John A. Fiocca

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Bio

Joining Rolfes Henry in 1999, John brings over forty years of diverse trial and appellate experience to the practice, particularly in the areas of professional liability, commercial and contract litigation, product liability, complex litigation, and personal injury defense. In the malpractice arena, John has successfully represented hundreds of design professionals, judges, lawyers, medical and veterinary professionals, and construction contractors, in state and federal trial and appellate courts, as well as representing professionals in state licensing board proceedings.

Education

Case Western Reserve University College of Law, Cleveland, Ohio
Juris Doctor, 1975

Miami University, Oxford, Ohio
Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, cum laude, 1972

Honors: Phi Beta Kappa; Omicron Delta Kappa; Phi Alpha Theta; The 1970 Outstanding Miami Student Award; The Gary L. Best Memorial Award in Political Science; The Pomerene Award in Political Science

Admitted to Practice

Federal Courts:

  • United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Northern and Southern District Court of Ohio

State Courts:

  • State of Ohio

Notable Experience

Publications

 

Additional Experience

  • John was the first Vice President of Marketing for the Ohio Bar Liability Insurance Company in 1980.  He was also the Finance Director for the Merit Selection of Judges State Constitutional Ballot Issue Campaign in 1979 and in 1987.

Presentations

  • 2012 Midwest Veterinary Conference
    Columbus Convention Center, February 2012
    Featured speaker at the 2012 Midwest Veterinary Conference on the subject of veterinary legal liability, including six lecture presentations regarding professional veterinary negligence and veterinary malpractice; recoverable damages in veterinary malpractice cases; national trends in veterinary malpractice law; veterinary discipline; veterinary informed consent; veterinary licensure and discipline; and how to avoid veterinary malpractice.
  • How to Avoid Veterinary Malpractice, 2009
    Student and faculty lecture presented at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine.  Veterinary malpractice faculty seminars presented to the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine  Departments of Radiology and Pathology.
  • The Case for Merit Selection of Judges
    Drafted the 1987 Ohio merit selection of judges proposed state constitutional amendment; Co-ordinated the statewide initiative petition effort in 1979, and served as the campaign’s State Campaign Finance Director in 1979; Delivered hundreds of presentations throughout Ohio urging passage of the statewide constitutional amendment ballot issue in 1987.
  • Judicial Liability - Keynote speaker, Ohio Judicial Conference (1993).
  • Insurance Company Presentations
    Delivered multiple presentations to insurance claims examiners and adjusters on a variety of legal issues, including design professional negligence, premises liability, and products liability.

Significant Appellate Decisions

Significant Jury Verdicts

  • Sherri Williams v. Midland Acres, Inc., Madison County Common Pleas Court Case No. CV20140198. Veterinary Malpractice.  Plaintiff’s pregnant, four-year-old Thoroughbred mare and her unborn nine-month-old foal died following a pregnancy examination procedure performed by the defendant veterinarian. The mare’s owner sought compensatory damages, punitive damages, and attorney fees from the defendant, alleging the horses died as a result of veterinary malpractice. Plaintiff’s medical expert, an internationally respected equine veterinarian, testified the defendant was grossly negligent, breached the applicable standard of professional care, and caused the death of both the mare and her foal. The defense argued the horses died as a result of a rare but serious risk inherent in the examination procedure itself. Following a three day trial, the jury agreed with the defendant’s position, and returned a defense verdict, 8-0
  • Bruce Keck v. Gander Mountain Company and Kinsey’s Archery Products, Inc., U.S. District Court Case No. 4:13CV0185.  Product liability, Ohio Revised Code Chapter 2307.71 et seq. Demand to jury $6.1 million.  Defense verdict.  Plaintiff claims safety harness he was wearing and sold by insolvent manufacturer through  defendant suppliers was defective in design, manufacture  and inadequate warning.  He claims the harness broke, causing him to fall 15 feet the ground resulting in multiple skull fractures, broken nose, broken sinus cavities, multiple traumatic brain injuries, punctured lung, broken back, broken neck, spinal cord damage, multiple broken ribs, broken clavical, permanent scarring including 10 inch surgical scar with bony gibbus, and permanent nerve damage, permanent physical and cognitive impairment, permanent disablement, and inability to return to work for the rest of his life.  Defendants argued Plaintiff was not wearing harness at time of accident.  Acute hospital bills exceeded $225,000.  2 ½ week jury trial.  Expert witnesses included two board certified orthopedic surgeons, two board certified neurologists, one economist, one vocational rehabilitation specialist, one functional capacity evaluator, one neuropsychologist, one board certified toxicologist, one board certified physiatrist, one industrial standards expert, and two professional engineers, St. Elizabeth Medical Center Lab Director, and a dozen parties and first responders, and approximately 5,000 pages of medical records, SSD records, pleadings, employment records, testing records, reports, photos, and deposition transcripts.
  • Tracey v. Stark County Historical Society (Stark County).  Premises liability.  $225,000 demand.  Defense Verdict.  A 40-year-old woman fell three feet to the ground onto a concrete floor from a platform at the William F. McKinley Presidential Library and Museum in Canton, Ohio while viewing an exhibit. As a result, she claimed permanent physical and psychological injuries, and permanent disability.  Plaintiff sued the Library for personal injury under a premises liability theory of recovery, and introduced expert testimony from a liability expert, and several medical and psychiatric experts.  The jury concluded the Library was not legally responsible for the Plaintiff’s injuries and entered a defense verdict.
  • VSSNEO v. Joyce Mercer (Summit County).  Veterinary malpractice.  $20,000 demand.  Defense Verdict. A dog owner incurred over $20,000 in veterinary costs associated with the treatment of her dog at a specialized veterinary hospital.  Five surgeries were performed.  The treating veterinarian sued the owner for unpaid veterinary fees, and the owner counterclaimed for veterinary malpractice.  Expert evidence was introduced by both sides, and the jury 1) found in favor of the veterinary facility in connection with the action on account, and 2) found in favor of the defendant veterinarian in connection with the owner’s claim for veterinary malpractice.
  • Lawrence v. Big Creek Veterinary Hospital (Geauga County).  Veterinary malpractice.  $45,000 demand.  Defense Verdict. A veterinarian administered acepromazine to a horse during an equine dental procedure.  Five days later, the horse developed priapism and paraphimosis, resulting in the need for a phallectomy.  The owner sought damages exceeding $20,000, and introduced expert academic veterinary testimony that administration of the acepromazine breached the standard of professional care and proximately resulted in injury to the horse and damages.  The jury concluded the administration of the acepromazine did not breach the applicable standard of veterinary care, and did not cause the condition which required the surgery.
  • Digicolor, Inc. v. Farmers Insurance of Columbus, Inc. (Franklin County).  Breach of Contract. $94,000 demand.  Jury Verdict $21,000. Settlement demand $35,000.   An insurer retained a mold expert to remediate the home of an insured.  Dissatisfied with the expert’s work, the insurer terminated the expert..  The expert continued to do work at the property, claiming he had contracted not with the insurer, but with the homeowners, who wanted the expert to continue his efforts.  Ultimately, the expert submitted total bills in the amount of approximately $167,000 to the insurer.  The expert sued the insurer for the unpaid portion of his bill in the sum of $94,000 incurred after the contract had been terminated.  The jury agreed with the defendant insurer that the contract for services had been created between the expert and the insurer rather than the homeowner, and that the insurer did have a right to fire the expert.  The jury did award $21,000 to the expert for the portion of the bill incurred prior to the termination which had not yet been paid.
  • Phillis v. Kalas  (Cuyahoga County).  Clear liability rear end auto accident.  $21,000 demand.  Jury verdict “medical bills only.” Plaintiffs claimed to have sustained soft tissue injuries as a result of a rear end auto accident while on their way to a rock concert in Cleveland.  Following the accident, they attended the concert, then sought medical and chiropractic care for their injuries in the days which followed.  At trial, the plaintiffs’ experts testified the plaintiffs’ had been injured, and that the injuries required medical treatment.  The defendant’s chiropractic expert testified there existed no objective evidence of injury, and that chiropractic treatment was unnecessary.  The jury did award the plaintiffs’ the bills, but did not award anything for pain and suffering (non-economic) damages in the approximate amount of $14,000, as requested.

Memberships

  • Ohio Association of Civil Trial Attorneys
  • Ohio State Bar Association
  • Columbus Bar Association

Areas of Practice

  • Commercial Litigation
  • Construction Litigation
  • Product Liability
  • Professional Liability
  • Property & Casualty Insurance Litigation
  • Veterinary Malpractice