Serving Cleveland For Over 45 Years
The law firm of Friedman, Domiano & Smith, (FDS) was established in 1988 with the mission to serve injured clients with the highest level of expertise, professionalism and integrity. Today, FDS continues to operate as one of Cleveland’s most reputable and successful law firms. FDS has become a recognized institution in northeast Ohio, whether it be because of the FDS logo on a nearby Region Transit Authority (RTA) bus or its long history of television commercials and print advertisements.
Jeff Friedman, the face behind all the action, is the managing partner of the law firm. When you meet Jeff in person, you experience his kind, hardworking and genuine character firsthand. However, not everyone knows about his lifelong physical battles and how one car accident changed his life and enriched his spirit to become the successful human being and lawyer he is today.
On July 9, 1964, the day after Jeff’s 17th birthday, what was meant to start out as a typical teenage weekend resulted in an event that impacted an entire lifetime. The initial plan involved the rental of a cottage for a weekend beach party at Geneva-on-the-Lake. During the evening drive to the cottage, Jeff and his friends became lost. The caravan of cars chose to stop, reconvene and then proceed on their way to the cottage. Jeff switched cars and ended up in a car with a newly licensed 16-year-old driver. Jeff did not know this driver well, but remembered the driver being warned to slow down multiple times after reaching speeds of 80 miles per hour. The driver lost control of the vehicle and veered off the road. He crashed the car into one tree and then another. Unfortunately, seat belts, a safety measure that could have prevented Jeff from being seriously injured, did not exist in vehicles at the time. Neither did laws to protect and compensate injured passengers of motor vehicle accidents.
From the accident scene, Jeff was initially transported to Geneva Memorial Hospital. He then spent another six weeks at Mount Sinai Medical Center. Medical professionals at the time were just starting to treat spinal cord injuries for patients suffering from these injuries during the Vietnam War. From August 1964 to September 1965, Jeff resided in a rehab center at Highland View Hospital. During this period, he was permitted to complete his high school requirements with tutorial support. He was also encouraged to apply to John Carroll University and was proudly accepted. To this day, Jeff retells heartfelt stories of how grateful he was to the university for constructing wheelchair ramps to make learning more accessible and to the university faculty mentors for their unconditional support. Jeff graduated cum laude from John Carroll University with a bachelor of arts degree in political science. He was the first recipient of the Scholastic and Political Achievement Award. Jeff continued his academic pursuits locally at Case Western Reserve University School of Law and graduated in 1972 with a juris doctor degree.
Jeff’s keen understanding of the law and appreciation of political science motivated his successful run for the University Heights City Council. He served on the council for 29 years and was elected by his council peers to be vice mayor for several terms. In that same time frame, Jeff worked as a part-time assistant attorney general of Ohio for close to 27 years. He was also appointed to numerous boards of organizations such as Easter Seals and the Spinal Cord Injury Foundation to further serve the greater Cleveland community.
Since passing the Ohio bar exam in 1973, Jeff has continued to practice law. He started his legal career as a sole practitioner in the same office as his future partner, David Smith. In 1980, Jeff’s classmate from college, Frank Chenette, left a high-powered Washington firm to join Jeff in a partnership called Friedman & Chenette. Jeff and Frank practiced together until 1987, when Joe Domiano and David Smith were invited to join in a new partnership. In late 1988, Frank ventured on his own, and the firm of Friedman, Domiano & Smith, as we know it today, was formed. Friedman, Domiano & Smith embarked upon the toughest cases, including rollover vehicles, and was the first to establish case law involving sudden acceleration of a vehicle, which we see today in Toyota litigation. The FDS team has handled cases such as those involving railroads, trucking, product liability, spinal cord injuries, medical malpractice, nursing home negligence, severe workplace injuries and more. It has successfully challenged insurance companies so that injured victims could receive damages after being denied their rights. The FDS attorneys have documented trial experience and are fully prepared to defend you in your “day in court,” if necessary.
The experience and capabilities of the FDS lawyers have led to successful decisions in many major cases in Ohio. These well-known cases include Hillyer v. Painesville Township, which resulted in a $1.6 million verdict, and Felden v. Ashland Chemical, which resulted in a $3.5 million verdict and was the largest intentional tort verdict in the state of Ohio. Another significant settlement was $6.3 million for a good Samaritan who lost both legs below the knees while pushing a disabled vehicle to the side of the road. A $900,000 confidential settlement was recently negotiated with a company for a worker who was severely injured when a machine malfunctioned.
At the present time, Jeff travels back and forth between Florida and Ohio, as he is licensed to practice law in both states. Technology permits immediate, 24/7 access to clients, both near and far, to service their needs in a seamless and timely manner.
Today, while continuing their quest to seek justice for the injured, FDS attorneys have forged new alliances in criminal law, civil rights litigation, employment law, Social Security and workers’ compensation.
FDS has most recently expanded service to its clients by offering free reviews of anyone’s insurance policies, wills and estates. The firm has evolved with the times to become a comprehensive, one-stop legal service center. You can depend on Friedman, Domiano & Smith to meet all your legal needs.
Jeff Friedman is a man of passion and determination who lives life to the fullest to attain his dreams and the dreams of other accident victims. When Jeff says to his clients, “I know, I’ve been there,” it’s the truth. He is the real deal. His accomplishments both within and outside the field of law are remarkable, and it is those achievements, along with a strong work ethic, that have made Friedman, Domiano & Smith a brand to be reckoned with in the legal community.