Mark Wagoner is a partner in the litigation practice group in the Toledo and Columbus offices. He is considered a go to litigator for franchise and distribution, commercial, securities, and corporate control disputes. Combining a unique background in government and the courtroom, Mark is often retained to help find solutions to complex problems involving difficult legal, political and business issues. He has been included in The Best Lawyers in America® and Ohio Super Lawyers® as a Rising Star in business litigation.
Mark is an accomplished litigator with extensive experience litigating high stakes cases in federal and state courts, including appeals. He has tried numerous cases to verdict and argued successfully before several appellate courts. He has also handled several major arbitrations.
- Served as lead counsel in protracted fight in federal court over whether national beer manufacturer could terminate its Ohio distributors. Secured a landmark victory for client enjoining the termination and the decision was affirmed on appeal by The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
- Served as trial counsel in jury trial in federal court over multi-million dollar real estate transaction. After a several day trial, jury returned with a complete defense verdict for client.
- Lead trial counsel on behalf of a major American airline in a bench trial in federal court. Judgment was entered in favor of client on all claims and the decision was affirmed on appeal by The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
- Lead trial counsel in successful jury trial in Michigan state court over franchise and distributorship issues.
- Counsel before The Ohio Supreme Court on the often-cited case of what constitutes a “security” under Ohio blue sky laws.
- Trial counsel in federal trial over a hotel franchise dispute. Judgment and damages awarded to client and case was a precedent setting one regarding the enforceability of liquidated damage clauses. The decision received nationwide attention in the hospitality industry. The decision was recognized by the ABA Annual Franchise and Distribution Update as one of the most significant of the year.
- Trial counsel in federal trial for civil rights claims that resulted in six figure compensatory and punitive damages in favor of client.
- Lead trial counsel in complex arbitration over distribution and payment for polyethylene pellets distributed across United States. Substantial award entered in favor of client for full amount owed.
- Successfully handled several temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunction hearings regarding employment covenants and trade secret issues.
- Part of Shumaker, Loop team on nationwide claims against Merrill Lynch for failure to pay deferred compensation to brokers.
Mark also has extensive experience in state government having been a member of the Ohio General Assembly for eight years. Mark retired in 2012 having never lost a primary or general election. Mark served as the State Senator for the Second District in The Ohio Senate, representing approximately 380,000 people in northwest Ohio. Mark was the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee in The Ohio Senate, one of the most influential committees in state government and was selected by his fellow Senators to serve as Majority Whip. In addition to these leadership roles, Mark also served as Vice-Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, a member of the Senate Rules and Reference Committee, a member of the State of Ohio Controlling Board, and as a Chairman of the Auto Industry Task Force, and Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Video Lottery Terminals in Ohio. Prior to his tenure in The Ohio Senate, Mark served in The Ohio House of Representatives State Representative of the 46th House District, where he was a member of the House Finance Committee, Public Utilities Committee, and Financial Institutions Committee.
Mark currently serves as a member of the Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission, a once-every-twenty year commission to recommend updates to Ohio’s Constitution. Mark also served as the legislative Chairman of the Board of the Ohio Tuition Trust Authority, Ohio's 529 college savings plan with over $9 billion in assets, and helped guide the selection for a new executive director, a change in its investment manager, and joint governance with the Ohio Board of Regents.
Mark was the primary sponsor of many pieces of high-profile legislation over the past decade, including the creation of Ohio’s public-private economic develop agency, JobsOhio, the revisions to Ohio’s motor vehicle dealer laws in light of the 2008 financial crisis, the first ever merger of two major state universities in Ohio history, the renewal of the Clean Ohio Fund, the adoption of Ohio’s dormant mineral lease law now being used extensively in the development of Ohio’s Marcellus and Utica natural gas fields, the adoption of the Ohio Trust Code, and the revisions to Ohio's partnership laws, among many others. Mark has also helped to write the major franchise laws in Ohio over the past decade, including the revisions to the Ohio Business Opportunity Plan Act. He was also a key player in drafting the amendment to the Ohio Constitution to enable passage of the Great Lakes Compact. For his work, Mark has received numerous awards, including the Ohio Association of Justice "Legislator of the Year," the Council of State Government Toll Fellowship, the Ohio Nurses Association “Legislator of the Year,” the Ohio Convention and Visitors Bureau’s “Legislator of the Year,” the Vietnam Veterans of Ohio "Legislator of the Year," and the Lifeline of Ohio “Legacy Award” for his work on organ donation. Mark has also been named an Ohio Commodore by the Governor of Ohio and a Kentucky Colonel by the Governor of Kentucky. He was an Ohio Delegate to the 2008 and an Honorary Ohio Delegate to the 2012 Republican National Conventions.
Mark is a cum laude graduate of Georgetown University and The Ohio State University College of Law, which recognized him with its Outstanding Recent Alumni Award in 2006. While in law school, Mark was on the Managing Board of the Ohio State Law Journal and served as President of the Student Bar Association.
Mark has been appointed two times as a delegate to the Judicial Conference of The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit to represent the Northern District of Ohio, Western Division.
Mark is a three-time recipient of the Toledo Bar Association’s Pro Bono Service Award.
Mark is active in the community serving on many boards and commissions, including the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation, the National Statuary Collection Commission, the Lucas County Mental Health Recovery Board, Kids Unlimited, Valentine Theater, and has been appointed by the President of the Ohio State Bar Association to a special task force regarding judicial elections in Ohio.