David A. Schaefer

McCarthy, Lebit, Crystal & Liffman Co., L.P.A.

Columbus, Ohio 43201


Business, Commercial, Construction, Contract, Discrimination, Employment, Legal Malpractice, Personal Injury, Professional Liability, Professional Malpractice, Sexual Harassment, Workplace

ADR Philosophy


Believes that a good mediator has to be more than a facilitator, i.e., he or she has to be thoroughly prepared and willing to communicate views and judgments as to the merits of the dispute. He/she has to also be willing to, tactfully, try to move parties away from their positions and, perhaps most importantly, to avoid an impasse. The goal of any mediation should be resolution of the dispute, although resolution does not always occur during the actual mediation.   A mediation can still be considered successful if it brings the parties substantially closer together and provides ideas or suggestions as to how they might resolve the case amongst themselves and counsel. Expects the parties and their counsel to be well prepared, thoroughly conversant with the facts and the law applicable to the dispute, and to be prepared to negotiate toward a resolution.


ADR Experience


Experienced in the arbitration of construction, commercial contract, employment, consumer sales and securities disputes. Substantial experience in the arbitration of employment disputes including, but not limited to, wrongful discharge cases; race, gender, and age discrimination cases; the break-up of medical corporations and partnerships; and the break-up of law firms. Recently served on a panel for a very complex construction  arbitration between a general contractor and a major hospital system and currently chairs an arbitration panel for a substantial interstate consumer case.


Experience as a Mediator


Served as a mediator in numerous employment disputes, primarily involving claims of age and sex discrimination, together with breach of contract, including violations of covenants not to compete, covenants not to solicit customers, and covenants not to solicit employees. These mediations have involved several industries, including fast food, manufacturing, and sales.


Has also served as a mediator in personal injury and wrongful death cases (in and outside the work place), product liability and insurance coverage, numerous construction cases, primarily between sub-contractors and general contractors, sometimes between general contractors and owners, and somewhat frequently between architects and owners. Served as a mediator in at least three cases involving product liability claims under the "economic loss" doctrine, together with its related theories.


Served as a mediator in securities claims, primarily those by retail customers against a broker and his/her current or former employer. These claims typically involve breach of fiduciary duty and failure to supervise. Also has served as a mediator in several legal and accounting malpractice actions.  


Representative Issues Handled as a Mediator


Issues involved age and sex discrimination, covenants not to compete, covenants not to solicit both employees and customers, public policy claims, the employment at will doctrine. In the construction area, issues have included delay claims, unforeseen conditions, liens on private and public projects, and design errors. The mediations involving the economic loss doctrine also typically involved claims of negligence, breach of contract, promissory estoppels, unjust enrichment, and negligent misrepresentation. The securities mediations typically involved claims by retail customers of failure to supervise brokers and breach of fiduciary duty by brokers and/or their employers. The personal injury cases typically have involved negligence claims arising out of vehicular accidents or slip-and-fall claims and intentional tort/work place injury claims. The product liability mediation involved issues of negligence, failure to warn, and strict liability. Insurance coverage cases have involved CGL policies faced with claims arising out of manufacturing or construction.


Multi Party Mediation Experience


Has mediated numerous complex cases, one involving 10 parties, several involving 5-7 parties and many involving 3-5 parties. The 10 party case involved alleged fraudulent conduct by a third-party administrator of a health care benefit fund. Two of the other cases involved subrogation claims related to substantial property damage arising out of fires. Another case involved two parties and two insurance companies in connection with a $10,000,000-$15,000,000 claim arising out of defective manufacture of toilets. Each party and each insurance company was represented by at least one attorney and sometimes two. This mediation lasted more than two days and did result in a settlement. Has mediated numerous 3-4 party construction claims. An additional multi-party mediation involved the break-up of a dental practice, which had three partners and, in two cases, the partners' spouses as owners of the dental practice. Each dentist was represented by counsel. The case was resolved after approximately 1 1/2 days in mediation.  Recently served as a mediator for five cases pending in two different states, all five of which were resolved.


Years of Practice as a Mediator 15


Total Number of Cases Mediated 125-135


Mediation Experience as an Advocate or Party


Served as an advocate in many mediations commencing in approximately 1986. With a general litigation practice, the types of cases are wide-spread, including but not limited to, breach of contract, employment, FMLA, construction, patent, trademark infringement, slip-and-fall, trip-and-fall, premises and product liability, and professional liability. Has handled approximately 60 cases with amounts in dispute ranging from $100,000 to $10,000,000.


Alternative Dispute Resolution Training


AAA Conducting Research and Investigations:  The Arbitrator’s Authority, 2014

AAA Dealing With Delay  Tactics in Arbitration, 2014

AAA Webinar, What’s a Respondent Like You Doing in a Place Like This? Confronting Arbitrability and Jurisdiction Issues in Arbitration, 2013

AAA Webinar, How Are Your (Negotiation) Table Manners?, 2012

AAA Webinar, Muscular Arbitration Series: Using Mediation Concurrent With Arbitration, 2012;

AAA Webinar, What's a Respondent Like You Doing in a Place Like This? Confronting Arbitrability and Jurisdiction Issues in Arbitration, 2011;

AAA Pro Se: Managing Cases Involving Self-Represented Parties (ACE002), 2009;

AAA Arbitration Roadmap: The Standard for Efficient and Cost Effective Arbitration, 2008;

AAA Arbitration Awards: Safeguarding, Deciding & Writing Awards (ACE001), 2007;

AAA Chairing an Arbitration Panel: Managing Procedures, Process & Dynamics (ACE005), 2006;

AAA Dealing with Delay Tactics (ACE004), 2005;

AAA Commercial Arbitrator II Training: Advanced Case Management Issues, 2002;

AAA Arbitrator Update 2001;

AAA Commercial Arbitrator Training, 1999;

AAA Employment Arbitrator Training, 1998;

AAA Construction Arbitrator Training, 1997;

AAA Employment Law Orientation, 1996.

Areas of Practice

  • Complex Business Litigation
  • Product Liability and Personal Injury
  • Employment Discrimination Litigation
  • Construction Litigation
  • Intellectual Property Litigation

Bar Admissions

  • Ohio
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of Ohio
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of Ohio
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 6th Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court


  • Case Western Reserve University School of Law, Cleveland, Ohio
    • J.D.
    • Honors: National Moot Court Team
    • Law Review: Case Western Law Review, Associate
  • Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois
    • M.A.
    • Major: Economics
  • Miami University, Oxford, Ohio
    • B.S. (Cum Laude)
    • Honors: Dean's List

Honors and Awards

  • National Institute for Trial Advocacy, Selected Instructor
  • The Best Lawyers in America©, 2003 - 2014
  • Inside Business Magazine, Cleveland's Top Litigators, 2002 - 2013
  • Super Lawyers, Cleveland's Top 50 Lawyers, 2003, 2007-2014
  • Ohio Super Lawyers Top List, 2004 - 2014

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Eighth District Judicial Conference, Life Member
  • Sixth Circuit Judicial Conference, Life Member
  • Cleveland Bar Foundation, Fellow
  • Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, ADR Committee, Member
  • Federal Bar Association, Cleveland Chapter, Past President
  • American Inns of Court, Anthony J. Celebrezze, Founding Member, Master Bencher
  • International Association of Defense Counsel, Member
  • Litigation Counsel of America, Fellow



Thanks for the great job mediating in our case, especially in light of the difficult, strong personalities involved.  You handled the case very capably, and I would not hesitate to recommend you to mediate any dispute.

Matt Wiles
Dinsmore & Shohl, LLP


I wanted to thank you for your services as a mediator. You have a very nice approach to conducting your mediations. I would not hesitate to recommend to a client or another lawyer your services in the future.

Douglas W. Ross
Daniel Daniluk, LLC

101 West Prospect Street

Cleveland, OH 44115


Fax: 216-696-1210