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Chelsea Mikula

Partner
Cleveland, OH | D 216.696.2476 | F 216.592.5009
overview

Chelsea Mikula is an experienced trial lawyer who represents clients nationwide in all aspects of commercial litigation, with a particular focus on shareholder disputes and ESOP litigation.

Chelsea has amassed significant trial experience early in her career. As a general commercial litigator, she has taken several cases to verdict at trial and in arbitration as co-counsel. She is often brought onto large trial teams to assist with preparation of witnesses and overall trial strategy. Chelsea has represented clients in complicated breach of contract actions and other business-related torts. She has a particular emphasis on shareholder disputes and cases involving business valuation issues. Chelsea's passion for truly getting to know clients allows her to better understand their businesses and help them solve problems quickly and efficiently.

Complementing her business litigation work and skills as a trial lawyer, Chelsea represents corporations and employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) trustees in litigation across the country.

At the start of her career, Chelsea spent a number of years focused on consumer product safety issues. Today she uses that knowledge to advise clients on compliance, reporting obligations, and recall effectiveness and in advertising disputes before the National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau and the National Advertising Review Board.

Chelsea has been ranked in the "Up and Coming" category in Chambers USA, where she was "praised for the breadth of her skills" and noted for providing "extreme attention to detail, effectively navigating a very complex matter from beginning to trial."

A native Clevelander, Chelsea enjoys being active in the Northeast Ohio community and volunteering with organizations to do what she can to give back. She also enjoys mentoring young associates and helping them build their careers as trial lawyers.

education & admissions

education

  • Cleveland-Marshall College of Law (J.D., cum laude, 2010); National Moot Court Quarter Semi-Finalist
  • Denison University (B.A., 2007); Student Body President

state admissions

  • Ohio, 2010
  • California, 2013

federal admissions

  • United States District Court, Northern District of Ohio
  • United States District Court, Southern District of Ohio
experience
  • Served as second-chair trial counsel in a breach of fiduciary duty trial in federal court in Virginia, representing a transactional trustee
  • As first-chair trial counsel in a bench trial in Baltimore City, Maryland, obtained a verdict substantially less than the settlement demand
  • Served as first-chair trial counsel in a breach of contract jury trial in Columbiana County, Ohio
  • Served as second-chair trial counsel in a breach of contract jury trial in federal court in San Francisco, California
  • Obtained favorable results in representing several businesses and individuals in business valuation disputes, with an emphasis on determining the fair market value of shares
  • Represents companies, trustees, and advisors in ESOP litigation
  • Serves as special counsel to advise companies, trustees, and advisors on fiduciary duties and obligations under ERISA
  • Represents several large institutional trustees in complicated ESOP litigation, including disputes over the fair market value of the shares or litigation as a result of a distressed ESOP company
  • Represented a manufacturer in a product liability case in AAA arbitration and obtained a favorable verdict
  • Obtained a positive resolution in representing a local cooperative in a large commercial litigation
  • Represented product manufacturers in regulatory matters before the Consumer Product Safety Commission
  • Represents clients in advertising disputes before the National Advertising Division of the Better Business Business Bureau, as well as the appellate arm, the National Advertising Review Board
  • Advises several clients on recall strategy and effectiveness
  • Routinely advises clients on compliance programs and risk mitigation plans
  • Represented small and large commercial clients in breach of contract and product liability actions in state and federal courts and obtained favorable results
  • Represented several local companies in non-compete and trade secret violation cases
  • Defended a Fortune 500 company in a large contract and fraud dispute
publications & events

speaking engagements

  • "Annual Review: Key Business Law Developments in Bite-size Pieces," ABA Business Law Section, "To the Extent That..." Podcast Series (July 2020)
  • "Projection Issues Raised in ESOP Litigation," Webinar, Business Valuation Resources (May 2020)
  • "Trends in ESOP Litigation by the Department of Labor and Private Plaintiffs," NCEO Employee Ownership Conference (April 2020)
  • "Hot Legal & Regulatory Issues for ESOPs," 5th Annual Great Lakes Regional ESOP Conference, Sandusky, Ohio (October 2019)
  • "Lay Witness Examinations – Overview, Demonstration, and Q&A," 2019 Litigation Institute: Anatomy of a Jury Trial – Part 1, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, Cleveland, Ohio (May 2019)
  • "ESOP Litigation Trends," NCEO Employee Ownership Conference, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (April 2019)
  • "Recent Updates in Trial Practice," ABA Business Law Section Spring Meeting 2019, Vancouver, British Columbia (March 2019)
  • "Hot Topics in ESOPs," Ohio/Kentucky Chapter of The ESOP Association's Annual Spring Conference, Powell, Ohio (March 2019)
  •  "The Anatomy, Choices, and Litigation Landmines of ESOPs," The Gathering 2019, San Diego, California (February 2019)
  • "ESOP Litigation Trends," 4th Annual Great Lakes Regional ESOP Conference, Sandusky, Ohio (October 2018)
  • "Corporate Compliance in View of Recent Trends in the DOJ, FTC, and CPSC Enforcement Authority," 2016 In-House Counsel Summit, Tucker Ellis LLP, Cleveland, Ohio (October 2016)
  • "Mastering the Art and Science of Making It Rain," Leadership in Law: It’s Never Too Early to Lead, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association (January 2016)
  • "Social Postings: Juror Ethical Issues," Ohio Professional Conduct Seminar, Tucker Ellis LLP, Cleveland, Ohio (December 2014)
  • "Consumer Product Safety Regulations Around the World," Eaton Corporation, Beachwood, Ohio (November 2014)
  • "International Compliance and Regulations: Insights Into Varying Requirements Among U.S. Trading Partners," 2013 Advanced Product Safety Management Course, John Cook School of Business, Center for Supply Chain Management, Saint Louis University (September 2013)
  • "Yoga and the First Amendment: Does Yoga Promote Religion?", Moderator, Case Western Reserve University School of Law (April 2013)
  • "Reporting Best Practices Along the Supply Chain and Around the World," ICPHSO (February 2013)
  • "What You Should Know to Navigate through the New Worldwide Web of Consumer Product Safety" (November 2011)
  • "The Publicly Available Consumer Product Safety Information Database," Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association (February 2011)

publications

media

honors
  • Chambers USA
    • "Up and Coming" in Litigation: General Commercial (Ohio) (2017, 2018)
    • "Associates to Watch" in Litigation: General Commercial (Ohio) (2016)
  • Ohio Super Lawyers Rising Stars® (2016-2020)

affiliations
in the community
  • Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association
  • Cleveland Leadership Center
    • Cleveland Bridge Builders Class of 2021
  • International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organization (ICPHSO)
  • Ohio Employee Ownership Center
  • The ESOP Association, Ohio/Kentucky Chapter
  • Greater Cleveland Partnership, GCP LEAD Program (2019)
  • John Hay Mock Trial Program
  • Notre Dame Cathedral Latin Alumni Association
  • The Littlest Heroes, Board of Directors, Chair
business insights
ERISA
Perspectives on employee benefits, executive compensation and ERISA litigation to help you attract and retain talent.
lingua negoti
The language of business.
Ohio Environmental
Insights and commentary for the business and legal community.