James J. Hughes, III

A partner in the firm’s Litigation group, Jim Hughes represents clients in all phases of complex commercial litigation matters, with a focus on health care, energy and environmental litigation. With over 30 years of experience, Jim is a knowledgeable and proficient litigation attorney who is considered one of the firm’s “go to” litigators serving a diverse client base. Clients view him as a strategic thinker and trusted advisor who is successful and adept in achieving early resolution of disputes and lawsuits by providing precise and careful counseling to clients.

Currently, Jim is serving as lead litigation counsel assisting a natural gas company with the completion of a $2 billion interstate pipeline project. Jim also recently secured a $42 million judgment on behalf of three large urban school districts in Ohio in a matter involving school funding. His practice also touches Medicare and Medicaid compliance and litigation through his representation of health care providers, nursing homes, county boards serving persons with developmental disabilities, and ADAMH boards that serve persons with mental health challenges. Additionally, he advises health care systems on regulatory compliance, false claims, fraud and abuse, and anti-kickback matters. He has defended health care systems in matters brought by physician groups alleging tortious interference with business opportunities and anti-trust activities.


  • Secured a $42 million court award for three Ohio school districts

    Secured $42 million judgment, plus interest, for Cleveland, Dayton and Toledo city school districts after the Ohio Department of Education unlawfully deprived the districts of the funding they were entitled to receive. For more details, please view Bricker’s full recap of the case.

  • Immediate access to construct interstate gas pipeline

    Served as appellate counsel in an appeal from a federal district court order granting a natural gas pipeline company immediate access to property in order to construct the pipeline. This was a case of first impression for the Sixth Circuit, as it considered whether to adopt the Sage approach. The Sage decision is the seminal case that outlines the process for obtaining injunctive relief to begin construction of a FERC-approved pipeline while the underlying condemnation/valuation case proceeds.

  • Secured immediate access under eminent domain authority of the NGA to conduct environmental and cultural resources surveys

    Obtained summary judgment for natural gas companies in eminent domain actions filed under the Natural Gas Act in Ohio federal district courts. Also obtained temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions on an expedited timeline authorizing natural gas pipeline companies to access property subject to acquisition by eminent domain to conduct tree clearing activities in advance of moratoriums imposed on such activities in order to protect migratory birds and endangered bat species; contempt orders against property owners refusing to honor the order permitting access for tree clearing activities; and immediate injunctive relief against landowners refusing to permit access to their property via eminent domain for construction of a 75-mile natural gas pipeline in eastern Ohio and a 256-mile natural gas pipeline across northern Ohio. Also, negotiated settlements with landowners who permitted access and complex, technical settlements with public utilities to resolve overlapping easement situations.

  • Injunctive relief to obtain survey access to construct natural gas pipeline

    Obtained injunctive relief in federal court permitting our client to access landowners' property to conduct survey activities during the FERC pre-application process in conjunction with its construction of a $450 million, 75-mile natural gas pipeline. 

  • Notice of assignment provisions

    Represented oil and gas clients in various Ohio appellate courts, including the Ohio Supreme Court and various intermediate appellate courts regarding notice of assignment provisions.

  • Multiple lawsuits filed in Ohio Courts of Common Pleas to obtain survey access under Ohio law for $2 billion project

    Obtained injunctive relief for pipeline company client as trial counsel in 11 Ohio courts of common pleas in proceedings against landowners and organized opposition, allowing client access to property to conduct civil, cultural, environmental and cultural survey activities required for FERC application process in conjunction with the client’s construction of a $2 billion, 256-mile interstate natural gas pipeline originating in Ohio. The complexity of issues in these matters required sophisticated organization, detailed planning, and fine-tuned litigation management skills.


    NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC v. Haubert, Columbiana C.P. No. 2015CV275 (June 2, 2015)
    NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC v. Sprague, Erie C.P. No. 2015 CV 0349 (Oct. 29, 2015)
    NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC v. Sean S. Shinaberry Trust, Fulton C.P. No. 15CV000154 (July 17, 2015)
    NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC v. Snyder, Fulton C.P. No. 16CV128 (July 7, 2016)
    NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC v. Patricia A. Wolf, Trustee, Huron C.P. No. CVH20150491 (July 21, 2015)
    NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC v. Karen M. Fridenstein & Kristin H. McDonough, Trustees, Lorain C.P. No. 15CV186926 (July 15, 2015)
    NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC v. Pandy Farm, LLC, Lorain C.P. No. 15CV186926 (Sept. 4, 2015)
    NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC v. Hozakski, Lorain C.P. No. 16 CV 189911 (July 5, 2016)
    NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC v. Lonnie Perry Farms Ltd., Lucas C.P. No. CI201503111 (June 25, 2015)
    NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC v. Houston, Medina C.P. No. 15CIV0636 (Oct. 6, 2015)
    NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC v. Ohms Acres LLC, Sandusky C.P. No. 15CV535 (June 15, 2015)
    NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC v. Scott L. Rathfelder, Trustee, Sandusky C.P. No. 15CV908 (Sept. 17, 2015)
    NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC v. Scott L. Rathfelder, Trustee, Sandusky C.P. No. 15CV908 (Sept. 29, 2015)
    NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC v. Destefano, Stark C.P. No. 2015CV01586 (July 31, 2015)
    NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC v. Camelback, Ltd., Stark C.P. No. 2015CV01586 (Sept. 2, 2015)
    NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC v. Linhart, Stark C.P. 2015CV02073 (Oct. 7, 2015)
    NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC v. Srock, Wayne C.P. No. CVC-H 000304 (Aug. 10, 2015)
    NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC v. Adkins, Wayne C.P. No. CVC-H 000304 (Oct. 14, 2015)
    NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC v. North, Wayne C.P. No. 2016 CVC-H 000327 (July 6, 2016)
    NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC v. Griffith, Wood C.P. No. 15 CV 330 (July 14, 2015)
    NEXUS Gas Transmission, LLC v. Sprague, 6th Dist. Erie No. E-15-069, 2016-Ohio-4901 (July 7, 2016)

  • Pharmaceutical supplier price dispute with nursing home

    Successfully defended nursing home in a lawsuit filed by a pharmaceutical supplier based on the defense that the price charged was excessive and not related to maximum allowable cost (MAC) or average wholesale price (AWP) for brand name and generic drugs. 

  • Nursing home lost profits claim

    Successfully defended hospital against a $4.5 million claim brought by a nursing home seeking to recover lost future profits arising out of failed transfer of Long Term Care Hospital (LTCH) beds from the nursing home to the hospital due to a moratorium imposed by the Center of Medicare & Medicaid Services.

  • Interference with business opportunity claim by physician group

    Defended hospital in lawsuit brought by physician group seeking to recover $8 million in lost future profits due to alleged interference with physician group's business relationship with referring physicians and patients. 

  • Physician group's lost profits claim

    Defended hospital in lawsuit brought by physician group seeking to enjoin hospital from terminating physician group’s exclusive service agreement with hospital. 

Professional & Community Activities

  • Member, Columbus Bar Association Ohio State Bar Association; American Bar Association
  • Member, American Health Lawyers Association
  • Past Member, Board of Trustees, Arthritis Foundation, Central Ohio Chapter
  • Past Member, Board of Trustees, International Field Studies
  • Past Member, Board of Trustees, Columbus Academy

Bar Admissions & Activities

  • Admitted, Ohio Supreme Court; United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth and Sixth Circuits; United States District Court, Southern District of Ohio; Northern District of Ohio; Eastern District of Kentucky

Awards & Recognition

  • Listed, Best Lawyers in America (Commercial Litigation; Environmental Law; Litigation - Environmental), 2011–2022
  • Columbus Lawyer of the Year, Best Lawyers in America (Litigation - Environmental), 2019
  • Listed, Ohio Super Lawyers (Health Care; Business Litigation; Eminent Domain), 2012–2018
  • Ranked, AV Preeminent, Martindale-Hubbell


  • Capital University School of Law (J.D. with honors, 1986); Order of the Curia; Capital University Law Review; recipient, Dean's Scholarship based on academic merit
  • Union College (B.A. with honors in history, 1980)
  • The Ohio State University, Fisher College of Business (Executive Education Leadership Program, 2008)