Overview

As a partner in the Business Litigation group, Tony helps clients overcome legal obstacles 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 to help them make the best possible decisions. Tony also views himself as a legal quarterback for in-house counsel who matches his clients’ needs with Thompson Hine’s resources 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 him as a “go-to” litigator for their most significant matters.

Tony focuses his practice on complex business and corporate litigation involving financial services institutions, private equity firms, real estate development and management companies, commercial and contract disputes, indemnification claims, post-closing disputes in mergers and acquisitions, shareholder actions, business transactions, class actions, and directors and officers (D&O) litigation.

Litigation can be time-consuming and costly, so for many disputes it may be more effective to seek methods of resolution other 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.

Outside the courtroom, Tony is a certified BBQ judge and judges 7-10 sanctioned competitions per year.

Experience

Financial Services and Banking Litigation

  • Representing banks that are exposed to litigation arising out of their operations and relationships with customers, including claims relating to account fraud, check fraud and forged instruments, wire/electronic transfer fraud, certificates of deposit and other time deposit accounts, credit and debit card fraud, ATM fraud, and for alleged violations of check-handling and security procedures.
  • Representing financial services institutions in numerous lender liability cases involving allegations of fraud and breach of fiduciary duty.
  • Representing a 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 a 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 a 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 investment professionals against customer claims and counterclaims involving securities-related liability under federal and state securities laws.
  • Representing banks against complex claims and class actions brought under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and state laws governing the collection and use of consumer credit information.
  • Representing a major financial institution and equipment leasing company in a $100 million tax controversy with the IRS involving a cross-border leveraged lease transaction.

M&A Litigation and Post-Closing Disputes

  • Representing buyers and sellers in post-closing representations and warranties disputes and indemnification claims involving a variety of legal theories, including breach of contract, fraud, alter ego, securities violations, and other common-law and statutory claims.
  • Representing an international manufacturing company in a post-merger dispute arising out of the breach of a stock purchase agreement.
  • Representing an international chemical manufacturer in connection with indemnification claims concerning contamination from a chemical plant in Houston.
  • Representing buyers and sellers in post-closing working capital adjustments and earn-out provisions.
  • Representing a wide range of industry sectors, including representing both buyers and sellers as policyholders, in matters relating to representations and warranties (R&W) insurance policies.
  • Representing a private equity firm in claims against R&W insurers involving complex insurance coverage, accounting, generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) and damages issues.

Real Estate Litigation

  • Representing landlords of shopping centers, office complexes, telecommunications towers and other commercial properties in numerous lease disputes and eviction proceedings involving lease defaults, the non-payment of rent, holdover tenants, tenant allowances and tenant improvements, 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.
  • Representing an acquired REIT against shareholder litigation alleging breach of fiduciary duty and violations of federal and state law in connection with a merger transaction.

Significant Contract Disputes

  • Representing a telecommunications company and provider of fiber-optic network services in a 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 an international company in a contract dispute with a third-party provider involving the breach of an information technology (IT) service agreement.
  • Representing a provider of innovative products in a 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 a telecommunications company in a contract dispute with a joint venture partner over the payment of collected revenue associated with the delivery of long-distance phone services.
  • Representing a 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 a biomedical company against a claim by a former owner under the terms of a post-employment consulting agreement.
  • Representing a corporate client in connection with employee benefits issues raised by a merger involving litigation by former high-level executives seeking salary, bonuses and other severance benefits.
  • Representing a financial services company against employee claims seeking incentive compensation under an ERISA plan.
  • Representing a telecommunications company in defense of litigation alleging breach of a sales commission agreement.

Directors and Officers (D&O) Litigation

  • Representing members of the board of directors of a failed solar company against claims by a bankruptcy trustee alleging breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, conversion, misappropriation of trade secrets, and other statutory and common-law claims.
  • Representing private equity firm officers and directors and portfolio company officers and directors of a large retailer after the company’s bankruptcy in trustee-driven litigation seeking over $30 million and alleging breaches of fiduciary duty and fraudulent transfers during the pre-bankruptcy refinancing process.
  • Representing the 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 a publicly traded global manufacturer 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.
  • Representing the members of the board of directors of a publicly traded national retailer in defense of two shareholder derivative and class action complaints challenging the fairness of a $1.6 billion “going private” merger transaction.

Class Actions

  • Representing a large financial institution in a number of class action lawsuits brought under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
  • Representing a large pharmaceutical company in a consumer fraud class action against individuals and third-party payers seeking damages in excess of $50 million.
  • Member of the team acting as national counsel in the defense of nationwide pharmaceutical product liability litigation.

Environmental Litigation

  • Representing a municipality in a Clean Water Act (CWA) enforcement action brought by the U.S. EPA and Ohio EPA regarding combined sewer overflows (CSOs).
  • Representing a large manufacturing company in post-trial and appellate proceedings in a $30 million Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) contribution action.
  • Representing a large corporation in matters involving contaminated properties, including toxic tort lawsuits and Natural Resource Damages (NRD) claims.
  • Representing a national utility in a 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
  • “Maturing Market for R&W Insurance: Transaction and Claims Experience,” Association of Corporate Counsel, October 3, 2019
  • "Is Mediation the New Jury Trial? Approaches and Strategies to Effective Mediation," Celesq, May 21, 2019 – Audio l PDF
  • “The Art of Argument: Using the Pixar Storytelling Formula to Persuade Judges and Jurors,” Celesq, December 14, 2018
  • “Come On, Come On, Listen to the Moneytalk: Making the Most of Your Outside Legal Spend Through Effective Legal Project Management,” Network of Trial Law Firms, October 26, 2018
  • “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 40 & Under Litigation Hot List, 2019
  • Crain’s Cleveland Business Forty Under 40 Class of 2013
  • Listed as an Ohio Super Lawyers® Rising Star in Business Litigation, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2016 and 2017
Professional and Civic

Professional Associations

  • Network of Trial Law Firms, Program Review Committee, Seminar Chair
  • 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 (2016-2017)
  • Ohio Bankers League, Member
  • Cleveland Leadership Center, Cleveland Bridge Builders Ad Hoc Curriculum Committee (2012-2015) and Leadership Action Project Selection Committee (2014-2017)
  • 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
News