time or not, this was the beginning of this treatise.

Thomas Dickerson was born in Niagara Falls, New York on March 3rd , 1944; his mother was an elementary school teacher of gifted children, his father a Major in the US Army Military...

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