News

On Saturday, November 15, 2014, Shareholder Mark Trimble and Associate Matt Persinger took a break from their usual jobs to participate in a unique Toledo tradition, the Downtown Holiday Parade’s Distinguished Clown Corps. In full clown costumes, Mark and Matt took to the streets of downtown Toledo to hand out candy and balloon animals to the crowds turning out for the parade.

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The Distinguished Clown Corps has been a mainstay of Toledo’s Downtown Holiday Parade since 1987 and boasts a long and distinguished list of business leaders, politicians and other participants. The Corps’ members wear custom-made costumes and full clown makeup, and wear bells to mark the number of years each clown has participated in the parade. During the parade, the clowns give candy and balloons to spectators. The Corps was originally founded to help fund the parade, and members of the Corps make a financial contribution to help make the parade happen each year. The Corp’s website can be found here.

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Shareholder Mark Trimble and Associate Adam Nowland’s article entitled, “Subpoenas, Simplified: The Impact of Revised Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 45,” was featured in the Fall 2014 edition of the Primerus Paradigm Magazine.  The article follows below.

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The Supreme Court of Ohio recently rendered an opinion in the case of FirstMerit Bank, N.A. v. Inks (2013), 138 Ohio St. 3d 384, that, while short, will have a profound impact on mortgage lenders and holders.  Prior to the Court’s ruling, there had been a conflict in Ohio’s appellate courts as to whether loan officers or representatives of banks could verbally change the terms in a Mortgage or a Promissory Note and whether homeowners could rely upon those verbal representations.  The question posed to the Supreme Court was whether “Section 1335.05 of the Ohio Revised Code prohibits a party from raising as a defense that the parties to a contract involving an interest in land orally agreed to modify the terms of their Agreement.”

The case heard by the Supreme Court involved a loan made to Daniel Inks and David Slyman, who borrowed $3.5 million from FirstMerit Bank.  A promissory note memorializing the terms of the agreement was executed and the property was secured by a mortgage.  The note included personal guarantees on the part of the debtors and contained a cognovit provision authorizing a confession of judgment by the debtors in case of a default.  This meant that in the case of non-payment, the bank could automatically obtain a judgment against the borrowers.

Predictably, the debtors defaulted on the promissory note and FirstMerit initiated foreclosure proceedings.  Inks and Slyman stated, however, that a Senior Vice President of FirstMerit had informed them that the bank would change the terms of the promissory note or loan and would release its mortgage and balance on the deficiencies.  In fact, a term sheet was sent to Inks and Slyman regarding this issue.  The term sheet included a date that it had to be accepted by, upon which FirstMerit would cancel the auction for the property.  The key was that the term sheet stated that a cash settlement of $200,000 had to be provided to FirstMerit.  Just two days before the auction, Inks informed the Senior Vice President that he could only raise $150,000.  Inks stated that the Senior Vice President orally agreed to accept this $150,000 payment.  However, on the very next day, the Senior Vice President informed Inks that the $150,000 would not be acceptable and the property would be sold the following day.  The sale did occur.  As such, Inks and his partner asserted the defense of an oral agreement, arguing that they should not be liable for the deficiency in the sale proceeds of $3,337,467.15.

R.C. 1335.05 sets forth Ohio’s statute of frauds.  In Ohio, it has always been my belief in which there is real property involved, and there is a written note and mortgage involved, that subsequent modifications to the terms of the note or mortgage would need to be in writing.  R.C. 1335.05 states, in part, that:

No action shall be brought whereby to charge the Defendant . . . upon a contract or sale of lands . . . or interest or concerning them . . . unless the agreement upon which such action is brought, or some memorandum or note thereof, is in writing and signed by the party to be charged therewith.

In its ruling, the Supreme Court indicated that the issue of whether the statute of frauds precludes a defendant from asserting an oral agreement as a defense to an action was resolved more than 150 years ago in the case of Finch v. Finch (1860), 10 Ohio St. 501.  As the Court explained in its analysis, where the statute of frauds applies to an oral agreement, defendants are precluded as raising the modification in a motion for relief from judgment. The same issue was also considered in 1877 and in 1938, and the conclusion reached by the Court is even in the Restatement of Law Second of Contracts (1981).  As the Court explained:

. . . while a mortgage is a lien for a debt, it also is a conveyance of property that passes a property conditionally to the mortgagee as well as a transfer of the property as security of the debt.

Therefore, if there is to be any change in the terms of your mortgage it must be in writing and signed by both parties.  The moral of this story as it relates to real property? Only trust your bank if it puts its promises in writing and both the bank and you sign the document.

To honor their parents, Shareholder Michael J. Manahan, and his brother, Tom, President of the Lathrop Company, decided to start a scholarship within the St. Francis Endowment Fund to award a St. Francis education to a student that could otherwise not afford one.  An article concerning the Tom and Carol Manahan Scholarship recently appeared in St. Francis de Sales High School’s Spring 2014 magazine, Knight Life.  The full text from the article follows below.

PAYING BACK AND PAYING FORWARD:
THE TOM AND CAROL MANAHAN SCHOLARSHIP

Three words best describe the Manahan Family: passionate, loyal, and generous.  Raising an Irish-Catholic family in West Toledo, Tom and Carol Manahan placed a strong emphasis on Catholic education to help perpetuate the faith and create lifetime opportunities for their children.  They instilled in their offspring a drive to succeed.  It has paid off handsomely for their children and grandchildren.

Tom and Carol Manahan, both of whom are deceased, had four children.  The two boys, Michael and Thomas, Jr., graduated from St. Francis in 1971 and 1977 respectively.  The two girls, Marsha and Megan, graduated from St. Ursula Academy in 1973 and 1976 respectively.  The Manahan children have eight degrees among them.  Marsha and Michael are attorneys, following in the footsteps of their father, and Megan and Tom, Jr. both earned their MBA’s.

If you are a male in the Manahan family your educational path would take you to St. Francis.  If you are female, you were destined to attend St. Ursula.  Michael’s son, Brendan, graduated from St. Francis in 2010.  Tom’s son, Tommy, is currently a junior.  As Mike Manahan likes to state, “We all drank the St. Francis kool-aid.”

St. Ursula Academy also runs deep in their blood since Carol, whose maiden name is Diethelm, also a well-known name in the St. Francis family, attended St. Ursula previously located on Collingwood Blvd. in Toledo’s Old West End.  Carol is the sister of Dr. James Diethelm, one of the original founders of St. Francis de Sales High School.  His name can also be found on the plaque that hangs in a front entrance of the school.  That Knight loyalty has been instilled in the Diethelm/Manahan family members ever since the beginning of the school in 1955.

Mike and Tom are deeply appreciative of the education they received at St. Francis.  “My father sacrificed everything for the education of his children,” stated Michael.  “Above and beyond the education we received at St. Francis, the experience also taught us about the importance of humility,” Michael observes.  To recognize this commitment to Catholic education and the ongoing relationship with the school, Michael, a partner at Rohrbachers, Cron, Manahan, Trimble and Zimmerman, and Tom, President of the Lathrop Company, decided to honor their parents and establish a scholarship within the St. Francis Endowment fund in their parents’ name.

Their scholarship is to be rewarded to a student who desires a St. Francis education but cannot afford the cost of tuition.

When Michael started high school in 1967, it was a turbulent time in our society.  “St. Francis was an anchor during those difficult times,” he recalls.  Yet St. Francis was a bedrock and the school remained deeply committed to educational excellence.  Two years after Michael graduated, Tom began his St. Francis career. “St. Francis had an incredible impact on our entire family. We want to provide the same opportunities we were afforded to those young men from families who desire this education, but could not otherwise afford it,” adds Tom.

“Mike and Tom Manahan are among the most ardent advocates for our school.  They have demonstrated their loyalty and generosity by sending their sons to our school in addition to making their commitment to this scholarship,” states Joe Sweeney, Director of Development.

If you are interested in establishing a scholarship at St. Francis de Sales, please contact Joe Sweeney at 419-531-1618 ext. 305.

Shareholder Mark Trimble has agreed to serve as a director on the boards of two local organizations. The Toledo Area Small Business Association, or TASBA, is the small-business division of the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce. The Association serves businesses that employ 150 or fewer employees throughout Northwest Ohio. As a member of the board, Mark will help guide the Association’s stance as an advocate for small-business interests in the region.

In addition, Mark has also agreed to join the board of directors for the Greater Toledo Aquatic Club.  The club is a year-round USAA competitive swimming program serving Northwest Ohio. Its website can be found at http://www.teamunify.com/Home.jsp?team=ohgtac .

On Thursday, March 27, Shareholder Nicholas Cron was the featured presenter in the Ohio State Bar Association’s Continuing Legal Education series. Nick presented the program through a live webcast available through the Bar Association’s website.

The one-hour program was titled “What Every Estate Planning Attorney Needs to Know About Florida Law” and was available for Ohio attorneys to earn credits towards their yearly obligation to update their knowledge of the law they practice in. Nick traveled to Columbus to present the seminar directly from the Bar Association’s studio.

Shareholder Mark Trimble overcame last week’s winter weather in obtaining a defense verdict in an extended jury trial held in Lucas County’s Court of Common Pleas. In the case of Williams v. Berfield, heard before the Honorable Judge Duhart, the Plaintiff’s case presented claims stemming from two automobile accidents which took place seventeen days apart. The firm’s client, David Scott, was involved in the second accident, which involved a rear-end collision with minimal vehicular damage. The Plaintiff claimed that she had suffered injuries in both accidents.

Although the firm’s client, Mr. Scott, admitted liability for the second accident, he argued that none of the Plaintiff’s alleged injuries stemmed from that accident. After a trial which lasted over three separate days of court proceedings, punctuated by a day-long delay due to winter weather, the jury held deliberations. Ultimately, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Mr. Scott, finding that he owed the Plaintiff zero damages as a result of the second accident, marking a successful outcome for the firm’s client.

Shareholder Matt Rohrbacher recently participated in the first annual trustees’ retreat for Good Grief of Northwest Ohio. Good Grief is a not-for-profit organization offering a safe healing place designed to assist children, teens and young adults in dealing with the loss of a loved one.

Shareholder Todd Zimmerman was recently featured on Newsradio 610 WTVN in Columbus, Ohio, as an expert on drivers’ liability for snow or ice falling off of their vehicle.  The audio of Todd’s interview with station host Joel Riley can be found on WTVN’s website.

Shareholders Mark Trimble and Todd Zimmerman attended the Property & Liability Resource Bureau’s 2014 Claims Conference, which was held from March 16-19 in Indianapolis. The conference serves as the premier educational and networking event for the property and casualty claim industry and offers education and industry updates for thousands of participants from across the country.

In this day of electronic communication, the rules regarding the Attorney-Client Privilege and e-mails are ever evolving.  First, what is Attorney-Client Privilege?   The Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct state in Rule 1.6 that:

A lawyer shall not reveal information relating to the representation of a client, including information protected by the Attorney-Client Privilege under applicable law, unless the client gives informed consent, the disclosure is impliedly authorized in order to carry out the representation or the disclosure is permitted by Division B or regarded by Division E of the Rules.

This means that any conversation between an attorney and his client is privileged unless the client themselves reveals the substance of the conversation or allows the attorney to reveal the substance of the conversation, or unless disclosure is necessary to further the lawyer’s representation of the client.

Further, the Ohio Revised Code states in 2317.02 that attorneys generally shall not testify:

concerning a communication made to the attorney by a client in that relation or concerning the attorney’s advice to a client, except that the attorney may testify by express consent of the client or, if the client is deceased, by the express consent of the surviving spouse or the executor or administrator of the estate of the deceased client.  However, if the client voluntarily reveals the substance of attorney-client communications in a non-privileged context or is deemed by Section 2151.421 of the Revised Code to have waived any testimonial privilege under this division, the attorney may be compelled to testify on the same subject.

When we review e-mails, if it has been determined that the contents of the email relate to a personal matter or the individual uses their personal e-mail to discuss matters related to the attorney’s representation of the client, then that communication is usually privileged.  Further, in a business setting, if a representative of a company or owner of a company talks to their attorney via e-mail, that that communication is also usually privileged.  It becomes much trickier, however, when the communication is by an individual using their work e-mail account to communicate with their attorney on a private matter.

Such a situation arose in the State of Delaware in the case of In re: Information Management Services, Inc.  In this situation, the company through its policy manual had reserved the right to gain access to all e-mail communications on its computer system.  Also, it notified its employees through the employee manual that the e-mail accounts were not private.  An executive used his work e-mail to make private communications with his personal attorney related to a private legal issue.  The court determined that the attorney-client privilege did not apply under this situation.  The basis was the legal communication did not involve the company’s matters and the executive’s expectation of confidentiality had been eliminated due to the company reserving its rights to gain access to e-mail communications.

Therefore, it is our suggestion that you should not use your corporate e-mail account for personal legal matters when communicating with your attorney.  Otherwise, it may not be considered privileged information and, if you are in a divorce or criminal proceeding, the prosecutor or the other counsel may be able to obtain those sensitive communications.

If you have any questions regarding this issue, please do not hesitate contact the author or any of our attorneys here at Rohrbachers Cron Manahan Trimble & Zimmerman Co., L.P.A.

The rising use of “social media,” such as Facebook and Twitter, is generating one of the fastest growing areas of litigation today. While social media is a fairly new phenomenon, the claims associated with social media are not. The largest areas of potential claims stemming from the use of social media are defamation and harassment; claims have been made in the areas of invasion of privacy, false advertising, employment and intellectual property as well.

Anybody with a computer can now have a blog or post something on Facebook, Twitter or any number of other social media outlets. But one has to be careful when they provide their opinion in a public or semi-public place, especially if that opinion is about an individual or a company. While it is very easy for people to post their opinions on anything and everything that impacts them, how they say it and what they say can bring dire consequences.

The Restatement of Torts defines a “defamatory statement” as one which “tends to harm the reputation of another as to lower him in the estimation of the community or to deter third persons from associating or dealing with him.” Typically, to meet the elements of defamation, the individual must prove:

1) A false and defamatory statement concerning another;

2) An unprivileged publication to a third party;

3) A fault amounting at least to negligence on the part of the publisher;

and

4) Some harm caused to the person or entity which is the subject of the statement.

Although the Restatement of Torts has a standardized definition, individual states often have their own variations on what constitutes a defamatory statement.

In some instances, a defense has been raised that the individual who published the allegedly defamatory remarks on a social media site are journalists. However, there have been cases where the courts have determined that online message boards are not similar to news agencies and individuals are not protected against claims for defamation. Ultimately, the best way to avoid a defamation lawsuit is by not posting defamatory remarks. If someone wants to post or comment on a blog, they should provide only verifiable facts to avoid a claim.

The other area that is significant in social media litigation is instances of harassment or cyber-bulling. The Restatement of Torts defines the tort of reckless or intentional infliction of emotional distress as occurring when “an actor…by extreme and outrageous conduct intentionally or recklessly causes severe emotional harm to another…” In such instances, the harassing individual “is subject to liability for that emotional harm and if the emotional harm causes bodily harm, also for the bodily harm”. Cyber-bulling may be prohibited by statutory laws and state and federal hate crimes as well as anti-discrimination crimes, so the victim has a number of options to choose from when bringing an anti-harassment claim. Where we are seeing these claims rise is with the actions of pre-teens and teenagers. In fact, here have been a few cyber-bulling cases recently that have made national headlines.

The key to the use of social media is to use it intelligently. As adults we have to be careful in what we post, and we have to stress to our children that what they post should not be hurtful to others, as it could result in a lawsuit. Social media can be a great way to reconnect with old friends, stay connected with current friends and family or to learn about certain products and services. At the same time, we must remember that by using this technology we are subject to certain responsibilities and norms that, when they are violated, can expose a person to litigation.

In February, 2014, the metropolitan Toledo area eclipsed the all-time snowfall record for the area. In addition, we have seen brutally cold temperatures throughout the winter.  The combination of snow and low temperatures has resulted in the most extensive damage to roads and the proliferation of potholes in memory.  It will not be a case if your car of is damaged by a pothole, but rather when.

It has been estimated that rough roads and potholes will cost motorists more than $67 billion a year for repairs, according to an association of highway officials.  In Ohio, victims may seek reimbursement for damage caused by a pothole on a state road in the Ohio Court of Claims.  The maximum recovery in that court is limited to $10,000.  Records indicate that more than 1300 claims have been filed in the past five years, resulting in reimbursement of nearly a half million dollars.

The court’s clerk reviews submitted claims, and an administrative decision is made as to awarding damages.  According to the present clerk, the court sides with drivers roughly 55% of the time.  There is a two-year statute of limitation to file the claim.  Each driver is responsible to prove that the state was negligent.  There is no specific time frame for when a pothole has to be repaired and so each case is reviewed with a fact specific standard.

If the road is a non-state road, then the claim would have to be directed to the appropriate county or municipality.  The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has indicated that collision coverage, in addition to liability, is necessary to be able to assert a pothole damage claim with one’s carrier.  One State Farm study in 2011 indicates that pothole damage cost, on average, $300 – $700 to fix.

Ohio Revised Code 2744.05 states in part that:

If a claimant receives or is entitled to receive benefits from injuries or loss allegedly incurred from a policy or policies of insurance or any other source, the benefits shall be disclosed to the court, and the amount of the benefits shall be deducted from any award against a political subdivision recovered by that claimant.  No insurer or other person is entitled to bring an action under a subrogation provision in any insurance or other contract against a political subdivision with respect to those benefits.

Thus, if a claim is made with the driver’s carrier, whatever is received will be deducted from any award against a political subdivision.  The deductible amount might well be the only thing the political subdivision ends up being responsible for.  To be successful against a city one must demonstrate that the city had actual or constructive notice of the pothole and failed to respond in a reasonable time.  Given the extreme weather of 2014, a reasonable time might well extend into weeks.  Thus, even though the potholes have become horrific, the likelihood of demonstrating negligence against the government entity that is responsible for the roads will be difficult.

Shareholder Mark Trimble has agreed to join the board of directors of the Greater Toledo Aquatic Club.  The club is a year-round competitive swimming program serving Northwest Ohio, and its website can be found at http://www.teamunify.com/Home.jsp?team=ohgtac.

Shareholder Matt Rohrbacher recently participated in the first annual trustees’ retreat for Good Grief of Northwest Ohio. Good Grief is a not-for-profit organization offering a safe healing place designed to assist children, teens and young adults in dealing with the loss of a loved one.

Associate attorney Sarah Beaubien has joined the Board of Directors of the Detroit Achievement Academy, a start-up charter school planning to begin operations in the fall of 2013.  Sarah joins four other Board members who collectively form the Academy’s inaugural Board of Directors.  The Board oversees the operation of the school and supervises school finances and policies.

The Academy is the first non-profit charter school in the Detroit metropolitan area.  The school will initially consist of kindergarten and first-grade classes.  A new class will be added each year as the school grows.

An article written by Shareholder Todd Zimmerman to help businesses avoid liability stemming from winter weather has been published in Paradigm Magazine, an international publication read by thousands of attorneys around the globe.  Todd’s article, “Limiting Your Exposure to Winter – Avoid the Liabilities Inherent with Snow and Ice,” was published in the Winter 2013 edition of Paradigm.  The article offers practical tips for business owners and employees to recognize and resolve winter weather-related problems on their premises, which could otherwise lead to legal liability.  The article can be found on pages 14-15 of the Winter 2013 edition, an electronic copy of which can be found at http://www.primerus.com/paradigm-magazine/2013-winter/

Paradigm Magazine is a biannual publication produced by the International Society of Primerus Law Firms.  Primerus is a legal society consisting of more than 190 member law firms worldwide.  RCMTZ has been a member firm of Primerus since 2012.

Associate attorney, Adam Nowland, earned a Master of Business Administration degree (MBA) from the University of Toledo’s College of Graduate Studies.  On December 14, 2012, Adam was awarded a Master’s degree from the University after having completed his studies for the fall semester.

While earning his law degree, Adam entered the University’s dual-degree program, which enables students in certain fields of study to pursue multiple degrees simultaneously.  After passing the bar exam and becoming licensed as an attorney, Adam completed his MBA studies, while working full time at RCMTZ. 

Adam plans to utilize the skills learned while obtaining his MBA to advise clients on legal and business matters.  He joins RCMTZ shareholders David Rohrbacher (MBA) and Nicholas Cron (Master of Laws in Taxation) as attorneys in the firm’s business division holding dual advanced degrees.

TBA Board Member Michael J. Manahan will be attending and participating in the Toledo Bar Association’s strategic planning conference on October 4 and 5, 2012.  The conference will be held at the Sawmill Creek Resort in Huron, Ohio.  During the conference, the Board of Directors will be setting out a plan for the future role that the bar association will play in the practice of law for Toledo-area lawyers.

The Toledo Bar Association is a voluntary association of attorneys in the Toledo area.  Its website can be found at http://www.toledobar.org/

Attorneys from RCMTZ plan to attend several seminars dealing with insurance fraud in the upcoming months.

On October 19, Shareholder Todd Zimmerman will attend the Claims and Litigation Management Alliance (CLM) 2012 Insurance Fraud Conference in Garden Grove, California.  A number of seminars are offered to cover a wide variety of fraud topics.  Those topics include the establishment of relationships with insurance claims and special investigative units, suspicious fire losses, social media and investigations, auto schemes and utilizing the legal system to attack fraud.

In addition, shareholders Michael Manahan, David Bruhl and Todd Zimmerman will attend the National Society of Professional Insurance Investigators’ (NSPII) Advanced Insurance Fraud Seminar in Indianapolis, Indiana.  The seminar offers lectures on 14 different topics and features a number of speakers, including experts in risk management and complex fraud cases.  The seminar will be held on November 12 and 13.  Additional information about the seminar can be found at http://www.nspii.com/Seminar.aspx.

Shareholder Todd Zimmerman has been invited to speak at the Ohio Association of Civil Trial Attorneys’ (“OACTA”) 2012 annual meeting.  At this meeting, to be held November 8 and November 9, Mr. Zimmerman will discuss the landmark Ohio decision Robinson v. Bates, governing evidence of how much money medical providers accepted to treat a patient as opposed to how much money those providers billed that patient.  Mr. Zimmerman will also discuss updates to the body of Ohio law developed after Robinson and how it currently impacts trial attorneys and their clients.

Questions regarding Mr. Zimmerman’s planned discussion can be directed to him at http://www.rcmtz.com/attorney-profile/todd-zimmerman/contact/contact-form/.

On September 20 and 21, 2012, Shareholder Todd Zimmerman attended the Primerus Insurance Coverage and Bath Faith Seminar in Chicago, Illinois.  The seminar consisted of a series of lectures for Primerus attorneys and their clients and covered topics such as insurer expectations, contractual indemnification, settlement strategies, and recognizing bad faith scenarios.  The seminars were presented by attorneys working for firms affiliated with Primerus.

Primerus is an international society of the world’s top independent boutique law firms.  The society consists of nearly 2,800 attorneys across more than 190 law firms worldwide.  RCMTZ has been proud to be a member of Primerus since 2012.  More information about Primerus can be found at its website, http://www.primerus.com/.

RCMTZ is proud to announce that it has joined Primerus, a society of the world’s finest independent boutique firms.  By joining Primerus, which consists of thousands of associated lawyers from more than 190 law firms, RCMTZ gains access to an unprecedented network of legal experts across the United States and worldwide.

Primerus focuses on providing clients with access to high quality legal services at reasonable fees.  Membership in the society is limited based on a firm’s geographic presence and market size.  RCMTZ is the only Primerus law firm in the Northwest Ohio Region.

Primerus law firms are located in more than 125 cities throughout 35 countries around the world.  In order to be admitted to Primerus, law firms must pass a rigorous screening procedure, which seeks to ensure that the society contains high quality legal service providers.  Primerus emphasizes a set of common values known as the “Six Pillars:” integrity, excellent work product, reasonable fees, continuing education, civility and community service.

RCMTZ’s ties to Primerus provide access to a wealth of expertise and experience in fields outside of RCMTZ’s traditional areas of practice and enables RCMTZ to ensure clients have access to excellent legal advice in geographical areas outside of Northwest Ohio.  Because all member firms are vetted prior to being permitted to join Primerus, clients with needs in other legal or geographical areas can be referred to member firms with confidence.

For more information about Primerus, visit the society’s website at http://www.primerus.com/.

A November, 2011 decision out of Ohio’s Third District Court of Appeals, granting summary judgment in favor of a psychiatrist represented by Shareholder Michael Manahan, has been selected for publication.  In Piper v. Bruno (Nov. 14, 2011), —N.E.2d—, 2011-Ohio-5874, 2011 WL 5517260 (Ohio App. 3d Dist.), the Ohio Third District Court of Appeals unanimously ruled in favor of a psychiatrist, represented by Michael Manahan and attorney Kate E. Schuyler, accused of falsely imprisoning a patient who was involuntarily hospitalized in Lima, Ohio’s St. Rita’s Hospital pursuant to Section 5122.05 et seq. of the Ohio Revised Code.

In Piper, the Third District considered the issue of whether Dr. Bruno, the psychiatrist, was immune from civil liability, stemming from his action in having Piper, a patient, involuntarily committed for hospitalization because of behavior, which Dr. Bruno had observed, or was reported to him from reliable sources in his capacity as a psychiatrist.  Piper had originally been brought to St. Rita’s for observation after being taken into custody by police officers due to statements he had made indicating that he had homicidal and suicidal thoughts. 

Approximately a year after being released from the hospital, Piper filed a civil lawsuit against Bruno alleging false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, abuse of process and intentional infliction of serious emotional distress.  The trial court, which initially heard the case, granted summary judgment in favor of Bruno and dismissed Piper’s complaint, after which Piper appealed to the Third District Court of Appeals.

Based on legal arguments presented by the defense, the Court of Appeals concluded that Piper had presented no evidence to support his assertions that Dr. Bruno lacked a good faith basis for involuntary hospitalization and that the trial court had ruled correctly when it granted Bruno’s motion for summary judgment.  Because Piper had failed to demonstrate that, no reasonable psychiatrist in Bruno’s position would have continued Piper’s hospitalization under the circumstances, there were no grounds to overturn the trial court’s decision and the judgment in favor of RCMTZ’s client was upheld. 

Shareholder Matthew J. Rohrbacher will take part in a round-table discussion on Friday, April 13, 2012 in conjunction with the Ohio Association of Civil Trial Attorneys’ (OACTA) Personal Injury Defense Seminar.  Mr. Rohrbacher will join a distinguished group of attorneys in discussing “What’s Going On In Your Neighbor’s Courthouse: A Panel Discussion on Trends and Issues Throughout Ohio.”  The round-table panel will discuss a variety of topics, including significant developments regarding Robinson v. Bates, tort reform, liability, voir dire and recent trends in jury verdicts throughout Ohio.

The seminar will take place at State Farm Insurance Company’s facility in Newark, Ohio.   More information about OACTA and the seminar can be found at www.OACTA.org.

On April 20, 2012 RCMTZ Shareholders Matthew Rohrbacher, Mark Trimble, Todd Zimmerman and David Bruhl were admitted to practice before The Supreme Court of the United States, joining shareholders David Rohrbacher and Nicholas Cron in that privilege.  The swearing in ceremony was held at The Toledo Club where General William K. Suter, Clerk of The Supreme Court of the United States officiated.

RCMTZ is pleased to announce that Sarah V. Beaubien has joined the firm as an associate in the litigation division.  Sarah graduated cum laude from the University of Toledo College of Law in 2011 and is licensed to practice law in the state of Ohio.

Originally from Monroe, Michigan, Sarah holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Siena Heights University, where she was an Academic All-American and a four-year varsity softball letter winner.  In addition to being active in the Toledo Bar Association and the Ohio State Bar Association, Sarah is active in the Toledo and Monroe communities.  For the last three years, Sarah has coached the local FAST Wizards youth travel softball teams.  She is currently the varsity softball coach at Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central High School.

Sarah’s areas of practice at RCMTZ will include civil litigation, insurance defense, fraud investigation and employment law.  She can be reached at sbeaubien@rcmtz.com.

Shareholder, Michael J. Manahan, has been invited to speak at the National Society of Professional Insurance Investigators’ Ohio Joint Insurance Fraud Seminar in Columbus, Ohio.  The seminar will take place on March 14, 2012 at the Quest Conference Centers in Columbus.  Mr. Manahan will serve as part of a roundtable panel of attorneys discussing the current state of Ohio case law, trends in insurance investigations and litigation defense.

For further information on the seminar, visit the National Society of Professional Insurance Investigators’ website at www.nspii.com.

We are pleased to announce that attorney David C. Bruhl has been named a shareholder of the firm.  David currently practices in the RCMTZ Toledo office.

David has been practicing law since 2004 and has been with RCMTZ as an associate since December of 2007.  His primary areas of practice are insurance defense, civil litigation and business law.  He is licensed to practice in the state courts of Ohio and Michigan, as well as the Federal Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Federal District Courts for the Northern District of Ohio and the Western District of Michigan.

David is a graduate of the University of Toledo, College of Law and holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Toledo.  Currently, he is active in the Toledo Bar Association, the Lucas County Bar Association and the Ohio State Bar Association.  He is a member of the National Society of Professional Insurance Investigators (NSPII), the Ohio Association of Civil Trial Attorneys (OACTA) and the Toledo Claims Association.  In addition, he serves on the Bar Admissions Committee, the Grievance Investigation Committee and the Notaries Public Committee for the Toledo Bar Association.

David can be reached at (419) 248-2600 or at dbruhl@rcmtz.com.

This fall, Mr. Cron was elected Chairman of the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce.  He has been very active in the Toledo business community for many years both at local and state levels.  Mr. Cron is a past President of the Toledo Area Small Business Association, organized the Toledo Area Small Business Development Center, and chairs for 2012, the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce Levy Review Committee, and is currently assisting the Toledo Public Schools on an advisory committee to the Superintendent.