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Advocates Circle Firms

Barkan Meizlish, LLP


Brian G. Miller Co., LPA


Bordas & Bordas, PLLC


Charles E. Boyk Law Offices, LLC


Christian R. Patno


Crandall & Pera Law


Eadie Hill Trial Lawyers


Elk & Elk


Garson Johnson, LLC


Geiser, Bowman & McLafferty, LLC


The Gervelis Law Firm


Grieco Law


Kisling Nestico & Redick


Kitrick, Lewis & Harris Co.,. LPA


Leeseberg & Valentine


Leizerman & Associates, LLC


Lamkin, Van Eman, Trimble & Dougherty, LLC


Meyer Wilson Co., LPA


Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy Co., LPA


O'Connor Acciani & Levy, LPA


Rittgers & Rittgers


Robert J. Wagoner, Co., LLC


Rourke & Blumenthal


Spangenberg, Shibley & Liber, LLP


Slater & Zurz, LLP


Tittle & Perlmuter


Tzangas Plakas Mannos Ltd.


Young and McCarthy LLP




Are you involved in business tort litigation? Join your fellow OAJ attorneys in the Business Torts Section! The Business Torts Section is here to serve as a forum for members to share their ideas, tips, and tactics for tackling complex legal challenges and to be a resource for those practicing business litigation. The Business Torts Section will keep you up to date on legislation affecting your practice, new developments in the field, and upcoming section events. 

Law Firm Cyber Breach - To Sue or Be Sued
By: Jim Sammon, Esq.
The 60 Minutes Episode in the early part of this year started with a horrific story about ISIS destroying ancient Christian relics and monuments in Northern Syria. The next segment involved a “War Games” like piece on the incessant Chinese cyber-attacks being launched every second at various large (and not so large) commercial, military, government and industrial targets within the United States. The bombarding of the USA was reminiscent of the final stages of the old video game “Missile Command”; the attacks just kept coming and coming – and in the end – you just run out of missiles to defend yourself – your cities are destroyed and the screen goes black! (I was horrified; terrified; petrified, unable to move. Armageddon was clearly at hand.)

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Self-Directed IRA Custodians Allegedly Getting a Little Too Friendly with Fraudsters
By: Daniel Frech, Esq.
Self-Directed Individual Retirement Accounts (SDIRAs) – which allow individuals to invest their retirement nest egg in precious metals, real estate, partnership shares, promissory notes, race horses, or most anything else - appear to offer non-professional investors the ability to diversify their retirement portfolio in the same way more sophisticated investors can.  And when put to proper use that may be true.  Alas, SDIRA are also often the chosen vehicle of fraudsters and Ponzi schemers to separate investors from their hard earned money. IRAs, in most cases, are restricted to traditional investments: market traded equities and debt, government paper, and so on.  That limited scope of investment options and the electronic nature of the exchanges on which those investments are traded allows companies that generally manage IRAs -  Fidelity, Vanguard and Charles Schwab - to ensure the security and safekeeping of your investments and handle the large volumes of transactions associated with those accounts.
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Ohio's commercial docket experiment -down, but (hopefully) not yet out!
By: James P. Sammon, Esq.
Ohio is often referred to as “the heart of it all”.  From Cleveland to Cincinnati, Toledo to Columbus, the heart of our state is fueled by the individuals and companies that continue to carry Ohio out of the economic recession – and near collapse – of 2008.   Thankfully, just prior to the economic collapse, the late Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer made the concern that Ohio citizens share regarding the economic realities challenging Ohio’s job creators the focus of his 2007 State of the Judiciary speech. In trying to grow Ohio’s economy – and compete with neighboring States – Moyer noted that job creators assess a number of criteria.  Among this criteria was the prospect of costly and time-consuming civil litigation arising from commercial transactions.   When deciding to build in or employ Ohioan’s  a company may go to greener pastures where its business can get quicker and more efficient results. 

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A Pathway to Effective Data Discovery in Litigation: ND OH Appendix K
By: Nicholas DiCello, Esq. and William Eadie, Esq.
Effective discovery of data in litigation requires learning how a business works, how it creates and stores data, and how to locate and interpret that data in your case.  All of which is different for different businesses, in different industries, and even changes within a business or industry over time.  Every new program, app, cloud, next-big-thing in business data is another stone to turn over for the litigator. With the amount of digital information in the world increasing roughly tenfold every five years by some estimates, that’s a lot of stones. In commercial litigation, both sides may spend a lot of time and energy lobbing discovery bombs, and complaining about the mass of data (or lack of it) they get in return. There is a better way.

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Fraud in Settlements: A Singular and Difficult Road to Recovery in Ohio
By J. Matthew Linehan
In general, a party who has been induced to enter a contract through fraud has a choice of remedies, to either (A) affirm the contract and demand monetary damages, or (B) rescind the contract and restore the parties to their status quo ante.  In light of the alternative pleading standards of Civ.R. 8(A), the defrauded party could demand one or both remedies and then elect his preferred remedy at the appropriate time.  Should the plaintiff seek to rescind the contract, then the party was first required to “return or tender” the money or other consideration he had received from it.

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Non-Compete Ruling
Phil Ciano, Esq.
In Acordia of Ohio, L.L.C. v. Fishel, the Ohio Supreme Court initially sent a strong pro-employee message to employers attempting to enforce non-compete agreements that survive post-merger.  However, five months later after rendering its original pro-employee decision, the high court reversed itself after “reconsidering” the case. Acordia of Ohio, Inc. (“Acordia, Inc.”) was an insurance services company that had a number of non-compete agreements with various employees.  None of Acordia Inc.’s employee’s non-compete agreements contained language permitting an assignment of the agreements to “successors or assigns” following a merger or sale of the company.

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The aftermath of a Ponzi Scheme collapse: liability of brokerage firms
By: David P. Meyer, Esq., Columbus, OH & Courtney M. Yeager, Esq., Columbus, OH 
A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation that pays “returns” to investors from their own money or money paid by later investors rather than from actual earned revenue. These schemes are illegal and operate on the “rob-Peter-to-pay-Paul” principle, as money from new investors is used to pay off the previous investors. The continuous and destructive cycle eventually falls apart when not enough new investors can be found. 

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Is the Bull Market Covering Up Losses Caused by Stockbroker Misconduct? 
By David P. Meyer and Courtney Yeager
Calm seawater at high tide undoubtedly covers up millions of foreign objects on our beaches. Much like the camouflage a high tide offers, investors’ damages resulting from their stockbroker’s misconduct are often camouflaged during a bull market. The market has been going up since March 2009. The job market is improving, gross domestic product is growing, and stocks are rising. Things are just plain rosy! But, just because monthly account statements do not show a visible decline in value, that does not mean there is no trash below the high tide of the bull market.

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Pleading And Proving “Business Torts” In A Commercial Case: Avoiding the “Economic Loss” Rule and Enhancing Available Damages
By: Phillip A. Ciano, Esq., Cleveland, OH
A common dilemma in the plaintiff commercial litigation case is how to increase damages (and the defendant’s exposure) in a standard “breach of contract” case.  In many commercial cases, clients are sometimes forced to abandon or dismiss legitimate claims since the potential economic benefits of a “victory” simply do not outweigh the sometimes extraordinary costs of commercial litigation. From a practitioner’s standpoint, the question becomes:  What alternative “business torts” should be considered to enhance a seemingly benign “breach of contract” case in order to increase a potential recovery? This article analyzes available “business torts” against the dangerous defense of the “Economic Loss Rule,” and provides insight and direction for maximizing damages in a commercial case.

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Offers of Settlement in Business-to-Business Cases
Attention business litigators:  You need to be aware of House Bill 225, proposed as R.C. 2307.31.  House Bill 225 is fee-shifting legislation in business versus business cases.  It is intended to create a procedure for settling civil actions between businesses and other organizations through offers of settlement.  The legislation - if and when it is signed into law - will have a dramatic impact on the manner in which business torts are handled.
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