Brian M. Zets

Managing Partner

Phone: 614.221.2121
Direct Line: 614.857.1377
Fax: 614.365.9516
Email: bzets@isaacwiles.com

Paralegal

Kelli Lady
614.340.7451
klady@isaacwiles.com

about Brian M. Zets

Brian is a respected municipal lawyer who has been advising his public sector clients for over twenty years.  He proudly serves as Law Director for the City of Pataskala, Legal Advisor for three townships (Brown Township, Orange Township, and Washington Township), general counsel for the Walnut Creek Sewer District, and as Solicitor for a number of villages, including the Villages of Shawnee Hills, South Bloomfield, Bremen, Kirkersville, Thornville, Thurston, Glenford, and Brice.  Over the years, many central Ohio cities have retained him as special counsel, including Upper Arlington, Gahanna, Groveport, Newark, and Wilmington. Brian has skillfully handled, and often lectures on, legal matters in the areas of municipal contracts, water and sanitary sewer agreements, zoning and land use, annexation, eminent domain, public meetings, and public records law.  Brian also prosecutes criminal/traffic cases in Mayor’s Court and municipal court.

As a litigator, Brian understands R.C. 2744 immunity as well as Section 1983.  He has successfully defended wrongful death claims, retaliation and discrimination claims, wrongful termination, First Amendment claims, and Fourth Amendment claims. Brian is an experienced trial lawyer who has tried state and federal bench and jury trials and appeared before administrative agencies, including the PUCO, the Board of Tax Appeals, and the Board of Revisions.  He has argued before the Tenth District and the Sixth Circuit Courts of Appeals as well as the Ohio Supreme Court.

Brian’s public sector experience transfers well into the private sector.  Whether it’s complex contracts, difficult employee issues, or litigation, Brian’s legal proficiency shines in the private sector.  Brian offers practical solutions and advice in the venture capital space.  He helps companies, like Cyrannus, navigate the legal challenges of raising money and growing startup companies.

Brian also has a passion for all things automotive and motorsport. Classic muscle or collector cars, the NHRA, corporate sponsorship, or the companies that supply aftermarket high-performance parts, like JEGS Automotive, all fuel Brian’s enthusiasm for this industry.

Services

Industries

education & admissions

Education

  • Juris Doctorate, 1996; The University of Toledo College of Law
  • Bachelor of Arts, Political Science, 1993; The Ohio State University

Bar & Court Admissions

  • Ohio, 1996
  • United States District Court – Northern District of Ohio, 1996
  • United States District Court – Southern District of Ohio, 1996
  • United States Court of Appeals – Sixth Circuit, 1997

articles & presentations

Articles

  • “Employee Severance Agreements; Silence Is No Longer Golden or Allowed”, Cyrannus Blog, March 2023
  • “So, You Want to Blow the Whistle?”, Cyrannus Blog, June 2022
  • “HB 172 – the Fireworks Bill”, Ohio Township News, January/February 2022
  • “Your BZA Better (Thoroughly) Discuss those Duncan Factors”, Isaac Wiles Blog, April 2021
  • “If It’s Part of the Sidewalk, You Are Immune”, Isaac Wiles Blog, October 2020
  • “HB 197; Opening Up an Already Open Meeting,” Isaac Wiles Blog, April 2020
  • “Social Distancing and the Open Meetings Act; Can They Co-Exist?”, Isaac Wiles Blog, March 2020
  • “The Motion Matters – What is an Acceptable Purpose Under R.C. 121.22(G)(1)?,” Isaac Wiles Blog, January 3, 2020
  • “Watch What You Say; Statements Made After County Terminated Employee, Are NOT Immune from Liability,” Isaac Wiles Blog, August 6, 2019
  • “Chalking Tires Determined to be an Unreasonable Search,” Isaac Wiles Blog, August 6, 2019
  • “New Year, New Council; Same Old Executive Session Mistakes,” Isaac Wiles Blog, January 30, 2019
  • “New Credit Card Rules for Political Subdivisions,” Isaac Wiles Blog, September 14, 2018
  • “Township Cemetery Law: What You Are Dying to Know,” Ohio Township News, September/October 2018
  • “On-line Retail Sales Have Changed Forever,” Isaac Wiles Blog, June 25, 2018
  • “Summertime Hiring – Be Careful of These Pitfalls,” Ohio Township News, May/June 2018
  • “Knock-and-Announce Violation Does Not Mean Evidence Is Excluded”, Isaac Wiles Blog, March 12, 2018
  • “Medical Marijuana Cultivator License List Sparks Lawsuit,” Isaac Wiles Blog, January 4, 2018
  • “High School’s Protocol Requiring Searches of Unattended Book Bags Affirmed as Reasonable and Constitutional,” Isaac Wiles Blog, June 2, 2017
  • “What State’s Medical Marijuana Law Means for Ohio Employers,” Columbus Business First, February 2017
  • “Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Law,” Ohio Township News, November/December 2016
  • “Pre-Suit Mediation: An Often-Overlooked Risk Management Tool,” Public Risk Magazine, February 2009
  • “The Ohio Supreme Court Agrees with Employers; Trade Secrets, Including Client Lists, Cannot Be Memorized and Used by Former Employees,” Courting Success, Spring 2008
  • “Wallace v. Kato: The Supreme Court Invites Even More Federal Lawsuits Against your Municipality and Police Officers,” Public Risk Magazine, March 2007
  • “To Enjoin or Not to Enjoin: The Supreme Court Will Decide,” E-Currents, 2006
  • “Tort Law Update, Cities and Villages”, Journal of the Ohio Municipal League, January/February 2005

Presentations

  • Robert’s Rules of Order, Updates and Survival Tips, Ohio Township Association 2024 Winter Conference
  • Robert’s Rules of Order, Updates and Survival Tips, Ohio Township Association Webinar, September 19, 2023
  • Public Records & Open Meetings; Case Law Update 2023, Ohio Township Law Directors CLE, April 13, 2023
  • “What Does Ohio’s Open Meetings Act Really Say?”, Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority Communications Team Training Webinar, October 2022
  • “Employment Law Issues in 2022 – Vaccines and Masks Mandates,”, Delaware County Township Officials Training, December 2021
  • “Ask the Expert: Workplace Management in a Post-Vaccine World, Part II”, Ohio Judicial Conference Webinar, November 2021
  • “Ask the Expert: Workplace Management in a Post-Vaccine World”, Ohio Judicial Conference Webinar, July 2021
  • “The Ethical Public Official,” Mayors Association of Ohio Conference, June 2019
  • “Use of Competitive Bidding to Buy or Sell Township Property,” Ohio Township Association, Winter Conference, February 2019
  • “Ohio Township Cemetery Law,” Ohio Township Association, Winter Conference, February 2019
  • “Use of Competitive Bidding to Buy or Sell Township Property,” Ohio Township Law Directors CLE, December 14, 2018
  • “The Fourth Amendment – Arrest and Search/Seizure,” 2018 New Albany/Gahanna Citizens’ Police Academy, January 31, 2018
  • “Medical Marijuana Law Update,” 2017 Delaware County Township Trustee Training, November 18, 2017
  • “Understanding Medical Marijuana in Ohio and the Effects on Commercial Real Estate,” Co-presenter, NAIOP Central Ohio Chapter luncheon, August 9, 2017
  • “Case Law Update,” OMAA Spring CLE Conference, March 2017
  • “The Fourth Amendment – Arrest, Search/Seizure, Use Of Force,” 2017 New Albany Citizens Police Academy
  • “Dazed and Confused, Understanding Medical Marijuana,” Ohio Township Association Winter Conference, 2017
  • “Medical Marijuana in Your Township,” Ohio Township Association Law Directors CLE, December 2016
  • “Use of Executive Session,” Ohio Township Association Law Director’s Group Meeting & CLE, 2015
  • “Social Media for Public Entities,” Municipal Civil Law Institute, 2013

professional & community activities

Professional

  • Ohio State Bar Association – Young Lawyers Committee Board of Governors, Labor and Employment Law Section; Litigation Section (1997 – 1999)
  • Columbus Bar Association – Admissions Committee, Federal Court Committee, Labor and Employment Law Committee
  • Licking County Bar Association
  • Public Risk Management Association – Ohio Chapter Member
  • Ohio Municipal Attorneys Association
  • Ohio Township Association

Firm

  • Management Committee
  • Lateral Hiring Committee
  • Marketing Committee
  • Public Law Group, Section Leader

Community

  • Straits Farm Homeowners Association, Board of Trustee, President (2017 to present)
  • City of New Albany Cemetery Restoration Advisory Committee, Chair (2016 – present)
  • Pelotonia Bike Tour, benefiting The James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute, Lead Volunteer in City of Athens, (2009, 2010, 2011), Bike Volunteer in Gambier, Ohio (2012 and 2013)
  • Nationwide Children’s Hospital Development Board (2010 & 2011)
  • Village of New Albany Charter Review Commission (2008 – 2009)
  • New Albany Chamber of Commerce Board of Trustees (2005 – 2007, 2010 and 2011); 2010 Chairman – Board of Trustees; 2007 Vice Chair & Legal Advisor; 2006 Executive Recorder & Legal Advisor; 2005 Golf Classic Chair
  • Adventures for Wish Kids, Miracles & Magic Committee Chair (2007 & 2008)
  • OSBA Ohio Mock Trial Program State Competition Judge (2003 – 2005, 2009)
  • City of New Albany Board of Tax Appeals, Vice Chair (2007 – present)
  • New Albany Community Foundation – Advancement Committee Member (2005 – 2007)
  • Komen Columbus Race for the Cure Event Volunteer (2000 – 2005)
  • Muscular Dystrophy Association – MDA Telethon Volunteer (1998 – 2001)

honors

Columbus CEO Top Lawyer 2023
The Ohio 500 (A list of the most influential executives across the state, presented by Ohio Business Magazine)
AVVO Rating – Excellent
Ohio Super Lawyers®, 2015-2021 State, Local, and Municipal
Ohio Super Lawyers® Rising Stars, 2009-2011 Government, Cities, Municipalities