James D. Houston


Jamie’s work in the Construction Practice Group focuses on complex litigation, OSHA compliance and defense, and surety law. Jamie also assists clients with their labor and employment needs.

Jamie’s trial experience includes first chair representation of contractors, design professionals, employers, and sureties in both arbitration and traditional trial court settings (including actions for emergency injunctive relief). He has also successfully defended employers against various wrongful death and discrimination claims.

He has drafted and successfully argued appellate briefs before various courts, including the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, various Ohio District Courts of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Ohio. He has also investigated and successfully defended claims involving serious workplace injuries or death, including OSHA investigations.

Education & Admissions


  • Miami University

    (B.A., 1994)

  • University of Dayton School of Law

    (J.D., cum laude, 2000)


  • State of Ohio
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio



  • Obtained summary judgment in favor of employer facing multimillion dollar wrongful death claim.
  • Represented developers and sureties to resolve “in field” disputes in order to avoid litigation.
  • Secured $600,000 judgment on behalf of surety client through injunction trial under doctrine of quia timet.
  • Investigated workplace death involving a trench collapse and defended client’s interests during subsequent OSHA investigation.
  • Representation of a General Partner in multimillion dollar joint venture dispute.
  • Defense of multiple design professionals (architects and engineers) in relation to claims for negligent design and/or improper performance of work.
  • Represent multiple employers in wrongful termination/discrimination claims (both federal and state law).
  • Representation of home builders in defective construction cases, including trial.
  • Assisted in the defense of a construction manager in a multimillion dollar delay and disruption claim arising from a highway construction project.
  • Secure sizeable settlement for commercial real estate developer associated with damages to a large retaining wall that was deficiently designed and constructed.
  • Assisted in the prosecution of a million-dollar claim on behalf of the architect of a major league baseball park to collect fees for services rendered to the municipality owner.
  • Representation of an industrial conveyor system manufacturer in a dispute relating to the functionality of an installed system.

Publications & Presentations


  • “When death comes to work—dealing with serious workplace accidents involving death or serious bodily injury,” Ohio Chamber (October 2017)
  • “The Pitfalls of OSHA’s Multi-Employer Citation Policy,” Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. Legal Day (March 2017)
  • “Off-Duty Conduct: Grounds for Termination,” Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. Legal Day (June 2015)


  • “The Pitfalls of OSHA’s Multi-Employer Citation Policy,” Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc., ABC Legal Day (March 2017)
  • “Off-Duty Conduct: Grounds for Termination,” Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc., ABC Legal Day (June 2015)



  • Surety Claims Institute (Member)
  • Ohio Surety Association (Member)
  • CALL Class XVI (Cincinnati Academy of Leadership for Lawyers) (2012)
  • National Multiple Sclerosis Society Cincinnati Leadership Class Awards (2012)
  • Cincinnati Bar Association (Former Co-Chair, Construction Law Committee; Ethics Committee, Member)
  • Cincinnati HBA Member (Construction Law Committee)


  • Inner City Tennis Project (Board President)
  • New Life Properties, Inc. (Board Member)
  • Northern Kentucky University (Adjunct Professor, Business Ethics and Business Law)



  • Named to The Best Lawyers in America, Construction Law (2019)
  • Named to the Ohio Super Lawyers list (2016 – 2019)
  • Named a Cincy Leading Lawyer in Civil Litigation in a survey of lawyers by Cincy Magazine (2019)
  • Named to the Ohio Super Lawyers Rising Stars list (2011)