Ohio Fellow Lynnette Ballato Dinkler, founding partner of DINKLER PREGON LLC, focuses her practice on representing both public and private employers, their officials and employees, in discrimination (age, gender, race and disability), sexual harassment, retaliation, Family Medical Leave Act, Fair Labor Standards Act, defamation, negligence, contract, and product liability claims. Lynnette has defended public and private employers in both federal and state trial and appellate courts, as well as before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Ohio Civil Rights Commission. She has defended civil rights claims unique to public employers, including police brutality and false arrest, free speech, political advocacy, zoning, eminent domain, and separation of church and state constitutional claims. She has defended public employers against state issues unique to them, including administrative appeals, school violence claims, and Sunshine Law and public records compliance claims. She also provides general counsel advice to municipalities and school boards on a variety of issues.

Over the course of Lynnette’s career, she has tried approximately 50 civil and criminal cases. Her appellate practice has included an appearance before the United States Supreme Court on a police excessive force case – a case successfully defended. She has briefed and argued four cases before the Ohio Supreme Court. She appears regularly before the United States Courts of Appeal for the Sixth Circuit and various District Appellate Courts in Ohio.

Lynnette’s work for Ohio’s public entities has culminated in several leading cases advancing protection from suit for law enforcement agencies, fire departments, municipalities, city managers, school boards of education (including boards of mental retardation and development disabilities and educational service centers), school administrators, teachers, and other entities such as agricultural societies and E.M.S. districts.

• She appeared before the United States Supreme Court in Foubert vs. Lyons, 543 U.S. 1033 (2004), to create law to protect all police officers from civil suit when officers rush to back-up their partners placing distress calls for help and use tackling techniques to secure suspects threatening harm to their partners.

• She appeared before the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Kidwell vs. Union, 462 F.3d 620 (6th Cir. 2006), cert denied, Kidwell v. City of Union, Ohio, 127 S.Ct. 2258, 167 L.Ed.2d 1092 (2007), to create law to protect Ohio’s chartered municipalities’ rights to spend tax dollars to educate voters on important ballot issues, like the operation of the fire department, in the face of dissenting splinter groups, so voters know the position of their elected officials.

• She appeared before the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Turner vs. Englewood, 195 Fed.Appx. 346 (6th Cir. 2006), unreported, to create law to protect a city’s right to re-zone commercial property once used to operate a group home housing people covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, where the property owner irresponsibly ran the home and risked the well-being of her residents.

• She appeared before the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Rhoads vs. Mad River Local School Board of Education, 103 Fed.Appx. 888, (6th Cir. 2004), unreported, to create law to protect the school’s right to lawfully call for and accept the resignation of the kindergarten bus driver whose random drug test was positive for marijuana despite the bus driver’s claims that she was either qualified to do her job and unlawfully fired, disabled with a drug addiction and entitled to accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act, entitled to due process, or entitled to leave under the Family Medical Leave Act.

• She appeared before the Ohio Supreme Court in Hubbell vs. Xenia, 115 Ohio St.3d 77, 873 N.E.2d 878, 2007 -Ohio- 4839, to create law to protect all of Ohio’s political subdivisions and their employees’ statutory right to immediately appeal trial court orders denying them immunity from suit, to obtain dismissal of frivolous suits as soon as possible to save scarce tax dollars.

• She appeared before the Ohio Supreme Court in Liming vs. Greene County Agricultural Society, 89 Ohio St.3d 551, before obtaining a jury verdict in her client’s favor, to create law to protect all of Ohio’s agricultural societies and their volunteers by establishing, for the very first time, that agricultural societies are entities entitled to the protection of sovereign immunity under Ohio’s Political Subdivision Tort Liability Act.

• She appeared before the Ohio Supreme Court in Denham vs. New Carlisle, 86 Ohio St.3d 594, to create law to protect all civil defendants’ appellate rights when a plaintiff voluntarily dismisses co-defendants to single out the “deep pocket” defendant who already successfully defended the case in a summary judgment proceeding.

Working with and getting to know each client while learning and appreciating the facts and circumstances involved in each case, to best represent the client from the first deposition through the final moments of motion practice, trial, or appeal, is what Lynnette enjoys most in her practice. Before opening her own firm, Lynnette was a named shareholder with a local defense firm for several years. She also served as an assistant public defender upon graduating from law school, an experience that complements the work she now does for law enforcement clients.

Her peers named her to Ohio Super Lawyers Rising Stars in 2005-2009, an honor given to just 2.5% of Ohio attorneys. And, in 2006, Lynnette was selected as a Charter Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, a trial lawyer honorary society representing less than one-half of one percent of American lawyers and is by invitation only. She serves as a member of the Governmental Liability Section of the Defense Research Institute. This year Lynnette was asked by DRI to present at the annual Civil Rights Seminar on Fourth Amendment law. She also serves as moderator for the Ohio Association of Civil Trial Attorneys. She holds memberships in several state professional associations, including the Ohio School Boards Association.

The Ohio School Board Association has invited Lynnette to speak to its administrators regarding liability issues and privacy concerns under the Family Education Rights and Practice Act. She participated in trying a mock jury trial on housing civil rights issues for the Dayton Board of Realtors. She has presented to her peers on the issues of sovereign immunity for governmental entities and legal ethics and professionalism. She has also volunteered her time to write amicus briefs in support of Ohio’s public entities.

Lynnette currently volunteers in her community by serving as a board member for the Downtown Dayton YMCA. In past years, she has chaired the association’s fundraising campaign, which provides summer camp opportunities for children, and has chaired the childcare committee. In 2004, the YMCA of Greater Dayton awarded Lynnette, Volunteer of the Year, in recognition of her service. Before becoming involved with the YMCA, she volunteered as a Big Sister in the United Way Big Brothers/Big Sisters program and coached the Sidney High School Ohio Mock Trial Team.
Outside of work, Lynnette treasures time with her husband and three children.