Melissa D. Bertke

Partner

Cleveland
T +1.216.861.7865
F +1.216.696.0740

Overview

Melissa Bertke is a skilled complex commercial litigator and trial attorney who is adept at analyzing and advising on complicated litigation and pre-litigation matters. Her broad and varied practice includes advising and representing clients on business torts, contract disputes, advertising, First Amendment, intellectual property, employment and environmental claims.

Melissa has represented a wide range of industries in trials, arbitrations and appeals. In recent years, her client industries have included healthcare providers, insurance companies, media companies (television, newspapers and web-based publishers), energy (coal and gas) and manufacturers (pharmaceutical, automotive, aerospace, specialty chemical and construction materials).

Select Experience

  • Representing pharmaceutical company in multi-district litigation and state actions related to opioid medications.
  • As second-chair trial attorney, argued and won a directed verdict in favor of a television station and reporter in a case involving allegations of defamation and false light. Defeated subsequent appeal.
  • Defeated counterclaims and obtained all requested relief at summary judgment on behalf of a natural gas supplier in an action for breach of contract. Secured payment on that judgment and persuaded the defendant to dismiss appeal.
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Experience

  • Representing pharmaceutical company in multi-district litigation and state actions related to opioid medications.
  • As second-chair trial attorney, argued and won a directed verdict in favor of a television station and reporter in a case involving allegations of defamation and false light. Defeated subsequent appeal.
  • Defeated counterclaims and obtained all requested relief at summary judgment on behalf of a natural gas supplier in an action for breach of contract. Secured payment on that judgment and persuaded the defendant to dismiss appeal.
  • Defended private university in case involving discrimination, breach of contract and defamation claims arising from a student disciplinary proceeding.
  • Won summary judgment on behalf of a political subdivision facing employment and breach of contract claims.
  • Defended paper company in CERCLA cost-recovery action seeking over $1 billion in costs.
  • Represented aerospace manufacturer in multimillion-dollar contract dispute arising from asset purchase agreement. Drafted briefs and supervised discovery. Utilized e-discovery tools to minimize financial impact of litigation.
  • Represented publicly traded company during Department of Defense investigation related to government contracts and alleged False Claims Act violations.
  • Represented truck manufacturer in $20 million contract dispute with truck part supplier before the AAA.
  • Represented coal company in multiple appeals related to the Clean Water Act and 401 Certification before the Environmental Review Appeals Commission.
  • Represented a specialty chemical company in a contract dispute. Developed strategy, conducted discovery, deposed key witnesses and drafted the summary judgment brief.
  • Defended a national roofing manufacturer as lead counsel in multiple cases involving breach of contract and breach of warranty claims.
  • Successfully defended a publishing company as lead counsel in a putative class action challenging delivery methods, obtained summary judgment dismissing claims and defeated appeals to the Eighth District and Ohio Supreme courts.
  • Represented internet publishers on cases involving jurisdiction and statute of limitations issues unique to the internet and on cases involving the Communications Decency Act.
Reported Opinions
  • Sabino v. WOIO, LLC, 56 N.E.3d 368, 2016-Ohio-491.
  • Reddy v. Plain Dealer Publishing Co., 991 N.E.2d 1158, 2013-Ohio-2329, appeal not allowed, 136 Ohio St.3d 1559, 2013-Ohio-4861.
  • T.S. v. Plain Dealer, 194 Ohio App.3d 30, 954 N.E.2d 213, 2011-Ohio-2935, appeal not allowed, 129 Ohio St.3d 1492 (2011), cert. denied, 132 S.Ct. 1637 (2012).
  • Mattox v. Dillard’s, Inc., 8th Dist. No. 90991, 2008-Ohio-6488.
  • Copeland-Jackson v. Oslin, 555 F.Supp.2d 214 (D.D.C. 2008).
  • Great Lakes Capital Partners Ltd. v. Plain Dealer Publishing Co., 2008-Ohio-6495.

Recognitions and Memberships

Recognitions

  • Ohio Super Lawyers "Rising Star" (2014 to 2019)
  • YWCA Women of Professional Excellence Award (2015)

Community

  • Valley Art Center: Board of Trustees

Pro Bono

  • Assisted in the high-profile appeal of a civil lawsuit resulting in compensation paid to an Ohio man who was wrongfully convicted of murder due to a coerced confession he gave as a child.

Admissions

  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio, 2011
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio, 2006
  • Ohio

Education

  • J.D., University of Michigan Law School, 2006; Note Editor, University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform
  • B.A., Kenyon College, 2001