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The Public Law litigators at Calfee provide counsel on matters of public contract awards, zoning litigation and variance applications, municipal utility disputes, and statutory and constitutional challenges to legislation.

Our lawyers have extensive experience representing municipalities, municipal utilities, hospitals and corporate enterprises involved in litigation, administrative proceedings and arbitration in a wide range of matters, including Open Records and Sunshine Law issues, class actions, civil rights, property maintenance concerns, construction disputes, Home Rule, and employee and officer removal matters.

In addition, we also particularly focus on matters involving tort immunity of public officials, inter-governmental disputes, and litigation between public and private bodies.


Chambers USA Leading Law Firm Rankings

Since 2005, Calfee has been recognized as a Leading Law Firm for Litigation: General Commercial by Chambers USA, most recently in Band 3 in Ohio (2023). 

Clients interviewed by Chambers USA researchers commented, "We're very pleased with the firm's breadth of expertise and ability to bring together the right people. I think they are a good balance of practical and strategic. Calfee is very responsive; it's an excellent firm. They're savvy, quick to adapt, and put people at ease. The team is exceptionally responsive. The entire team provides outstanding legal services."

Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” Rankings

Calfee was selected for inclusion in the 2024 "Best Law Firms" rankings in numerous Litigation practice areas.

Benchmark Litigation Rankings

Calfee was selected for inclusion by Benchmark Litigation 2024 as a Highly Recommended Law Firm in Dispute Resolution in Ohio. Additionally, 14 of Calfee's Litigation partners have been ranked by Benchmark Litigation as "Litigation Stars" in the U.S. (National), Midwest, and Ohio and as “40 & Under" and "Future Stars" Honorees.




  • Represented successful bidders on numerous public contract awards in litigation to upset awards, including construction contracts and lease awards.
  • Represented the city at trial and on appeal seeking millions of dollars in premium overcharges from the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. City of Cleveland v. Ohio Bur. of Workers' Comp., 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 105604, 2018-Ohio-846.
  • Successfully defended municipalities and state agencies in litigation challenging awards of public construction contracts and bidding procedures.
  • Defended municipalities in litigation attacking enactment and enforcement of zoning ordinances.
  • Defended municipal water utility and municipal electric utility in separate class actions alleging improper use of utility revenues. 
  • Developed legal strategy to obtain court approval for a regional stormwater management plan.
  • Won defense verdict in jury trial of wrongful arrest and excessive force claims by civil rights plaintiff against multiple police officers and municipality involving the use of K-9 police dog.
  • Obtained summary judgment and recovery of attorney fees against multiple plaintiffs and their counsel on federal and state claims against the public employer and officials of reverse sex and race discrimination, hostile work environment, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Hout v. City of Mansfield, 550 F.Supp.2d 701 (N.D. Ohio 2008).
  • Representation of a major public employer in sexual harassment investigation and termination of a senior officer without litigation or compensation.
  • Represented property owners in a class action against the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to obtain a declaration of their rights regarding ownership and use of the shores of Lake Erie. State ex rel. Merrill v. Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources, 130 Ohio St.3d 30, 2011-Ohio-4612, 955 N.E.2d 935.
  • Advised and represented numerous municipalities in employee and officer removal matters.
  • Regularly defend political subdivisions against tort and federal civil rights claims.
  • Represented municipalities on state tort claims arising from the maintenance of sewer systems, streets, sidewalks, and other facilities.



  • Public contract award challenges and defenses
  • Zoning litigation and variance applications
  • Eminent domain litigation on behalf of both municipalities and property owners
  • Statutory and constitutional challenges to legislation
  • Open Records and Sunshine Law issues
  • Civil rights litigation, including Section 1983 actions
  • Election litigation, including election contests
  • Challenges to government fees and charges
  • Removal of public officers and employees
  • Public construction litigation
  • Tort litigation

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"The entire Litigation team provides outstanding legal services."

Client quote, Chambers USA

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