John Gilligan is a trial lawyer who represents clients in complex business disputes. Recently his practice has focused primarily on disputes in the financial services and health care industries, many of which seek class action relief. With 37 years of trial experience, Gilligan has tried more than 70 cases to decision, the majority by jury verdict, in state and federal court, the Ohio Court of Claims, and before arbitration panels.

Mr. Gilligan is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, whose members are selected by invitation only after an extensive investigation of their trial records and integrity. The College, recognized as the premier organization of trial lawyers in North America, is the only organization of lawyers in which every Justice of the United States and Canadian Supreme Courts has accepted honorary Fellowship. Mr. Gilligan is also a Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, which, like the College, selects its Fellows by invitation only, but from more than 30 countries world-wide. The Academy is limited to 500 active Fellows from the United States. Mr. Gilligan has also been honored by Chambers USA, Best Lawyers in America, and Super Lawyers (Top 100 Lawyers in Ohio; Top 50 Lawyers in Columbus).
His representative trials and arbitrations have spanned a variety of business disputes. He played a lead role on the trial teams on matters, such as:

  • successfully defended a manufacturer on false advertising claims in two week federal court trial,
  • successful defense of terminated distributor in two week federal court jury trial,
  • successfully defeated in a two week federal court trial a collective action claim for wage and hour FLSA violations against a national retailer,
  • defended in six day state court trial  the successful bidder for the Ohio Lottery gaming contract,
  • obtained an award of more than $10 million in a five week arbitration on a claim for a general contractor in the construction of a large production facility, as well as defeating the owner’s considerably larger counterclaim,
  • won summary judgment for firm’s corporate client, affirmed unanimously on appeal, dismissing the former company president’s claims for unlawful termination based on promissory estoppel and his status as a minority shareholder,
  • obtained dismissal of putative class action claims in health care payment and reimbursement disputes, as well as in consumer fraud claims arising from the foreclosure of securitized residential mortgage loans.
Mr. Gilligan devotes a substantial amount of time to pro bono work, both nationally and in Ohio. He serves as Co-Chair of the Access to Justice and Legal Services Committee of the American College of Trial Lawyers and as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Legal Aid Society of Columbus. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Mount Carmel Health System. He is also a frequent speaker/panelist for a variety of organizations each year.

John and his wife, Megan (retired English teacher at Upper Arlington High School), have two sons, Dan (Dana) and Joe (Stephanie), and stay fit trying to keep up with their granddaughter, Allie Lu.
Reported and Representative Cases
David Omiatek v. Big Lots, Inc. (2011)
  • Represented Big Lots, Inc., as part of the team that successfully defeated motion to certify a Rule 23 class action/ collective action filed in federal court in Buffalo, NY alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
General Contractor Arbitration (April 2009)
  • Represented general contractor in 30-day arbitration seeking payment for construction of large production facility. Client won over $10 Million, almost 100 percent of claim, including arbitration costs and attorney fees and defeated owner’s considerably larger counterclaim claim for alleged construction and design deficiencies.
Steele v. Mara Enterprises. Inc. (2009)
  • Won summary judgment for Mara Enterprises, affirmed unanimously on appeal by the Franklin County Court of Appeals, dismissing former company president’s claim for unlawful termination based on promissory estoppel and minority shareholder status. 2009-Ohio-5716.
John Johnson, et al. v. Big Lots, Inc. (May 2008)
  • Represented Big Lots, Inc. in a collective action consisting of roughly 1,000 current and former assistant store managers alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Successfully obtained Order from the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana decertifying class and dismissing opt-in plaintiffs’ claims at close of trial.
Lottery Vendor - Government Contract (2008)
  • Co-counsel for successful bidder for the Ohio Lottery gaming services contract. After seven day trial in Franklin County Common Pleas Court, defeated claim by incumbent vendor/ frustrated bidder to set aside the bid award.
Board of County Commissioners, Fairfield County, Ohio v. Hessler, et al. (June 2008)
  • Represented Board of County Commissioners of Fairfield County, Ohio. Obtained appellate court’s approval of trial court verdict after three-day trial upholding the authority of the Board to order residents to connect to a newly-constructed public sewer system. 5th Dist. June 30, 2008), Case No. 2007 CA00028.
False Advertising Claims (2006)
  • Represented manufacturer in ten day federal court trial defending against sixty-five Lanham Act false advertising claims; helped defeat vast majority of claims - no damages awarded and no corrective advertising required. In addition, defeated claims for unfair competition, tortious interference with contract and deceptive trade practices.
State ex rel. Choices for South-Western City Schools v. Anthony, et al. (October 2005)
  • Represented South-Western City School District before Ohio Supreme Court and successfully defeated claim for writ of mandamus which would have required Franklin County Board of Elections to place operating levy repeal issue on ballot where board had rejected the repeal petitions as misleading. Supreme Court Case No. 05-1725.
Election Systems & Software, Inc. v. J. Kenneth Blackwell (November 2005)
  • Represented elections systems vendor who had been effectively terminated by Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell as an eligible vendor of electronic voting equipment in Ohio. Obtained preliminary injunction for vendor and numerous Ohio boards of elections to extend deadlines previously imposed by Secretary of State, and negotiated new contract on behalf of vendor to allow the client to sell its elections systems in Ohio and be reimbursed under the Help America Vote Act. Case No. 05-CVH-05-4855. Also, helped defeat effort by Secretary of State to stay litigation in Ohio Supreme Court. State ex rel. Blackwell v. Crawford, 2005-Ohio-5124.
Elastizell Systems, Inc. v. CNA Insurance Companies (2004)
  • Obtained a settlement of over $650,000 in insurance coverage dispute on behalf of flooring contractor in claims for breach of insurance policy and bad faith. Case No. 01-6412, Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas.
Avis E. Buchanan et al. v. Consolidated Stores Corp. et al. (July 2003)
  • Won summary judgment for KB Toys and Big Lots, Inc. (formerly known as Consolidated Stores Corp.) dismissing a class action retail redlining complaint alleging racial discrimination in which the plaintiffs challenged the check acceptance policy of KB Toys during the 1990’s in the Baltimore/Washington D.C. metropolitan area. The court dismissed all claims against Big Lots Inc. (formerly known as Consolidated Stores) which owned KB Toys for part of the period in question. In addition, the court granted three of our Daubert motions regarding the testimony of plaintiff’s three experts, resulting in the exclusion of all of the testimony of two, and most of the testimony of the third.
Cities of Dublin, et al. v. State of Ohio (2002)
  • As trial counsel for the City of Dublin, won summary judgment striking down the provisions of H.B. 283 which sought to limit the power of municipalities to regulate their rights of way used by utilities and telecommunications companies. Trial court granted summary judgment to Dublin finding the Right of Way legislation in violation of Dublin’s Home Rule rights and also in violation of the Single Subject Rule in the Ohio Constitution. Case No. 99CVH-08-7007.
California Distributor - Disputed Accounts (April 2002)
  • Represented California distributor as lead trial counsel in three week jury trial in federal court against the Scotts Company. Won jury verdict for over $12 million in counterclaims for unpaid fees, incentives, product shipments, and product returns. Also won jury verdict on $1.5 million of disputed accounts claimed by Scotts. Case No. 3:00CV02465.
Death Penalty Case (May 2002)
  • The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously affirmed the issuance of a Writ of Habeas Corpus in death penalty case. Jamison v. Collins, 291 F.3d 380, (C.A.6, 2002), 2002 FED App. 0184P (6th Cir.). Writ obtained on May 10, 2000, for Derrick Jamison, wrongly convicted of murder in Hamilton County, Ohio in 1985 and sentenced to die. Derrick Jamison, Petitioner, v. Terry J. Collins, Warden, Respondent, No. C-1-94-195, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Western Division, 200 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7330. Conviction and death sentence have been vacated, and Mr. Jamison has been released from custody.
Kent et al. v. Huntington National Bank (2001)
  • Represented Huntington National Bank as special appellate counsel and obtained reversal of summary judgment granted against Huntington where the trial court had improperly determined the priority status of mortgages under R.C. §5301.232(B). 145 Ohio App3d 745, 764 N.E. 2nd 480, 10th Dist. 2001.
Universal Contracting Corporation v. Preserving Affordable Housing, Inc. and PAH, Ltd. (July 2000)
  • Engaged as special construction counsel on behalf of general and subcontractors and obtained damage award of $4.3 million in AAA arbitration. Arbitration Case No.110-00070-99.
Selected Experience
  • Deputy Public Defender, Solano County and Contra Costa County, California, 1977-1980.
  • Assistant Attorney General of Ohio, Antitrust Enforcement and Court of Claims Defense, 1980-1985. Represented numerous state agencies, including the Ohio Department of Transportation and the Ohio Department of Administrative Services in various contract and tort actions, including construction claims both at the administrative level and in court. Worked closely with State risk managers to resolve disputes and develop methods for claims resolution. When assigned to the antitrust section worked on enforcement of Valentine Act and federal antitrust laws in cases alleging price-fixing and illegal monopolization.
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