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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 Band 4 Ranking (Ohio)

For well over a decade, our Litigation group and individual litigation attorneys have been ranked and recognized by Chambers USA.

In 2019, one client told Chambers USA researchers: "They are extremely knowledgeable and responsive," further adding: "They clearly have our company's best interests at heart." Other sources also comment: "Calfee acts as a true strategic partner and develops strategies that incorporate our business objectives as well as political realities."

Chambers researchers previously reported that sources described Calfee's Litigation group as "highly responsive and their lawyers are really devoted to their clients’ interest. They're thoughtful, creative and they work hard.”

Chambers researchers further noted that peers commented, “The quality is very high across the board; it’s a wonderful group of lawyers.”

U.S.News – Best Lawyers "Best Law Firm" Rankings

Several of Calfee's Litigation practices were selected for inclusion in the 2020 "Best Law Firms" rankings by U.S.News – Best Lawyers in America. 

Benchmark Litigation Rankings

Calfee has been selected for inclusion by Benchmark Litigation 2020 as a "Recommended" litigation firm in Ohio. Several of Calfee's Litigation attorneys have been ranked as Leading Litigators by Benchmark Litigation 2020.




  • Represented successful bidders on numerous public contract awards in litigation to upset awards, including construction contracts and lease awards.
  • Represented city at trial and on appeal seeking millions of dollars in premium overcharges from 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 of regional storm water 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 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 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 major public employer in sexual harassment investigation and termination of senior officer without litigation or compensation.
  • Represented property owners in class action against Ohio Department of Natural Resources to obtain 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 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 governmental fees and charges
  • Removal of public officers and employees
  • Public construction litigation
  • Tort litigation

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Practice Contacts

Chambers USA researchers reported that sources describe Calfee's Litigation group as "highly responsive and their lawyers are really devoted to their clients’ interest. They're thoughtful, creative and they work hard.” 

Chambers USA

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