Ohio Consumer Law Blog

Information on Ohio's Consumer Laws from Attorney Daniel Myers, Myers Law, LLC, not legal advice

Special Announcement to all Clients, Colleagues, and Friends — Accomplishments, Changes, and Goals


Dear Clients, Colleagues, and Friends:

I am writing to you today about two things. First, our associate attorney Samantha Vajskop will be leaving Myers Law to join an education/school law firm later this month (June 2018). Second, we are experiencing a lot of growth, and wanted to share with you what we’ve done over the years and what we will continue to do for our clients and all Ohioans.

After two years with us, attorney Samantha Vajskop is going to be leaving our firm on June 8, 2018 to work with a school law/education law firm Pepple & Waggoner, Ltd., where she will be representing school districts and boards of education across Ohio with their various legal needs. We truly wish her the best. Samantha has played an important role in the accomplishments discussed later in this letter. She has been amazing to work with, and she will be missed at our office. It’s great to work with a former classmate who is a talented litigator, skilled advisor, and good friend. We thank Samantha for all of her work and commitment to our mission and clients. After Samantha’s departure, we will still continue to represent our clients’ needs as we have before. We will soon begin the search for an associate attorney to join Myers Law and step into this open role.

When you are running a business, it’s important to look back on where you’ve been to see if you are on the right path to where you want to be, and to make goals for the future. Most business owners do it; good ones do it frequently. Law firms are no exception (even though we might think we are). I’m happy to say that over the past six years, we’ve accomplished a lot for Ohioans. Through our advocacy, tough cases, appeals, research, preparation, trials, hearings, and thousands of hours of tough legal writing, we’ve made huge changes in the laws protecting Ohio consumers, and we’ve changed the way thousands of businesses across Ohio have to treat their customers. For the businesses that we sue, the scary part is this: we’ve only just begun, and there’s plenty more to come.

As Alise Trapp, our assistant, pointed out to me just a couple of weeks ago, we receive more than one call/email from a potential new client every day on average, and we are on pace to speak with 400 or more Ohioans this year about their legal needs. We appreciate the referrals from other attorneys, from good contractors, and from our former clients. We will be hiring more staff to assist with intake and office administration to better serve our clients.

In April 2012, I decided that I wanted to hang my own shingle and go into the business of law for myself. I gave my boss a two-month notice, found office space with a former employer downtown (Thank you, Lowe Eklund Wakefield Co., LPA), purchased a LexisNexis subscription, laptop, insurance, letterhead, business cards, and filed my paperwork with the state. I started with only a few hundred dollars, which were quickly spent. I was new, and I did not yet have a reputation.

In the first six months, Myers Law was profitable. We focused on helping consumers, employees, and small businesses, and we fought against big businesses that believed they were above the law and violated it with impunity. Since then, we’ve stopped representing the small businesses, and focus solely on helping individual consumers and employees. We niched down into a more limited area where there was a huge need, but very few attorneys helping people.

So, six years in the future, what have we done?

For starters, we won for homeowners the right to collect against their contractor’s bond. In an appeal argued by Dan Myers, Koster v. Chowdhury, 2016-Ohio-5704, the Eighth District Court of Appeals ruled for the first time that homeowners are allowed to make a claim, and directly sue, the bond company that provided a contractor bond. Previously, courts had mostly ruled the opposite way. The Koster case represents the first time a court of appeals has ruled that a homeowner has the right to get compensation from a contractor’s bond directly. Hiring a licensed and bonded contractor now matters more than ever.

We also won homeowners a new path so they could avoid expensive and unfair arbitration. In an appeal argued by Samantha Vajskop, Wisniewski v. Marek Builders, Inc., 2017-Ohio-1035, the Eighth District Court of Appeals ruled that homeowners who cancel their contract under the Home Solicitation Sales Act (HSSA) are protected from arbitration clauses. For the first time, an Ohio court had ruled that cancelling a contract under the 3-day cancellation law for home solicitation sales also cancels any arbitration clause in the contract. Now, in certain cases, consumers can preserve their constitutional right to have their dispute heard in a court of law, and they can avoid having to pay the outrageous filing fees of arbitration. One of our key aims is to fight back, and make inroads against the often expensive, unfair arbitration clauses used by many businesses.

Working with co-counsel from Spangenberg Shibley & Liber LLP, as well as Will Eadie (who is now a founding partner of Eadie Hill), we were able to reach a $5 million nationwide class action settlement with Walmart which included changes to their sales system. Class members recently began to receive their compensation. It isn’t easy getting the 25th largest economy in the world (if it were a country) to do anything.

We also created new protections and rights for Ohio consumers. We have added these protections to Ohio’s Consumer Sales Practices Act (CSPA) by obtaining judgments in our cases. Once the judgments are entered, the Clerks of Court are supposed to send them to the Attorney General’s Office Public Inspection File (which some Clerks take longer to do than others), and these individual cases transform into new protections for all Ohio consumers against all similar conduct statewide. The protections we have created include the following:

  1. All businesses that sell goods that cost more than $500 to a customer must give a customer a written contract for that sale. No more handshake deals or confusing oral agreements—these businesses must protect consumers by using a written contract so they know what they are agreeing to buy. Ziad Tayeh v. Hall Holdings International, Ltd., Cuyahoga County Case No. CV-16-865415.
  2. Contractors and builders must comply with building code. While local cities could prosecute builders before, it was not clearly a violation of the consumer protection law. It is now an automatic violation of the Consumer Sales Practices Act. This lessens the need for a consumer to hire an expert witness in many consumer construction cases, which can be a huge expense for consumers during litigation. Brown v. Wolfe, Summit County Case No. CV-2016-01-0025.
  3. Contractors and builders are not allowed to lie or make false statements in their mechanic’s liens. It is now illegal for a construction contractor to say that repairs and work have been performed in a mechanic’s lien when that statement is untrue. Contractors and builders often make false statements in their liens to try to get more money from a homeowner or try to revive liens that they waited too long to file. Brown v. Wolfe, Summit County Case No. CV-2016-01-0025.
  4. Companies that offer to help or assist customers in determining the cause of a problem, or the solution to a problem, with a product or service must follow through. It now violates the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act for a company to make this promise, and then fail or refuse to actually assist you. Companies, especially construction contractors, will often promise to “take care of it” or “find out what’s going on” just to temporarily appease an unhappy customer or delay their customer. That’s illegal now. Bianchi v. Mountain Creations, Inc., Summit County No. CV-2014-09-4413.
  5. Before beginning any construction work, a contractor or builder must first have a written contract / agreement with a consumer. Previously, many contractors would do work on a handshake, which lead to a lot of confusion and misunderstandings. Requiring written contracts limits those misunderstandings. Norka v. Aldridge Home Improvement, Limited, Cuyahoga County Case No. CV-17-879039.
  6. Contractors and builders have to accurately calculate material quantities in their estimates that they give to consumers and homeowners. Whether by mistake, negligence, or intentional inflation, many contractors will miscalculate the amount of materials needed, either charging for too many (and not giving a refund later for unordered or unused materials), or charging for too few, just to come back later for more money from the consumer. That prevents customers from doing an apples-to-apples comparison between estimates from different contractors. Now contractors have to be more careful, and their numbers must be accurate. Norka v. Aldridge Home Improvement, Limited, Cuyahoga County Case No. CV-17-879039.
  7. Contractors and builders have to be honest about whether permits are required for a job, or whether they have obtained or will obtain permits. We have come across many contractors who tell customers “that work doesn’t need a permit,” when it usually does require one. Many of these dishonest contractors are trying to cut corners with cost and also avoid inspections of their work. Keel v. Ashley Contractors, LLC, Cuyahoga Case No. CV-17-874198.
  8. It will soon (as soon as the Summit County Common Pleas Clerk files the decision with the Attorney General’s Office) be unfair and deceptive for a contractor to sue a consumer over a negative review or complaint filed with the police, the attorney general’s office, or the better business bureau (BBB), and also illegal for a company to sue a consumer when that company isn’t a party to the contract on which it is suing.

We were able to accomplish these big changes even though we were never elected to the bench, to the legislature, or to any state-wide office. Few legislators, elected officials, or other attorneys can say they have done more than Myers Law to protect Ohio consumers and homeowners.

We believe that Myers Law helps good people fight bad businesses. With that aim in mind, the cases we take are ones where we are seeking to make a large impact in the lives of our individual consumer clients, the lives of all Ohio consumers, and the “business as usual” that runs amok in certain industries. That’s why we fight arbitration. That’s why we go the extra step and frequently file appeals. That’s why we seek to create new protections for Ohio consumers on all of our cases.

How do we help more people? How do we make even more meaningful change to the lives of Ohio consumers and homeowners?

We don’t rest on our laurels—we are driven to achieve more because of them. But we can’t do it alone. We need your help in two key ways. First, we need to get the word out to the people you know. Second, we need you to share your experiences (without violating any confidentiality clause).

We need you to get the word out to others about what we do. If you know someone who has been ripped-off, lied to, harassed, abused, or misled by a construction contractor, home builder, or debt collector, we would like to talk with them to see if their situation is the type that we can help them manage and overcome. We are interested in hearing from these consumers no matter how small their dispute is. We can’t help everyone all the time, but we are willing to talk with everyone. Remember that a dispute over pennies can turn into a $5,000,000 class action settlement and cause real change in one of the largest businesses in the world.

We also need you to share with others the experience you had with us. If you are happy with the representation we provided to you, we’d love you to review us on Google and Avvo (without sharing specific details of your case or settlement, if any). If you would like to review us on Google, you can do so at this link. Do not feel obligated to leave your name or any information about your individual case. If you would also like to review Dan Myers on Avvo, you can do so at this link.

Your review, and your sharing Dan Myers’s information with your friends, family, and contacts, will help us do more for everyone. Everyone is a consumer. With each case we file, we look to create new protections for Ohioans and all consumers when they deal with abusive debt collectors, shady contractors, and other bad businesses.

We are wishing Samantha Vajskop the best in her new endeavors, and we will miss her and the impact she had in helping us achieve this success for Ohio consumers. But remember, Myers Law and Dan Myers are active, our representation will continue, our reach is growing, and we are looking forward to continuing our fight for Ohioans against bad businesses for many years to come.

Sincerely,

Dan Myers
Founding Attorney
Myers Law, LLC

One comment on “Special Announcement to all Clients, Colleagues, and Friends — Accomplishments, Changes, and Goals

  1. Patricia Setlock
    June 12, 2018

    Dan you are the best. You have helped me and my business. You are honest and hard working to make things happen. Good luck to you and your firm.

Tell us your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Information

This entry was posted on June 4, 2018 by in By Daniel Myers, Consumer Law, Debt Collection, Hiring, Ohio.

Contributors

Google + Authorship

2018, 2017, 2016 & 2014 Rising Star – Consumer Law – Super Lawyers

ADVERTISMENT ONLY–This Blog does not contain any legal advice.

%d bloggers like this: