- Antitrust and Trade Regulation
- Commercial Litigation
- Construction Agreements and Disputes
- Internal Corporate Investigations
- Environmental Regulation and Enforcement Actions
- False Claims/Qui Tam Actions
- Federal, State and Local Tax Disputes
- Professional Liability and Discipline
- Real Estate Litigation
- White Collar Criminal Defense
- T.M. Cooley School of Law, J.D., 1976
- University of Notre Dame, B.A., 1971
Licensed to Practice
- U.S. Supreme Court
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd, 6th, 7th, and 11th Circuits
- U.S. District Court, Northern and Southern Districts of Ohio
- U.S. District Court, Central and Southern Districts of Illinois
- U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey
- U.S. District Court, Western District of New York
- U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin
Sources say Ralph is “very tactical, a very keen thinker and well-versed in the law.”
Ralph is the former chief of the White Collar Crime section of the Office of the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio. He represents individuals and corporations in a wide range of government white-collar criminal investigations, including environmental, health care, securities fraud, antitrust, tax, FCPA, federal elections and government procurement matters. In addition, a major portion of Ralph’s practice involves complex commercial disputes, environmental litigation matters and defense of professional negligence claims. Ralph also has extensive experience in construction and real estate disputes.
Ralph has represented clients in the following areas:
ANTITRUST & TRADE REGULATION LITIGATION
- Defended criminal and civil antitrust enforcement actions brought by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office involving allegations of bid rigging, territorial allocation and antitrust conspiracy under federal and state law in the dairy, scrap metal, road construction and industrial equipment industries.
- Defended and prosecuted matters involving claims of unfair competition, majority/minority shareholder disputes, improper use and disclosure of trade secret information, covenants-not-to-compete and tortious interference with business relationships, including claims asserted under civil (federal and state) RICO statutes. Tried the first criminal case in the United States based on claimed violations of the federal Economic Espionage Act.
- Represented borrowers and lending institutions in loan participation agreement disputes.
- Represented various property owners in eminent domain proceedings initiated by governmental entities.
- Litigated real estate, mechanics’ liens, title, zoning and construction contract disputes relating to major office building projects, sewer construction, abandoned industrial facilities, and residential properties.
ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATION AND LITIGATION
- Negotiated USEPA project agreement and related private party and governmental agreements to implement the Ashtabula and Ottawa River and Harbor Dredging projects under the Great Lakes Legacy Act of 2002, including supplemental funding under the Water Resources Development Act with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
- Served as common counsel for several defense groups in large, multi-party cost recovery actions where he has negotiated favorable settlements and site-specific apportionment of response costs among a majority of the parties, including related natural resource damage settlements.
- Represented hazardous waste transporter in defense of claimed violations of federal and state regulations.
- Represented industrial clients as well as a defense group made up of potentially responsible parties in a government-initiated cost-recovery action under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act.
- Obtained favorable arbitration results for a Fortune 500 company utilizing a detailed and technical evaluation of the site and the client’s activities in relation to the clean-up work ordered by U.S. EPA.
- Litigated a state of Ohio enforcement action involving allegations of an illegal treatment, storage and disposal facility resulting from the improper use of a floor drain and solid waste disposal facility.
- Represented developers in defense of claims by federal and state agencies related to claimed violation of the Clean Water Act for filling of wetlands.
PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY & DISCIPLINE
- Defended accountants and attorneys against professional malpractice claims in federal and state court.
- Represented lawyers and law firms in disputes arising from separation of practices and termination of employment, including dissolution of a law firm under bankruptcy court supervision.
WHITE-COLLAR CRIMINAL DEFENSE
- Aggressive pre-trial motion practice resulted in the voluntary dismissal by prosecutors of wide-ranging state RICO charges against a local businessman.
- Persuaded federal prosecutors to not bring criminal charges against a developer under the Clean Water Act for filling wetlands.
- Defended the first-ever case tried under the Economic Espionage Act of 1996, resulting in 19 of 21 counts either being dismissed or resulting in acquittal. After two rounds of appeals and three different sentencing hearings, our client was sentenced to a year of probation and a $5,000 fine.
- Represented one of the county’s largest government contractors in a grand jury investigation that ultimately led to the indictment and conviction of numerous individuals. Through our vigorous work during the investigation, we persuaded prosecutors not to indict our client.
- Represented CFO and general counsel of publicly traded companies in Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigations.
- Defended criminal and civil antitrust enforcement actions brought by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office involving allegations of bid rigging, territorial allocation and antitrust conspiracy in the dairy, scrap metal, road construction and industrial equipment industries.
- Represented companies and individuals in white-collar criminal matters of bankruptcy and health care fraud, Davis-Bacon Act compliance, procurement fraud, antitrust and securities enforcement, IRS tax matters and ERISA benefit matters.
- Defended companies and individuals in matters involving securities fraud, political corruption, nursing home operations and state gaming laws.
- AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell for over 28 years.
- 2020 – Named the Best Lawyers® 2020 Litigation-Environmental “Lawyer of the Year” in Cleveland.
- 2006-2020 – Selected for inclusion in the 2006-2019 editions of The Best Lawyers in America©. Listed in the current edition for Bet-the-Company Litigation; Commercial Litigation; Criminal Defense: White-Collar; Litigation-Construction; Litigation-Environmental.
- 2018 – Named the Best Lawyers® 2018 Litigation-Environmental “Lawyer of the Year” in Cleveland.
- 2004-2020 – Selected to Ohio Super Lawyers list. Areas of practice: Criminal Defense: White Collar; Environmental Litigation; Commercial Litigation.
- 2019 – Named by Ohio Super Lawyers to its 2019 “Top 100” Ohio attorneys list and its 2019 “Top 50 Cleveland Area” attorneys list. These lists include those lawyers who ranked highest in the 2019 Ohio Super Lawyers nomination, research and blue ribbon review process.
- 2018 – Named by Ohio Super Lawyers to its 2018 “Top 100” Ohio attorneys list and its 2018 “Top 50 Cleveland Area” attorneys list. These lists include those lawyers who ranked highest in the 2018 Ohio Super Lawyers nomination, research and blue ribbon review process.
- 2005-2019: Selected for inclusion in Chambers USA. Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Ohio).
- 2016 – Received Lifetime Achievement Membership among “America’s Top 100 Attorneys®.”
- 2016 – Named the Best Lawyers® 2016 Litigation-Environmental “Lawyer of the Year” in Cleveland.
- Four Added Practice Areas, 24 New Attorneys Enhance Client Service: Firm now offers IP, public and structured finance, loan workouts and liquor control law
- Walter | Haverfield law firm is growing at record rate
Ralph is a respected and sought-after speaker. Recent engagements include:
- Presentation to the Ohio State Bar Association Environmental Law Section on dredging projects utilizing Great Lakes Legacy Act funding
- “Negotiations 101: Plea Agreements, Sentencing, Attorney-Client Privilege, Pre-Trial Diversion (1.0),” panel discussion in seminar on “White Collar Crime: Latest Trends and Best Practices,” sponsored by the CMBA and Federal Bar Association, Northern District of Ohio Chapter
- Fellow, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association
- American and Ohio Bar Associations
- Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America, The Trial Lawyer Honorary Society
- Master Bencher, The Judge John M. Manos Inn of Court
- Life Member, Conference of the Eighth Judicial District of Ohio
- Member, Judicial Advisory Committee to the U.S. District Court (Northern District of Ohio)
- Member of Panel of Mediators for Commercial Disputes – Cuyahoga County, Ohio Common Pleas Court
- Member, U.S. Attorney’s Advisory Council
- Leadership Cleveland, Class of 2006
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