CRUG Obtains Jury Trial Defense Verdict for Tree Service Company in Negligence Action Claim

In Cerne, et al. v. VanCuren Services, Inc., et al., Lake C.P. No. 21CVV000731 (March 9, 2022), after a 3-day jury trial Patrick M. Roche received a defense verdict for a tree service company and its employee that had a negligence action brought against them by a landscaper who sustained injuries when his hand was crushed in the gate of a company dump truck.

Our client delivered a truckload of mulch to the plaintiff.  The plaintiff’s hand was crushed while shoveling mulch out of the back of the dump truck.  Plaintiff alleged that our client negligently operated the truck bed which caused the gate to crush plaintiff’s hand.

Pat successfully argued the affirmative defenses of contributory negligence and assumption of the risk.  The jury determined that, while our client may have been negligent, his negligence was not the direct and proximate cause of plaintiff’s injuries.




Released November 4, 2021– Collins, Roche, Utley & Garner is pleased to announce that we have again been ranked in the 2022 U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” list in two regions and in three practice areas.  U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers®, for the eleventh consecutive year, announce “Best Law Firms” rankings.

Firms included in the 2022 “Best Law Firms” list are recognized for professional excellence with persistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. Achieving a ranking indicates a unique combination of quality law practice and breadth of legal expertise. Rankings reflect the high level of respect a firm has earned among other leading lawyers and clients in the same communities and the same practice areas for their abilities, their professionalism and their integrity.


CRUG received the following rankings in the 2022 U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms”:

Metropolitan Tier 1

  • Cleveland, Ohio
    • Insurance Law
    • Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants
  • Columbus, Ohio
    • Insurance Law

Metropolitan Tier 3

  • Columbus, Ohio
    • Construction Law



Congratulations to Newly Promoted Partner, Sunny Horacek

Congratulations to our Newly Promoted Partner Sunny Horacek!  CRUG is pleased to announce that Sunny has been promoted to partner, effective October 1, 2021.

In just a little over six years at CRUG, Sunny has honed and expanded her civil litigation talent handling insurance coverage claims, bad faith, construction litigation, product liability, and personal injury cases. She has gained ample experience in both state and federal courts, with a specialty in matters having a substantial discovery burden, and specifically federal court discovery management. Sunny has been named a “Super Lawyers: Rising Star®” every year since 2017. Additionally, Sunny has been part of litigation and trial teams in some of Ohio’s largest insurance cases, including opioid coverage, COVID-19 BI claims and long-tail exposure cases. She also has experience in the courts of appeal. As a result of her experience, Sunny has also been involved in training other Ohio lawyers in the challenges presented in practice areas.



5 CRUG Attorneys recognized including “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers® 2022

We are pleased to announce 5 CRUG Attorneys are being recognized along with Richard Garner earning the distinction of “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers® 2022. The “Lawyer of the Year” recognition is awarded to individual attorneys with the highest overall peer feedback for a specific practice area and geographic location. Only one lawyer is recognized as the “Lawyer of the Year” for each specialty and location.


CRUG Wins Appeal in Eighth District Upholding Trial Court Verdict of No Fault for Indoor Soccer Sport Park Owner

In Kumar v. Sevastos, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No.109795, 2021-Ohio-1885, Ron Ziehm and Jaren Webster successfully defended the owner of an indoor soccer facility against a negligence action brought by a soccer player who sustained injuries when he collided with the wall during an indoor soccer game.

The Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant-owner of the facility based on the open-and-obvious doctrine and the doctrine of primary assumption of risk. The Eighth Appellate District affirmed.

Notably, the Eighth District determined that the defendant-owner owed no duty to warn the plaintiff of any danger posed by the open-and-obvious boundary wall, and that no “attendant circumstances” created an exception to the open-and-obvious doctrine. Specifically, the court found that neither a slide-tackle by an opposing player nor the boundary wall itself (alleged to be a “negligent safety design”) were “attendant circumstances” because neither diverted the plaintiff’s attention or otherwise caused him to fail to perceive the open-and-obvious wall.