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Joe Nicholas Named 2019 “Lawyer of the Year” for Transportation Law by Best Lawyers

Mazanec, Raskin & Ryder Co., LPA (MRR) is proud to announce that attorney Joseph F. Nicholas, Jr. has been chosen Cleveland’s 2019 “Lawyer of the Year” in Transportation 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.” 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.

Joe is President and Managing Partner of MRR, which has offices in Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio, and Lexington, Kentucky. He has a diverse legal practice with an emphasis on handling commercial trucking (long haul and short haul) and commercial coach carrier matters. His practice also includes the defense of professionals including lawyers, accountants, doctors, dentists, architects and insurance agents and brokers throughout his career.

In addition, he has significant experience litigating bad faith claims as well as defending various third-party matters, including general liability, product liability and construction defects. Joe has an AV Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory and was also selected as a Best Lawyer in America for Transportation Law in 2018.

Prior to being named President and Managing Partner in 2012, Joe served as the firm’s Administrative Partner of its Cleveland office from 2000-2012.

Active in a number of professional organizations, he is a member of the Ohio State Bar Association; the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association; the Professional Liability Defense Federation (Past Chair of Insurance Agents & Brokers Committee); Claims and Litigation Management Alliance; the Trucking Industry and Defense Association; and Your House Counsel, in which he currently serves as the Group Chair.

MRR Attorneys named to 2019 Best Lawyers in America® list

Mazanec, Raskin & Ryder Co., LPA (MRR) is pleased to announce that seven attorneys have been named to the 2019 Edition of Best Lawyers®, 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.

MRR would like to congratulate the following attorneys named to the 2019 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America© list:

Todd M. Raskin (Cleveland), Civil Rights Law

John T. McLandrich (Cleveland), Civil Rights Law

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

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

George V. Pilat (Cleveland), Insurance Law

Elisabeth “Lisa” Gentile (Columbus), Medical Malpractice – Defendants

Stacy V. Pollock (Columbus), Education Law

 

About Best Lawyers®

Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers® has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Best Lawyers lists are compiled based on an exhaustive peer-review evaluation. Over 79,000 leading attorneys globally are eligible to vote, and we have received more than 12 million votes to date on the legal abilities of other lawyers based on their specific practice areas around the world. For the 2016 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America©, 6.7 million votes were analyzed, which resulted in more than 55,000 leading lawyers being included in the new edition. Lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed; therefore inclusion in Best Lawyers is considered a singular honor. Corporate Counsel magazine has called Best Lawyers “the most respected referral list of attorneys in practice.” For more information, visit bestlawyers.com.

Mazanec, Raskin & Ryder Welcomes Steven Kelley to Cleveland Office

Mazanec, Raskin & Ryder (MRR) is pleased to announce that Steven K. Kelley has joined the firm’s Cleveland office as a Partner in its Professional Liability Practice Group.

Prior to joining MRR, Steve worked at CNA Insurance Company for over 12 years, initially as a Managing Trial Attorney and then an Assistant Vice President in the company’s litigation department.

At MRR, his practice will focus on the defense of architects and engineers as well as other professional liability matters and product liability claims.

“With Steve’s experience and leadership in the insurance industry, his addition highlights our commitment to enhancing both the breadth and quality of services that we can provide to our clients,” said MRR President and Managing Partner Joseph F. Nicholas, Jr. said. “We are thrilled to welcome him to the firm.”

Mr. Kelley earned his Juris Doctorate from Case Western Reserve University School of Law and he received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Ohio Northern University. He is active professionally as a member of the Ohio Bar Association, Claims and Litigation Management Alliance, Cleveland Association of Civil Trial Attorneys (Former President), Defense Research Institute, and is a Life Member of the Eighth Judicial District Conference.

MRR Article: Has the Supreme Court of Ohio Done Away with the Delayed Damages Rule?

By: Mike Byrne & Joe Nicholas

The Supreme Court of Ohio dealt a win for insurance agents and agencies with its January 31, 2018 decision in LGR Realty, Inc. v. Frank & London Ins. Agency, Slip Opinion No. 2018-Ohio-334.  In a 5-2 decision, the Court held that the delayed-damage rule does not apply to a cause of action alleging negligent procurement of a professional-liability insurance policy or negligent misrepresentation of the terms of the policy when the policy at issue contains provisions specifically excluding the type of claim that the insured alleges it believed was covered by the policy.  Instead, the cause of action accrues on the date the policy is issued.

By way of background, Frank & London Insurance Agency (“F&L”) procured a real estate agents’ errors and omissions liability policy for LGR Realty, Inc. (“LGR”) with effective dates of May 12, 2010 through May 12, 2011.  The policy included a specific endorsement excluding any claim against LGR by Plaza Properties.  During the policy period, a liability claim was made against LGR with regard to a lawsuit captioned Milligan Communications LLC v. Plaza Properties, Inc.  LGR’s carrier denied coverage on April 26, 2011, citing the Plaza Properties exclusion.

On April 17, 2015, LGR filed a Complaint against F&L, alleging negligent procurement and misrepresentation.  F&L moved to dismiss, arguing that the cause of action was barred by the statute of limitations as it had accrued on May 12, 2010 when the policy went into effect.  In opposition, LGR relied on the delayed damages rule previously articulated in Kunz v. Buckeye Union Insurance Co., 1 Ohio St.3d 79 (1982), to argue that the claim did not accrue until it had suffered an injury when coverage for the claim was denied on April 26, 2011, and as such, the complaint was not time-barred.  The trial court found for F&L, and LGR appealed.  On appeal, the Tenth District Court of Appeals reverse, finding that Kunz had not been overruled.  F&L appealed.

It is undisputed that the four year statute of limitations set forth in R.C. 2305.09(D) is applicable in insurance agent negligence cases.  However, the dispute over when that statute of limitation begins to run has been ongoing since the Supreme Court of Ohio’s decisions in Investors REIT One v. Jacobs, 46 Ohio St.3d 176 (1989) (holding that the legislature’s express inclusion og a discovery rule for certain torts arising under 2305.09 implies the exclusion of other torts arising under the statute, including professional negligence), and Flagstar Bank, F.S.B. v. Airline Union’s Mtge. Co., 2011-Ohio-1961 (holding that a cause of action for negligence exists from the time the wrongful act is committed).  While Justice DeWine’s concurring opinion in LGR Realty, Inc. makes it clear that he believes Kunz has now been eroded to the point of being overruled, the Court’s majority decision still does not go quite that far.

The majority provides an in-depth analysis of Kunz in an effort to distinguish it from the case at bar.  In Kunz, the insured previously owned several insurance policies that provided all-risk coverage.  These policies were then consolidated into a single policy, with the insured mistakenly continuing to believe that the all-risk coverage remained in place.  Therefore, the insured’s right to recovery would be barred before they are even aware that they have been injured.  In contrast, when LGR purchased its policy, it already contained the entity exclusion relied upon to deny the claim, and as such, the harm to LGR was complete and the claim accrued the day the policy was issued.  Given this minute, in not non-existent, distinction, it is not hard to understand Justice DeWine’s reasoning in concluding that “[t]he majority’s opinion today and the decision in Kunz cannot both be the law.”

However, the majority insisted that they need not reach the issue of Kunz in order to decide the case.  Moreover, the opinion uses very specific language to narrow the applicability of the holding; referring only to professional-liability insurance policies, and provisions creating specific exclusions.  Despite those efforts, it is not difficult to see how these could easily be expanded to apply in situations involving other types of policies, or instances where there is merely a lack of coverage, as opposed to excluded coverage.  While the confusion regarding the delayed-damages rule has not been officially put to rest, its applicability to insurance agent negligence matters is now hanging by a thread.


For more information on this decision and related topics, contact Mike Byrne at mbyrne@mrrlaw.com or Joe Nicholas at jfn@mrrlaw.com.

Mike Byrne

Joe Nicholas

 

 

Six MRR Attorneys named Best Lawyers in America 2018

Mazanec, Raskin & Ryder Co., LPA (MRR) is pleased to announce that six attorneys have been named to the 2018 Edition of Best Lawyers®, 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.

MRR would like to congratulate the following attorneys named to the 2018 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America© list:

Todd M. Raskin (Cleveland), Civil Rights Law

John T. McLandrich (Cleveland), Civil Rights Law

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

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

George V. Pilat (Cleveland), Insurance Law

Stacy V. Pollock (Columbus), Education Law

 

About Best Lawyers®

Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers® has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Best Lawyers lists are compiled based on an exhaustive peer-review evaluation. Over 79,000 leading attorneys globally are eligible to vote, and we have received more than 12 million votes to date on the legal abilities of other lawyers based on their specific practice areas around the world. For the 2016 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America©, 6.7 million votes were analyzed, which resulted in more than 55,000 leading lawyers being included in the new edition. Lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed; therefore inclusion in Best Lawyers is considered a singular honor. Corporate Counsel magazine has called Best Lawyers “the most respected referral list of attorneys in practice.” For more information, visit bestlawyers.com.

Mazanec, Raskin & Ryder Appoints Doug Holthus as Columbus Administrative Partner

Doug Holthus(Cleveland, OH – Friday, April 1, 2016) — Mazanec, Raskin & Ryder Co., LPA (MRR) is pleased to announce the appointment of Doug Holthus as administrative partner of the law firm’s Columbus office, effective April 1, 2016.

“We are fortunate to have a lawyer with Doug’s skills and capabilities take on this role and we are confident that he will maximize our firm’s opportunities for continued growth and success in Central Ohio,” said Joe Nicholas, the firm’s President and Managing Partner.

Doug focuses his practice on civil rights and government liability, corporate law, employment and general liability matters. He counsels small and large companies, public and private entities on legislative and administrative matters in a diverse range of industries including health care, information technology, telecommunications, real estate, retail, and education. He has tried, advocated and or arbitrated nearly one hundred cases before civil juries, administrative licensing (and other) boards and arbitration panels throughout Ohio (and California), in both state and federal court.

Prior to joining MRR, Doug was in private practice and had also served as General Counsel for Kokosing Construction Company and its affiliated entities.

A graduate of Wittenberg University, Mr. Holthus went on to earn his J.D. from Capital University Law School. He serves as Chair of the Columbus Bar Association’s Professionalism Committee (by appointment), is a Member of the Board of Directors of the Professional Liability Defense Federation (“PLDF”) and the Ohio State Bar Association, and Doug is AV-Preeminent rated by the Martindale Hubbell Law Directory.

MRR’s Columbus Office Expands with Addition of Partners Doug Holthus and Elisabeth “Lisa” Gentile

Holthus.Gentile PR PhotoMRR is pleased to announce the addition of two attorneys to its Columbus office. The new lawyers joined MRR on January 18, 2016. They represent clients in a number of practice areas, including medical defense, auto and commercial trucking, insurance coverage and bad faith, restaurant and retail defense, corporate law, public sector law, civil rights and government liability, real estate, and professional and product liability.

The attorneys joining MRR are Partners Doug Holthus and Elisabeth “Lisa” Gentile.

“We are thrilled to expand our services in Columbus with the addition of these highly talented attorneys,” MRR President and Managing Partner Joseph F. Nicholas, Jr. said. “Both Lisa and Doug bring to the firm expertise in a number of practice areas, a set of exceptional legal skills, and a client-focused commitment to excellence.”

Founding Partner Todd M. Raskin also noted that it’s a homecoming for Lisa Gentile and the firm couldn’t be more pleased to have her back on the team. She began her career at MRR as a law clerk.

“Both attorneys’ backgrounds allows for MRR to respond to demands from clients requesting the greater depth and expertise necessary to service their increasingly sophisticated legal needs,” stated Mr. Nicholas. “The strengthening of MRR’s Columbus office will allow the firm to better serve and develop new clients on a regional level, while continuing to provide a full range of legal services through its collaborative practice model involving more than 38 lawyers in three offices.

News Release: MRR Promotes Tami Zupkow Hannon to Partner

Tami HannnonMazanec, Raskin & Ryder Co., LPA (MRR) is pleased to announce Tami Zupkow Hannon has been elected to the firm’s partnership.

Tami joined MRR’s Cleveland office in 2007. Her practice concentration is civil rights defense. She has represented numerous governmental agencies, elected and appointed officials, and has extensive experience in defending law enforcement departments, officers and correctional facilities. She combines her civil defense experience with her knowledge of employment law to provide timely, personalized and comprehensive employment guidance to both public and private employers. Tami has been named an Ohio Super Lawyer Rising Star for Municipal Law since 2013. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Akron School of Law. She received her undergraduate degree from Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania.

“We are very proud of Tami’s accomplishments and extremely pleased to welcome her as a partner,” said MRR Managing Partner and President Joe Nicholas. “She is a remarkably talented and creative lawyer.”

Mazanec, Raskin & Ryder ranked in 2016 U.S. News & World Report “Best Law Firms”

BLF 2014_Silver_GeneralMazanec, Raskin & Ryder Co., LPA (MRR) is pleased to announce its inclusion in the Best Law Firms list for 2016, published by U.S. News & World Report in conjunction with Best Lawyers. MRR received a Metropolitan Tier 1 ranking in Cleveland, Civil Rights Law.

“We are very proud to be held in such high esteem by our clients and peers time after time, achieving professional excellence with persistently impressive ratings,” said Joseph F. Nicholas, Jr., MRR’s President and Managing Partner. We are thrilled to once again be chosen as one of the region’s top law firms.”

The U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” rankings, for the sixth consecutive year, are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in their field, and review of additional information provided by law firms as part of the formal submission process. Clients and peers were asked to evaluate firms based on the following criteria: responsiveness, understanding of a business and its needs, cost-effectiveness, integrity and civility, as well as whether they would refer a matter to the firm and/or consider the firm a worthy competitor.

ABOUT “BEST LAW FIRMS”
The U.S. News – Best Lawyers ® “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in their field, and review of additional information provided by law firms as part of the formal submission process. To be eligible for a ranking, a law firm must have at least one lawyer listed in the 21st Edition of The Best Lawyers in America © list for that particular location and specialty.

ABOUT U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT
U.S. News & World Report is a digital news information company that empowers people to make better, more informed decisions about important issues affection their lives. Focusing on Education, Health, Personal Finance, Travel, Cars and News & Opinion, www.usnews.com provides consumer advice, rankings, news and analysis to serve people making complex decisions throughout all stages of life. 30 million people visit www.usnews.com each month for research and guidance. Founded in 1933, U.S. News is headquartered in Washington, DC.

MRR’s Joseph F. Nicholas, Jr. Appointed Your House Counsel’s First Group Chair

Joseph NicholasYour House Counsel®, the national consortium of highly regarded insurance and corporate liability insurance defense law firms, announced today that Joseph F. Nicholas, Jr., President and Managing Partner of Mazanec, Raskin & Ryder Co., L.P.A., will become the organization’s first Group Chair, a newly created position.

“Joe and his law firm represent what Your House Counsel® is all about,” said Howard S. Shafer, President and Founder of Your House Counsel® which currently has over thirty member law firms across the country. “The skills, energy and reputation for servicing that Joe brings to the Group Chair position will serve YHC well in our marketing and engagement programs,” Mr. Shafer added, referencing the position’s primary areas of focus.

“I am delighted and honored to have been selected as YHC’s first Group Chair,” Mr. Nicholas said. “From the first day that our firm joined Your House Counsel®,” Mr. Nicholas continued, “we’ve seen it as a critically important way to meaningfully expand the firm’s awareness among prospects beyond our own market. But of equal importance are the advantages YHC has given us to interact with and learn from our fellow Your House Counsel® member firms.”

The appointment of Joe Nicholas as YHC’s first Group Chair, “marks a turning point in the organization’s history,” Mr. Shafer said, adding, “We’ve grown substantially over the last few years, adding new member firms and new clients.” With the addition of a Group Chair, says Mr. Shafer, “Your House Counsel® is assured that our growth, reputation and abilities to service clients on a national basis will continue and expand.”

Your House Counsel® is based in New York, NY, and has member firms in 28 states.