Frederic X. (Fritz) Shadley

Partner | Chair, Construction Litigation


Practice Areas:

As Chair of Ulmer & Berne’s Construction Litigation Group, Fritz brings more than 30 years of litigation knowledge of a degreed engineer to his much-honored practice representing parties to construction, environmental, product liability, and toxic-tort litigation.

Recognized by Chambers USA as one of Ohio’s leading commercial litigators and given Martindale-Hubbell’s® highest ranking (AV Preeminent®), Fritz is consistently acknowledged for his excellence in construction and product-liability litigation. Since 2009, he has been named annually to The Best Lawyers in America’s list of top lawyers in those fields, and in 2012 was named Best Lawyers product Liability “Lawyer of the Year” in Cincinnati. American Lawyer Media also named him a top-rated lawyer in construction law, for his representation of both plaintiffs and defendants across a wide range of construction-related disputes, including those involving claims of defective construction, defective design, fraud, and negligence, as well as Fair Housing Act cases.

Fritz has substantial experience in environmental litigation, toxic-tort litigation, and the defense and prosecution of personal-injury claims, including his work securing the largest known, single-victim, personal-injury settlement in the history of Ohio for a plaintiff who suffered burns from extensive exposure to a pool chemical fire.

Outside the courtroom, Fritz trains and participates in triathalons.

Education & Admissions

Education

  • University of Notre Dame

    (B.S. Electrical Engineering, 1978)

  • University of Notre Dame Law School

    (J.D., 1981)

Admissions

State of Ohio

State of Illinois

Commonwealth of Kentucky

State of Indiana

U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio

U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio

U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana

U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana

U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Kentucky

U.S. District Court, Western District of Kentucky

U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois

Experience

REPRESENTATIVE EXPERIENCE

  • Obtained summary judgment for the nation’s largest specialty concrete company in a multi-million dollar Fair Housing Act case now on appeal to the 6th Circuit.
  • Currently representing architect in failed construction project allegedly causing over $75 million in damages.
  • Currently representing manufacturer in a class action brought by all residents of a city for alleged pollution of their drinking water.
  • Currently representing major state university in suit against contractors for deficient construction causing damages in excess of $5 million.
  • Currently representing a number of sureties in bond claim litigation in numerous actions across Ohio.
  • Successfully represented environmental consultant in $11 million negligence lawsuit.
  • Currently representing contractor in $4 million bridge construction lawsuit.
  • Successfully represented contractor in $6 million hotel rehab.
  • Currently representing investors in $4 million fraud and theft claim against co-investors.
  • Successfully represented contractor in two separate suits involving fatalities caused by exploding tractor wheel assemblies.
  • Successfully represented buyers of $8 million hotel against the seller of the hotel for fraud in the disclosures regarding the condition of the building. Matter settled favorably shortly before trial.
  • Currently representing civil engineering firm in Fair Housing Act case.
  • Successfully represented the architect and structural engineer in $25 million collapse of an existing 4-story, 100-year-old school building allegedly caused by negligent plans and designs of new, adjacent construction.
  • Successfully represented civil engineer against allegations of neglect causing allegedly two landslides and over $1 million in damages.
  • Successfully represented Japanese company in employee-caused trucking accident that left plaintiff with serious, permanent brain damage and a demand of $10,000,000. Case settled for a small fraction of the demand.
  • Successfully represented nation’s largest specialty concrete company in $2 million arbitration case involving the construction of a steel manufacturing plant in a southern state. Case settled for a fraction of the demand.
  • Successfully represented a burn victim against a national big-box store and others for burn injuries over 70% of her body caused by an explosion of pool chemicals that leaked from their containers during car trip home from the store. This resulted in the largest known, single victim, personal injury settlement in the history of Kentucky or Ohio.
  • Secured summary judgment for internet marketing company alleged to have violated Ohio Consumer Sales Protection Act by its email marketing.
  • Secured court order confirming arbitration award of over $500,000 against client’s past employees who stole client’s trade secrets.
  • Successfully represented structural engineer in $2.5 million claim for deficient design of 12-story hospital addition by favorably settling claim prior to suit.
  • Settled favorably during trial on behalf of the plaintiff, a major automobile manufacturer, a multi-million dollar suit for damages caused by fire on its production line.
  • Successfully represented building owners in $2.2 million claim against general contractor for defective construction of $4.2 million medical office building. Case settled at mediation for 90% of damages claimed.
  • Successfully represented architect in a $2 million acceleration and delay claim by subcontractor on a signature design building, resolving the case prior to suit through mediation for a small fraction of the claim.
  • Successfully represented architect in allegedly defective construction of a $2.2 million home by facilitating suit against the home builder and not the architect.
  • Successfully represented general contractor against allegations of defective construction of a $4.2 million, 8-story, Florida home, whose construction allowed water and mold to so infiltrate the structure that it was no longer inhabitable. This matter was resolved in pre-suit mediation (that we initiated) involving the owner, the designer, and relevant subcontractors, with general contractor recovering 90% of the loss.
  • Successfully represented owner of 10-story, $15 million hotel with defectively installed EIFS panel joints causing the Health Department to close the hotel for almost a year because of moisture and mold contamination.
  • Successfully represented a California company in defense of patent infringement lawsuits in our local federal court. Personal jurisdiction was challenged and the matter settled while that issue was under consideration.
  • Successfully represented an Ohio sound recording company in local and California-based litigation involving copyright and trademark disputes.
  • Successfully represented construction subcontractor in a $2 million claim of defective window and wall installation.  Case settled for less than 1% of amount claimed.
  • Successfully represented international product manufacturer against a claim that defective electrical equipment had caused fire and more than $1 million of damage and down time in a steel manufacturing facility, settling the suit for less than 5% of the amount claimed.
  • Successfully represented international product manufacturer against allegations of defective electrical switch gear causing a major fire in downtown office building, by proving the fire was caused by the installer of the equipment and not by our client, the manufacturer, settling the case for nuisance value.
  • Successfully represented environmental engineering company in alleged negligent design of a glass manufacturing facility bag house. Case resolved prior to suit through mediation for less than 20% of $2.5 million claimed.
  • Successfully represented architect in alleged negligent design of 5-story parking structure, resolving the case immediately before trial for a small portion of the $2 million claimed.
  • Successfully represented architect in alleged negligent design and layout of a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant.  Case resolved prior to suit for a small fraction of the amount claimed.
  • Successfully represented a manufacturer against a competitor by suing the competitor for copyright infringement. Suit settled as motion for injunction against the competitor was pending.
  • Successfully represented motor home manufacturer against claims of a defective motor home causing a fire and the deaths of two children.
  • Successfully represented structural engineer in a $500,000 claim for defective plans, resulting in a pre-suit mediated settlement for less than 5% of the claimed amount.
  • Successfully represented greenhouse designer and builder against $2 million claim alleging negligent design caused five acres of greenhouses to collapse under snow load. Claimant decided not to file suit after being persuaded that our client’s design could not have caused the collapse.
  • Successfully prosecuted manufacturer of large, industrial sheet metal, automated handling and cutting machine from Finland for defective design and fraud in sale of machine, generating settlement in excess of the million dollar original cost of the machine after five years of use.
  • Secured summary judgment for architect in a negligent design of school building claim allegedly allowing pervasive water intrusion and mold contamination.
  • Successfully represented debt collector in federal class action suit alleging violation of Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, by obtaining dismissal of all claims on legal grounds.
  • Successfully represented national bank in million dollar claim against general contractor for defective construction of a parking garage, by settling favorably in pre-suit mediation.

Publications & Presentations

Publications

  • “Trial Court Rules That Ohio’s Statute of Repose Does Not Apply to University of Cincinnati’s Construction Claims,” Ulmer & Berne LLP, Client Alert (February 2013)
  • “Five Points to Consider When Leasing Construction Equipment,” ACC Lexology (June 2012)

Presentations

  • “2017 Legal Updates & the Known Unknowns,” Ohio Valley ABC Seminar (March 2017)
  • “Understanding the General Conditions of a Construction Contract,” Cincinnati Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, Education Summit 2015 (November 2015)
  • “How to Win a Deposition,” Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc., ABC Legal Day (June 2015)
  • “Keeping Your HR Managers Out of Court, and What to Do When They Get There,” The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) (November 2014)
  • “Damages and Legal Risks Caused by Failure of Non-Code Compliant Construction,” Southwestern Ohio Building Officials Association (June 2009)
  • “Risk Reduction for Frequent Claims Against Structural Engineers,” Structural Engineers Association of Ohio (March 2009)
  •  “The Practical Aspects of Multi-District Litigation,” Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel 2008 Winter Meeting, Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas (February 27-March 1, 2008)
  • “Strategies to Minimize Professional Liability,” HalfMoon Seminar (December 2007)
  • “Mold, Moisture and Remediation Workshop,” The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (November 2007)
  • “Establishing Causality:  What Constitutes Peer Reviewed and Medically Accepted Standards?” 62nd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology in Miami Beach, Florida (March 3-7, 2006)
  • National Business Institute: “The Mold/Construction Challenge in Ohio,” (November 2003 and December 2005)
  • “Solving Construction/Mold Contamination & Water Intrusion Claims,” Sterling Education Services, Inc. (November 2004)
  • “Legal Perspectives of Ohio’s Voluntary Action Program,” 6th Annual Business & Industry’s Environmental Symposium (April 16, 1997)
  • “How to Avoid the Pitfalls of CERCLA/Superfund,” Executive Enterprises, The Environmental Regulation Course (February 1996)
  • “The Jurisdictional Aspects of Litigation Involving International Clients:  Everything You Need to Know About Achieving and Defending Against Jurisdiction, the Hague Convention, Service of Process and Forum Selection Clauses,” FICC Quarterly (Fall 1995)
  • “The Jurisdictional Aspects of Litigation Involving International Clients:  Everything You Need to Know About Achieving and Defending Against Jurisdiction, the Hague Convention, Service of Process and Forum Selection Clauses,” Speaker at the Federation of Insurance and Corporate Counsel Mid-Winter Meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona (February 23-28, 1993)
  •  “Joining Foreign Entities as 3d-Party Defendants,” Leader’s Products Liability Law and Strategy, Vol. XI, No. 1, (July 1992)
  • Conducted 1991 in-house seminar for Shelby Insurance Company covering recent developments in Ohio’s law

Involvement

PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS

  • Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel
  • The Fellows of the American Bar Association

FIRM INVOLVEMENT

  • Management Committee
  • Chair, Construction Litigation

Honors

HONORS

  • Ranked as one of Ohio’s “Leaders in Their Field” in General Commercial Litigation by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business (2012-2016)
  • AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated – Martindale-Hubbell
  • Named to The Best Lawyers in America®, Product Liability Litigation – Defendants; Construction Litigation (2009-2017)
  • Named a “State Litigation Star” in Ohio by Benchmark Litigation (2016; 2017)
  • Designated Best Lawyers Litigation – Product Liability “Lawyer of the Year” in Cincinnati (2012)
  • Named a Top Rated Lawyer in Construction Law by American Lawyer Media (2012)
  • Named to the Ohio Super Lawyers list (2004-2011; 2014-2016)
  • One of 63 Leading Cincinnati Lawyers named by Cincy Business (2005)

Benchmark-Litigation-Star16

Personal

Fritz is involved in a number of philanthropic endeavors and thoroughly enjoys giving back to the community. His charitable work has included working with a foster child, who is now 18 and attends college at Bowling Green State University. Fritz also trains and participates in triathlons.

Village of Evendale, Cornhole Champion, 2005