John Climaco

Climaco, Wilcox, Peca, Tarantino & Garofoli, Co., L.P.A.
55 Public Square
Suite 1950
Cleveland, OH 44113

John R. Climaco, a 1967 graduate of Case Western Reserve University Law School, began his career as a sole practitioner which eventually evolved into Climaco, Wilcox, Peca, Tarantino & Garofoli Co., L.P.A., currently a 14-member law firm with offices in Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio.

John is licensed to practice in the State of Ohio, as well as United States District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of Ohio; Central and Southern Districts of California; Eastern District of New York; Eastern and Western District of Louisiana; Eastern District of Michigan; District of Minneapolis; Eastern District of Texas; U.S. Courts of Appeals, Second, Fifth, Seventh and Ninth Circuits; U.S. Tax Court; U.S. Supreme Court.

Martindale Hubbell’s highest rating, AV-pre-eminent, for legal ability and ethical standards.

National Law Journal named John one of the 100 most powerful lawyers in the United States.

Ohio Super Lawyer 2000 through 2011.

John devotes his comprehensive practice to General and Complex Litigation, including Class Actions, Securities ERISA, Mass Torts, Environmental, Toxic Tort, White Collar, Criminal Civil RICO, and Public Law matters.

John, throughout his career, has provided individuals, labor unions, private corporations and government excellent, diligent, efficient counsel including:
  • The State of Ohio; City of Cleveland; Cleveland Board of Education
  • Special Counsel to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office
  • Special Counsel, Kent State University
  • Special Counsel to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office
  • General Counsel, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, 1984 to July 1988
  • Sammy Davis, Jr., 1974 until his untimely death in May, 1990.
  • Police Officers. Assisted in organizing, drafted the Constitution and By-Laws and served as Counsel to the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association (CPPA) and the Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (OPBA) comprised of 6000 police officers throughout the State of Ohio for over forty (40) years. Currently serves as Civil Counsel to the Cleveland Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge No. 8.


John has lectured extensively on trial preparation and practice, RICO, ERISA, Mass Torts, Class Actions, MDL Proceedings, white collar criminal defense, labor and employment law throughout the country including the Stetson University College of Law's Annual Conference; New York City Bar Association; Aspen, Colorado Advanced Criminal Law Institute; Case Western Reserve College of Law-CLE Program; Health Care Section Conference of the Cleveland Bar Association; the Columbus Bar Association's Annual Litigation Institute; Institute of Business Law of California State University, Los Angeles and the Ohio CLE Institute. In January and May 2001, he was a panel member at the Mealey's Baycol Seminar in San Diego, California. On October 24, 2003 John was a Keynote Speaker at the Fourth Annual Class Action/Mass Tort Symposium in New Orleans sponsored by the Louisiana State Bar Association. On November 16, 2004, he was a panel member at the American Conference Institute’s Welding Rod Litigation Conference in New Orleans. On March 24, 2010 and May 12, 2010, John was a Keynote Speaker at the HarrisMartin Toyota Recall Litigation Conferences on The Tread Act: Criminal Liability for “Lying” to NHTSA About Safety-Related Defects. On December 10, 2010 John spoke on Civil RICO at the 10th Annual Louisiana Mass Torts Symposium. On January 14, 2011 John spoke on Manufacturers Civil RICO Liability at the HarrisMartin Darvon and Darvocet Recall Litigation Conference.

John has appeared numerous times on local and national radio and television, including Good Morning America, The Today Show, Larry King Live, Night Line, The Greta Van Susteren Show, The Phil Donahue Show, and is regularly quoted in local and national newspapers discussing various legal issues.


Life Member - Judicial Conference of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Charter and Life Member - Judicial Conference of the Eighth Judicial District of Ohio. United States District Court Judge Donald C. Nugent appointed John as a Member of the Advisory Group to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. In 2009, Steven Dettlebach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, appointed John to the U. S. Attorney Advisory Committee.

On May 6, 2000 John received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

Life Member - Justinian Forum, a professional organization for attorneys and judges of Italian heritage in Northern Ohio and also the Northern Ohio Italian-American Association (“NOIA”).

In 1992 and 1997, the Center for Mental Retardation selected John to receive the Service to the Center Award. In 2003 he received an award for outstanding commitment to individuals with MR/DD. In 2006 he received the Above and Beyond Award from North Coast Community Homes. He currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors.

In 2008 Our Lady of the Wayside honored John with the Starlight Guardian Humanitarian Award – celebrating those who embrace the spirit of giving.


John is married to Carolyn. John and Carolyn have two children, John and Nicole. John M. is married to Laura. They have two children, seven year old John Nicholas and two year old Athena Conlyn. John M. is an attorney. He is one of the founders, President and CEO of Axial Biotech, a genetic research company in Salt Lake City, Utah. Axial Biotech discovered the gene which causes scoliosis and developed a DNA test to diagnose it. John’s daughter, Nicole, is 36. Nicole is intellectually challenged, lives independently in a home John and Carolyn built for her and three other challenged adults and works four (4) days per week in John’s office.