Overview

As a partner in the Business Litigation group, Tony helps clients overcome legal obstacles in order to protect their assets and manage litigation risk in pursuit of their strategic goals. He believes that a big part of his job is assessing risk for his clients in order to help them make the best possible decision. Tony also views himself as a legal quarterback for in-house counsel by matching the needs of his clients to the resources of Thompson Hine in order to ensure success.

Tony has a passion for helping his clients succeed by treating them like his best friends by being loyal, well-connected and honest with them about the strengths and weaknesses of their legal positions. As a result, clients rely on Tony as a “go-to” litigator for their most significant matters. Outside the courtroom, Tony is a certified BBQ judge and judges 7-10 sanctioned competitions per year.

Tony focuses his practice on complex business and corporate litigation involving financial service institutions, real estate development and management companies, commercial and contract disputes, indemnification claims, shareholder actions, business transactions, class actions and D&O litigation.

Litigation can prove time-consuming and become costly, so for many disputes there may be more effective methods of resolution than traditional court litigation. Although Tony has an impressive record of courtroom achievements, he seeks to optimize case outcomes while managing the costs, time and stress of a lawsuit by regularly using arbitration, mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) as pragmatic ways to meet his clients' needs.

Experience
Financial Services & Banking Litigation
  • Representing financial service institutions in numerous lender liability cases involving allegations of fraud and breach of fiduciary duty.
  • Representing investment professionals against customer claims and counterclaims involving securities related liability under federal and state securities laws.
  • Representing banks that are exposed to litigation arising out of their operations and relationships with customers, including claims for account fraud, check fraud and forged instruments, wire/electronic transfer fraud, credit and debit card fraud, ATM fraud, and for alleged violations of check-handling and security procedures.
  • Representing bank in an action to recover a $14 million deficiency from borrowers and guarantors following a series of defaults on a commercial loan portfolio valued at $105 million.
  • Representing bank in an action to recover more than $8.5 million from borrowers, guarantors and fraudulent transferees following a default on a floor-plan financing arrangement.
  • Representing bank in an action to recover $1.5 million under the terms of loan agreements providing a priority security interest in the borrower’s business assets and inventory.
  • Representing major financial institution and equipment leasing company in a $100 million tax controversy with the IRS involving a cross-border leveraged lease transaction.
Real Estate Litigation
  • Representing landlords of shopping centers, office complexes, telecommunication towers and other commercial properties in numerous lease disputes and eviction proceedings involving lease defaults, the non-payment of rent, holdover tenants, common area maintenance charges and other breach of lease issues.
  • Representing a real estate developer in a breach of contract case involving the proceeds of an escrow account relating to an $85 million redevelopment project.
  • Representing a major real estate developer in a contract dispute with a joint venture partner arising out of a total return swap transaction valued at $34 million and a buy-sell agreement for a $160 million apartment complex.
  • Representing a real estate developer in a joint venture dispute regarding the sale of its partnership interest in a strip mall to a third-party.
Significant Contract Disputes
  • Representing telecommunications company and provider of fiber-optic network services in breach of contract action involving capacity swaps and indefeasible rights of use agreements.
  • Representing an equipment leasing company in a contract dispute against an assignor of leases alleging breach of a perfect pay provision and a $25 million guaranty under the terms of an assignment agreement.
  • Representing entrepreneurs and emerging businesses in disputes involving breach of contract, fraud and indemnification claims.
  • Representing provider of innovative intellectual products in contract dispute involving UCC sales and warranty claims.
  • Representing a contractor against claims by a labor union for fringe benefits under a collective bargaining agreement alleging alter ego and joint employer theories of liability.
  • Representing telecommunications company in contract dispute with a joint venture partner over the payment of collected revenue associated with the delivery of long distance phone services.
  • Representing polymer company in a $5 million contract dispute with its joint venture partner relating to a toll manufacturing agreement. 
Executive and Incentive Compensation Litigation
  • Representing corporate client in employee benefit issues raised by a merger involving litigation by former, high level executives seeking salary, bonuses and other severance benefits.
  • Representing financial service company against employee claims seeking incentive compensation under an ERISA plan.
  • Representing telecommunications company in defense of litigation alleging breach of a sales commission agreement.
Directors and Officers (D&O) Litigation
  • Representing board of directors of a public insurance company in defense of three expedited shareholder injunction actions involving an unsolicited tender offer made by the company’s majority shareholder.
  • Representing the members of the board of directors of Robbins & Myers, Inc., a publicly traded company, in defense of three shareholder derivative and class action complaints in Ohio and Texas, which challenged the fairness of a $2.5 billion merger transaction with National Oilwell Varco.
  • Representing the members of the board of directors of Jo-Ann Stores, Inc., a publicly traded company, in defense of two shareholder derivative and class action complaints, challenging the fairness of a $1.6 billion "going private" merger transaction.
M&A Litigation, Post-Closing Disputes
  • Representing international manufacturing company in post-merger dispute arising out of the breach of a stock purchase agreement.
  • Representing international chemical manufacturer in connection with indemnification claims concerning contamination from a chemical plant in Houston.
Class Actions
  • Representing large pharmaceutical company in a consumer fraud class action against individuals and third-party payers seeking damages in excess of $50 million.
  • Member of defense team, acting as national counsel in defense of nationwide pharmaceutical product liability litigation.
Environmental Litigation
  • Representing municipality in Clean Water Act (CWA) enforcement action brought by U.S. EPA and Ohio EPA regarding Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs).
  • Representing large manufacturing company in post-trial and appellate proceedings in a $30 million CERCLA contribution action.
  • Representing large corporation in matters involving contaminated properties, including toxic tort lawsuits and Natural Resource Damages (NRD) claims.
  • Representing national utility in major New Source Review (NSR) environmental enforcement action brought by the U.S. EPA and various northeastern states under the Clean Air Act.
Non-U.S. Clients
  • Representing companies from Belgium, Japan, Ireland, Great Britain and Australia in business disputes.
Publications
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Legal Project Management
Corporate Litigation
Cost-Effective Discovery
Presentations
  • “The Art of Argument: Using the Pixar Storytelling Formula to Persuade Judges and Jurors,” Network of Trial Law Firms, August 3, 2018
  • “Finding, Vetting and Using Financial Experts in Business Disputes,”  CMBA, November 14, 2017
  • “Effective Legal Project Management for Trial Lawyers,”  Network of Trial Law Firms, October 28, 2017
  • “Leveraging Your Resources: Effective Legal Project Management,” Association of Corporate Counsel, January 26, 2017
  • “Recent FRCP Changes Afford Opportunities For Cost Saving,” Network of Trial Law Firms, April 16, 2016
  • “Don't Put the Cart Before the Horse: Why Are Early Case Assessments Critical?,” Network of Trial Law Firms, August 7, 2015
  • “Don't Get Burned: Allocating Risk in Contracts,” Association of Corporate Counsel, July 16, 2015
  • "We Are Never Getting Back Together: Owner Disputes in Closely-Held Businesses," CFA Society, May 2015
  • "Done Deal? Pre- and Post-Closing Disputes in M&A Transactions," Association for Corporate Growth, November 22, 2013
  • "Impact of Dodd-Frank on Treasury and Cash Managers: Are You Prepared for the New Standards?," Northeastern Ohio Treasury Management Association, April 2012
  • "Dodd-Frank and the New Standard of Care: As an Investment Professional, Are You Prepared for its Impact?," CFA Society, January 2012
Distinctions
  • Benchmark Litigation Under 40 Litigation Hot List, 2018
  • Member of Crain's Cleveland Forty Under 40 Class 2013
  • Listed as an Ohio Super Lawyers ® Rising Star in Business Litigation, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2016 and 2017
Professional and Civic

Professional Associations

  • Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, Member
  • American Bar Association, Member, Litigation Section

Community Activities

  • Cornucopia, Inc., Board Member (2006-2018) and President, Executive Committee Chair (2012-2018)
  • WIRE-NET, Member, Resource Development Committee
  • Ohio Bankers League, Member
  • Cleveland Leadership Center, Cleveland Bridge Builders Ad Hoc Curriculum Committee and Leadership Action Project Selection Committee
  • John Carroll University Entrepreneurs Association, Master Member (2016-2017)
  • Cleveland Bridge Builders, Flagship Program 2011
  • Kansas City Barbeque Society, Certified Master BBQ Judge
  • Federalist Society
NewsEvents