Benjamin J. Ockner

Benjamin Ockner

(216) 831-8838, Ext. 3

(216) 798-6913(cell)

[email protected]


Ben's practice focuses primarily on zoning, land use, and real estate litigation, and business litigation. Along with Sheldon Berns, Ben has been instrumental in obtaining successful outcomes in several major zoning and land use cases in the Ohio Supreme Court, including Goldberg Companies, Inc. v. Council of the City of Richmond Heights, 81 Ohio St.3d 207, 690 N.E.2d 510 (1998), which reestablished that the United States Supreme Court's standard for determining the constitutional validity of zoning ordinances set forth in Village of Euclid v. Ambler Realty Co. applied in Ohio; State ex rel. Shemo v. Mayfield Heights, 95 Ohio St.3d 59 (2002), which established that property owners in Ohio may recover compensation from a municipality for the diminution in value of property during the time a municipality has enforced an unconstitutional zoning regulation against the property; State ex rel. Commt. for the Referendum of Ord. No. 3844-02 v. Norris, 99 Ohio St.3d 336 (2003), which overruled the Ohio Supreme Court's earlier decision in State ex rel. Crossman Communities of Ohio, Inc. v. Greene Cty. Bd. of Elections, 87 Ohio St.3d 132 (1999), with respect to the proper treatment of planned unit developments; State ex rel. Webb v. Bliss, 99 Ohio St.3d 166 (2003); State, ex rel. Shemo v. Mayfield Heights, 93 Ohio St.3d 1 (2001); Shemo v. Mayfield Heights, 88 Ohio St.3d 7 (2000); and Jones v. Chagrin Falls, 77 Ohio St. 456 (1997).

Ben has represented numerous local and national property owners and developers regarding zoning and land use issues throughout Ohio. Since the enactment of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, Ben has represented numerous national telecommunications companies in the deployment of their wireless telecommunications networks in Ohio, including administrative proceedings and litigation in the Federal and State Courts of Ohio, and in a variety of other disputes pertaining to those companies' wireless telecommunications sites. Ben has also represented several non-profit organizations in their efforts to develop facilities for assisted living, supportive housing, and services for unhoused youth and young adults.

Ben's zoning and land use practice often includes planning and presenting development plans before planning commissions, boards of zoning appeals, and municipal, township, and county officials and legislative councils, in connection with site and development plan approval, subdivision approval, conditional use permits, variances and other approvals. Ben has handled a broad array of administrative appeals and related litigation, including constitutional claims, before the trial courts, courts of appeals, and the Supreme Court of Ohio. Ben has also litigated claims for takings, claims for deprivation of due process and equal protection, and fair housing claims.

Ben's business litigation practice includes unfair competition, trade secret, and commercial matters. His practice also includes frequent and extensive involvement with state and federal agencies, including law enforcement, in connection with consumer protection and banking-related matters.

Ben has written and lectured extensively on zoning and land use issues. He was a founding member of the Business Litigation Committee of the Cleveland Bar Associations' Litigation Section, and served as the Program Chairman for the Civil Litigation portion of the Cleveland Bar Association's Practice and Procedure Clinic. Ben belongs to the Cleveland Metropolitan, Ohio State, and American Bar Associations.

 Practice Areas

    • Land Use and Zoning

    • Real Estate Development and Transactions

    • Business and Commercial Litigation



    • Georgetown University Law Center, J.D., 1986

      • Barristers Council, 1984-1985

    • Miami University, A.B., 1982

      • Political Science and Economics


Bar Admissions

    • Ohio

    • United States Tax Court

    • United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio

    • United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio

    • United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit


Professional Honors

    • Best Lawyers® 2024 Lawyer of the Year, Land Use and Zoning Law, Cleveland 

    • Best Lawyers® 2022 Lawyer of the Year, Litigation - Land Use and Zoning, Cleveland

    • Best Lawyers®, Commercial Litigation, Land Use and Zoning Law, and Litigation - Land Use and Zoning, 2021 through 2024

    • Peer-review rated AV Preeminent by LexisNexis/Martindale-Hubbell

    • Chambers®, Band 1 Ranking, Ohio-Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use, 2023

    • Judicial Clerkship, The Honorable Thomas D. Lambros, United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, 1987-1988