Janine T. Avila
JANINE T. AVILA is a partner focusing her practice on complex civil and personal injury litigation, insurance coverage disputes, employment law, and ERISA. Ms. Avila brings invaluable knowledge and experience to the firm and her clients. In 2003, she became a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, a membership limited to trial lawyers achieving a trial verdict, award or settlement of one million dollars or more.
Ms. Avila is a published author, including “Kissing Cousins: The relationship of the dual-capacity doctrine to workers’ compensation” in the Tort Law Journal of Ohio. She also serves as a long-time editor for Ohio Trial Magazine. In addition, she has authored speeches such as “The Basics of Insurance Coverage” for the Ohio State Bar Association Insurance Seminar. The Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association, The Ohio Association for Justice, and the Ohio State Bar Association also requested her more advanced “Insurance Coverage” presentation.
Ms. Avila graduated from Miami University cum laude and is a summa cum laude graduate from the University of Toledo College of Law. A trial and appellate attorney with Connelly, Jackson & Collier LLP since 1994, she is admitted to practice in Ohio and in Michigan. She is past-President of the Toledo Women’s Bar Association. Her professional association memberships include the American Bar Association, Ohio State Bar Association, Toledo Bar Association where she is Chair of the Notaries Public Committee, and Ohio Association for Justice, where she was a trustee on the board of directors for the past nine years
When not practicing law, Ms. Avila is an avid runner and has served as President of Harbor Behavioral Health and the Alzheimer’s Association of Northwest Ohio.
To view Ms. Avila’s curriculum vitae, click here.
Steven P. Collier
STEVEN P. COLLIER is a nationally known trial lawyer who has been recognized since 1997 in The Best Lawyers in America, a referral guide to the legal profession in the United States. The publication Ohio Super Lawyers has recognized Collier since its inception in 2004. He is certified as a Civil Trial Advocate and a Civil Pretrial Practice Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy and is an Associate in the American Board of Trial Advocates, Ohio Chapter (currently serving as Secretary).
Widely respected by his peers, Mr. Collier served as President of the Ohio Association for Justice from 2001-2002. He has been a Trustee of the Ohio Association for Justice since 1989 and a Fellow since 2003. Mr. Collier has been Chair of the Lawyers and Doctors Committee of the Toledo Bar Association. He is a member of the American College of Legal Medicine. In 2005, Collier authored the Minority Report for the Ohio Medical Malpractice Commission, a nine-member panel appointed to study the effects of the Medical Malpractice Bill (S.B. 281). Mr. Collier has lectured extensively throughout Ohio for the Ohio Association for Justice, local bar associations, Ohio Legal Center Institute, and the National Business Institute in the areas of personal injury and medical malpractice. He has served as Co-Chair of the Annual Fundraising for LAWO and ABLE which provides assistance for those who cannot afford attorneys. Also, he was appointed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio to serve on a task force to formulate guidelines for court reporter certification.
Mr. Collier has been a member of the adjunct faculty at the University of Toledo Medical Center since 1992 teaching Law & Medicine. He was an adjunct teacher at the University of Toledo College of Law teaching Trial Practice from 1997 to 2004.
Since 2011, Mr. Collier has been using his many years of trial experience to serve as a mediator in cases.
Mr. Collier graduated from Wittenberg University cum laude and from the University of Cincinnati College of Law, with honors. He was admitted to the Ohio Bar in 1981. He is a member of the Toledo, Ohio State, and American Bar Associations and is a Fellow of the Ohio and Toledo Bar Foundations.
Mr. Collier recently authored “Ohio Personal Injury – A Comprehensive Guide,” which explores the types of personal injury claims and provides insight into how the legal process works so as to better understand it. The Guide can be found at www.ohiopersonalinjuryguide.com.
To view Mr. Collier’s curriculum vitae, click here.
If you would like to learn more about Mr. Collier, click
- President-Elect American Board of Trial Advocates (Ohio Chapter)
- Past-President Ohio Associate of Justice
- National Board of Trial Advocacy (Civil Trial Advocate)
- Best Lawyers in America since 1977
- Ohio Super Lawyers since 2004
- AV rated Martindale Hubbell
- Taught at University of Toledo College of Medicine and University of Toledo School of Law
- Active mediation practice
Some of the important principles which have helped me accomplish these things were learned in Deshler, a small farm town in northwest Ohio, where I was raised. My family, friends and teachers taught me that hard work, honesty and empathy are mandatory components of success, no matter how it is defined. I have tried to live by these principles and to apply them in my daily life, as well as to the practice of law, for the past thirty-one years.
In Deshler, almost every teenager’s first job was walking through the numerous corn fields detasseling corn so that hybrid seed corn could be created. The days were long and hot and the pay not so much. After spending my early summers detasseling corn, I later worked as a roofer, house insulator, plumber’s assistant, factory worker, waterline builder, and line-employee at the local egg processing plant. All of these experiences have allowed me to understand and appreciate both struggles and achievements.
My background has allowed me to effectively empathize with the personal injury victims and I feel comfortable in the role of the underdog trying to bring back justice for my clients. I have worked on and resolved many types of personal injury and wrongful death cases. Several of these cases are listed below.
Cases Resolved by Trial or Settlement
A. Work Place Injury
1. Crane collapse resulting in death
2. Scaffold collapse resulting in death
3. Excavation cave-ins resulting in deaths
4. Improperly secured steel coil tipped over on worker injuring leg
5. Worker struck by dump truck at work site
6. Forklift pinned worker injuring back and leg
7. Punch press injury resulting in amputation of hand
8. Slip and fall on oil by employee at third party location
9. Employee forced to work against doctor’s restrictions resulting in foot amputation
10. Forklift operator fell off loading dock because truck wheels not properly blocked
11. Negligent transfer of hot petroleum product causing burns to arms and hands
12. Fall off truck due to lack of place to safely stand
13. Fall through ceiling of store due to defective catwalk
14. Temporary wall fell over on employee causing injury
1. Bus carrying college baseball team crashing resulting in injury and death
2. Church van crashing resulting in injuries
3. Multiple automobile collisions resulting in injury and death
4. Multiple automobile/motorcycle collisions resulting in injury and death
5. Multiple truck/auto collisions resulting in injury and death
6. Multiple motor vehicle/pedestrian collisions resulting in injury and death
7. Multiple bicycle/auto collisions resulting in injury and death
8. Snowmobile collision resulting in severe injury and death
9. Negligent operation of dump truck catching overhead wires and injuring worker
10. Negligent operation of truck without proper lights resulting in death
11. Debris falling off truck causing motor vehicle following it to crash
12. Multiple uninsured motorist cases
13. Multiple underinsured motorist cases
C. Medical Negligence
1. Multiple birth injury cases
2. Failure to diagnose thyroid cancer with resulting metastasis
3. Failure to diagnose brachial artery occlusion resulting in below the elbow amputation
4. Failure to diagnose pulmonary embolism resulting in death
5. Negligently performed breast replacement surgery
6. Negligently performed bi-lateral carpal tunnel surgery resulting in permanent injury
7. Failure to surgically resect cancerous lung tumor
8. Negligent injection causing permanent damage to arm
9. Negligently performed laparoscopic colosectomy
10. Negligent administration of wrong medication resulting in severe permanent brain injury
11. Failure to diagnose unilateral cataract in child resulting in compromised vision
12. Negligent administration of dye resulting in anaphylactic shock and death
13. Failure to diagnose breast cancer
14. Failure to properly transfer patient, resulting in fall
15. Failure to prevent patient from wandering from nursing home – severe leg
injury when fell
16. Failure to prevent patient from wandering from assisted living facility – death
17. Chiropractic malpractice resulting in stroke
18. Failure of hospital to prevent patient from falling out of bed
19. Negligent patient management resulting in stroke
20. Negligent manipulation in physical therapy resulting in disc injury
21. Failure to diagnose bone tumor
22. Operating at wrong level during back surgery
23. Failure to removal metal from eye after work place injury resulting in compromised vision
24. Failure to diagnose bone tumor in leg
25. Failing to remove forceps after surgery
26. Negligent use of laser during gynecological surgery
27. Wrongful diagnosis of cancer resulting in hysterectomy
28. Failing to retain biopsy sample resulting in additional monitoring and emotional distress
29. Negligent administration of physical therapy resulting in fracture
D. Product Liability
1. Ortho Evra birth control – multi district litigation – injuries included stroke and deep vein thrombosis
2. Defective step stool that broke and collapsed
3. Defective lawn mower that tipped over
4. Defective tree step that failed
5. Asbestos claims
1. Dog bite
2. Dog knocking down bicyclist
3. Dog chasing child into traffic – struck by car
4. Horse kicked bystander
F. Premises Liability
1. Slip and fall primarily at commercial establishments or apartments
2. Deck collapse at house
3. Negligence in failing to provide security resulting in sexual assault
4. Negligent failure to cut tree down resulting in tree falling on and killing child
5. Negligent failure to warn and guard against dye pit – severe burns to victims
6. Improperly stacked items at store falling on customer
7. Winery collapse resulting in multiple injuries
8. Wire stretched over pathway resulting in death of bicyclist
G. Cases Against Governmental Entities
1. Car striking pot hole where road negligently maintained
2. Car leaving road on loose stones due to failure to place proper signage
3. Negligent supervision of furloughee who escaped and killed citizen
4. Police use of excessive force
5. School liability for death on road adjacent to playground
6. School liability for death at bus stop
7. Negligent operation of motor vehicle by sheriff deputy, resulting in serious injury to other motorist
8. High school student struck by discus
1. Railroad crossing deaths – motorists vs. train
2. Propane explosion at home
3. Overhead wire electrocution
4. Model plane going out of control and striking citizen in park
5. Air hose malfunction at gas station resulting in injury
6. Pharmacy error – wrong medication given
7. Food poisoning, resulting in sickness, hospitalization and death
8. Serving alcohol to intoxicated person who drove and caused multiple deaths
9. Serving of alcohol to minor who drove motor vehicle and was injured
10. Pipe bomb explosion at social event resulting in injury of bystander
11. Assault in restaurant/bar resulting in facial scar
12. Negligence of teenager shooting BB gun – brain injury
13. Negligence of teenager shooting paint ball gun – eye injury
14. Negligent operation of boat resulting in back injury to passenger
15. Bystander struck by shot put at high school track event
16. Negligent hiring of worker who sexually assaulted customer
I. Ohio Counties where cases have been resolved
William M. Connelly
WILLIAM M. CONNELLY (email@example.com) began his esteemed career in 1964, where he was an associate with Eastman & Smith until 1969. His practice was limited to litigation primarily involving insurance defense law. For the next three years, Mr. Connelly was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, in charge of the Toledo, Ohio office.
While so employed, he was specially assigned by the United States Department of Justice as a Prosecutor in the case entitled United States of America v. Berrigan, which trial gained national attention. For his efforts, Mr. Connelly received a special commendation from the Attorney General of the United States.
Since 1972, Mr. Connelly has been in the private practice of law, concentrating his practice in personal injury, medical malpractice, complex business litigation, and federal white collar criminal defense.
From 1968 to 1975, Mr. Connelly was on the adjunct faculty of the University of Toledo College of Law, teaching Trial Practice. He was an adjunct professor at the University of Toledo College of Medicine from 1986 to 1992. In 1992, Mr. Connelly was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the University of Toledo Medical Center (formerly known as Medical College of Ohio) and served as Chairman of its Board of Trustees from 1999 to 2001. In April of 2001, Connelly was appointed Vice President and General Counsel of the University of Toledo Medical Center, where he served until May 2004.
Mr. Connelly has been a lecturer at seminars hosted by the Ohio State Bar Association, Toledo Bar Association, and the Ohio Association for Justice. He is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates. He is a member of the American, Ohio State, and Toledo Bar Associations, and is a Fellow of the American, Ohio and Toledo Bar Foundations. In 1995, Mr. Connelly received the University of Toledo Law Alumni Association Distinguished Toledo Lawyer Award. Since 1987, Mr. Connelly has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America, a referral guide of attorneys in the United States. He is also a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.
Mr. Connelly graduated cum laude from John Carroll University with a Bachelor of Science and received a Juris Doctor from The Ohio State University. He was admitted to practice law in 1964 and has been senior partner of Connelly, Jackson & Collier LLP since 1978.
Reginald S. Jackson, Jr.
REGINALD S. JACKSON, JR. focuses his practice in the area of complex business litigation, including civil prosecution of major fraud cases, breach of contract, and minority shareholder claims. He has tried cases in both state and federal court on behalf of Owens-Illinois, Owens Corning, KeyBank, PNC, the Texas Department of Insurance, and the Ohio Department of Administrative Services.
Mr. Jackson’s practice also includes the areas of federal white collar criminal defense and professional liability. In 1978, he, together with Bill Connelly, formed the firm now known as Connelly, Jackson & Collier LLP.
Mr. Jackson is a board certified Civil Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy having completed a lengthy certification process including peer review of work and a rigorous written exam. In the state of Ohio there are fewer than 130 certified civil trial advocates.
As part of his ongoing commitment to the profession, Mr. Jackson served as President of the Ohio State and Toledo Bar Associations and is a Fellow of the American, Ohio State and Toledo Bar Foundations. He served in the House of Delegates for the American Bar Association, where he was first appointed in 1996. Mr. Jackson concluded his service to the Ohio State Bar Foundation in 2010, on which board he was first appointed in 1998, and served as President in 2008. He is also a frequent lecturer at seminars hosted by the Ohio State and Toledo Bar Associations. Mr. Jackson has been selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America in the categories of Federal White Collar Crime and Commercial Litigation. Mr. Jackson was awarded the Ohio Bar Medal by the Ohio State Bar Association 2010 for his unusually meritorious service to the legal profession, to the community and to humanity. Mr. Jackson was also a recipient of the Toledo Bar Association’s Order of the Heel in 2010, which is given to a senior member of the Bar who has given most unselfishly of his or her time, talents, and energies to assist young lawyers. He was selected as the Distinguished Lawyer of 2012 by the Toledo Bar Association and the University of Toledo.
Prior to forming Connelly, Jackson & Collier LLP, Mr. Jackson was appointed and served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio where he tried complex business and criminal cases on behalf of the U.S. Department of Justice. Additionally, he was an adjunct faculty member of the University of Toledo College of Law, teaching Trial Practice for several years. Mr. Jackson received his Juris Doctor and Bachelor of Arts from The Ohio State University.
To view Mr. Jackson’s curriculum vitae, click here.
Tammy Geiger Lavalette
TAMMY G. LAVALETTE graduated cum laude from Ohio University in 1992, and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Toledo College of Law in 1999. Ms. Lavalette was admitted to practice in Ohio in 1999. She is also admitted to practice in the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.
Ms. Lavalette is a member of the Toledo, Ohio State, and American Bar Associations, and the Ohio Association for Justice.
Timothy P. Nackowicz
TIMOTHY P. NACKOWICZ practices primarily in the areas of complex business litigation, probate and trust disputes, legal-malpractice defense, insurance-coverage matters, and personal-injury litigation, representing clients in Ohio state and federal courts, as well as in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. He is also admitted to the United States Supreme Court.
Mr. Nackowicz represents a wide variety of individuals and companies, ranging from small sole proprietorships to Fortune 500 corporations. This diversity in experience has led him to adopt an aggressive, yet principled and practical, approach to litigation, which has proven most effective for his clients, both in terms of success and cost.
Mr. Nackowicz was a member of the trial team that favorably resolved 11 arbitration proceedings in the Chrysler Group LLC Franchise Arbitrations. As part of the 2009 Chrysler LLC bankruptcy, numerous automobile dealers were rejected, and Congress subsequently granted those dealers the right to seek addition to the New Chrysler dealer network via binding arbitration. Working closely with several national law firms, Mr. Nackowicz and other CJC Law attorneys successfully concluded all matters for which they were retained.
Mr. Nackowicz is a 2000 cum laude graduate of Miami University, and a 2003 with honors graduate of The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. Active in professional organizations, he is a member of the Toledo and Ohio State Bar Associations. Mr. Nackowicz is also active in his community, teaching elementary students as a Junior Achievement volunteer. He also enjoys playing golf and soccer, and is a member of Hudson Lodge #510, F.&.A.M., and Zenobia Shriners, where he serves on the Legal, By-Laws, and Membership Committees.
Adam S. Nightingale
ADAM S. NIGHTINGALE is an associate focusing his practice on complex business litigation and insurance-coverage matters. His areas of practice also include general-litigation matters, personal-injury claims, and federal white-collar-criminal defense. Additionally, Mr. Nightingale represents individuals and businesses in civil and administrative licensing matters with the United States Drug Enforcement Administration.
Mr. Nightingale graduated magna cum laude from the University of Toledo College of Law in 2005, after receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the Ohio State University in 2002. During law school, Mr. Nightingale served as Assistant Executive Editor of the Law Review and worked as an extern in the chambers of the Hon. Judge David A. Katz of the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio. After law school, Mr. Nightingale served as the first judicial law clerk to the then-newly-appointed Hon. Jack Zouhary of the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio.
Mr. Nightingale is an active member of the Toledo legal community. He is a former Chair of the Toledo Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Committee, and is a member of the Executive Board of the Toledo Junior Bar Association. He is a member of the Toledo Bar Association, the Ohio State Bar Association, the American Bar Association, and the Northern District of Ohio Chapter of the Federal Bar Association. Mr. Nightingale was recognized as a Rising Star in 2010 and 2012 by the publication Ohio Super Lawyers.
Nightingale was admitted to practice law in Ohio in 2005. He is also admitted to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and the U.S. District Courts for the Northern District of Ohio and Western District of Michigan.
H. Buswell Roberts, Jr.
H. BUSWELL ROBERTS, JR. has more than 35 years of experience representing corporations and secured and unsecured creditors in bankruptcy proceedings. In addition, he regularly provides general business advice to corporations. He is admitted to practice law in Ohio and Virginia as well as the federal courts in Ohio, Michigan, Virginia and the U.S. Tax Court. He is board certified in business bankruptcy by the American Board of Certification.
Mr. Roberts’ background in the practice of corporate bankruptcy, insolvency, workouts, restructuring and general corporate and commercial litigation complements CJC’s ongoing emphasis on trial practice and its focus on complex business litigation, plaintiffs’ personal injury and medical malpractice cases.
Mr. Roberts graduated cum laude from the University of Toledo College of Law in 1975 and received his B.S. degree in Management with High Honors from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1972. He was Editor-in-Chief of the University of Toledo College of Law Review and served as a law clerk to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio Western Division from 1975 through 1977. He was also a bankruptcy trustee for 12 years.
Mr. Roberts also maintains a practice in Blacksburg, Virginia, while serving Ohio clients in his capacity with Connelly, Jackson & Collier. His firm was named a “Super Lawyers Tier One Top Law Firm” in Virginia for solo practice in business and transactions in 2012 and was recently listed as one of the Best Law Firms by US News and World Report.
Mr. Roberts is a member of the Virginia and Ohio Bar Associations. He is also a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute.
To view Mr. Roberts’ curriculum vitae, click here.
Steven R. Smith
STEVEN R. SMITH is a partner devoting his time to business litigation, with a concentration on representing policyholders in insurance coverage matters. He has asserted claims for coverage under commercial general liability, property, directors and officers, legal malpractice and business interruption policies. He has obtained coverage for numerous clients, even when insurance companies first denied coverage.
He has litigated insurance coverage issues, negotiated settlements with insurance companies for claims, and conducted coverage reviews for clients facing liability claims from third parties in both state and federal court. He has briefed and argued cases in the Ohio Supreme Court.
Mr. Smith has also tried and prosecuted appeals of lawsuits involving construction, securities, lender liability, and shareholder disputes. He has defended directors and officers against regulatory agencies.
Mr. Smith is an honors graduate of Miami University and the University of Toledo College of Law, and also earned a Masters degree from The Ohio State University. He was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1980. Mr. Smith is a member of the Toledo and Ohio State Bar Associations and is a Fellow of the Ohio and Toledo Bar Foundations. He serves as Chair of the Bench Bar – Kiroff Committee for the Toledo Bar Association. He is also a member of the Ohio Association for Justice and Toledo Women’s Bar Association. He served as a Trustee of the Toledo Bar Association from 1997 to 2006 and was President of the Toledo Bar Association for the term commencing in 2004. Mr. Smith has been President of the Toledo Junior Bar and a member of numerous bar association committees. He is also a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, and has served as a lecturer for the Ohio State Bar Association, the Ohio Legal Center Institute, the Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers, and the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association.