Municipal & Government


Wastewater Enforcement Defense

Defense of municipality in connection with waste water permit violations from its POTW. Successfully negotiated reduction in civil penalty and consent agreement for return to compliance.

Published Decisions - State of Ohio

Selected published decisions - State of Ohio:

• Scherpenberg v. City of Mason, 12th Ohio Appellate District, CA2011-02-017 (12-5-11).
Discretionary appeal denied 131 Ohio St. 3d 1499 (2012). Upholding dismissal of employment-related claims against the City by former Clerk of Courts.

• Lowe v. Cincinnati Inc., 124 Ohio St. 3d 204 (November 12, 2009).
Upheld termination of permanent total disability benefits.

• Blauvelt v. City of Hamilton, 12th Ohio Appellate District, CA2008-07-174 (June 15, 2009); Discretionary appeal denied (October 14, 2009).
Reversing trial court -- Assistant law director is not entitled to civil service protection.

• Perkins v. Live Nation, 1st Ohio Appellate District, C-080809 (May 13, 2009),
Summary judgment upheld--premises owner not liable in slip and fall case.

• Mitchell v. City of Blue Ash, 1st Ohio Appellate District, C-080657 (April 24, 2009); Discretionary appeal denied (August 26, 2009).
Summary judgment upheld--recreational use immunity bars claims against The City.

• Sexton v. City of Mason , 117 Ohio St. 3d 275 (2008).
Summary judgment upheld--city not liable for flooding on homeowners’ property and claim of permanent trespass.

• Williams v. City of Hamilton, Twelfth Appellate District, CV 2005-09-3061 (July 21, 2008); Discretionary appeal denied (December 3, 2008).
Summary judgment upheld--city not liable for intentional tort involving employee with 2nd and 3rd degree burns over large percentage of his body.

• Crosset v. Marquette, First Appellate District, 2007 Ohio 550 (February 9, 2007); Discretionary appeal denied 114 Ohio St. 3d 1428, (2007).
Summary Judgment upheld--officer did not engage in malicious prosecution.

• State ex rel. Hiatt v. Indus. Comm’n., 99 Ohio St. 3d 32; (2003).
Supreme Court affirmed industrial commission award of minimum benefit.

• State Farm Cas. v. Black & Decker, Inc., Eighth Appellate District, 2002 Ohio 5821, (October 24, 2002); Discretionary appeal denied 98 Ohio St. 3d 1480 (2003).
Reversing verdict for plaintiff in a product liability action and ruling in favor of defendant manufacturer--testimony of plaintiff’s expert was contradicted by physical facts.

• Stanley v. City of Miamisburg, Second Appellate District, 2000 Ohio App. Lexis 205, (January 28, 2000).
Summary judgment upheld--Judicial estoppel precluded plaintiff from claiming City constructively discharged him by “forcing” him to retire in retaliation for whistleblowing.

• Golden v. Kearse, Twelfth Appellate District, 1999 Ohio App. Lexis 2573,
(June 7, 1999).
Summary judgment upheld--truck driver was independent contractor at time of accident and not entitled to workers’ compensation.

• Cincinnati Bell Tel. Co. v. Village of Fairfax, 81 Ohio St. 3d 599 (1998).
Supreme Court upheld Village’s right to impose net profits tax on telephone company.

• General Accident Ins. Co. v. Black & Decker (U.S.), First Appellate District, 1996 Ohio App. Lexis 4907, (November 13, 1996).
Defense verdict in product liability claim upheld--trial court properly admitted testimony of a manufacturer’s expert witness.

• Gallaher v. Manpower Int’l, First Appellate District, 106 Ohio App. 3d 881, (October 25, 1995).
Summary judgment upheld--heart attack not caused by employment.

• Helton v. Consol. Rail Corp., Twelfth Appellate District, 1992 Ohio App. Lexis 3881, (July 27, 1992).
Summary judgment upheld--railroad had no duty to provide crossing warnings beyond those required by statute and the injured motorist was required to exercise ordinary care for his own safety.

• Sites v. Proctor & Gamble Mfg. Co., Third Appellate District, 1991 Ohio App. Lexis 6471, (December 24, 1991).
Summary judgment upheld--owner of premises had no duty to warn or protect individual independent contractors from dangers associated with work they were hired to perform.

• Dickstrom v. Southern Ohio Fabricators, Inc., Twelfth Appellate District, 1990 Ohio App. Lexis 502, (February 12, 1990).
Summary judgment upheld--employee’s death not caused by intentional tort.

• Miller v. Procter & Gamble Mfg. Co., Third Appellate District, 1989 Ohio App. Lexis 4793, (December 20, 1989).
Directed verdict upheld--manufacturer not responsible for injuries to an employee of an independent contractor where the employee was responsible for the condition of her work area and knew of the dangers of the job.

• Cox v. Consolidated Rail Corp., Twelfth Appellate District, 1989 Ohio App. Lexis 3313, (August 28, 1989).
Summary judgment upheld--Rail company’s failure to use warnings at grade crossing was not a nuisance.

• Grimsley v. General Motors Corp., Twelfth Appellate District, 1988 Ohio App. Lexis 516, February 15, 1988.
Summary judgment upheld--employer did not act with the belief that an injury was substantially certain to occur.

• Joseph v. Consolidated Rail Corp., Twelfth Appellate District, 1987 Ohio App. Lexis 9435, (October 30, 1987).
Summary judgment upheld--surveillance by private contractor did not impose liability on the employer.

• Baker v. Consolidated Rail Corp., Second Appellate District, 1986 Ohio App. Lexis 7559, (July 8, 1986).
Summary judgment upheld--railroad not liable for failing to provide warning devices in addition to the usual signs at a crossing where the decedent was killed by a train because the crossing was not especially dangerous.

Outsource of High Technology Services

Among numerous outsource transactions for Fortune 50, public and private companies, we represented First Data, a leading technology service provider, and its predecessors, for over two decades in numerous service/outsourcing contracts and litigation with various governmental and state agencies. Our work included reviewing government proposals for service, as well as drafting and negotiating licenses, software and hardware contracts, service contracts, employee agreements, teaming agreements, prime/sub third-party contracts and consulting agreements governing individuals and teams that implemented solutions and ultimately performed the contracted services. 

Municipal Government and Authorities Bond Counsel

We have served as bond counsel in representing a wide range of municipal governments and authorities throughout Pennsylvania. We have represented our clients in connection with the issuance of general obligation, sewer revenue, water revenue, recreational facility and infrastructure improvement bonds. Among the clients we have represented in this area are: Municipal Water Authority of Adams Township, North Franklin Township, the West Branch Sewer Authority, Clairton Municipal Authority, Fox Chapel Authority, Kiski Valley Water Pollution Control Authority, Pine-Harrisville Authority and Southwestern Pennsylvania Water Authority. A comprehensive list of our experience representing municipal governments and authorities as bond counsel is available here.

Nationwide Arena Ownership, Use and Management

We served as counsel to the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority in a transaction by which the Authority became the owner of Nationwide Arena with financing provided by the City of Columbus, Franklin County, State of Ohio and Nationwide Insurance based on casino tax revenue.

We were intimately involved in all aspects of the transaction and took primary responsibility for drafting and negotiating the $42.5 million purchase agreement providing for the sale and restructuring of the existing arena ownership. Further, we negotiated and prepared the other major agreements between the Blue Jackets, Nationwide and OSU that provided, amongst other items (i) the team’s continued use of the arena as its “home ice” through 2039, and (ii) the shared management and allocation of expenses for the arena.

The transaction marked one of the largest ventures between the private and public sectors in recent history in Central Ohio and made a significant statement within the Columbus community.

Anonymous Plaintiff v. City / Village

Briefed municipal taxation issue to Ohio Supreme Court. Court principally adopted brief to overturn prior case law and establish new standard for municipal pre-emption.

Breach of Warranty Case Involving Alleged Vehicle Defects

We represented a major motor vehicle distributor in a breach of warranty case that went to a jury trial in Licking County, Ohio. The Plaintiffs alleged that defects with the vehicle were causing significant and premature wearing of the vehicle’s tires. We obtained a defense verdict on behalf of our client.


Successfully prosecuted multiple property annexations for City in front of County Commissioners, including appeal to Court of Common Pleas.

City / Village v. Property Owners

Tried eminent domain suit to conclusion. Jury award in between both sides' fair market value expert testimony. In separate cases, successfully defeated challenge to right-to-take before settling.

City of Maysville v. Commonwealth of Kentucky, Finance and Administration Cabinet

In this matter, we represent an organization of municipal governments across the Commonwealth of Kentucky. On behalf of our client, we filed a declaratory judgment action for interpretation of Kentucky funding statutes seeking a declaration from the Franklin Circuit Court that the statutes required that certain court fees be provided to Kentucky cities, rather than to Kentucky Sheriff's offices. The Franklin Circuit Court ruled in favor of our client on a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. The opponent appealed to the Kentucky Court of Appeals, and the case was ultimately settled in our client's favor.

Former Council Member v. Former Vice-Mayor

The plaintiff was a former Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government council-member who brought claims against our client, the former Vice-Mayor of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government. In his claim, the plaintiff has alleged claims of defamation, tortious interference and abuse of process. We were successful in getting the case dismissed by the trial court on summary judgement which was recently affirmed by The Kentucky Court of Appeals.

Greater Cincinnati Plumbing Contractors' Association, et al. v. City of Blue Ash

Our firm represented the City of Blue Ash, Ohio, in a suit brought by trade associations and contractors challenging the legality of the city's use of a design-build bidding process for renovation of the city recreation center.  The court of appeals determined that the city's use of the desgin-build bidding process was a proper exercise of its home-rule power, and affirmed the lower court ruling granting of the city's motion for summary judgment.

Lead Negotiator in Collective Bargaining

The City of Blue Ash has 4 bargaining units in its police, fire and maintenance departments. Every 3 years, I am the lead negotiator in the contract negotiations. I am in negotiations every year for the City because of the rotation of the contracts. The Units are as follows: International Association of Fire Fighters, Local 4380, Fraternal Order of Police, Ohio Labor Council, Blue Ash Patrol Officers Benevolent Association, International Association of Fire Fighters, Local 3203, Ohio Council 8, AFSCME, LOCAL 1092-F

Privacy Litigation

Defended Ohio's former Secretary of State in a class action alleging violation of rights to privacy, personal security, and due process seeking declaratory, preliminary and injunctive relief to prevent publication of Social Security numbers contained on UCC-financing statements.  Favorable settlement achieved after argument on TRO and preliminary objection without entry of consent decree, and in subsequent fee litigation Plaintiffs Lodestar and class representative incentive awards were denied.  Ultimate fee award was less than sought by Plaintiffs.

Published Decisions - Federal

Selected published decisions - Federal:

  • Lavender v. City of Blue Ash, 162 Federal App. 548, (6th Cir. 2006)
    Summary judgment upheld--Officers who detained plaintiff had reasonable belief that armed robber might have been in car, and were justified in using force to secure scene.
  • Watson v. City of Mason, No.: C-1-04-283, United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Western Division, 2005 U.S. Dist. Lexis 27116, (November 8, 2005).
    Summary judgment upheld--city’s municipal court building did not violate ADA.
  • Feinthel v. Payne, No. 04-3057, United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, 121 Fed. Appx. 60; 2004 U.S., (December 30, 2004).
    Summary judgment upheld--City policy did not cause the injuries, there was probable cause for the search and arrest, and the force was proper under the circumstances.
  • Paquette v. City of Mason, 250 F. Supp. 2d 840; 2002 U.S. Dist. Lexis 25934, (September 3, 2002).
    Summary judgment upheld--Employee’s e-mail did not constitute a matter of public concern, and city did not violate Ohio’s Whistleblower Act.
  • Johnson v. City of Mason, 101 F. Supp. 2d 566; 2000 U.S. Dist. Lexis 8604,
    (April 4, 2000).
    Summary judgment upheld--Employee’s right leg injury and resulting limitations did not constitute disability within meaning of ADA.
  • Rucker v. City of Kettering, 84 F. Supp. 2d 917; 2000 U.S. Dist. Lexis 1765,
    (February 7, 2000).
    Motion for preliminary injunction in civil rights action for denial of employment on basis of gender was denied.
  • Black v. City of Blue Ash, USDC Southern Dist. Of Ohio, C-1:08-CV-00584
    Summary judgment granted—plaintiff passenger's constitutional rights were not violated by defendants in the course of a police chase.
  • DeWald v. Emery Oleochemicals
    Defense Verdict—Employee was neither discriminated against nor retaliated against under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") and Ohio state law (second-chair).

SK Construction v. Municipality

Obtained jury defense verdict in matter involving several million dollars in claims against the owner by the prime contractor based on claims of breach of contract and project design issues which allegedly caused delay.


Negotiated and guided passage of complex Planned Unit Development Zone with developer and multiple governmental and private stakeholders for large redevelopment of industrial property into mixed office and retail use


Represented Village as owner of large, multi-year flood control project in negotiations with co-owner City, contractors, public utilities, private landowners, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The project included contract negotiation, contractor claims, eminent domain, property acquisition, government compliance, utility relocation, and legislation.