November 3, 2016

Dennis M. O’Toole – Partner


Dennis is a senior partner of the firm and has been a trial lawyer for 36 years. He has handled a wide variety of civil cases as part of a multi-state practice based in Northern Ohio, including serious personal injury and wrongful death cases. A substantial portion of Dennis’ practice involves the representation of public sector clients, where he handles a myriad of cases and legal issues facing public entities, including eminent domain cases.

Dennis also devotes a significant portion of his time to the prosecution of claims against consumer reporting agencies and employers arising from the misreporting and misuse of criminal background reports. Dennis and other members of the Firm's consumer protection practice group welcome the opportunity to consult with affected individuals here.

He currently is general counsel for a number of regional rural water authorities, including Rural Lorain County Water Authority, Northern Ohio Rural Water, Authority Buckeye Water District, and Jefferson County Water and Sewer District. Dennis also serves as general counsel for the Ohio Rural Water Association and works with many rural water associations and their general counsel throughout the United States. Dennis’ recent work includes the successful litigation in the Northern District of Ohio and the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals of 1926(b) territory defense cases, one of several successful cases he has recently handled. Dennis is recognized as a national authority on 1926(b) litigation and frequently lectures on the subject throughout the United States.

He is a frequent speaker and presenter on a state and national level and author and co-author of published works on legal liability and trial practice. Dennis is also chairman of the litigation section, and senior director of OMDP.

Education/Professional Degrees

Regis College, Denver, Colorado, A.B. 1970; Capital University Law School, Columbus, Ohio, Juris Doctor, 1974; admitted into practice in Ohio, 1974; admitted: U.S. Supreme Court; U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit; U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio; U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio; Ohio Supreme Court.

Special Assignments and Award

  • The Order of Barristers for high achievement in appellate advocacy
  • Lorain County Bar Association Outstanding Service/Ethics and Grievance Committee Chair (8 terms)
  • The Lorain County Metropolitan Park District, Service Award for Legal Services
  • Lorain Metropolitan Housing Authority, Outstanding Legal Services Award
    Recent Cases and Decisions
  • Ross County v. Chillicothe
  • Village of Grafton v. Rural Lorain County Water Authority (Aug. 23, 2005), 419 F.3d 562
  • Grobe v. Ohio Turnpike Commission, Lorain County Common Pleas Court, Case no. 04CV139723 (2006)
  • Brown County Rural Water Association v. Village of Georgetown, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio, Case No. 1:04CV017
  • The City of East Liverpool v. Buckeye Water District, et al. Columbiana County Common Pleas Court, Case No. 05CV502
  • Steubenville v. Jefferson County Water and Sewer District, Jefferson County Common Pleas Court, Case No. 02CV370
  • Steubenville v. Village of Wintersville, Jefferson County Common Pleas Court, Case No. 04CV00178
  • City of Wadsworth v. Yannerilla, et al, 9th Appellate District, Case No. 06CA0019


  • 1926(b) Litigation and Predatory Tactics of Municipalities and Counties (Annual Convention Ohio Rural Water Association)
  • "Legal Liability in the Workplace" national symposium Minneapolis, Minnesota (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Region Six); New Orleans (HHS, National Convention); and, Las Vegas, Nevada (National Health and Fitness Association Convention)
  • Lecture: numerous in-service seminars for management on the subject of "Preparing for Litigation before Litigation Starts"
  • Lecture: numerous seminars on "The Art and Skill of Cross-examination"
  • Seminar Speaker: Ohio Rural Water Association Annual Convention 2001 - 2007
  • Seminar Speaker/Panel Member: Kansas Rural Water Association Annual Convention, Wichita, Kansas, 2006: 1926(b) litigation
  • Seminar Speaker/Panel Member: National Rural Water Association National Convention, Dallas, Texas, 2006: 1926(b) litigation
  • Seminar Speaker: National Rural Water Association National Convention, Philadelphia, Pa. 2007: 1926(b) litigation, cases and strategies
  • Co-author of the nationally published "AACCA Cheerleading Safety Manual" (UCA Publications, 1997) on the subject of tort liability and exposure, used and endorsed by the American Association of Cheerleading Coaches & Advisors
  • Author, Summary Judgment in Ohio, Ohio Bar Association Seminar Series

Dennis resides in Vermilion, OH and maintains an active role as a lector and Eucharistic minister with his church and community hospital. He is chairman of the board of Kendal Northern Ohio, the parent company of Kendal at Oberlin, a continuing care retirement community and Kendal at Home, which provides at-home services to seniors.

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