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.