Overview

Colleen counsels clients on anticipating and avoiding liabilities and managing their business risks in the areas of commercial contract, construction, product liability, business torts, class actions, and beer and alcohol regulations and operations. She has extensive experience in negotiating and drafting business contracts and non-competes, developing strategies to resolve disputes prior to litigation, and implementing and coordinating defense strategies to prevail at trial and minimize losses. She has represented craft breweries from permit application to opening and expansion, and advised owners on numerous regulatory and operational issues. She has obtained complete defense verdicts in state and federal court in product liability cases involving both catastrophic and questionable injuries.

Colleen is a trusted advisor to companies of all sizes, from closely held family businesses to Fortune 500 companies. She is attuned to the particular needs of small to mid-sized companies and dedicates herself to understanding the ins and outs of her clients’ business. She delivers the answers, support, and results they require in the manner best tailored to their needs.

Colleen was drawn to the law because of her desire to defend and protect what people value most—their principles and reputations.

Practices

    • Secured defense jury verdict for a bearings manufacturer in a $15 million grain dust explosion case involving catastrophic burn injuries, prevailing on manufacturing defect and warnings claims at trial and obtaining summary judgment on design claims.
    • Obtained dismissal for an excavating company in a catastrophic crane collapse case involving two fatalities.
    • Secured favorable outcome in an arbitration dispute for general contractors on a public housing project.
    • Defense verdict for ladder manufacturers in cases involving retractable, wood staircases and fiberglass ladders seeking $1 million+ in damages.
    • Obtained zoning variances, liquor permits, trademarks, and regulatory guidance for craft brewer and assisted with the opening of its brewery.
    • Representation of automotive lender in nationwide class action involving contract, fraud, and Consumer Lease Act claims; negotiated resolution of potential nationwide class action prior to filing for component manufacturer to a Fortune 500 company.
    • Successfully obtained dismissal of trade secret claims in multi-million dollar business litigation in Texas State Court.
    • Assisted expanding brewer’s association with contract, by-law, and advocacy issues.
    • Negotiated and drafted numerous business agreements, including distribution, reseller, subcontract, master lease, vendor and non-competition agreements resulting in successful partnerships and reduced litigation.
    • Successfully devised and implemented product recall of commercial ladders for company to minimize and avoid catastrophic business risks.
    • Provided expert testimony on Ohio’s Uniform Commercial Code for U.S. Company’s lawsuit against Spanish corporation in Spain.
  • Education

    • The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, J.D., summa cum laude, 1995
    • Boston College, B.A., Political Science, magna cum laude, 1990

    Admissions

    • State of Ohio
    • U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
    • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio and Southern District of Ohio
  • Professional Affiliations

    • Ohio Association of Civil Trial Attorneys—Member
    • Ohio State Bar Association—Member (1995-Present)
    • Defense Research Institute—Member (2000-Present)
    • Ohio Craft Brewers Association—Allied Member and Legal Advisor (2014-Present)
    • ALFA International, Product Liability and Complex Tort Section—Chair, Webinar Programs (Present); Member; Steering Committee; and Past Product Liability Perspectives Newsletter Editor (2010-2014)
    • Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association—Member (2011-Present)

    Community Involvement

    • Lifebanc—President (2018-Present); President Elect (2016-2017); Board Member/Secretary (2010-2015); Community Development and Outreach Committee (2010-2016); Legacy of Life Gala Committee Co-Chair (2011-2014)
    • Youth Challenge—President (2015-2016); Board Member/Secretary (2009-2014)
    • Westwood Country Club—Legal Counsel (2010-2015)
    • American Lung Association—Northeast Ohio WCC Fundraising Committee (2012-2013); Co-Chair Fall Classic (2012)
    • Recovery Resources—Associate Board Member (1999)
    • Harvey Rice School—Tutor (1998)
    • Women of Professional Excellence Award - YWCA of Greater Cleveland (2017)
    • Order of the Coif, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law
    • "Beer Storage Problem? TTB Issues Guidance On Alternation of Brewery For Storage of Tax and Non-Tax Determined Beer." Frantz Ward Client Alert (June 2018)
    • "Apportioning Liability to the Immune Empty ChairCleveland Metropolitan Bar Journal (May 2018) 
    • "Time For a Spring Tune Up" Frantz Ward On The Level (April 2018)
    • "Brewer ALErt: To Build a STOUT Brand, Trademarks Should Be a PrincIPAl Concern," Ohio Craft Brewers Association Newsletter (February 2018)
    • Editor, Product Liability Perspectives, ALFA International (2010-2015)
    • “Duty to Warn in Ohio Only Extends to Safety Related Defects,” Frantz Ward Client Alert (December 2014)
    • “How Much Compliance is Enough Under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act?” Product Liability Perspectives (September 2012)
    • “Liability of Component Part Manufacturers in Relation to Whole Product Manufacturers and Plaintiff; Economic Loss Rule as a Defense; Legacy Equipment Liability (Ohio),” ALFA International Product Compendium (November 2011)
    • “The Sophisticated Purchaser Doctrine in Ohio,” The Update, Ohio Association of Civil Trial Attorneys (Summer 2010)
    • “Recent Failure to Warn Ruling Raises Concern About Reliance on Common Sense,” Law360 (August 2009)
    • "Pain Management - Ways to Make Litigation Less Burdensome Before It Happens," Frantz Ward Litigation Panel Series, Cleveland, OH (September 2018)
    • "Vendor Contracts," Northeast Ohio Association of Corporate Counsel, Cleveland, OH (June 2018)
    • “Business Tune Up,” Metal Building Interiors, Cleveland, OH (May 2018)
    • “Franchise Law and the Impact of Recent Case Decisions,” Ohio Craft Brewers Association Annual Conference, Cincinnati, OH (February 2017)
    • “Developing Success Strategies Based on Client Needs and Perspectives,” Frantz Ward Litigation Seminar, Cleveland, OH (October 2015)
    • “Defending Against the Rambo Litigator,” National Business Institute, Independence, OH (September 2015)
    • “Daubert, Damages, and Divining Class Certification Post Walmart and Comcast: A new era or business as usual? Class Action Update for 2014,” ALFA International Products Liability Seminar Compendium, Colorado Springs, CO (July 2014)