Mazanec, Raskin & Ryder (MRR) Welcomes Ryan Bockmuller & Kevin Gardner to Cleveland Office

Mazanec, Raskin & Ryder Co., L.P.A. is pleased to announce that Associate Attorneys Ryan J. Bockmuller and Kevin B. Gardner have recently joined the firm’s Cleveland office.

Mr. Bockmuller focuses his practice on the litigation of Construction, General Liability and Professional Liability matters. In addition, he is a member of the firm’s Business and Commercial Law Practice Group with a particular concentration in Real Estate issues. He earned his Juris Doctorate from Cleveland State University’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and received his Bachelor of Science degree from Ohio University. Mr. Bockmuller is a member of the Ohio State Bar Association and Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association.

Mr. Gardner has joined the firm as an Associate in the Civil Rights & Government Liability Practice Group. He earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Akron’s School of Law and received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Brigham Young University. He is a member of the Ohio State Bar Association, Akron Bar Association, and Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association. Mr. Gardner is also an experienced Spanish translator and interpreter.

Ryan J. Bockmuller

Ryan J. Bockmuller

Kevin B. Gardner

Kevin B. Gardner

MRR Announces 2020 Ohio Super Lawyers & Rising Stars

Mazanec, Raskin & Ryder Co., L.P.A. is pleased to announce that eight of its Ohio-based attorneys have been selected to the 2020 Ohio Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists. In the firm’s Cleveland office, Todd Raskin, John McLandrich, Frank Scialdone, and Jeffrey Kay were named to the Super Lawyers list. In the Columbus office, Doug Holthus and Paul-Michael La Fayette earned Super Lawyers honors, while Stacy Pollock and Cara Wright were named Rising Stars. Each year, no more than five percent of lawyers in the state are named to the Super Lawyers list, and no more 2.5 percent are selected to the Rising Stars list.

 

Todd M. Raskin is a founding partner of Mazanec, Raskin & Ryder, Co., L.P.A., and is based in the firm’s Cleveland office. He has a diverse legal practice with an emphasis on civil rights and government liability defense, as well as the defense of employers, both public and private. He has tried more than 100 cases to conclusion in 39 years of private practice in many courts throughout Ohio and the Midwest and is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the American Board of Trial Advocates, the Association of Defense Trial Attorneys, the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel, and the Litigation Counsel of America. Todd has earned his Super Lawyer rating for 9 years in a row, beginning in 2012, for his work in State, Local & Municipal Law, Employment Litigation: Defense, and Professional Liability: Defense.

 

 

John T. McLandrich is a partner in the firm’s Cleveland office. His practice focuses on the representation of municipalities, including defending cases on behalf of police and public entities accused of violations of civil rights and in employment matters. For over 30 years John has handled matters including claims of jail suicide, police pursuit, false arrest, excessive force by police officers, and failure to properly train police officers. He has represented civil defendants in federal and state courts throughout Ohio, serving as lead trial counsel. He has represented clients in class action matters, including municipalities relating to class action sewer cases. His appellate experience consists of handling and arguing matters before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, where he has argued over 100 cases, as well as hundreds of cases before many of Ohio’s Courts of Appeal, including the Ohio Supreme Court, where he has won eight favorable decisions. John has earned his 2020 Super Lawyer rating for his work in Civil Rights Law.

 

Frank H. Scialdone is a partner in the firm’s Cleveland office and focuses his practice on appellate advocacy in state and federal courts with an emphasis on employment law, constitutional torts (Section 1983), public entity defense, and insurance defense. He has handled more than 200 appellate cases in the Ohio Supreme Court, Ohio’s intermediate appellate district courts, and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. He routinely consults with trial attorneys on error preservation and pre-appeal strategy. Frank has prosecuted and defended original actions (e.g., mandamus, prohibition, etc.) and has submitted amicus curiae (friend of the court) briefs on behalf of clients and organizations. He is one of the first attorneys to be certified as a specialist in appellate law by the Ohio State Bar Association. Frank has earned his 2020 Super Lawyer rating for his work in Appellate Law.

 

 

Jeffrey Kay, Administrative Partner for the firm’s Cleveland office, has been named 2020 Super Lawyer for his work in Civil Litigation: Defense. Mr. Kay represents insurance companies/risk pools and their insureds with respect to both first and third-party claims, including employment discrimination, professional liability, municipal liability, automobile negligence claims, general commercial matters, bad faith claims, uninsured/underinsured claims, products liability, wrongful death claims, commercial premises liability claims, and property and casualty claims. He also has significant experience counseling clients in insurance coverage matters, including the securing of declaratory judgments on policy interpretations. Mr. Kay has successfully handled cases before state and federal administrative agencies, with a focus on representing clients before the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) and the Ohio Civil Rights Commission (OCRC). He has achieved success on behalf of his clients before state and federal appellate courts, having successfully argued cases before most of the Ohio Appellate Circuit Courts.

 

Doug Holthus, Administrative Partner for the firm’s Columbus office, is listed as a 2020 Super Lawyer for his work in Civil Litigation: Defense. His primary areas of focus are professional negligence defense, employment, civil rights and government liability, construction claims litigation and general liability matters. He has tried, advocated and or arbitrated nearly one hundred cases before civil juries, administrative licensing (and other) boards and arbitration panels in Ohio, Illinois and California, in both state and federal court. Among other professional and civic activities, Doug is actively involved as a volunteer for The Miracle League of Central Ohio, serves as a coach/advisor for the Bishop Watterson High School / Ohio High School Mock Trial Teams, is a Columbus Bar Foundation Fellow, is past-Chair of the Columbus Bar Association’s Professionalism Committee, and previously served as a Member of the Board of Directors of the Professional Liability Defense Federation.

 

Paul-Michael La Fayette is a partner in the firm’s Columbus office and concentrates his practice on professional liability defense, including the defense of dentists, physicians, real estate agents and attorneys. He represents professionals in administrative licensure proceedings before their professional Boards. In addition to professional liability, Paul regularly represents governmental entities in litigation and as general counsel. He has extensive experience in representing clients in lawsuits involving professional malpractice, premises liability, contracts, employment, construction, civil rights, zoning, wrongful death and products liability. Mr. La Fayette was named 2020 Super Lawyer for his work in Professional Liability: Defense.

 

 

 

Stacy V. Pollock, a partner in the firm’s Columbus office, was named 2020 Rising Star for her work in Employment & Labor Law. Stacy is a certified specialist in Labor and Employment and is a certified Professional in Human Resources. She advises public and private employers in matters involving leave and discipline issues, personnel policy matters, and labor negotiations and arbitrations. She has experience representing clients before various governmental administrative agencies including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, the State Personnel Board of Review, the State Employment Relations Board, and the Ohio Department of Education. Stacy also has considerable experience in education law, representing schools and school administrators in matters involving employee and student discipline.

 

 

Cara M. Wright, a Senior Attorney in the Columbus office, represents counties, municipalities, and their employees in a variety of cases, including claims related to alleged violations of the United States Constitution, violations of Ohio’s public record laws, and state law tort claims. She has successfully defended clients in cases involving the use of deadly force, jail suicides, and claims that inmates were provided inadequate medical care while incarcerated in county jails. Cara also represents public and private employers in cases alleging employment discrimination. Additionally, her experience includes representing professionals, including physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, behavioral health specialists, accountants and attorneys, in claims of professional negligence. In addition to her representation of clients in state and federal court, she has also appeared in cases before the Ohio Civil Rights Commission and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Cara earned the designation of 2020’s Rising Star for State, Local & Municipal Law.

 

Ohio Super Lawyers and Rising Stars have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The patented selection process includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations. For more information about Super Lawyers, visit SuperLawyers.com.

MRR Partner Frank Scialdone Awarded Appellate Specialist Recertification by Ohio State Bar

Frank Scialdone, PartnerMazanec, Raskin & Ryder, Co., L.P.A. (MRR), is proud to announce that Partner Frank Scialdone has been re-certified by the Ohio State Bar Association as a specialist in Appellate Law. Every six years, a specialist must re-apply for certification in order to maintain this distinction. Frank was one of the first 11 attorneys certified as an appellate specialist by OSBA in 2008, and has remained certified for more than a decade. As of November 2019, there are only 23 appellate specialists in Ohio.

In order to become a Certified Specialist, Ohio attorneys must, in addition to fulfilling the standard requirements for practice before Ohio’s courts, meet additional criteria including:

  • The demonstration of substantial and continuing involvement in a particular field of law;
  • The submission of references from other lawyers attesting to their competency in the specialty area;
  • Attendance at intermediate or advanced continuing legal education courses in the specialty area; and
  • Passing a written examination in the specialty area.

A member of the firm’s Appellate Practice Group, Mr. Scialdone focuses his practice on appellate advocacy in state and federal courts with an emphasis on employment law, constitutional torts (Section 1983), public entity defense, and insurance defense. He has handled more than 300 appellate cases in the Ohio Supreme Court, Ohio’s intermediate appellate district courts, and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

In addition to his Ohio State Bar Association certification in Appellate Law, Mr. Scialdone also has an AV® Preeminent™ rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory. He was named an Ohio “Super Lawyer” in Appellate Law by Ohio Super Lawyers magazine 2015-2020, and currently is a member of the Ohio State Bar Association, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, and Ohio Association of Civil Trial Attorneys.

Kathleen Minahan joins MRR’s Cleveland Office

Kathleen M. MinahanMRR is pleased to announce that Kathleen M. Minahan has joined the firm’s Cleveland office, where she will focus her practice on Civil Rights & Government Liability, Employment & Labor, and General Liability defense. Ms. Minahan has extensive experience representing public and private entities in commercial and employment litigation, both at the trial court level and on appeal.

Prior to joining MRR, Kathleen served as Deputy General Counsel for the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority and Vice President, General Counsel, CAO and Secretary for LESCO, Inc.

6th Circuit Affirms Decision Shielding Insurance Pros from Stale Claims

By: Ryan Bockmuller & Michael Byrne

The United States Courts of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has recently affirmed a decision from the federal District Court in the Southern District of Ohio which will serve to protect insurance professionals from stale claims arising from policies issued more than four years prior.

Under R.C. § 2305.09, professional negligence claims, including those against insurance professionals, are subject to a four-year statute of limitations. Statutes of limitation dictate the length of time a plaintiff has to file a claim against a defendant. If the applicable statute of limitations has run, or expired, before the suit is filed, the claim asserted will be barred.

Under Ohio law, the date the clock starts to run is normally the date of the defendant’s wrongful conduct. However, there are two exceptions which can toll, or delay, the running of the statute of limitations, namely, the delayed-damages rule and the discovery rule. The delayed-damage rule provides for tolling the statute of limitations, under certain circumstances, until the injury actually occurs and the plaintiff suffers actual harm. The discovery rule can toll the statutes of limitation for some claims until the injured party becomes aware, or should have been aware, that defendant’s conduct was the cause of their injury. In Whitman v. Tucker, No. 18-3532 (6th Cir. 2019), the court denied application of either exception.

The Whitman decision showcases two main applications of Ohio precedent in its analysis of the statute of limitations in professional negligence claims. First, the court applied the holding of Flagstar Bank, F.S.B. v. Airline Union’s Mort. Co., 947 N.E.2d 672 (2011), finding that the discovery rule does not apply in professional negligence cases. Recall that the discovery rule can toll the running of a statute of limitations until the injured party discovers (or should have discovered) their injury.

The court also applied LGR Realty, Inc. v. Frank & London Ins. Agency, 98 N.E.2d 241 (2018), finding that the statute of limitations for a negligence claim against an insurance agent begins to run when the insurance policy is issued. This is important because it establishes a firm, identifiable date which governs the statute of limitations for negligence actions filed against insurance professionals, preventing claims arising more than four years from the date the policy was issued.

Although not related to the statute of limitations analysis, it is worth noting that the court also applied Beard v. N.Y. Life Ins. & Annuity Corp., No. 12AP-977, 2013 WL 4678105 (Ohio Ct. App. Aug. 27, 2013), which held that only the individual who personally receives subpar advice or services may sue for professional negligence. In other words, the children, spouse, or representative of a decedent may not pursue a claim for professional negligence based on services or advice rendered to the decedent.

The Whitman decision is an important case for insurance professionals as it provides clarity and certainty to professional negligence cases and reinforces many industry-friendly applications of Ohio law.


For more information or questions regarding this article, contact Ryan Bockmuller at rbockmuller@mrrlaw.com or Mike Byrne at mbyrne@mrrlaw.com.

8 Mazanec, Raskin & Ryder Lawyers Named to 2020 Best Lawyers® List

MRR is pleased to announce that eight (8) lawyers have been included in the 2020 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America®, the oldest and most respected peer-reviewed publication in the legal profession. Lawyers on The Best Lawyers in America© list are divided by geographic region and practice areas. They are reviewed by their peers on the basis of professional expertise, and undergo an authentication process to make sure they are in current practice and in good standing.

MRR would like to congratulate the following lawyers named to the 2020 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America© list:

Elisabeth “Lisa” Gentile (Columbus), Medical Malpractice – Defendants; Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants; and Transportation Law

Doug Holthus (Columbus), Commercial Litigation; and Insurance Law

Thomas S. Mazanec (Cleveland), Product Liability Litigation – Defendants

John T. McLandrich (Cleveland), Civil Rights Law

Joseph F. Nicholas, Jr. (Cleveland), Transportation Law

George V. Pilat (Cleveland), Insurance Law

Stacy V. Pollock (Columbus), Education Law

Todd M. Raskin (Cleveland), Civil Rights Law – Lawyer of the Year

Founding Partner Todd Raskin Named Best Lawyers® 2020 Civil Rights Law “Lawyer of the Year” in Cleveland

Mazanec, Raskin & Ryder Co., LPA (MRR) is proud to announce that attorney Todd M. Raskin has been named Cleveland’s 2020 “Lawyer of the Year” in Civil Rights Law by Best Lawyers®. Only one lawyer in each practice area from each of the major metropolitan areas in Ohio is honored as “Lawyer of the Year.” Mr. Raskin is a three-time recipient of the “Lawyer of the Year” designation, having previously been named Civil Rights Lawyer of the Year for Cleveland in 2013 & 2017.  Best Lawyers compiles its lists of outstanding attorneys by conducting thousands of confidential peer-review surveys. Lawyers honored as “Lawyers of the Year” have received particularly high ratings by earning the respect of their peers for their abilities, professionalism, and integrity.

Mr. Raskin is a founding partner of MRR, which has offices in Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. He has a diverse legal practice with an emphasis on civil rights and government liability defense, as well as the defense of employers, both public and private. He also has considerable experience in the defense of professionals including physicians, lawyers, architects, engineers, and behavioral health professionals. Mr. Raskin has successfully represented clients in state and federal courts throughout Ohio and surrounding states including the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth and Third Circuits and U.S. District Courts in Colorado, Nevada, Michigan, and Ohio, as well as the Ohio Supreme Court.  He has tried more than 100 cases to conclusion in 39 years of private practice. Mr. Raskin has also earned an AV Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory and is an Ohio Super Lawyer in Municipal Law (2012-2019), as designated by Ohio Super Lawyers magazine.

Active in a number of professional organizations, Mr. Raskin is a member of the American Bar Association; the Ohio State Bar Association; the Cleveland Association of Civil Trial Attorneys; the Ohio Association of Civil Trial Attorneys; the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA); the Association of Defense Trial Attorneys; the Defense Research Institute (DRI), the Professional Liability Defense Federation; the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel (FDCC); the Litigation Counsel of America (Fellow); and the Judicial Conference, United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit (Life Member).

Paul-Michael La Fayette Recognized for Pro Bono Service by the Paralegal Association of Central Ohio

Congrats to Paul-Michael La Fayette for receiving the Paralegal Association of Central Ohio’s (PACO) Pro Bono Service Award for his years of volunteering and providing his professional and legal services (2013-2019) to those who are unable to afford them.

PACO (formerly known as Legal Assistants of Central Ohio) was established in 1995 to promote the interests of paralegals, foster relationships with the legal community, serve the public, advocate the Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility, and endorse the mission of PACO.

Paul is a Partner in MRR’s Columbus office. He focuses his practice on professional liability defense, including the defense of dentists, physicians, real estate agents and attorneys. He represents several professionals in administrative licensure proceedings before their professional Boards. In addition to professional liability, Paul regularly represents governmental entities in litigation and as general counsel.

Paul has been selected as an Ohio Super Lawyer during each of the past seven years (2012-2019) in the primary practice area of professional liability. He is also an AV® Preeminent™ rated attorney by Martindale Hubbell.