Sheldon Berns

Sheldon Berns

(216) 831-8838, Ext. 5

(216) 407-1488 (cell)

[email protected]


Sheldon's practice is largely concentrated in zoning and land use, real estate, construction law and eminent domain. In 1978, he successfully litigated the first action for damages in Ohio challenging a zoning law on constitutional grounds under the Civil Rights Act of 1871 in Friedman v. Willoughby, Case No. C78-520, 1980 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17827 (N.D. Ohio October 1, 1980). He has successfully litigated numerous 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 (1988), 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); State, ex rel. Bona v. Orange, 85 Ohio St.3d 18 (1999); and Jones v. Chagrin Falls, 77 Ohio St. 456 (1997). In 2006, Sheldon successfully completed the settlement of one of the largest inverse condemnation claims against an Ohio municipality in City of Mayfield Heights, Ohio, vs. Michael A. Shemo, Co-Trustee, Cuyahoga County Probate Court, Case No. CV 03 500072. In 2014, he represented the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Cleveland Clinic Found. v. Bd. of Zoning Appeals of Cleveland (2014), 141 Ohio St.3d 318 in which the Ohio Supreme Court established a narrowed scope of review for the Courts of Appeals when reviewing decisions by the Common Pleas Courts in administrative appeals under the Ohio Revised Code. He has represented numerous local and national property owners and developers regarding real estate, zoning and land use issues throughout Ohio, and has written and lectured extensively on zoning and land use issues.

Sheldon is a member of the American Bar Association, the Ohio Bar Association, and the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, where he participates on the litigation, construction, and urban, state, and local government law sections. Sheldon served as councilman for the City of Beachwood from 1970 to 1977. He was a member of the Cuyahoga County Republican Executive Committee from 1968 to 2015, and served as vice chairman of that committee for eight years.

Practice Areas

    • Land Use and Zoning

    • Real Estate Development and Transactions

    • Construction
    • Eminent Domain and Inverse Condemnation



    • Case Western Reserve University School of Law, J.D., Order of the Coif, 1960

      • Editor, Case Western Reserve University Law Review, 1959-60

    • Ohio State University, B.A., summa cum laude, 1958

      • Business


Bar Admissions

    • Ohio

    • United States Supreme Court

    • United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

    • United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

    • United States Court of Claims

    • United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio


Professional Honors

    • The Society of Benchers, 2009

    • Best Lawyers®, 2018 Lawyer of the Year, Land Use and Zoning Law in Cleveland

    • Best Lawyers®, 2014 Lawyer of the Year, Real Estate Law in Cleveland

    • Best Lawyers®, Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law, Land Use and Zoning Law, Litigation - Land Use and Zoning, Litigation - Real Estate, Real Estate Law, since 1994

    • Ohio Super lawyer®, 2004 - 2011, 2023 - 2024

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

    • Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award, Marquis Who's Who®, 2018 

    • Chambers®, Senior Statesperson Ranking, Ohio-Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use, 2023