Michael J. Kelley's Profile Image

Michael J. Kelley

Phone: (614) 233-4710


I am an AV Preeminent designated lawyer with four primary practice areas: complex construction claims involving multi-million dollar projects, including multi-story commercial buildings and condominiums with hundreds of units; commercial litigation, including matters related to construction such as liens and change orders and disputes arising from the UCC and non-compete agreements; personal injury and damage to property claims, including wrongful death and fire loss, and; representation of a wide range of manufacturers in products liability claims, including those arising from electrical apparatus, motor vehicle parts, and industrial machinery.


Awarded Martindale-Hubbell "AV Preeminent" designation – the highest possible Legal Ability Rating (includes "Very High General Ethical Standards") based upon attorney/judge peer review of performance in areas including legal knowledge, analytical capabilities, judgment, communication ability, and legal experience.

Representative Experience

Construction Litigation and Claims

  • Construction defect experience includes the following issues/scopes of work:
    • Roof installation issues
    • Window and curtain wall installation
    • Roof, chimney and window flashing
    • Building envelope systems, including masonry/mortar, brick tie installation, building wrap and other thermal/moisture barriers, insulation/sheathing board, vapor barriers, drywall and interior wall coverings
    • Residential condominium construction
    • Concrete issues
    • Site work issues
    • Forced air boiler heating systems
    • Packaged Terminal Air Conditioner (PTAC) systems
    • Fire suppression systems and fireproofing Code requirements
    • Highway bridge construction
    • Historic wall preservation/restoration
    • Caulking
    • ADA/FHA compliance
  • Represented construction manager/general contractor in lawsuit against developer. Client had contracts to build multiple retail projects for national drug store chain and was improperly terminated in connection with false allegations of construction defects involving concrete work, site work and other miscellaneous building issues, as well as claims that schedule had slipped. Three week trial resulted in jury verdict in favor of general contractor for lost profits, defamation, reimbursement of home office overhead, construction expenses and other losses.
  • Represented general trades contractor in action against school board for new construction of public high school located in large metropolitan school district. The construction project involved 16 prime contractors in accordance with Ohio public project construction law. Client’s work scope as set forth in AIA contract included interior finishes, roofing, fireproofing and other miscellaneous activities. Litigation arose involving school district, multiple subcontractors and bonding company covering numerous complex issues such as delay claims for extended general conditions, "Eichleay” extended home office overhead, improper work performed by unrelated contractors, design and/or specification errors, directives to perform additional work beyond client’s scope of work, winter conditions, and a number of "pass through” claims with respect to subcontractors for change orders and delays/inefficiencies. Case settled prior to trial after multi-day mediation.
  • Defended general contractor in multi-million dollar construction defect claim involving nine subcontractors that was ultimately decided after a three-week AAA arbitration hearing before a three-member panel. Issues included masonry defects, building envelope design and installation, caulking, HVAC installation, roofing, through wall flashing, roof flashing and historic restoration with respect to design and construction of seven-story hotel. Third-party claims against potentially culpable subcontractors were resolved through mediation prior to the arbitration hearing. The arbitration hearing included the presentation of multiple witnesses, including five experts, and several hundred exhibits.
  • Represented general contractor with regard to major expansion project involving four-story hotel. Construction defects included claims that drywall contractor failed to install adequate vapor barrier in guest room exterior walls resulting in condensation that caused water damage and mold formation behind drywall, thereby necessitating repair and remedial work throughout hotel. Case settled by multiple insurance carriers prior to litigation.
  • Represented developer and general contractor for project involving renovation of existing structure for use as medical building. Sued building owner for nonpayment and defended counterclaim for alleged miscellaneous construction defects. Lawsuit was ultimately settled.
  • Defended general contractor with regard to damage claims arising from alleged defects in connection with construction of five-story medical/surgical facility. Insurer for surgical tenant claimed property damage resulting from malfunction of the forced air HVAC system and, specifically, the hot water boiler system controlled by the building automation system. The lawsuit included the system designer and controls contractor, as well as five subcontractors and/or suppliers. All claims were settled at mediation after discovery was substantially completed.
  • Represented general contractor with respect to claims for multiple construction defects and alleged late completion of large expansion of municipal-owned recreation center. Defect claims included allegations of issues involving windows, swimming pool and fire suppression system. Claims were ultimately resolved by bonding company.
  • Represented general contractor against negligent construction claims brought by the owner of multi-level apartment building. Upon investigation of the claims, it was determined that the windows installed in the building had been defectively manufactured. A pre-suit mediated settlement was reached wherein the window manufacturer agreed to supply and install in excess of 700 new windows for the building at no cost to the building owner or general contractor.
  • Defended architect with respect to water intrusion claims arising from the interface of chimneys at sloped roof lines in a 245 unit residential condominium. General contractor and subcontractors were alleged to be responsible for construction defects and architect was accused of failing to adequately communicate design intent. Mediation resolved case against architect for less than anticipated defense costs.
  • Represented developer and general contractor regarding a 108 unit residential condominium with respect to construction defect claims including issues related to moisture barriers, exterior stone work, roof and window flashing, ice-guard at roof edges, caulking and installation of underground water lines. Claims were successfully resolved at mediation.
  • Defended general contractor in lawsuit filed by State of Ohio with respect to highway bridge located on state highway. State claimed that bridge needed to be replaced for costs in excess of $4 million within one year of opening due to design and construction defects. Case settled after mediation without contribution by general contractor.
  • Defended developer and general contractor with respect to 100 unit residential condominium as to a lawsuit filed by the Ohio Civil Rights Commission alleging various ADA violations such as noncompliant thresholds, thermostat heights, bathroom accessibility, gang mailboxes heights and driveway slopes. Lawsuit was settled after extensive negotiation involving subcontractors, architect and site engineer.

Commercial Litigation / Contracts / Business Losses

  • Litigation
    • Mechanic’s liens (notices of furnishing, notices of commencement, lien waivers, lien filings and foreclosures)
    • Construction claims (differing site conditions, defects, defaults, performance bond claims, change order disputes, and liquidated damages)
    • Review and revision of AIA construction contracts
    • Royalty agreements in connection with retail product manufacture, sourcing and marketing
    • Non-competition employment agreements
    • Trade secrets
    • Sexual harassment/discrimination
    • Insurance coverage matters
    • Contract matters
    • Disputes involving Uniform Commercial Code
    • Premises Liability
  • Represented international retail product sourcing company in federal litigation and multiple disputes involving allegations related to royalty fees, exclusive product rights, personal injury allegations, non-competition provisions and various contract claims.
  • Represented employees with respect to non-competition provisions and trade secret claims in sales employment agreement subsequent to termination of relationship.
  • Represented employees with regard to claims of sexual discrimination and/or harassment.
  • Represented both insurers and insureds with respect to insurance coverage disputes.
  • Defended property owners with respect to serious bodily injury claims allegedly resulting from concealed conditions and/or dangers sustained by business invitees while on premises.

Bodily Injury / Property Litigation

  • Have handled hundreds of litigations involving injury claims and/or property damage, including the following:
    • Injury Claims:
      • wrongful death
      • brain injury
      • orthopaedic injuries
      • neurological injuries
      • substantial deformities
      • permanent functional impairment
      • minor injuries
    • Property Damage Claims:
      • fire loss
      • theft loss
      • storm damage
      • water damage
      • vehicular damage

Products Liability

  • Represented manufacturers/suppliers of the following:
    • Large industry electrical apparatus
    • Trucking components
    • HVAC units
    • Industrial ovens
    • Machine presses and industrial band saws
    • Automotive parts
  • Represented manufacturer of stator coil and rotors installed in 7,000 horsepower motor used in steel rolling application in large steel mill which jury determined failed due to defective installation of copper wires windings onto rotors by third-party international electrical service company. Trial lasted three weeks and included testimony of five electrical engineers.
  • Defended international manufacturer of trucking products with respect to multiple litigations involving bodily injury and/or commercial property damage claims arising out of over-the-road trucking spring brake actuators, air suspension systems and air ride seats.
  • Defended national manufacturer of wall mount air conditioners with respect to multiple product defect claims alleged to have contributed to damage in commercial modular and classroom markets. These cases typically involved fires in unoccupied structures and the use of fire and electrical experts.
  • Represented manufacturer of industrial gas oven with regard to catastrophic burn injuries sustained by factory worker during explosion of oven. Jury case was settled after several days of trial.
  • Defended regional semi truck dealer in litigation arising out of the manufacture of a truck frame and tank assembly for a spray vehicle that was alleged to have failed due to design defects. Case settled prior to trial.
  • Represented manufacturers of machine press and industrial stationary band saws which partially severed hands of operators due to alleged guarding/instruction issues.
  • Defended automobile dealership in action by State of Ohio which claimed multiple vehicle fires caused by defective installation of heating equipment in fleet of new highway patrol vehicles. Case was dismissed at conclusion of State’s case for lack of evidence that would justify verdict for plaintiff.


  • The Ohio State University/Michael E. Moritz College of Law, J.D.
  • Ohio University, Bachelor of Business Administration (Accounting Major)

Bar Admissions

  • Ohio
  • United States District Court, Northern District of Ohio
  • United States District Court, Southern District of Ohio
  • United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
  • United States Court of Claims

Professional Affiliations

  • Columbus Bar Association
  • Ohio State Bar Association

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