Tom Merriman, Esq. – Merriman Legal, LLC
Attorney Tom Merriman is the Managing Partner of Merriman Legal, LLC.
After attending St. Ignatius High School, Tom graduated magna cum laude and earned phi beta kappa honors while majoring in Economics at the University of Notre Dame. Deferring his admission to Harvard Law School, Tom joined a community service program in Seattle to help transition former homeless adults into public housing.
At Harvard Law School, he achieved the rare grade of A+ in both Negotiation and Jurisprudence. Harvard Professor Roger Fisher, the world-renown negotiation expert and author of "Getting to Yes," selected Tom as his teaching assistant at the Harvard Negotiation Project.
After graduating cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1988, Tom served a judicial clerkship with the late honorable Frank J. Battisti, then chief judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. Tom then began working as a litigator for Hahn Loeser & Parks.
At age 29, Tom was named managing attorney of the Ohio Attorney General’s Cleveland office. Tom directed a team of over 70 assistant attorneys general, investigators, and support staff. Appointed to Attorney General Lee Fisher’s executive staff, Tom advised the attorney general on all major litigation and policy issues.
At 31, Attorney General Fisher promoted Tom to deputy attorney general. He created and led multiple innovative law enforcement and litigation programs, including:
- The Consumer Fraud Strike Force: Tom developed a strategy to immediately shut down and seize the assets of bogus charities, scam artists, and telemarketing boiler rooms before they had the opportunity to flee the state.
- Operation Windfall: Tom directed "Operation Windfall," the most successful fugitive sting operation in our nation's history. Profiled by the New York Times, the program secured the arrest of 1,100 fugitive felons by luring them to government offices to pick up a tax refund or settlement check.
- Operation Crackdown: Tom also launched "Operation Crackdown," which relied upon statutory nuisance abatement laws to close over 150 neighborhood drug houses. In 1994, the Council of State Government honored Operation Crackdown with its Innovation Award recognizing the program's success transforming "drug houses into dream houses" for low income families by securing the transfer of ownership to neighborhood redevelopment organizations.
Tom’s work for the attorney general gave him an opportunity for extensive courtroom experience. He built a record of persuading judges to grant extraordinary remedies.
After serving in government, Tom decided to use his skills to become a watchdog of government. In 1995, he redirected his career into investigative journalism, first with WEWS-TV and then with WJW’s FOX8 I-Team.
During his 14 years in Cleveland television, Tom was recognized and honored for his exceptional journalism. He won 37 Emmy Awards – more than any other reporter in the market during that time period. Some of his most notable work includes:
- Uncovering fraud in the Cleveland Municipal School District: Tom’s 25-part investigative series exposing fraud in the Cleveland Municipal School District's transportation department won the most coveted national honors in investigative journalism – the I.R.E. Medal from Investigative Reporters & Editors, and the Alfred I. duPont–Columbia University Silver Baton, what Columbia describes as "the Pulitzer Prize of broadcast journalism."
- Exposing a Cleveland terrorist: In 2001, Tom produced a series of reports exposing Cleveland Imam Fawaz Damra's role as a fundraiser for the terrorist organization Palestinian Islamic Jihad, as well as Damra's ties to the original World Trade Center bombers. Damra was ultimately prosecuted and deported for lying on his citizenship application about his ties to terror organizations.
- Discovering an overseas human trafficking ring involving American soldiers: In 2002, Tom led a hidden camera investigation in South Korea which documented U.S. military police protecting American soldiers frequenting establishments where trafficked women were held as sex slaves. The reports triggered a Department of Defense inspector general investigation, Congressional hearings, and reform of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
- Revealing extravagant spending of taxpayer dollars: In 2003, Tom's investigation into wasteful spending at the taxpayer-funded Cleveland Convention & Visitor's Bureau triggered the resignation of its president and the dissolution of its board of directors.
In 2006, Tom served as an Ethics Fellow at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies. That same year, Tom was profiled in a PBS documentary titled "The Best of Broadcast Journalism." Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the FOX8 I-Team, the station recently aired a report honoring Tom’s journalism career.
In 2009, armed with a broad range of skills and experience, Tom returned to the courtroom as a trial attorney for Landskroner Grieco Madden, LLC. In 2012, the firm’s name was changed to Landskroner Grieco Merriman, LLC and Tom was made a non-equity partner.
In 2019, Tom Merriman founded and became the managing partner of Merriman Legal, LLC. During his time as an attorney, Tom has built an extensive record of successfully representing clients in personal injury and wrongful death cases. He has helped people who have been permanently injured in motorcycle accidents or lost a loved one in a fatal truck crash. Of recent note, Tom represented more than 290 people who lost eggs or embryos in the University Hospitals Fertility Center tragedy.
WJW FOX8 recently announced that Tom will serve as a contributor to the FOX8 I-Team. While continuing as managing partner of Merriman Legal and representing clients in personal injury matters, FOX8 has agreed to broadcast investigative reports from Tom on topics he believes to be important to the community.