Complex Business Litigation


Drawing from a pool of more than 100 highly skilled attorneys actively engaged in representing clients nationwide in litigation and arbitration matters, Ulmer & Berne partners with our clients to determine goals, evaluate risks, and devise proactive and cost-effective solutions designed to vigorously protect their legal rights. Our team comprises first-chair, courtroom-tested, trial attorneys with deep experience in the defense and prosecution of our clients’ most critical business disputes.

What sets us apart is our adeptness at understanding your business and making it our business, and our refusal to litigate for litigation’s sake. Our litigators have multijurisdictional capabilities and routinely represent clients in federal and state courts across the country, both at the trial and appellate levels. We bring our clients a combination of well-developed trial skills based on regular court and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) appearances in a wide range of matters, and substantive expertise in discrete areas of law. This combination of talents enables us to staff matters efficiently. In addition, our specialized practice groups and state-of-the-art technology allow us to remain current in all of the areas in which we litigate.

We respect budgets and honor timelines. We know our clients’ businesses and, at the outset, we assess and identify their business objectives. We then develop their options and budget, decide on a customized and efficient course of action to achieve stated objectives, and then manage the engagement. We are sensitive to the advantages of ADR in appropriate situations, and we help our clients determine when it is advantageous to use mechanisms such as mediation, arbitration, and other ADR techniques. Whether you are a large, medium, or small-sized company, public or private, we are committed to the highest level of individualized and responsive client service and provide exceptional legal solutions.

Over the years, Ulmer’s litigators have achieved an enviable record of successful litigation outcomes for our clients. Ulmer’s Litigation Department has earned the distinct multiyear honor of being named “Ohio Firm of the Year” by Benchmark Litigation, and has been consistently ranked in Ohio in “Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business.” Additionally, many of our litigation attorneys are routinely recognized by our clients and peers as top litigators by Chambers USA, The Best Lawyers in America©, Super Lawyers, and similar groups. Our broad experience includes handling matters in substantive areas such as:

  • Banking
  • Bankruptcy and Creditors’ Rights
  • Business Torts Litigation
    • Fraud and Fraudulent Inducement
    • Unfair Trade Practices
  • Civil Appeals
  • Class Actions
  • Construction
  • Contract Disputes
    • Breach of Contract
    • Tortious Interference with Contract and Prospective Economic Advantage
  • Corporate Governance Disputes
    • Minority Shareholder Oppression
  • False Advertising and Other Consumer Claims
  • Employment and Labor Cases
    • Employment Discrimination
    • Workplace Retaliation
  • ERISA/Employee Benefits
  • Franchise and Distributorship Litigation
  • Intellectual Property Litigation (all types)
  • Life Sciences
  • Litigation arising out of M&A and Proxy Contests
  • Mass Torts
  • Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Litigation
  • Product Liability
  • Professional Liability
  • Real Estate
  • Securities Fraud
  • Trade Secrets and Noncompete Litigation (both as Plaintiff and Defendant)

March 25, 2022 – Ulmer & Berne LLP has once again earned its position as Benchmark Litigation’s 2022 “Ohio Firm of the Year” in recognition of its formidable litigation practice, strategic counsel, and innovative client advocacy. Ulmer received the award at Benchmark’s U.S. East Coast Awards Ceremony on March 24...

March 1, 2022 – Dolores (Lola) Garcia, Partner and Vice Group Leader of the firm’s Business Litigation Practice Group, has been named to the 2022 list of Notables in Law by Crain’s Cleveland Business. This special feature recognizes senior-level professionals who stand out in the field of law and who serve...

December 9, 2021 – Ulmer & Berne LLP is pleased to announce the addition of two associates to the firm. Elchanan G. Stern joins the Business Litigation Practice Group and Megan M. Dollenmeyer joins the Business Law Practice Group. Stern joins Ulmer’s Cleveland office where he focuses his practice on...

November 9, 2021 – Ulmer & Berne LLP is pleased to announce the addition of two associates to its award-winning Litigation Department. Melissa A. Springer joins the Product Liability Practice Group and Emma M. Tomsick joins the Business Litigation Practice Group. Springer joins Ulmer’s Cincinnati office where she focuses her...

Dolores (Lola) Garcia to lead Ulmer’s group of trial-tested business litigators September 29, 2021 – Ulmer & Berne LLP announces today the promotion of Partner Dolores (Lola) Garcia to Vice Group Leader of the firm’s nationally recognized Business Litigation Practice Group. In this new role, she joins Partner and Group...

Michelle Casper brings substantial trial experience to the firm’s Business Litigation Practice Group August 10, 2021 – Ulmer & Berne LLP is pleased to announce the addition of Counsel Michelle Casper to the firm’s Columbus office where she joins the Business Litigation Practice Group. An experienced commercial and civil litigation...

Congratulations to Ulmer Partner Frances Floriano Goins, who has been named to Benchmark Litigation’s “Top 250 Women in Litigation” list for 2021. This marks Fran’s eighth consecutive appearance on the list, which acknowledges female litigators from all 50 states and the District of Columbia for participating in some of the...

June 30, 2021 – A decade of litigation in the Goldman Sachs securities fraud class action has ultimately revealed an unremarkable truth, confirmed by a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court – in a case brought under Rule 10b-5 premised on an inflation-maintenance theory, a publicly traded company’s generic, garden-variety statements can be shown, at the...

April 1, 2021 – Ulmer & Berne LLP established itself again as the leading litigation firm in Ohio earning Benchmark Litigation’s 2021 “Ohio Firm of the Year” award for the fifth year in a row and the sixth time in eight years. Recognized for its strong litigation practice and innovative...

February 8, 2021 – Despite a general decline in filings of securities class action litigation in 2020, the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic has led to an uptick of securities fraud cases alleging failure to disclose risks of the pandemic to the investing public. Since spring of 2020, plaintiffs’...

In a recent Law360 article, Ulmer Partner Frances Floriano Goins discusses the lawsuits that the Trump campaign and the Republican Party have filed in swing states to challenge majority vote counts and the myth that the U.S. Supreme Court is the final arbiter of disputed presidential election results. To read...

October 22, 2020 – Ulmer & Berne LLP and 11 of its partners received honors in the 2021 edition of Benchmark Litigation. Consistently recognized by clients and peers as a firm well suited to handle complex, high-stakes litigation, Ulmer has earned Benchmark’s highest possible ranking – “highly recommended” in Ohio...

From Ulmer’s Broker-Dealer Law Corner Blog By Alan M. Wolper Forced to sit at home under government-ordered decree, and having finished binge-watching Season 3 of Ozark and Season 4 of Money Heist on Netflix, what’s left to do except prey upon scared investors – particularly seniors – who have been watching the...

From Ulmer’s Broker-Dealer Law Corner Blog By Alan M. Wolper I think that most lawyers who handle arbitrations, no matter what side of the table they occupy, would agree that one of the most important components of the case – perhaps the most important – is the selection of the arbitrators who comprise the...

Incorrect Wage Classifications: Potential Personal Liability for Contractors? How a federal agency’s error in identifying the correct wage rates in its solicitation nearly put one of its contractors out of business. by Manju Gupta Recently, a situation arose in which a government agency had solicited a contract using the incorrect...

With the rise of streaming services, mergers in the entertainment industry seem likely. In a recent article for The Hollywood Reporter, Ulmer Partner Richard Hamilton, Jr. is quoted discussing this possibility and how the industry has evolved in the last several years. To read the full article, click here. In...

January 24, 2020 – Ulmer & Berne LLP is proud to announce the addition of Counsel Jeffrey J. Patter to the firm’s Columbus office. Patter, an experienced attorney representing businesses of all sizes with their corporate legal needs, joins Ulmer’s Business Law Practice Group. “Jeff is a talented attorney with wide-ranging experience that will...

Ulmer Partner Ronald S. Betman was published in the most recent edition of the American Bar Association’s Securities Litigation Newsletter (Winter 2020). Betman’s article, “SEC Enforcement Actions Brought in Support of Foreign Securities Authorities,” covers the background on SEC cooperative arrangements with foreign securities authorities as well as the SEC’s...

Ulmer Partner Rachael L. Rodman recently provided her professional perspective to Bloomberg Law in her article, “Reasonable Measures Under the DTSA.” In the article, Rodman examines the Defend Trade Secrets Act and the factors courts consider in evaluating sufficient reasonable measures to protect the secrecy of information, and also provides...

From Ulmer’s Broker-Dealer Law Corner Blog By Christopher D. Seps Between the usual holiday season madness and a recent trial, I have been a little tied up lately. Happily, Chris Seps has stepped up with this excellent piece on Reg BI. – Alan   My young boys will sometimes chase me...

Ulmer & Berne LLP is proud to announce the addition of Counsel Alvin E. Mathews, Jr., to its Columbus office. Recognized as a lawyer’s lawyer, Mathews represents major law firms, in-house counsel, and solo practitioners on a variety of ethics and professional liability matters. “We are excited to welcome Alvin to...

Ulmer & Berne LLP is pleased to announce the election of three partners to the firm, effective January 1, 2020. This class of new partners includes attorneys with backgrounds in diverse legal disciplines and who reflect Ulmer’s commitment to providing sophisticated advice and counsel. “We are happy to welcome Kristin,...

From Ulmer’s Broker-Dealer Law Corner Blog By Alan M. Wolper As I have mentioned before, several times, PIABA is deathly concerned with the fact that sometimes customers who prevail in arbitrations are unable to collect their awards, which typically happens when the respondent firm and/or the RR leaves the industry (thus eliminating...

From Ulmer’s Broker-Dealer Law Corner Blog By Alan M. Wolper Last year, for the first time, FINRA produced a statistical report designed to provide some perspective on the firms that comprise its membership. I blogged about it, and concluded at the time that the report basically demonstrated the following: FINRA is still mostly...

From Ulmer’s Broker-Dealer Law Corner Blog By Alan M. Wolper I have written a few times about FINRA’s ceaseless interest in bringing cases against registered reps who fail to update their Form U-4 in a timely manner to disclose the fact that a tax lien has been filed against them. Or several...

Meat remains a staple of the American diet. But, despite the joys of a crispy piece of bacon, traditional meat production methods have several drawbacks. Raising cattle or poultry is resource-intensive. It creates a lot of, shall we say, unpleasant waste. Consumers are increasingly concerned about the treatment and welfare...

From Ulmer’s Broker-Dealer Law Corner Blog By Alan M. Wolper Once again – twice again, actually – FINRA has used Rule 8210 as a cudgel, beating the poor unfortunate recipients of the “request” for documents and information into submission, or worse. This has got to stop. The first case is a repeat...

Ulmer & Berne LLP is pleased to announce that Chief Diversity Officer Timothy J. Downing has been recognized by The National Law Journal (NLJ) in its inaugural Equality Trailblazers list. This new list highlights the accomplishments of those who have made significant strides in the fight for gender and LGBTQ equality. “I...

From Ulmer’s Broker-Dealer Law Corner Blog By Alan M. Wolper I read an article this week in Investment News with the following headline: “Brokerage Customers Winning More FINRA Arbitration Cases.” As a guy who defends customer cases, I was naturally intriguied by this. According to the article, “brokerage customers who do file...

Ulmer & Berne LLP is pleased to announce that Partner Frances Floriano Goins has been elected to the Board of Directors of Beck Center for the Arts, a nonprofit performing arts and arts education organization dedicated to inspiring and enriching the quality of life for Northeast Ohioans. Beck Center for the Arts...

From Ulmer’s Broker-Dealer Law Corner Blog By Alan M. Wolper Rightly or wrongly, I don’t know much about cryptocurrencies or digital coins. But that’s ok. What is worrisome, on the other hand, is that I am increasingly concerned that FINRA doesn’t either. And while my own ignorance will have exactly zero impact...

Ulmer & Berne LLP is pleased to share that Partner Amanda Martinsek has been named to Profiles in Diversity Journal’s 2019 list of “Women Worth Watching,” an award that energizes, inspires, and recognizes women who have demonstrated high levels of leadership. “Amanda is incredibly deserving of recognition for her dedication to...

From Ulmer’s Broker-Dealer Law Corner Blog By Alan M. Wolper FINRA loves to tout its supposed intent to bring meaningful cases, cases that matter to the investing public, rather than enforcing “foot faults,” as it has been accused of doing over the years. My own experience with FINRA suggests that while it...

From Ulmer’s Broker-Dealer Law Corner Blog By Kenneth F. Berg I am fortunate to have Ken Berg, a commodities regulatory guru, just down the hall from me, so I’ve never had to learn that stuff too well.  But, here, as you will see, there can be considerable overlap between the securities and the...

Ulmer Partner Richard Hamilton was featured during the June 7 episode of “Nightly Business Report,” a national news program produced by CNBC that airs on PBS. Offering his insider perspective as a former attorney in the DOJ’s Antitrust Division, Hamilton was interviewed regarding the Justice Department’s antitrust probe of Google and...

Ulmer & Berne LLP is pleased to announce that Partner Rachael L. Rodman was recently appointed as a member of the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) Diversity & Inclusion Committee, which is dedicated to establishing organizational focus around and executing programs based on diversity and inclusion. As one of IPO’s Management and...

From Ulmer’s Broker-Dealer Law Corner Blog By Christopher D. Seps I heartily endorse this post from my colleague, Chris, who’s been quiet of late.  It says a lot about FINRA, in terms of how it deigns to spend your assessment money, how fairness in the Enforcement process can be completely illusory, and...

From Ulmer’s Broker-Dealer Law Corner Blog By Alan M. Wolper Reading Reg Notice 19-17 makes me think of the legal arguments that I’ve recently read regarding whether a president can be found guilty of obstructing justice if the actions in question were taken out in the open, for everyone to see. Here, FINRA’s proposed...

From Ulmer’s Broker-Dealer Law Corner Blog By Alan M. Wolper I apologize for all the posts this week, but I am traveling and am in a different time zone, so I am awake at hours when, ordinarily, I would be asleep, giving me time to muse.  Anyway, given that, I will not...

Ulmer & Berne LLP is pleased to announce the addition of Associate Halden R. Schwallie to its Business Litigation Practice Group. Schwallie joins Ulmer from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio where he served for four years as a judicial law clerk to Magistrate Judge George J. Limbert....

From Ulmer’s Broker-Dealer Law Corner Blog By Alan M. Wolper If you are a regular reader of this blog, then you know that over my last few posts, I have been talking about an increasingly visible effort by FINRA to turn its regulatory eye from rogue brokers – who have been an...

From Ulmer’s Broker-Dealer Law Corner Blog By Alan M. Wolper I told you two weeks ago in my blog post that this would happen. I told you that when Robert Cook announced the topics to be taken up at the February/March FINRA Board meeting in Boca Raton, he slipped and used the new phrase...

Timothy J. Downing, Chief Diversity Officer of Ulmer & Berne LLP, has been appointed to Cuyahoga County’s Human Rights Commission, which aims to promote diversity, inclusion, and harmony through every facet of the county. Downing will serve as one of three attorneys comprising the first assembly of the Commission, which...

Ulmer & Berne LLP is pleased to announce that Partner Rachael L. Rodman was recently appointed as a Vice Chair of the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) Women in IP Committee, which seeks to promote the advancement of women in IP law and to increase the diversity of IPO’s membership. As Vice...

Ulmer Partner Alan M. Wolper was recently interviewed by PLANADVISER in an article entitled, “B/D Attorney: Don’t Be Distracted by FINRA Examination Priorities Letter.” Wolper provided his insights into the recently published FINRA 2019 priorities list, which he thinks is interesting, but ultimately not all that informative when it comes...

Appointment bolsters the firm’s successful diversity and inclusion initiatives Ulmer & Berne LLP is pleased to announce that Timothy J. Downing has been appointed as the firm’s first Chief Diversity Officer. His appointment to this role provides added momentum to Ulmer’s successful diversity and inclusion initiatives and reflects the firm’s commitment to...

Ulmer & Berne LLP is pleased to announce that five attorneys from its Chicago office have been selected to the 2019 list of Illinois Super Lawyers. The list features the top attorneys in the state, chosen for their demonstrated excellence in the practice of law. Of those named from Ulmer,...

From Ulmer’s Broker-Dealer Law Corner Blog By Alan M. Wolper In what has become an annual, but hardly exciting – I mean, it’s not like anxiously awaiting the day that pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training – tradition, with the turning of the calendar to the new year, FINRA has...

From Ulmer’s Broker-Dealer Law Corner Blog By Alan M. Wolper About a year ago, the SEC offered investment advisors the unique opportunity to report themselves to the SEC if they sold mutual funds to their clients that offered a lower priced share class than the class actually selected by the advisor,...

Ulmer Partner Frances Floriano Goins was recently interviewed for a Global Data Review article entitled, “Facebook could face FTC scrutiny, say privacy lawyers.” Goins provided her insights following The New York Times’ discovery that Facebook has been giving other companies access to users’ personal data and whether this violated Facebook’s...

From Ulmer’s Broker-Dealer Law Corner Blog By Alan M. Wolper What exists at the point where PIABA’s transparent self-interest in getting paid and FINRA’s historical lack of transparency about who is actually driving its agenda regarding arbitrations? This: a late December decision by FINRA to propose a rule that prohibits non-lawyers from...

Ulmer & Berne LLP is pleased to announce the election of four partners to the firm, effective January 1, 2019. This class of new partners includes accomplished attorneys from three of Ulmer’s offices who have diverse experience spanning multiple legal disciplines. “Through their hard work, determination, and dedication to providing...

Ulmer is pleased to announce that two new associates have joined the firm’s Cleveland and Cincinnati offices. Gregory C. Djordjevic joins the firm’s Business Litigation Practice Group in Cleveland, and Elizabeth A. Conklin joins the Intellectual Property & Technology Practice Group in Cincinnati. Most recently an associate with Jones Day in...

Susan L. Joplin

Susan L. Joplin

Practice Area Attorney

Representative Experience

  • Settled a consolidated federal securities fraud action filed against a publicly traded company that allegedly reported false financial results in Securities and Exchange Commission filings. Also settled tag-along shareholder derivative lawsuits filed against the company’s officers and directors.
  • Won an Ohio Court of Appeals decision certifying a national class of insurance policy holders regarding claims for damages to watercraft under a “betterment” policy of the insurance carrier that reduced claims paid, and reached a significant settlement for all class members.
  • Successfully defended a large breach of contract claim brought by an outside consultant against a multinational corporation headquartered in Ohio.
  • Represented one of the nation’s largest utilities in a series of class actions and shareholder derivative actions alleging violations of federal securities laws and breaches of fiduciary duty, respectively.
  • Averted a major shutdown of an appliance manufacturer’s plants throughout Ohio after successful preliminary injunction hearing resulted in a consent order and settlement.
  • Defeated a class certification attempt in a putative nationwide class action brought by a prominent class action plaintiff’s firm against a large publicly traded company.
  • Obtained dismissal of a putative nationwide class action seeking nearly $1 billion in damages after prevailing on a critical procedural motion.
  • Represented a large national bank in federal court litigation seeking in excess of $300 million.
  • Successfully obtained settlement in litigation against several banks, a real estate advisory firm, and a law firm regarding real estate investments made by family trusts involving claims valued at $80 million and that included breaches of fiduciary duty, standard of care, negligence, and RICO claims against the law firm.
  • Successfully represented a client in a significant business litigation whereby an internationally known athlete sought nearly $100 million damages.
  • Obtained a dismissal with no payment of money for a large national real estate developer in a major breach of contract action seeking tens of millions of dollars.
  • Won a unanimous decision in the Supreme Court of Ohio on behalf of limited partner investors regarding a residential condominium development project, resulting in a landmark decision in favor of the investors and against the developer’s law firm.
  • Successfully litigated cases in federal and state court on behalf of large corporations involving business torts, contract disputes, product liability, trade secret and non-competes.