Jillian L. Dinehart


    Jillian is a member of the Professional Liability Department with a diverse and robust practice. Jillian defends municipalities and their employees in high-risk contract and tort matters, including wrongful death actions, labor and employment issues and allegations of civil rights violations. She also assists with privacy and data breach matters, helping clients to reduce cyber risk exposures and navigate incident response, containment and compliance measures following a data breach.  An additional focus of Jillian's practice is devoted to defending corporate and individual insureds in product liability, construction and other premises liability and personal injury claims. Notably, Jillian has practiced in both the state and federal system and has argued before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

    Jillian grew up in the Finger Lakes region of New York and graduated from SUNY Albany with a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and concentrations in Spanish and Arabic Language studies. She went on to receive her juris doctor from Case Western Reserve University School of Law, where she began her litigation career as an award-winning student in the Criminal Defense Clinic.  Before joining Marshall Dennehey in 2017, Jillian had a varied civil practice working as a judicial staff attorney as well as an assistant director of law.  She continues to use those public-sector skills in advocating for her political subdivision clients.

    Outside of the office you are likely to find Jillian anywhere music can be found or walking her dogs through the Cleveland MetroParks.

    Significant Representative Matters

    Jillian’s Motion to Dismiss was affirmed on appeal after the Ninth District Court of Appeals found that Plaintiff had sued a non sui juris entity by suing a county department in a personal injury suit.  The Plaintiff initially filed suit against the department, and later dismissed without prejudice to allow more time to develop Plaintiff’s medical records.  When he refiled his suit, he again named a county department as the defendant.  Jillian filed a Motion to Dismiss arguing that a county department does not have the capacity to be sued.  Plaintiff then filed a Motion to Amend the Complaint and named the county.  Jillian then filed a Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint arguing that the plaintiff was outside of the statute of limitations and that the change in defendant could not relate back to the originally filed suit.  Plaintiff’s argument that naming the department was merely a misnomer and that the Amended Complaint should relate back to the original filing failed and the trial court dismissed the case.  After oral argument, the appellate court affirmed the decision.

    In 2023, Jillian went to trial in a motor-vehicle accident case in which she represented a driver that had died while the case was pending.  There was also a large, financially successful, corporate co-defendant represented by other counsel.  The plaintiff had sustained a broken arm in the accident that was surgically repaired.  Jillian’s client had admitted liability, so the case was solely to be heard on the value of the injury, and the liability of the corporate co-defendant.  Likely counting on the deep pockets of the co-defendant, the Plaintiff’s pre-suit demand was not rationally related to the injury or in the realm of similar verdicts in the region.  During the first day of trial, Jillian formed a clear rapport with the jury panel, often engaging in friendly banter with the potential jurors about their own experiences in car accidents, injuries similar to the plaintiff’s, and the social impact of surgical scars.  This rapport was in direct contrast to a very dry voir dire by plaintiff’s counsel and was bolstered by a similarly friendly voir dire by the co-defendant’s counsel.  The parties completed their opening statements and returned to court in the morning, at which time the plaintiff asked to engage in settlement discussions.  As a result of Jillian’s trial performance, the case settlement for $1.5 Million less than the plaintiff’s demand the day before trial.

    Classes/Seminars Taught

    Ohio Personal Injury Litigation: Secrets Only the Top Attorneys Know, National Business Institute (NBI) Webinar, December 15, 2022

    Political Subdivision Tort Liability, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, August 2015

    Published Works

    "Understanding Municipalities' Rights and Liabilities in Weapons and Ordnance Legislation," Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Journal (page 18), December 2022

    “Transferring a Plaintiff’s Burden to the Court: In-Camera Inspections Are a Necessary Burden for Most Courts in Ohio,” Defense Digest, Vol. 27, No. 5, December 2021

    Pro Bono Activities

    Brief Advice Clinic with Legal Aid Society of Greater Cleveland, 2009

    Immigration Clinic with Catholic Charities, 2009

    AmeriCorps Service Member benefitting Legal Aid of Western New York, 2009

    U.S. District Court Northern District of Ohio
    Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals
    Case Western Reserve University School of Law (J.D., 2010)
    State University of New York at Albany (B.A., magna cum laude, 2006)
    Honors & awards
    The Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch®, Health Care Law
    The Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch©, Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants
    Associations & memberships
    American Bar Association
    Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association
    Year joined