Andrew Mayle

Andrew Mayle

While I’d rather hear about your case or question, I will share a bit about myself since you’re probably checking me out before calling.

My dad is a quintessential Ohio lawyer, so I heard my share of colorful tales growing up. But I mainly noticed how people would come to him for help and how they appreciated his trusted counsel. Because I enjoy helping people, this got me dreaming about being an attorney. My other career path—pro athlete—definitely wasn’t happening anyway. So, instead of hitting homeruns, I started hitting the books.

Fast forward to one Friday night my junior year of college when two agitated police officers mistook me for someone who ran away from them at an underage party. They hit me, arrested me, and put me in jail overnight. I still remember the jailers offering the inmates stale McMuffins. I was 21 years old, 100% innocent, and furious.

When released, I nervously called my dad and went from upset inmate to humbled student.  Thankfully, he took my case. We went to court before a judge that has since gone on to have her own national television show. She ruled that the arrest was completely unconstitutional, held that I had did nothing wrong, and dismissed the case. I realized that most citizens wouldn’t have been able to afford to defend themselves and this lit a fire inside me. Before I exited the courtroom that day, a passion for justice was lit inside me.

I decided that I would start applying to the best law schools in America and, if admitted, return to Ohio upon graduation and use my talents to help people fight for their own legal and constitutional rights. A bit over a year later I was sitting in my first class at Notre Dame Law School on a muggy Monday morning in August, 1999.  

The famous law professor standing at the lectern told our class that we each had a fundamental choice about how we would practice law someday: we could either be “Can’t Do” lawyers and tell our clients a million things that they cannot do, or we can be “Can Do” lawyers and make a difference for them. This resonated with me and the self-awareness that clients call because they want solutions—not legalese—has helped carry me in what’s been a colorful twenty-year career so far.

I am not the most famous or richest lawyer in the world, but I feel like the luckiest and wealthiest in the best sense of those words. My clients have hired me to figure out fascinating legal problems and counted on me to help them in their time of need.

Things in my practice have been going good recently.

Last year, a young client was facing the rest of his life behind bars in a four-count rape case. My preparation focused on mastering every detail. This helped me level cross-examinations that got the lead detective and the complaining witnesses to either contradict their own statements, the physical evidence, or both. We even got the state’s own expert to admit that the prosecution’s theory on two of the counts wasn’t physically possible. But because I view my job as being to worry about everything, I was still nervous about what the jury might do. When the jury returned its verdict and I heard the foreperson say “NOT GUILTY” four times, my client about knocked me over with a bear hug…no better feeling. Plus, there was enough time left in the evening to walk him down the courthouse steps to the corner bar—his first moment of relaxation in over two years as the case languished through the Covid-19 pandemic—for one drink.

Right around this time, we had also just prevailed in some major criminal appeals against the odds. A unanimous Supreme Court of Ohio tossed a Wood county rape conviction for lack of sufficient evidence. We convinced three appellate judges from Youngstown to throw out a man’s conviction for engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and bar retrial. I hadn’t met him because he was in prison the entire time, but the day after the decision came out, he friended me on Facebook. He still owes me dinner. We also persuaded three Cleveland appellate judges to reversed a felonious assault conviction in a bar-fight case where a participant tragically died. Upon remand, the state offered a deal keeping our client out of prison. Just last year, we persuaded three judges from Central Ohio to reversed a vehicular-homicide conviction due to the ineffective assistance of trial counsel. To my knowledge, no Ohio vehicular homicide conviction has been reversed on ineffective assistance grounds. This year, we won reversal of a felonious vehicular-assault conviction in an appeal where the Lucas county prosecutor’s brief conceded defeat. I had never seen this before, but I appreciated the state’s professionalism and candor as our justice system depends upon it.

Around the same time as all these high-stakes criminal cases were going on, I’ve also been handling some significant business cases too. Handing a diverse docket makes us better lawyers, which obviously is in our clients’ interests.

Just before the pandemic, we had totally beat back a $20,000,000 fraud claim filed against our client, one of the biggest construction companies in Ohio and won $2,000,000 for the second largest bank in India—in a dispute over the financing of wind turbines in rural Ohio. I just now finished defending a subsidiary of the largest banks in America in a class action that started in Cleveland and ended in the Supreme Court of Ohio. We won every argument at every court level. One of my favorite business lawsuits was a few years ago when a Fortune 500 company broke its contractual promises to our client, a small, family-owned business. I immediately filed a blistering lawsuit, but approached mediation with a calm business mindset. Things worked out after a two-day mediation, where we persuaded the bigger company to pay my client over $2,500,000 cash…and become its all-time biggest customer.

We also sue government a lot. For instance, a federal court in Toledo recently agreed with us that a Bowling Green ordinance limiting the number of unrelated people that may live together is unconstitutional. In a relationship that’s especially fun in the summer, I represent most of the bars, hotels, and restaurants on the Lake Erie island of Put-in-Bay. In a recent landmark ruling favoring those clients, a Columbus judge issued a decision limiting the Ohio Liquor Control Commission’s powers to bring criminal allegations against bar owners during the pandemic. I also filed the lawsuit against Mike DeWine and Dr. Amy Acton that lead to Kings Island and Cedar Point being allowed to open up in 2020.

I’ve filed successful voting-rights lawsuits against local board of elections and the Ohio secretary of state. Most of those cases have focused on the right to referendum—which the Ohio constitution secures for the people as a fundamental check-and-balance on irresponsible officials and their bad ideas.

Although not a referendum case, a good example of my work is showcased by an interesting case from about ten years ago, where the legislative branch was trying to install favored judges in the judicial branch. For her own likely noble intentions, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio supported new laws in Ohio that (a) created new court systems in certain areas, (b) abolished the preexisting courts and (c) appointed judges to the new courts without an election. Her goal was to create fulltime judgeships in the place of certain part-time courts. However, the notion that the legislature can install judges to new courts is fraught with separation-of-powers issues.

Before one such law took effect, two candidates who wanted to run for the court that was being abolished called to hire me to challenge the new law. I said I would do it only if both candidates hired me even though if we won they’d be running against each other as I thought a united front would be better for everyone. Plus, I didn’t want to pick one over the other, which would tell who I thought would win, and make the other mad. After all, one of these clients was destined to eventually be a judge if we won! Both happily accepted my terms and we filed a lawsuit for two clients suing to get on the ballot to oppose one another. That was an election-law first. Because of her prior involvement with the bill at issue, the Chief Justice rightly recused herself and the rest of the Supreme Court unanimously agreed that the Ohio General Assembly has no power to appoint judges—and the entire legislation was invalidated before it ever took effect. I was proud of my clients, both accomplished female lawyers, in that case and one is now a judge while the other is an elected county prosecutor. When you do things the right way and are above board, things usually work out as they ought to. 

Speaking of which, I was recently involved as co-counsel with the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law in a case against perhaps the largest pipeline company in America, and the court ruled that a statute purporting to give pipeline companies the power to take farmland by eminent domain was invalid. The company later dropped its appeal and paid our legal bill for our very happy farmer clients.

I also sometimes represent government too. Right now, I represent the Board of Sandusky County Commissioners in the nationwide opioid multidistrict litigation. If we make a recovery, money will go back to the county to fight and remediate the opioid epidemic plaguing society. I also advise the Ohio Turnpike & Infrastructure Commission on cutting-edge issues affecting its world-class toll road operations. I’ve represented judges from Akron to Toledo in disagreements with other branches of government about funding or personnel and in disputes between judicial colleagues. It’s a professional honor whenever a judge calls about potential representation. We can usually resolve these matters quietly, but sometimes lawsuits involving judges are inevitable and we have a good track record.

I also like being able to help people when tragedy strikes. In 2019, I recovered over $1,000,000 for a widow when her elderly husband died in a terrible car crash. We’ve settled personal injury claims on behalf of minors, father, mothers, and elderly claimants. We’ve literally handled injuries from head to toe. Nobody seems to care much for personal-injury or wrongful death lawyers until they need one. These are some of the saddest cases in the world and when someone in their time of need calls, we do everything we possibly can to help and try to take all the burden of the legal worrying off the families and place that burden upon ourselves. The best advice I can give you now is to spend a little extra for a sizeable insurance policy and MAKE SURE that you get plenty of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. If someone with no or little insurance hurts you or your family and you don’t have plenty of this type of coverage, you will seriously regret it. Worry as much or more about reckless uninsured drivers as you do about your own driving.

Maybe my favorite type of case of all are those that change the law and help people that I will never meet. The best way to do this is to argue cases in the Supreme Court of Ohio, which only accepts a few cases per year for review. I’m pretty sure that, in the last five years or so, I’ve handled as many cases in the Supreme Court of Ohio that went to decision as any lawyer in private practice. Right now, I have two cases of first impression pending decision in the Supreme Court of Ohio. One is about the constitutionality of the Reagan Tokes Law and the other is about the mechanics of Ohio’s Resort Area Gross Receipts Excise Tax.

Ironically, my favorite Supreme Court case that I’ve argued was my biggest loss.

In 2013, I won a big appeal in a class-action case called Walker v. Toledo. An appellate panel held that Ohio cities that collected moneys using “traffic camera” citations that stripped citizens of their right to make the cities prove their allegations in municipal court have to refund the moneys. In 2014, the Supreme Court of Ohio reversed in a 4-3 decision. The majority gave a nonsensical rationale about how it interpreted what appeared to be a very plainly written statute, but when it comes to the Supreme Court, the majority rules, and so we lost.

But in case you haven’t figured it out, I don’t accept defeat easily. If I win a case, I take two days to celebrate and if I lose I take a day to mope around before rebounding.

Disappointed in Walker, I turned to the legislative branch. I testified before the General Assembly and it eventually changed Ohio law to fix the “problem” in Walker. Governor DeWine signed the new law, but multiple Ohio municipalities arrogantly ignored it and kept issuing citations the old way—denying people their day in court to maximize the profit of municipalities and their camera-company partners. So, I filed a new case based upon the new law and in June of 2020 a unanimous Supreme Court, in State ex. rel. Magsig v. Toledo, recognized that the General Assembly had legislatively overruled Walker. This instantly stopped in Oho the unfair and un-American practice of denying people of their Day in Court. This was as professional highlight because we not only vindicated everyone’s cherished right to be heard in court, but because this outcome highlighted my creativity, tenacity, and ability to navigate every branch of government.

In retrospect, I’m happy that I was falsely accused in college and glad that I lost Walker by one vote even though I was innocent and the Walker majority was wrong. Bad experiences have fueled my passion for the Rule of Law, taught me about overcoming difficulties, and forged my desire to keep going until I get good results. The stamina and motivation to keep fighting for justice matters because, besides spending as much time as I can with my three sons and my wife, who I met at Notre Dame and is a judge on the Ohio court of appeals, the majority of my days are spent with my clients thinking about how to solve their problems to make their lives better. I love it and feel blessed…but that’s definitely enough about me.

I’d love to now hear from you and about you so I can learn what we CAN DO to help you.