James J. Hughes, III

Jim is a seasoned commercial litigator with deep experience in the field of employment law. 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. He has expanded his practice to now include conducting impartial workplace investigations involving allegations of harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and other instances involving misconduct and disciplinary matters. Jim has investigated highly sensitive matters involving executive misconduct and allegations of toxic workplace culture.

As an experienced lawyer and trained workplace investigator, Jim assists employers by providing professional and objective fact-finding for any workplace complaint or allegation. Investigations have included conduct of board members, officers, managers and supervisors, and employees based on discriminatory conduct or harassment. By providing thorough, reliable, and respectful fact-finding and analysis, Jim helps his clients create and maintain safe, fair, and harassment-free workspaces for their employees.

Jim has completed the Association of Workplace Investigators (AWI) Training Program. The AWI is a professional membership association for attorneys, human resource professionals, and other professionals who conduct, manage, or have a professional interest in workplace investigations. He has achieved the AWI Certificate Holder designation (AWI-CH). In addition, he has completed Level 3 Training for Title IX investigators, adjudicators, and advocates.


  • 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.

  • Retaliation claim investigation

    Conducted an investigation involving an allegation of retaliation by a faculty member at a Big Ten University. 

  • Hostile workplace environment investigation

    Conducted an investigation into an allegation of a hostile workplace environment at the request of an entity's board of directors.

  • Executive misconduct investigation

    Conducted an investigation into an allegation of executive misconduct involving falsification of expense reports by c-suite administrators.

  • Workplace harassment and bullying investigation

    Conducted an investigation into a female employee's allegation of sexual harassment and bullying by male employees in the workplace.

  • Pharmaceutical services investigation

    Conducted an investigation involving an allegation that an external pharmacy was overcharging a hospital for pharmaceutical services.

  • Eminent Domain

    Served as lead trial counsel to a natural gas company in conjunction with the construction of a large-scale 75-mile natural gas pipeline in eastern Ohio and a 256-mile natural gas pipeline in northern Ohio. In both instances, obtained court orders in multiple state court jurisdictions permitting access to property to conduct pre-construction surveys over landowner opposition, obtained a federal order authorizing the pipeline company to take property pursuant to eminent domain authority under the Natural Gas Act, and defended the company in post-construction lawsuits brought by landowners alleging that the company failed to restore their property to pre-construction conditions. 

  • 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. 

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

  • Association of Workplace Investigators (AWI), Certification
  • Listed, Best Lawyers in America (Commercial Litigation; Environmental Law; Litigation - Environmental), 2011–2023
  • 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)