Case Filings / Recent Verdicts / Media Coverage
Latest developments from a devoted Cleveland law firm focused on your needs
Merriman Legal, LLC, is involved in some of the highest profile, most important cases in Ohio. Recognized both as an expert in personal injury law and as an experienced investigator who has led multiple national award-winning investigations, Tom Merriman has been interviewed by major news organizations including the New York Times, Washington Post, The Atlantic magazine, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Akron Beacon Journal, and Cleveland.com. He is regularly interviewed by Cleveland television news organizations and has appeared on national news programs, including the Today Show with Megyn Kelly, NBC Nightly News, CBS News, Fox News, CNN Headline News, and Inside Edition.
Our attorneys work hard to stay on top of the latest legal developments in Ohio and across the country. That’s one of the reasons why we’re consistently able to obtain sizable verdicts and settlements in individual cases and class action lawsuits.
We’re proud of our case results and the work we do every day for personal injury victims and other people whose rights have been violated. That’s why we’re honored to share this information with you about our accomplishments.
Find out how our experienced Cleveland attorneys can help you. Contact our law firm and schedule a no cost consultation. We can explain all the legal options available to you and work with you to develop the best strategy for your unique situation. Call 866-823-3332.
Latest news for Merriman Legal, LLC:
- Innocent Victim Badly Injured in High-Speed Police Chase
- Merriman Legal negotiates $3 million settlement for father of Aniya Day-Garrett
- Merriman Legal Wins Appeal in $188,000,000 Cleveland Public Power Case
- Lawsuit Filed Against Repair Shop for Failing to Diagnose Brake Issue
- Columbus Man Files Lawsuit Against Cleveland Detective for Wrongful Arrest
- Toddler Brutalized at Bay Village Day Care for Refusing Nap
- Lawsuit Filed Against Monsanto Alleging Roundup Caused Ohio Man’s Cancer
- Hospital Fails to Preserve Veteran’s Body for Open-Casket Services
- Father and Son Killed by National Guard Humvee
- Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Following Tragic Death of 4-Year-Old Girl
- Lawsuit Filed on Behalf of Woman Viciously Attacked by Dog in Driveway
- Shocking Highway Accident Caught on Camera
- Pedestrian Survives Car Accident Caused by Driver on Wrong Side of Road
- Cleveland Woman Breaks Ankle on Unsafe Sidewalk
- Vape Device Explodes, Almost Kills Man
- University Hospitals Fertility Clinic Tragedy
- The Pentagon’s Dirty Secret: Tom Merriman’s Human Trafficking Investigation
- PBS Profile of Cleveland Investigative Reporter Tom Merriman
Merriman Legal is representing a 34-year-old Cleveland man who sustained severe injuries in a head-on crash caused by a suspect involved in a high-speed chase with East Cleveland Police over a minor traffic violation. Eddie Rodriguez, a mechanic who was on his way to work when the collision occurred, suffered multiple injuries as a result of the fiery crash. Eddie was transported by Cleveland EMS to the MetroHealth Level 1 Trauma Center. He underwent surgery to repair lower extremity fractures sustained in the crash.
According to the ECPD Incident Report, the police initiated the high-speed chase after observing a vehicle without a registered license plate. Body camera video documented how the E. Cleveland officers chased the suspect for nearly 10-minutes throughout east side neighborhoods of Cleveland. Hitting speeds as high as 75 mph, the vehicles ran multiple red lights, raced down residential streets, and crossed major intersections on Chester and Carnegie. Ultimately, the suspect crashed into Rodriguez and another motorist, causing Rodriguez’s vehicle to catch on fire.
“The ECPD has a long history of engaging in high-speed chases over minor, non-violent infractions,” Attorney Tom Merriman said. “In the past year, one person has died and multiple people have been seriously injured during ECPD chases. Most of these chases end badly in a surrounding community well beyond ECPD’s jurisdiction.”
Attorney Merriman said even though police officers are immune from liability for negligence when engaged in “a call to duty,” they may be held legally responsible for injuries that are sustained due to conduct that is reckless, willful, or wanton.
“This high-speed chase was particularly outrageous,” said Merriman. “East Cleveland PD is a rogue department which continues to endanger innocent people well beyond their borders.”
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Merriman Legal partners Hannah Klang and Tom Merriman negotiated the settlement of a wrongful death civil lawsuit they brought on behalf of the father of Aniya Day Garrett. The high-profile case concerned the starvation and murder of 4-year old Aniya by her mother and her mother’s boyfriend, who are both now in prison. The case was filed against the social workers who failed to adequately investigate multiple reports that Aniya was being abused and neglected.
“Why did it have to take my daughter losing her precious life when all she wanted to do was be protected,” said Garrett. “Saving our children’s lives, that’s what we care about.”
Garrett said he will continue to help children through the Justice for Aniya Foundation, an organization he founded after his daughter’s death.
Aniya died on March 11, 2018. Forensic experts said she suffered blunt force trauma to her head, had at least one stroke, and her body was covered in burns and bruises. Aniya was also emaciated, weighing just 26 pounds.
"We reached the $3,000,000 settlement through mediation after extensive litigation,” said Klang. “It was an extraordinary outcome given all of the challenges created by the law, which make it difficult to hold public employees accountable for failing to do their job.”
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In a major reversal, an appeals court revived a lawsuit filed against Cleveland Public Power involving more than $188 million in charges that customers claimed were improper.
Attorney Drew Legando of Merriman Legal successfully argued the appeal, after the trial judge threw out the class action lawsuit brought on behalf of consumers who were charged hidden fees by the city-owned utility.
“This is huge,” Legando told cleveland.com. “It’s a substantial win for Cleveland customers. There’s still work to be done. We feel confident moving forward toward trial.”
The Ohio 8th District Court of Appeals ruled in a 42-page decision that a judge erred in dismissing the case that stemmed from the billing of 80,000 residential and commercial customers.
The customers claimed in a class-action lawsuit that the city-owned utility breached its contract with them over environmental adjustments to their bills.
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Merriman Legal has filed a lawsuit against a local repair shop for failing to diagnose a brake issue on a car that was involved in a serious pedestrian accident in March 2019.
Two days after leaving Rainbow Muffler and Brake to have its brakes repaired, the car was shown on dashcam video speeding through a red light and crashing into another vehicle that ended up striking and severely injuring 64-year-old Margaret Hardaway, who was waiting to catch a bus at the time of the crash.
On the dashcam video of the accident, the brake lights on the car that caused the accident appear to be activated as the car races through a red light and T-bones another vehicle.
"You see the brake light on that car and that for me, as an investigator, that's the smoking gun," Attorney Tom Merriman said in a March 2019 interview with FOX8 Cleveland. "Those brake lights are on and the car appears to be gaining speed."
Hardaway sustained several broken bones and numerous injuries in the accident. She spent several weeks in the hospital and has not yet been able to return to work.
“The mechanic who was assigned to the car was not certified in this country to repair cars or diagnose brakes and they botched the repair,” Merriman told FOX8 Cleveland.
In an interview with FOX8 Cleveland in April 2019, Hardaway thanked the police officer who saw the accident and immediately came to her rescue after the crash.
A 25-year-old Columbus man who spent 36 hours in the Cuyahoga County jail after being wrongfully arrested in May 2019 has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against the Cleveland Division of Police detective who originally requested the arrest warrant.
Leon Burroughs, who has never been to Cleveland, received a letter in the mail stating he had an active arrest warrant in that city for crimes stemming from a domestic disturbance with a woman he doesn’t know. After finding out about the arrest warrant, Burroughs hired a criminal defense lawyer and took a bus from Columbus to Cleveland to try to clear his name.
While his criminal defense lawyer told him he had to be processed into the system because the warrant had been issued, Burroughs ended up spending 36 hours in county jail before his case was dismissed and he was set free. Now, due to botched detective work, Burroughs’ name still appears in online court records, even though all his charges were dropped.
Attorney Tom Merriman, of Merriman Legal, is representing Burroughs in the civil suit against the Cleveland detective and called the wrongful arrest “outrageous.” Merriman says there appears to have been a lack of “basic police work,” such as interviewing the victim before seeking a warrant for Burroughs’ arrest, which resulted in Burroughs being jailed for a crime he couldn’t possibly have committed.
A Westlake couple is suing a Bay Village day care after staff members allegedly held down the couple’s 2-and-a-half-month-old son and restrained him because he wouldn’t take a nap. According to the official complaint, in January 2019 the child’s father went to pick up his son from Bay Village Kiddie Kollege and discovered bruises on his son’s face, neck, shoulders and back. When asked what happened to the child, staff members suggested the boy injured himself, going as far to say, “maybe he pinched himself.”
Photos show the boy’s injuries resembled handprints and fingermarks, but Bay Village police could not proceed with criminal charges due to insufficient evidence because security cameras weren’t working when the incident occurred.
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services investigated the incident, as well, but was unable to determine if a staff member caused the injuries. According to one news report, an inspector cited other concerns, including inadequate background checks, inadequate abuse training, and unsafe play equipment.
Bay Village Kiddie Kollege was entrusted to protect this child from psychological and physical harm, but instead staff members restrained the boy with such force that bruises were left all over his body. As a result, the child had to endure extensive medical examinations and has shown symptoms of post-traumatic stress, including regression of speech, trouble falling asleep, night terrors, and more – all because he did not want to take a nap.
Attorney Hannah Klang, of Merriman Legal, is representing the family and is demanding the day care take responsibility.
Merriman Legal has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Monsanto on behalf of the Estate of David Derifield. The lawsuit, much like thousands of others that have been filed nationwide, argues that exposure to Monsanto’s herbicide, Roundup, caused David R. Derifield to develop and ultimately pass away from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
Roundup is an herbicide that is and has been widely used to kill weeds and grasses. Its active ingredient is glyphosate, which has been classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as “probably carcinogenic” to humans.
The lawsuit maintains Monsanto had full knowledge that Roundup was dangerous and defective in nature yet took a cavalier approach to investigating and ensuring the safety of its products and the safety of the public at large. The lawsuit also contends that Monsanto has had evidence for decades that glyphosate exposure increases the risk of cancer, including non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but still placed Roundup into the stream of commerce without adequate warning and instructions.
Derifield first used Roundup in the 1970s and was regularly exposed to the herbicide by using it occupationally and residentially. He was diagnosed with Large B-Cell Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2017 and ultimately passed away from his cancer in 2018.
Due to Monsanto misleading Derifield and the public about Roundup’s carcinogenic properties and its false representations regarding the safety of Roundup, Derifield developed non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas and passed away as a direct and proximate result of being exposed to Roundup.
The wrongful death lawsuit filed by Merriman Legal against Monsanto includes punitive damages. These damages are included to punish Monsanto for showing complete disregard and reckless indifference to the safety of the public and duping the public into thinking Roundup was safe, non-toxic, and non-carcinogenic.
Merriman Legal is representing the family of Army Sgt. 1st Class (ret.) Robert Wornstaff in a lawsuit against an Ohio hospital, after the hospital failed to properly refrigerate Wornstaff’s body and allowed his body to decompose beyond recognition. Shawnna Wornstaff and her two children had hoped to honor Robert’s wishes of having an open-casket wake and funeral with Robert’s body dressed in his U.S. Army uniform.
Robert had been involved in a lawnmower accident in which he was pinned under shallow water and later found face down in the water with no signs of life. He was transported to Aultman Hospital, resuscitated, and put on life support while he remained unconscious with an anoxic brain injury. Ultimately, Robert was removed from life support and pronounced dead from his sudden and unexpected accident.
Shawnna did not learn of Aultman Hospital’s mishandling of Robert’s body until she was notified by the coroner’s office that an open-casket wake and funeral would not be possible because Robert’s body was too decomposed. Instead of treating Robert’s body with dignity and respect, Aultman Hospital caused Shawnna and her two children extreme emotional distress during a time when the whole family was already in an emotionally fragile state – and prevented the family from getting any kind of closure after Robert’s death. Merriman Legal is helping Robert’s family hold Aultman Hospital accountable for its reckless and negligent actions by demanding the family receive compensation for severe emotional distress, psychological injury, medical bills, physical and emotional pain, suffering, economic and non-economic damages, as well as punitive damages.
A family is looking for answers after an Ohio Army National Guard Humvee hit a father and his 6-year-old son head-on in a rainstorm, killing them both. Attorney Tom Merriman has filed a lawsuit seeking over $19,000,000 in damages for the family of Bryan Bargar.
Merriman says the lawsuit seeks damages for both Mr. Bargar’s Wrongful Death and for Mr. Bargar’s conscious pain and suffering. “The tragic thing about this case is Bryan Bargar was conscious for 37 minutes. He gets slammed by this military Humvee. He’s pinned. He’s awake and conscious. The second part of our lawsuit is the pain and suffering he went through in the final minutes of his death,” Attorney Merriman told WEWS News 5.
Merriman told the news channel the U.S. Army National Guard is responsible because Private First-Class Jeremy Taylor was sleep deprived and had been awake for at least 15 straight hours before he crashed into Bargar’s Kia head-on.
Attorney Hannah Klang, of Merriman Legal, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of Mickhal Garrett, the biological father of Aniya Day-Garrett, who was four years old when she died in March 2018 from physical abuse, neglect, and malnourishment at the hands of her mother and her mother’s boyfriend. The lawsuit alleges that the Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Families and two local day care centers ignored numerous reports and red flags indicating Aniya was in danger before she suffered a brutal, excruciating, and avoidable death.
Aniya’s mother, Sierra Day, and her mother’s boyfriend, Deonte Lewis, have since been convicted of aggravated murder and sentenced to life in prison. Aniya, who died from a blunt force trauma-induced stroke, was discovered with bruises and abrasions all over her body and only weighed 29 pounds at the time of her death.
“Unfortunately, when [the abuse] was reported, even when police reported, when Mickhal Garrett reported, Sierra Day’s own sister reported, DCFS didn’t do anything," Attorney Klang told News 5 Cleveland. "They kept her in that home with Sierra Day when she was lying in her death bed. It’s terrible; the details of Aniya’s death are horrific. It is so important that we get the complete story though because we don’t have it. We have bits and pieces of what DCFS did and what the daycares did but we don’t have the full story. That’s the goal of the lawsuit."
Attorney Tom Merriman has filed a lawsuit on behalf of an Ohio woman who was viciously attacked by a neighbor’s dog in her own driveway. On Dec. 4, 2018, Desiray Westbrook arrived home and began exiting her vehicle in her driveway. Her neighbor’s dog, a Cane Corso, entered the property and approached Ms. Westbrook, showing no signs of aggression. Ms. Westbrook began petting the dog when without warning, the dog suddenly attacked her, biting off a large section of her lower lip and repeatedly biting her head, face, and hand. Ms. Westbrook sustained significant injuries from the attack, including substantial disfigurement of her face. On behalf of Ms. Westbrook, Attorney Merriman is seeking compensation for serious bodily injuries, pain and suffering, mental anguish, medical expenses now and into the future, personal property losses and expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, loss of enjoyment of life, and other damages.
A 24-year-old man is lucky he escaped alive after a shocking highway accident caught on camera. It wasn't caused by another driver - but by a tow truck driver who was called to the scene to help him.
It all started with a minor fender bender on Interstate 90, near the Interstate 71 split, during rush hour. A tow truck operator can be seen in the video preparing to tow the car when, without warning, the car is lifted up and flipped over onto its hood and into the freeway lane ─ all with the driver still inside.
Attorney Tom Merriman is representing the victim and is calling for a serious investigation into what happened.
“We’re lucky this wasn’t a fatality,” Merriman told Fox 8 Cleveland. “We’re lucky this wasn’t a multi-car crash caused by this car being dropped into traffic; someone needs to look at this.”
In a follow up article, Fox 8 Cleveland reported the tow truck is part of ODOT’s “Good Samaritan Safety Patrol Program.”
“ODOT needs to investigate,” Attorney Tom Merriman told Fox 8 Cleveland. “The bottom line is those drivers need to be retrained and whoever’s supervising them needs to be questioned about what methods are you using to make sure their tow truck drivers, they’re out there and not putting the public at risk.”
A 63-year-old woman miraculously survived a horrific car accident caused by a Euclid, Ohio driver who was driving the wrong way, T-boned another vehicle and crashed into the woman waiting for a bus.
Margaret Hardaway is the pedestrian who was injured in the accident and is represented by attorney Tom Merriman. In an interview with Fox 8 News in April, Hardaway thanked the police officer who saw the accident and immediately came to her rescue after the crash.
Hardaway has not been able to walk since she was struck by the vehicle. She sustained several broken bones and numerous injuries in the accident. She spent several weeks in a hospital and is now in a rehabilitation facility.
On a dash cam video of the accident, the brake lights on the car that caused the accident appear to be on the vehicle that raced through a red light and caused the crash.
"You see the brake light on that car and that for me, as an investigator, that's the smoking gun," Merriman said in an interview in March with Fox 8 News. "Those brake lights are on and the car appears to be gaining speed."
"Her life changed in an instant," Merriman said. "She is now in a situation where she is not going to be able to work. Her last paycheck runs out in a week."
A woman who was walking back from a Cleveland Indians baseball game suffered a broken ankle and injured her knee and hand when she fell due to a sizable break in a sidewalk on East 9th Street near Bolivar Road ─ right in front of the 900 Prospect parking garage in downtown Cleveland. To make matters worse, a Google street view of the sidewalk shows an orange cone had been placed near the hazard in September 2016, though no such warning was present when Dena Katch tripped and fell.
"Any defects that they know about, they have to maintain,” Attorney Ladi Williams, of Merriman Legal, told News 5 Cleveland. “The orange cone shows a level of knowledge. Somebody put it there. It didn't get there by itself."
A study released last year showed more than 2,000 visits to U.S. emergency rooms from 2015-2017 for e-cigarette burns and explosion-related injuries. Attorney Tom Merriman is representing one man who nearly died from an exploding vape device battery.
"The pain, I never felt before," Nader Harb told WKYC. "I mean, I got cut by machines, I got run over by a car, I've never seen pain like this."
In March 2018, University Hospitals of Cleveland disclosed that over 2,000 frozen eggs and embryos stored at the UH’s Fertility Clinic are no longer viable. After news broke, nearly 300 victims who lost eggs or embryos retained Tom Merriman and his team to get them justice.
Just after 9/11, the natural reaction of Americans was to support the troops, but that shouldn’t prevent scrutiny of abuses being committed by American soldiers stationed abroad. The FOX-owned television station in Cleveland, WJW-TV, ran a very disturbing story by investigative journalist Tom Merriman on a human trafficking operation stretching from South Korea to the U.S.
A graduate of Harvard Law School, former Deputy Ohio Attorney General, and national award-winning investigative journalist, Tom Merriman brings a unique set of skills to his work as a personal injury attorney. This profile features his work as an investigative reporter for FOX8 in Cleveland.