Magistrate Judge Michael R. Merz is a life-long resident of Dayton, Ohio, where he was born in 1945. He is a 1967 graduate of Harvard College (A.B. cum laude) and received his J.D. degree from Harvard Law School in 1970.
From 1970 to 1977, Judge Merz practiced law with the Dayton firm of Smith & Schnacke. Appointed a Judge of the Dayton Municipal Court in 1976, he was elected to that position in 1977 and re-elected in 1979. He was appointed United States Magistrate Judge in 1984 and in March 2011, while serving his fourth term, retired and was recalled to service. He served as Chief Magistrate Judge of the Southern District from 2004 to 2008.
Judge Merz has taught at the University of Dayton School of Law and for the Ohio Judicial College.
Within the legal community, Judge Merz served seven years on the Ohio Supreme Court’s Rules Advisory Committee and has chaired the Ohio State Bar Association’s Judicial Administration and Federal Courts Committees. He was founder and later President of the Carl D. Kessler Inn of Court and served as President of the Harvard Law School Association of Ohio in 1989-1990. He was Sixth Circuit Trustee of the Federal Magistrate Judges Association 1998-2000 and the magistrate judge representative on the Sixth Circuit Judicial Council from 2006-2009. Judge Merz is a fellow of the Dayton, Ohio State, and the American Bar Foundations. In 2012 Judge Merz received the Dayton Bar Association’s Legacy of Excellence award and in 2013 the American Bar Association’s Robert B. Yegge Award for Outstanding Contribution to Judicial Administration.
Judge Merz’s civic activities have included Chair of the United Way of Greater Dayton, President of the Board of Trustees of the Dayton Public Library, and President of the Montgomery County Historical Society. He was given the City of Dayton’s Outstanding Service Award in 1982. He served from 2004 to 2009 on the National Review Board of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. He also serves as a director of the East End Community Services Corp. and the Dayton Metro Library Foundation.
Judge Merz is married to Marguerite LeBreton Merz and has two adult sons, Peter (Director of the Ballet West Academy in Salt Lake) and Nicholas (Product Design Engineer with Apple in San Francisco).