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Donald P. Screen

Donald Screen’s experience includes partnership at major Cleveland law firms and service as a law clerk to United States District Judge Ann Aldrich. While at Ohio’s largest law firm, Don developed a strong record in both business and tort litigation, and represented dozens of policyholders and insurers in complex coverage litigation. He fought both for and against major banks, manufacturers, retailers, and service providers. His cases, both individual and class action, involved contract disputes (UCC and other), insurance coverage, consumer rights, antitrust and intellectual-property matters, ERISA, and employment-related disputes. Since joining Chandra Law in 2009, Don has also distinguished himself in the civil-rights, whistleblower-protection, and constitutional-law arenas. A formidable writer and orator, Don chairs the firm’s appellate-practice group.

Don is a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law. Before embarking on his legal career, Don earned his Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Virginia, where he also served as an assistant professor. He has written and lectured on a wide variety of subjects in both law and philosophy.

The following is an abbreviated list of Don’s recent litigation accomplishments and activities:

  • In 2016, Don was victorious in the Ohio Supreme Court in a case with wide-ranging implications for civil rights. Jacobson v. Kaforey arose out of criminal actions taken by prominent local healthcare institutions that deprived a mother of access to her minor child. At issue in the Supreme Court was an Ohio statute that, Don argued, conferred a civil right of action on crime victims. Overcoming decades of adverse authority, Don successfully argued that, under the statute, anyone injured by criminal conduct may sue the perpetrator for all damages suffered. The victory means that persons who would otherwise “fall through the cracks” of the legal system now have a viable remedy.
  • When, in an unfortunate case of mistaken identity, two Cleveland police officers roughed up a Puerto Rican teenager with Down Syndrome while shouting racial epithets at his family, the officers sought qualified immunity from the ensuing excessive-force claim. Don successfully fended off these efforts in both the federal district court and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, a result that brought the City to the bargaining table shortly before trial. The case settled for $250,000.
  • Don currently handles several whistleblower-protection matters against employers in various industries. Of note are two matters arising under federal “Air 21” legislation, which prohibits retaliation against employees in the airline industry for reporting safety concerns. In one of these, an airport field-maintenance manager suffered a humiliating demotion after notifying the FAA that Cleveland Hopkins Airport regularly fails to adequately staff its snow-and-ice-removal operations during winter storms. Don secured a complete victory from OSHA, which ordered that the client be reinstated to his previous position and compensated for his emotional distress.
  • In another whistleblower matter, this one arising under the False Claims Act and involving the healthcare industry, Don and firm managing partner Subodh Chandra negotiated an extremely favorable settlement on behalf of a medical-office receptionist who was fired after refusing to participate in her employer’s scheme to defraud Medicare and Medicaid.
  • In a class action arising under ERISA, Don secured an injunction against a major newspaper that, under the direction of its foreign media-conglomerate owner, reneged on its promise to furnish lifetime healthcare benefits to a large class of retired employees. The victory ultimately resulted in superior benefits for the retirees and reimbursement of all medical expenses they had incurred following the improper termination of benefits.
  • In the Tenth District Court of Appeals, Don briefed and argued a case brought by a Syrian-American restaurant owner who had been harassed and discriminated against for years by Cleveland police and the Ohio Department of Public Safety. As a direct result of the favorable outcome Don achieved, the DPS agreed to apologize to the restaurant owner, to provide ethnic-sensitivity training to their agents, and to enter into a monetary settlement.
  • Don currently represents approximately 40 City of Cleveland assistant directors of law in a groundbreaking unionization effort that has wound its way through the State Employee Relations Board and the Ohio court system. Recently, Don argued the case to the Tenth District Court of Appeals in Columbus.
  • Don has substantial experience representing individual and corporate policyholders when their insurers wrongfully decline to pay a claim or provide a defense. On one such occasion, Don, through skillful briefing in the Sixth Circuit, was able to turn a franchise owner’s trial-court defeat into an unlikely victory, securing a settlement amount approaching that to which the insured would have been entitled had he prevailed at trial.
  • In appropriate cases, Don has represented insurance carriers as well. On one such occasion, Don, during a five-day jury trial, fended off a $1 million-plus property-insurance claim—and the bad-faith allegations—of a fraudster who had been scamming insurance companies for years. Don established that the “theft” alleged was a pure fabrication, and a unanimous jury agreed.

Bar Admissions

Ohio, 1990

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio

U.S. District Court for the Southern DIstrict of Ohio

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

Classes/Seminars

Assistant Professor, University of Virginia

Education

University of Virginia School of Law, Charlottesville, Virginia J.D., Doctor of Jurisprudence - 1987

University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia Ph.D., Doctor of Philosophy - 1983

University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia M.A., Master of Arts - 1981

Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia B.A., Bachelor of Arts summa cum laude - 1978

Past Employment Positions

Hon. Ann Aldrich, United States District Court, Northern District of Ohio, Law Clerk, 1987 - 1989 Roetzel & Andress, Attorney

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