Patrick J. Perotti graduated from Cleveland State University with a B.A. in 1977. He was awarded his law degree, cum laude, from Cleveland Marshall College of Law in 1982.
He specializes in commercial litigation, civil rights and employment discrimination litigation, consumer benefit, and class action practice. He has frequently appeared before the Supreme Court of Ohio, and as counsel in litigation in state and federal courts throughout the country.
Mr. Perotti is a certified employment law specialist. Less than one percent of attorneys in Ohio hold this certification. He has successfully represented employment plaintiffs in the following lead cases in the Supreme Court: Mauzy v. Kelly Services (1996) 75 Ohio St.3d 578 which allows circumstantial evidence to be used as direct proof of employment discrimination; Kulch v. Structural Fibers (1997), 78 Ohio St.3d 134 which established a Greeley claim in Ohio for whistleblowing; and in Federal Court, Stanley v .The Lawson Company, 993 F.S. 1084 (N.D. Ohio 1997) which analyzes sex and religion discrimination standards under Title VII.
Mr. Perotti handles wage and hour collective actions in Ohio and across the United States. These suits challenge the failure of employers to pay overtime and other wages required by state and federal laws.
Mr. Perotti's other area of primary concentration is class actions, handling class litigation throughout Ohio and nationally. Some of his lead cases include: Rosette v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. (2005), 105 Ohio St.3d 296; Santos v. Ohio Bur. of Workers' Comp. (2004), 101 Ohio St.3d 1492; Martin v. Grange Mut. Ins. Co. (2001), 143 Ohio App.3d 332; Waeschle v. Oakland County Med. Exam'r, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87399 (E.D. Mich. Oct. 29, 2008). As class counsel in numerous suits, Mr. Perotti was described by the court as having provided "exceptional representation for the class members. Taking into consideration the complexity of the legal issues at hand and the result achieved by class counsel, it is clear to the court that the legal representation in this case was superb."
The successes of class litigation handled by Mr. Perotti won him national Public Justice 2007 Trial Lawyer of the Year finalist, with settlements totaling over $120 million.
Mr. Perotti is a frequent lecturer at state and national conferences on employment law and is often quoted by the media on those subjects. He has been interviewed on employment law and class action matters by countless newspapers, and local and national radio and television shows, such as The New York Times, The American Lawyers, Fox & Friends New York City, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and others. His many television appearances, both local and national, focus on protection of the individual and protection of persons considered most vulnerable in society.
Mr. Perotti is a member of the National Employment Lawyers Association, the Ohio Employment Lawyers Association, the Ohio Bar Association (member of the Federal Courts and Practice Committee), the Federal Bar Association, the Cuyahoga County Bar Association, and the Lake County Bar Association.
He was a member of the Governor's Ohio Adoption Task Force from 1990 to 1992 and was appointed chairman of the Governor's Ohio Adoption Commission in 1992. Mr. Perotti is the staff counsel of the Ohio Right to Life Society.
He is the author of a comprehensive treatise on the ADA, the FMLA, and the interaction between those laws and workers' compensation programs. He received the American Bar Association Section of Labor and Employment Law Award for significant contributions to the advancement of law on the Family and Medical Leave Act (2006).
Mr. Perotti is licensed to practice in the following courts: Federal District Court, Northern District of Ohio, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, U.S. Tax Court, U.S. Claims Court, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, U.S. Court of International Trade, U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for The Armed Forces.; U.S. District Court of Idaho (pro hac vice); U.S. District Court of Pennsylvania (western division) (pro hac vice); U.S. District Court of West Virginia (southern division) (pro hac vice); U.S. District Court of South Carolina (Aiken division) (pro hac vice); U.S. District Court of Michigan (Eastern District) (pro hac vice); District Court of Minnesota (4th District) (pro hac vice); and Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois (pro hac vice).
Ohio Lawyers Give Back was founded by Patrick Perotti and Dworken & Bernstein Co., L.P.A. to promote the use of cy pres in class action settlements. When a class action is settled, plaintiff and defendant agree to a fund amount to pay all class members. Since many class members have moved, passed-away, or can't be found, millions of settlement dollars go unclaimed. That settlement money is intended to benefit the class—rather than revert to the wrongdoing defendant—so the ancient doctrine is now being used to distribute the unclaimed money to charities and non profits.
Over $25 million dollars has already been distributed, just by the sponsors, a single law firm. If cy pres were used more broadly, hundreds of millions of dollars each year would be available to help charities, non-profits, and the communities where we live. www.ohiolawyersgiveback.org is dedicated to advancing the use of cy pres in all class action settlements where a large pool of unclaimed settlement funds is expected.
What is Cy Pres?
Cy pres is a doctrine used in class actions to handle settlement monies which are unclaimed by class members after distribution is finished. Class actions are very complicated lawsuits. They are usually filed when a large company (or a large organization such as the government) has committed an alleged wrong of a small amount, but against a large group of people. For example, a national bank deducts a $4.50 "check processing fee" from the accounts of all its customers (over 2 million persons)—even though the bank's contract with the customers states checks will be processed without fee. What customer can afford to sue over $4.50, but the bank has wrongfully taken over $9 million from this group. Or, a national car rental company adds a $15.00 charge to the bill of all its customers (over 2 million persons) for "refueling", even when the customer brings the car back full and the company does not refuel the car. What customer can afford to sue over $15, but the car rental company has wrongfully taken over $30 million from these people. The U.S. Supreme court permitted the use of a class action in cases of this type—a suit by one member of the group, to allow the court to give relief to all of the group.
Because class actions take years to resolve, when it is time to give back the wrongfully taken monies, many class members can not be found. Some have passed-away. Others have moved or remarried. It would not be fair to allow a defendant to keep the class member's monies, but with no other place for it, that is where it goes in nearly all class actions—back to the defendant.
To address this situation, courts are using an ancient legal doctrine from the third century called cy pres. Cy pres means "as nearly as possible." It allows the court—or the parties by agreement—to put a beneficial use to monies, where the payment as intended has not been made.
Mission, History and Accomplishments
Cy pres has been around for centuries, but its use in class actions has not been widespread. That may be because it does not increase the attorney fees which the class counsel receives if they use it and instead requires much more time to resolve the case. It may also be because judges or parties are not familiar with it.
Regardless, even limited use of the doctrine has recently provided millions of dollars to charities. This money has saved key charities or their main programs from closing in many cities. The cy pres funds have allowed new programs to be started to help entire new groups of people and whole neighborhoods who were forgotten—not from lack of desire but from lack of funds. The cy pres monies have expanded charity services, so instead of having the resources to serve one hundred homeless people, over one thousand got a hot meal, and a warm bed.
A heartwarming example of the success of cy pres is the fight against cystic fibrosis. This disease prevents the lungs from working properly and without constant, intensive treatment—at least 3 times each day—massive infection will result, followed by death. Even with full treatment, CF patients in the 1980's only lived into their teens or 20's. But the news is not all bad. Research funds have allowed scientists to battle this killing disease so now, kids with CF are living into their 30's and 40's. At a recent event where a cy pres check for over $180,000 was presented to CF for more research and treatment, a 10 year old CF victim named Sarah (a pseudonym) put her arms around the presenter and said, "Thank you. Now I can live longer."
Languages Spoken: English, Spanish
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|Award Name||Grantor||Date Granted|
|Super Lawyer||Ohio Super Lawyers||2014|
|Super Lawyer||Super Lawyers Magazine||2013|
|Champion of Hope||Cornerstone of Hope||2012|
|Super Lawyer||Super Lawyers Magazine||2012|
|Super Lawyer||Super Lawyers Magazine||2011|
|Super Lawyer||Super Lawyers Magazine||2010|
|Ranked in Top 75 Plaintiff Trail Attorneys in United States||Trial Lawyer Kingpins||2010|
|Super Lawyer||Super Lawyers Magazine||2009|
|Super Lawyer||Super Lawyers Magazine||2008|
|Super Lawyer||Super Lawyers Magazine||2007|
|Super Lawyer||Super Lawyers Magazine||2006|
|Super Lawyer||Super Lawyers Magazine||2005|
|International Law||Phillip Jessup||N/A|
|Outstanding Achievement in Criminal Law||James Connell Award||N/A|
|Partner||Dworken & Bernstein Co., L.P.A.||1982 - Present|
|Association Name||Position Name||Duration|
|National Employment Lawyers Association||Member||1992 - Present|
|Governor's Ohio Adoption Task Force||Member||1990 - 1992|
|Cleveland Right to Life Society, Incorporated||General Counsel & Legislative Director||1985 - 2006|
|Ohio Employment Lawyers Association||Member||N/A|
|Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association||Member||N/A|
|National Employment Lawyers Association||Member||N/A|
|Lake County Bar Association||Member||N/A|
|Ohio State Bar Association||Member||N/A|
|American Society of International Law||Member||N/A|
|Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital, University Hosptial||Leadership Council Member||N/A|
|Federal Bar Association||Member||N/A|
|Bartley v. Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Inc.||Multi-Million Dollar Settlement|
|See all Legal Cases|
|Super Lawyers Magazine||The Battle For The Next Right Thing||2014|
|Lawyers & Settlements||No Shell Game Settlements for Attorney Patrick Perotti||2013|
|Smart Business Cleveland||Ohio Lawyers Give Back||2013|
|PR Web||Patrick Perotti Of NE Ohio Law Firm Dworken & Bernstein Continues To Make Significant Impact On Local Charities With $1,595,331.00 In Unclaimed Class Action Funds in 2012||2013|
|PR Web||Patrick J. Perotti, Class Action Attorney And Partner at Dworken & Bernstein Co., L.P.A., Selected As Cover Story For Launch Of Attorney At Law Magazine In Ohio.||2011|
|PR Web||Upcoming Holiday Season Looking Brighter for Local Charities Thanks to Dworken & Bernstein Co., L.P.A. and Partner Patrick J. Perotti||2011|
|PR Web||More Unclaimed Class Action Funds Heading To Charities In Cleveland, Ohio. Cy Pres Doctrine Helping Thousands of People||2011|
|PR Web||Patrick J. Perotti of Dworken & Bernstein Co. L.P.A. Named in 'Top 75 Trial Lawyers in United States'||2010|
|PR Web||$60 Million Dollars Could be Available to Charities in Ohio Every Year||2010|
|Ohio Judicial Conference||For the Record/Ohio Lawyers Give Back||2009|
|Lawyers and Settlements||Patrick Perotti - The Good Lawyer||2006|
|Comprehensive Treatise||Comprehensive Treatise on the ADA, the FMLA, and the Interactions Between Those Laws and Workers' Compensation Programs||N/A|
|Cleveland Marshall College of Law||Doctor of Jurisprudence||JD - Juris Doctor||1982|
|Cleveland State University - Cleveland-Marshall College of Law||Law||JD - Juris Doctor||1982|
|Cleveland State University, Cleveland||Business Administration||BA - Bachelor of Arts||1977|
|92nd Annual National Convention||Use of Cy Pres Doctrine in Class Action Lawsuits: When, How & Why.||2013|
|NELA 2012 Annual Convention||Selected Issues Under the FMLA||2012|
|Ohio and 6th Circuit Annual Conference & Seminar||Federal Law Update||2011|
|Ohio Women's Bar Association||Use of Cy Pres Doctrine in Class Action Lawsuits: When, How & Why.||2010|
|Employment, Labor & The Workday Grind||Employment Law Updates||2010|
|Breaking Down Barriers In The Workplace: Representing Workers With Leave & Disability Claims||Summary Judgment In Leave & Disability Cases||2010|
|Employment Law Update||Employment Law Update||2009|
|Celebrating NELA's 20th Annual Convention||What Every NELA Member Needs to Know About the FMLA||2009|