James F. Lang

James F. Lang

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Utilities Attorney in Cleveland, OH

Calfee, Halter & Griswold LLP
 | 1405 East Sixth Street, Cleveland, OH 44114
Phone: 216-622-8563
Fax: 216-241-0816
Selected To Super Lawyers: 2015 - 2021
Licensed Since: 1992
Practice Areas:
  • Utilities (60%),
  • Appellate (10%),
  • Business Litigation (10%),
  • Gaming (10%),
  • State, Local & Municipal (10%)
    Attorney Profile

    A Partner and Co-Chair of Calfee’s Public Utility Regulatory practice group, Jim Lang also serves as Leader of the Public Law practice and of the Energy and Utilities industry team. He provides litigation counsel to a wide range of clients, including public utilities, municipalities, private-property owners and publicly and privately held businesses.

    Jim’s multi-disciplinary legal interests include constitutional law, telecommunications and energy, campaign finance and lobbying compliance, gaming, class actions, property taxation and municipal and public law.

    He has represented clients before trial and appellate courts at both the state and federal level, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO), Ohio Power Siting Board, Ohio Board of Tax Appeals, county boards of revision, private mediators and AAA and NASD arbitrators.

    Jim has lectured in public and private forums to representatives of companies and public agencies regarding electronic discovery challenges and effective records management. 

    Jim is a member of the Ohio State and Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Associations. He is a 2002 graduate of LeadDIVERSITY, a diversity and leadership training program operated by the Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio. 

    Prior to entering law school, Jim served as a production coordinator for U.S. News and World Report magazine and as a research assistant for Martin P. Stevens J.P., M.P., in England’s House of Commons. Jim began his tenure with Calfee in 1992 and became a partner in 2002.

    About James Lang

    Admitted: 1992, Ohio

    Professional Webpage: https://www.calfee.com/professionals-james-f-lang

    Honors/Awards:

    • Local Litigation Star – Ohio, Appellate, Energy and Natural Resources, General Commercial, Tax Disputes, Benchmark Litigation, 2021
    • Energy Law, The Best Lawyers in America©, 2021
    • Ohio Super Lawyers, 2021

    Bar/Professional Activity:

    • District of Columbia
    • Ohio
    • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
    • U.S. Tax Court
    • Ohio State Bar Association, Member, 2021
    • Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, Member, 2021
    • LeadDIVERSITY, Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio, 2002 Program Graduate, 2002

    Scholarly Lectures/Writings:

    • Treatise on Ohio Municipal Law published by Thomson/West, with co-authors John Gotherman and Harold Babbit, Editor and Author, Local Government Law – Municipal , Baldwin's Ohio Practice Series, Municipal Law

    Verdicts/Settlements:

    • Assisted electric utilities in obtaining PUCO approval of electric security plan under R.C. 4928.143.
    • Obtained PUCO approval of Energy Efficiency and Peak Demand Reduction Portfolio Plans mandated by Ohio law.
    • Obtained Ohio Supreme Court decision affirming motor transportation company’s exemption from municipal net profits tax.
    • Assisted telephone and electric utilities in obtaining essential regulatory approvals from the PUCO, and assisted telecommunications company in obtaining video competition agreements from Ohio municipalities.
    • Obtained dismissal of complaints filed by cellular resellers against CMRS provider on basis that PUCO lacked jurisdiction over complaints, and successfully defended dismissal on appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court.
    • Authored and presented legal analyses demonstrating that proposed legislation to restructure regulation of electric utility industry violated the Commerce Clause, Supremacy Clause and Takings Clause.
    • Advised casino and racino properties regarding all aspects of regulatory compliance, including impact of Ohio Constitution, state laws and Casino Control Commission, Lottery Commission and Racing Commission rules.
    • Advised municipalities and other Ohio political subdivisions regarding all aspects of public and municipal law, including home rule powers, municipal utility powers, public records, tort immunity, vacating streets, zoning and eminent domain.
    • Successfully opposed ballot initiative promoted by anti-fracking group as a “Community Bill of Rights.”
    • Defended municipal utilities in court actions seeking to limit constitutional authority of municipal utilities over rates and use of funds.
    • Assisted in drafting of legislation and rules regarding casino regulation and other public law matters.
    • Advised individuals and companies regarding federal and Ohio campaign finance regulations and legal limits on campaign contributions.
    • Consulted with companies and lobbyists regarding compliance with Ohio ethics laws, Lobbying Disclosure Act, Foreign Agents Registration Act, and other federal ethics and contracting obligations.
    • Assisted property owners in reducing the assessed value of their real property by pursuing complaints filed with county boards of revision and, when necessary, pursuing appeals to the Ohio Board of Tax Appeals and Ohio Supreme Court.
    • Obtained Board of Tax Appeals decision reducing client’s public utility property taxes by more than $25 million by successfully introducing alternative valuation rebutting presumption accorded tax commissioner’s standard valuation method.
    • Won certification of eight-county class of property owners seeking declaration of their rights regarding ownership and use of the shores of Lake Erie, and then won on behalf of class a declaration, which was unanimously affirmed by the Eleventh District Court of Appeals and Ohio Supreme Court, that the state’s public trust interest in Lake Erie does not extend beyond the water’s edge. On remand, obtained $6.1 million class action settlement from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
    • Coordinated expert testimony valuing multiple plant assets for purposes of proving damages in binding arbitration that resulted in $396 million settlement.

    Other Outstanding Achievements:

    • Has served for more than 20 years as editor and an author of Local Government Law – Municipal (1st ed. 2004), which is part of Baldwin’s Ohio Practice series published by Thomson West, and previously edited Babbit’s Ohio Municipal Service between 1995 and 2000.

    Newsletters:

    • Ohio real estate tax paying businesses and individuals should be aware that a number of Ohio counties have extended additional time for the payment of 2019 second-half real estate tax and assessment bills, normally due on or about July 20th. Under Ohio Revised Code Section 323.17, when a delay in the closing of a tax collection period becomes unavoidable, the county auditor and county treasurer of any Ohio county may apply to the Tax Commissioner to extend the time for payment of real estate taxes for that collection period., Potential Help With Ohio Real Estate Tax Expenses
    • Now that the Ohio Department of Health has extended through May 1 the Stay-at Home-Order issued on March 22, 2020, which directs all non-essential businesses and operations in Ohio to cease all activities except minimum basic operations, many of these businesses may be facing contractual obligations that simply cannot be performed. Products cannot be delivered, services cannot be performed, and sports and entertainment productions have gone dark. From the airline industry to travel and tourism, to factory shutdowns and associated supply chain issues, to local restaurants and bars either shuttered or providing take-out only, there may be few, if any, businesses that remain untouched., Excusing Contractual Performance Issues Arising From COVID-19: Force Majeure and the Related Doctrines of Impossibility and Frustration
    • The COVID-19 relief legislation signed into law by Governor Mike DeWine on March 27, 2020 (Am. Sub. H.B. 197) suspended statutory deadlines for filing eviction actions, and an order issued by the Ohio Supreme Court on the same date suspended most other time requirements in Ohio courts through the end of the period of the COVID-19 emergency or July 30, 2020, whichever is earlier. The Ohio Supreme Court has advised trial courts determining whether to process eviction actions to take into consideration Am. Sub. H.B. 197, the potential application of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), the reason for the eviction, the orders of the Ohio Department of Health, and any other reason made known to the court., COVID-19: Governor DeWine Issues Order to Provide Temporary Relief to Commercial Landlords and Tenants

    Educational Background:

    • J.D., University of Virginia School of Law, 1992
    • B.A., cum laude, Wake Forest University, 1986

    Industry Groups

    • Energy And Utilities
    • Gaming And Hospitality
    • Government
    • Private and Family-Owned Businesses
    • Public Companies
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    Office Location for James F. Lang

    1405 East Sixth Street
    Cleveland, OH 44114

    James F. Lang:

    Last Updated: 5/28/2021

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