Judge Patricia A. Gaughan, Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, announced that Magistrate Judge James R. Knepp, II was sworn in today, to serve as a United States District Judge in Toledo. Judge Knepp was nominated by President Donald J. Trump to serve a life term. He replaces District Judge Jack Zouhary, who assumed senior status in July 2019.
Judge Knepp earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio in 1986, where he graduated magna cum laude; Master’s Degree from Bowling Green State University in 1987; and his Juris Doctor from the University of Toledo College of Law in 1992, serving as class valedictorian and graduating summa cum laude.
Since July 30, 2010, Judge Knepp has served as a United States Magistrate Judge for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. He was reappointed to a second eight-year term beginning July 30, 2018.
Prior to Judge Knepp’s appointment to the bench, he was a partner and member of the management committee of Robison, Curphey & O’Connell and had substantial general litigation experience in federal and state courts, including successful trial and appellate level defense of death and serious injury cases and class action litigation. His experience also included commercial, employment, products liability, and environmental litigation. He was national counsel for the locomotive video evidence program of a class 1 railroad. Judge Knepp served as a law clerk to the Honorable John W. Potter of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio from 1992-1994.
Judge Knepp has been active in the Toledo community, serving as past president of the Northwest Ohio Hemophilia Foundation, Toledo Legal Aid Society, Toledo Junior Bar Association, and the Morrison R. Waite Inn of Court. He also served as a board member of Legal Aid of Western Ohio/ABLE, the Toledo Bar Association, Sylvania Franciscan Academy, and the Brisson Association at St. Francis DeSales High School.
In 2019, he was awarded the Order of the Heel by the Toledo Junior Bar Association, presented annually since 1935 to the member of the Bar who has given most unselfishly of time, talent, and energy to assist young lawyers.
The United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio has court locations in Cleveland, Akron, Toledo and Youngstown and serves 6 million citizens in the 40 northernmost counties in Ohio.