Dworken & Bernstein Co., LPA
Patrick J. Perotti was awarded his law degree, cum laude, from Cleveland Marshall College of Law in 1982.
His emphasis is complex commercial litigation, civil rights and employment discrimination litigation, and class actions, and he is a nationally noted expert in consumer class actions and in ADA/FMLA law. In this capacity he frequently appears before state Supreme Courts across the country, and as lead counsel in major consumer class actions, and in key employment discrimination litigation, in state and federal courts.
EMPLOYMENT LAW AND DISCRIMINATION. Mr. Perotti’s practice for the last 25 years includes the full range of workers’ rights and Civil Rights, including Wrongful Discharge; Employment Discrimination involving Age, Sex, Race, Nationality, Color, Handicap and Religion; Sexual and Other Harassment; Equal Pay Act claims; Americans with Disabilities Act claims; Family and Medical Leave Act claims; Title VII claims; along with most other employment law matters. Mr. Perotti was awarded Certified Specialist standing in employment law by the State Bar, a designation held by less than one percent of attorneys. As lead trial and appellate counsel, he established significant rules and standards for protection of employee rights, including allowing circumstantial evidence to be used as direct proof of employment discrimination (Mauzy v. Kelly Services, 75 Ohio St.3d 578), establishing a public policy claim for whistleblowing (Kulch v. Structural Fibers, 78 Ohio St.3d 134), hostile environment criteria and attorney fees standards under Title VII (McCombs v. Meijer, Inc., 2003 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26370 (S.D. Ohio Aug. 19, 2003)), promissory estoppel when definite term of employment is promised (Patrick v. Painesville Commercial Properties, Inc. (Sept. 30, 1997), 123 Ohio App.3d 575), retaliation and temporal proximity requirement to create fact issue on causation (Stanners v. AI Root, Case No. 1:01CV1269, N.D. Ohio), and overtime issues and viability of the Mt Clemems Pottery rule for representative testimony in wage and hour collective action trials (Baden-Winterwood v. Life Time Fitness Inc., 729 F. Supp.2d 965 (S.D. Ohio 2010).
WAGE AND HOUR AND COLLECTIVE ACTIONS. Mr. Perotti’s employment work has been highly successful across the United States in the specialized area of state and national wage and hour collective actions. His suits challenge the failure of large employers to pay overtime and other wages required by state and federal laws. He and his team of employment litigators have challenged attempts to classify Retail Store managers as salary exempt (DePew v. ShopKo Stores). They have stopped campaigns to deny overtime to fitness club managers across the country (Gregorich v. LifeTime Fitness). They have prevented employer efforts to block the use of representative testimony under Mt. Clemens Pottery in collective wage and hour proceedings (Baden-Winterwood v. LifeTime Fitness). The United States Department of Labor has worked closely with Mr. Perotti’s team in submitting amicus briefing on some of these key employee rights issues.
CLASS ACTIONS. Mr. Perotti’s other area of primary concentration is handling complex class litigation throughout Ohio and nationally. Some of his lead cases include: Rosette v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. (2005), 105 Ohio St.3d 296; Santos v. Ohio Bur. of Workers’ Comp. (2004), 101 Ohio St.3d 1492; Martin v. Grange Mut. Ins. Co. (2001), 143 Ohio App.3d 332; and Waeschle v. Oakland County Med. Exam’r, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87399 (E.D. Mich. Oct. 29, 2008). Mr. Perotti is consistently described by courts as providing “exceptional representation” to the class: “Exceptional representation for the class members. Taking into consideration the complexity of the legal issues at hand and the result achieved by Class Counsel, it is clear to the Court that the legal representation in this case was superb.”
Mr. Perotti’s settlements and judgments in class litigation total over $120 Million Dollars. His successes won him national Public Justice 2007 Trial Lawyer of the Year finalist. More recently, he was named one of the top 75 plaintiff trial lawyers in the country. The group of 75, dubbed “Trial Lawyer Kingpins,” was chosen in a survey of defense attorneys throughout the country, requesting them to identify ‘the best plaintiff trial attorneys in terms of experience and influence’ in the United States. Defense firm Shook, Hardy & Bacon conducted the survey.
Mr. Perotti’s class action practice has focused on doing justice not only for class members, but for the broader community. Through the innovative use of an obscure legal doctrine known as cy pres, Mr. Perotti has directed over $24 Million Dollars in unclaimed class settlement monies to charities and non-profits. His distribution in July, 2008 of nearly $14 Million from a single case was the largest cy pres of its kind in U.S. history. Monies directed from Mr. Perotti’s cases have helped charities dealing with hunger, housing, clothing and shelter, drug and alcohol addiction, disease prevention, adoption, special needs education, handicap assistance, and a variety of others. The recipients have included Muscular Dystrophy Association, Habitat for Humanity, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, MADD, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Legal Aid Society, Leukemia Society, Boys and Girls Clubs, and dozens of others. Mr. Perotti and Dworken & Bernstein Co. L.P.A. were honorees of Alan R. Schonberg Community Rescuer Award, 2008; The Association of Fund Raising Professionals National Philanthropy Day, Corporate Leadership Award, 2009; Lorain County Alcohol & Drug Abuse Services, Award 2009; Project Love, Rescuer of Humanity Awards, 2009; The Ohio Association for the Education of Young Children, Outstanding Citizen Award for 2010. Most recently, Mr. Perotti was named 2012 Champion of Hope by Cornerstone of Hope.
As a frequent lecturer at state and national conferences on employment law, class actions, and the cy pres doctrine, Mr. Perotti is regularly consulted by the media on those subjects. His interviews and commentary are found in countless newspapers, local and national radio broadcasts, and television shows such as The New York Times, The American Lawyers, Fox & Friends New York City, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and others. These many media appearances focus on protection of the individual and protection of persons considered most vulnerable in society.
Mr. Perotti is proud to be a member of the National Employment Lawyers Association, the Ohio Employment Lawyers Association, and the Cleveland Employment Lawyers Association. He is also very proud of his service as a member of the Governor’s Ohio Adoption Task Force, 1990-1992 and his tenure as Chairman of the Governor’s Ohio Adoption Commission in 1992. Mr. Perotti also serves periodically as Staff Counsel to the Ohio Right to Life Society.
He is the author of a comprehensive treatise on the ADA, the FMLA, and the interaction between those laws and workers’ compensation programs. He received the American Bar Association, Section of Labor and Employment Law Award for significant contributions to the advancement of law on the Family and Medical Leave Act.
In Fall, 2011, Mr. Perotti was featured in the front page article of Attorney at Law magazine, receiving the publication’s first “Attorney of the Month” award for the magazine’s inaugural edition.
Mr. Perotti is licensed to practice in the following courts: Federal District Court, Northern District of Ohio, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, U.S. Tax Court, U.S. Claims Court, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, U.S. Court of International Trade, U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for The Armed Forces.; U.S. District Court of Idaho (pro hac vice); U.S. District Court of Pennsylvania (western division) (pro hac vice); U.S. District Court of West Virginia (southern division) (pro hac vice); U.S. District Court of South Carolina (Aiken division) (pro hac vice); U.S. District Court of Michigan (Eastern District) (pro hac vice); District Court of Minnesota (4th District) (pro hac vice); and Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois (pro hac vice).
Areas of Practice:
Cleveland State University,
Mauzy v. Kelly Services, 75 Ohio St.3d 578 (1996)
Kulch v. Structural Fibers, 78 Ohio St.3d 134 (1997)
Stanley v. The Lawson Company, 993 F.S. 1084 (N.D.Ohio 1997)
Honors and Awards:
Phillip Jessup, International Law
James Connell, Award for Outstanding Achievement in Criminal Law
Named to the exclusive ranks of the “Top 75 Plaintiff Trial Lawyers in the United States”
Professional Associations and Memberships:
Past Employment Positions: