Stephanie M. Chmiel
Firmwide Vice Chair, Women's Initiative, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Initiative
Complex litigation and class action lawsuits may seem daunting to most clients, but Stephanie Chmiel works to create creative and innovative solutions for her clients that diminish the stress often felt by those faced with large scale litigation matters. She sees herself as a responsive partner to her clients and a business asset. Having participated in many class action lawsuits, she understands the process and has the knowledge required to make this process as painless as possible.
While her focus is on complex litigation and class action lawsuits, she has also been involved in a broad range of civil litigation matters in state and federal courts including contract, product liability, tort, employment, environmental, and business tort disputes. She has significant experience working on all aspects of civil litigation in state and federal courts.
The following is a sample of Stephanie’s experience:
Class Actions & Multidistrict Litigation
- Defend companies specializing in responding to release of information requests in class actions regarding the companies’ charges for providing responsive documents.
- Defeated class certification in defense of one of the country’s largest banks in claim alleging breach of trust indenture agreement.
- Defeated Rule 23 certification of a proposed Fair Labor Standards Act class of freight dispatchers and obtained decertification of collective action.
- Obtained dismissal of appeal by Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals of decision denying class certification filed after class representatives accepted offers of judgment (writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court denied).
- Defend a manufacturer of building materials in a proposed nationwide class action on behalf of consumers, preparing class certification opposition and Daubert motions.
- Defended manufacturer of side-by-side utility vehicles in MDL and related state court proceedings claiming personal injuries and product defect, ensuring consistency in pleadings, discovery, and trial strategy among all cases.
Business Tort & Employment Litigation
- Represented company providing specialized linguists to U.S. military in multiple disputes with its chief competitor seeking to invalidate competitor’s non-compete agreements that significantly restricted already narrow applicant pool.
- Obtained dismissal of discrimination action where plaintiff had agreed to arbitrate any employment-related disputes, but nonetheless filed suit in federal court.
- Represented LTL carrier in action to enforce restrictive covenants and protect its trade secrets where competitor was recruiting employees and trying to steal LTL carrier’s customers.
- Defend hiring of plaintiff’s former employee, arguing restive covenant was inapplicable and suit was an effort to intimidate employees and discourage them from leaving for competing companies.
Other Notable Litigation
- Represent skilled nursing facility in defense of wrongful death, negligence and loss of consortium claims.
- Defended retail business in defense of personal injury claim from customer who claimed to be injured on the leased premises.
- Defended laboratory in personal injury actions relating to interpretation of test results.
- Represent electric cooperatives in regulatory proceedings before the PUCO.
- Represented CRES provider in regulatory proceedings before the PUCO
- Obtained summary judgment on behalf of one of the country’s largest banks in action alleging breach of trust indenture where the plaintiff failed to timely move for an extension and lacked required expert support for his claims.
- Defeated plaintiffs’ motion to compel production of privileged documents under a fiduciary-exception theory.
- Obtained dismissal of complaint against local telephone company arguing that claims fell within the PUCO’s jurisdiction, affirmance of dismissal on appeal, and denial of jurisdiction in Ohio Supreme Court.
- Defended one of Ohio's largest landfills in appellate proceedings affirming award of state air and solid waste permits to install authorizing the doubling of the landfill’s disposal capacity.
- Defended landfill in federal RCRA citizen’s suit, including obtaining orders denying request for expansive discovery of the company’s other landfills and dismissing several related entities for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
- Defended stop loss insurer and underwriter in multiple cases disputing coverage where insureds failed to properly disclose medical conditions of covered persons.
- Represent electric cooperatives in contract disputes.
- Defended former manufacturer of products containing asbestos in appellate proceedings involving open area of interpretation regarding pre-suit certification requirements in asbestos cases.
- Obtained judgment on the pleadings in state court action alleging adverse possession.
- Obtained sanctions award for discovery abuses including presenting unprepared witnesses and cancelling depositions.
- Selected as a Top Lawyer by Columbus CEO, 2015
- Selected for inclusion in Rising Stars by Ohio Super Lawyers magazine, 2014
- Ohio Women’s Bar Foundation, President 2017-18, Vice President 2016-17, Treasurer 2015-16, Secretary 2014-15
- Leadership Columbus Class of 2015
- Ohio Women's Bar Foundation Leadership Institute, Inaugural Class
- Ohio Women's Bar Association
- Franklin County Democratic Lawyers Club