Mr. DeVito offers a real world approach to civil litigation by addressing all of the client’s needs in an expedient and economical manner. This results in directing the firm’s efforts only on the tasks necessary to achieve the client’s desired outcome and a good result. Mr. DeVito has been selected as a 2005-2007 and 2015-2016 Ohio Super Lawyer by his peers through a patented selection process.
Mr. DeVito has extensive experience and concentrates half his practice to the representation of automobile dealership and their relationship with the manufacturer, other automobile dealership, lender liability, employment, buy-sell agreements, and the day-to-day operations within the franchise operation.
Mr. DeVito’s other areas of legal experience and practice for individuals and businesses include: Commercial and Residential Construction, Breach of Contract, Fraud, Employment, Wrongful Termination, Stock Broker & Securities, Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, etc.
Christopher M. DeVito has been a shareholder in Morganstern, MacAdams & DeVito Co., L.P.A. since 1994 and he is currently the president of the law firm corporation. He earned his B.B.A. in Finance/Economics from the University of Notre Dame in 1987 and his J.D. from the Ohio State University College of Law in 1990.
Mr. DeVito is admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of Ohio (11-05-90); United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio (07-09-91); United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio (077-09-91); United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (08-05-92); United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (12-13-93); the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (04-19-96); and the United States District Court for the Eastern Districts of Wisconsin (02-24-00).
Mr. DeVito is a member of the Ohio State Bar Association, the Ohio Association for Justice, and the Cleveland Academy of Trial Attorneys. Mr. DeVito is active in many civic organizations including: Cleveland National Air Show Board Member and Officer (1990-Present) and past President (2004-2005); Notre Dame Club of Board Member (1998-Present) and past President (2003-2005); and he actively participates in various roles within St. Christopher’s Parish (1992-Present).
SAMPLE VERDICTS, DECISIONS, AND SETTLEMENTS
$2.2 Million Dollar Class Action Settlement
Armbruster v City of Cleveland (N.D. Ohio Case No. 1:13-cv-2626), June 16, 2014 (Preliminary Approval Granted)
Federal Judge Chris Boyko preliminarily approved the $2.2 million overtime class action settlement against the City of Cleveland stemming from the City’s improper time clock rounding practices. The action alleges that the City of Cleveland violated the Fair Labor Standards Act and Ohio Minimum Fair Wage Standards Act by improperly rounding the starting and stopping times of its non-exempt employees. In response to the Armbruster complaint, the City of Cleveland immediately changed its human resource policy to stop the improper rounding practice. On March 3, 2014, the City sent a memorandum to all union officials advising them that the rounding policy was being deleted and that only actual time recorded by time clock swipes in and our of work would be used to record and pay employees.
$700,000 Jury Verdict
Aquilon, et al. v. Dick Corp., et al. (Ohio Court of Claims Case No. 98-10468-PR), December 8, 2000 (5 day trial)
Aquilon, a Cleveland flats entertainment nightclub, was awarded a jury verdict of $700,000.00 because of Dick Construction Company’s (1) improper and negligent closing Merwin Avenue and (2) maintaining a nuisance to the Aquilon business for over 2.5 years.
$290,000 Settlement (Confidential)
Sgt. Andre Smith v. John Doe (Cuyahoga Court of Common Pleas), January, 2000 (Week before trial)
Defendant motor vehicle driver ran over the foot of Plaintiff, an off-duty policeman who was directing traffic near street construction site. Plaintiff suffered broken foot, loss of overtime and reduced pension benefits.
$210,000 Jury Verdict (Remanded by Pennsylvania Supreme Court)
Crouse v. Cyclops Industries, 560 Pa. 394, 745 A.2d 606 (Pa. S.Ct. 2000)
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court remanded the case and 1995 jury verdict of $210,000.00 against steel company for breach of its promise to supply conversion work after selling its moth balled Aliquippa forging plant to the Plaintiffs. The second jury in May, 2001 also returned a verdict for the Plaintiffs for damages and interest.
$483,000 Jury Verdict (Reinstated by Ohio Supreme Court)
The Ohio Supreme Court reinstated the 1994 jury verdict of $483,000.00 for the Jim’s Steak House restaurant and its owner, Mr. Raymond Rockey, against the City of Cleveland because it negligently closed the Eagle Avenue Bridge, which denied reasonable access to the business for over 6 years. City of Cleveland eventually paid the Plaintiffs the entire judgment amount, plus post- judgment interest on April 27, 1998, in the total amount of $648,146.30.
Proposed Termination of Chevrolet Dealership Denied (Injunctive Relief and Attorneys Fees)
General Motors v. Joe O’Brien Chevrolet, Inc., 118 Ohio App.3d 470, 693 N.E.2d 317 (1996).
Automobile dealership successfully protested General Motors attempt to relocate a competing Chevrolet franchise within ten (10) miles of its current facility. The administrative hearing lasted five days and concluded on February 27, 1997, with a Board order. Joe O’Brien Chevrolet was also awarded all of its litigation costs, including attorney fees, expert witness expenses, and trial costs.
SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS AND PRESENTATIONS
Litigating and Preparing for Sales Performance, Price Discrimination, and Facility Cases after Beck Chevrolet (October 24, 2016)
The New York high court recently held in the Beck Chevrolet v. General Motors case that the industry standard (really only the manufacturer standard) measure of dealer sales performance was unfair and unreasonable under New York law because it did not take into account most local market conditions including brand popularity. The issue was presented to the New York high court on a certified question from the Second Circuit.
The presentation will discuss the ramifications of Beck Chevrolet for dealers and attorneys going forward, how to defeat manufacturer arguments and the Urban Science witness on rotely applied averages used as performance standards, and how this all plays in to incentive programs and facility requirements that impact every dealer.
Facility Manufacturer Performance Standards – A Statistical Analysis (April 30, 2013)
Manufacturers continue to place an increased emphasis on dealership sales effectiveness scores (RSI, MSR, etc.), often relying on them as evidence that a dealership is not fulfilling its sales and service obligations. This may put a dealership at risk of losing its franchise or certain franchise benefits. There are, however, several weaknesses and fatal flaws to the sales effectiveness metric used by the majority of manufacturers. This presentation will provide an introduction to the sales effectiveness metric and illustrate the weaknesses and flaws that are inherent in its use. Actual case histories highlighting potential dealer defenses will be used.
Facility Image Programs: Strategies for Countering Excessive or Unnecessary Factory Demands (April 30, 2012)
This presentation will reconcile dealer rights and remedies with the new wave of manufacturer demands for facility image programs. Do Taj Mahals sell more cars? Do factory programs violate price discrimination statutes? Are factory subsidies guaranteed or can compliant dealers be left holding the bag? With the promulgation of state franchise law amendments, existing Dealer Agreement provisions, along with the recent findings of an NADA commissioned industry study, this area of dealer-factory relations has become one of the “Hot-Button” issues of 2012 . The panelists will discuss practical ways to address conflicts on the controversial topic and offer solutions to counsel confronted with dealer-clients who have important decisions to make.
Pamela J. MacAdams is a partner in the firm with which she has been associated since 1984. She received her undergraduate degree from Baldwin-Wallace College and her law degree from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.
She is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Domestic Relations Journal of Ohio, and writes a column entitled “Practice Pointer” which is practical advise for attorneys practicing in the field of family law. She is the author of the Parentage Chapter of West Group’s (fka Banks-Baldwin) Ohio Domestic Relations Law, a frequently cited authority by practitioners and courts.
She is a member of the Ohio State Bar Association Family Law Committee, and lectures frequently on topics in the field of family law. She has conducted seminars for the Ohio Bar Association, Ohio CLE Institute and for the Eighth Judicial Conference.
Ms. MacAdams’ field of practice is primarily in family law. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and is certified as a specialist in family law by the Ohio State Bar Association.