John M. McHugh, Partner

Photo of John McHugh




 Janie Cohen
  • Skilled trial attorney with a wide civil practice that includes experiences in cases in the financial services, insurance and energy industries.
  • Seasoned case manager responsible for the oversight of litigation ranging from individual lawsuits to multi-million dollar business disputes.
  • Lead attorney in the landmark lawsuit that challenged Colorado’s laws that prohibit same-sex marriage.
  • Received the "Barrister of the Year" Award from the GLBT Community Center of Colorado and named "Volunteer Lawyer of the Year" by the Denver Bar Association in 2015.
  • Named to the Rising Stars List published nationwide in Colorado Super Lawyers® in 2014 and 2015.
  • Selected as a "Lawyer of the Year" and an "Up-and-Coming Lawyer" by Law Week Colorado in 2014.

Practice Areas:

  • Complex Civil and Commercial Litigation

Reilly Pozner LLP

John M. McHugh, Partner




 Janie Cohen
 • Education
 • Leadership
 • Media



About John:

John McHugh is a litigation associate with the firm.

John focuses his practice on civil and complex commercial litigation.  He has experience initiating and defending lawsuits across the country involving a variety of legal issues.  From the outset of each case, John works with his clients and the trial team to develop a theme and strategy.  This technique is useful in all phases of litigation including pretrial discovery, depositions, dispositive motions, mediation and trial.   His persuasive motion practice and writing skills provide results-oriented service to his clients regardless of the size or complexity of their case.  John’s experience as a trial lawyer allows to him effectively advocate for his clients to pursue the best remedy possible on their behalf.

Since becoming an attorney, John has worked on high-stakes and notable matters.  At Reilly Pozner, he has enjoyed representing prominent clients including professional sports teams, SEC investment advisors, and national title companies.  Prior to joining Reilly Pozner, he was an associate with the international law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan in New York City.

John is active in his community.  In 2014, he was named to the Board of the Colorado GLBT Bar Association and serves as the Programming Co-Chair.  He is also involved in the firm’s internal diversity and inclusiveness committee.

John earned his law degree from New York University School of Law.  In law school he was a teaching assistant, on the Moot Court Board and a training director with the NYU Mediation Organization.  He also participated in the Federal Defenders Clinic, representing indigent clients in federal misdemeanor and felony cases.

John holds an undergraduate degree, with honors, in English and classical studies from the University of Idaho.  He spent a year studying Irish literature at Trinity College in Dublin.

Prior to law school, John worked for Houghton Mifflin Co. in Boston, where he was an editor in the division that publishes college textbooks.  He also spent a year with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, assisting the indigent in Billings, Montana.

John's representative matters include:

  • Member of a trial team representing a Colorado refinery owner seeking contractual indemnification from the refinery’s former owner for clean-up costs resulting from leakage from an underground pipe.  Following a 3-week confidential arbitration that took place in April and May 2017, the parties reached an amicable settlement.
  • Lead attorney in the representation of nine same-sex couples who challenged the constitutionality of Colorado’s laws prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying and refusing to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples entered into in other states.  McDaniel-Miccio, et al. v. State of Colorado, Denver County District Court, Case No. 2014-cv-30731.
  • Served as co-counsel on an employment discrimination case against the Boy Scouts of America that led to the Boy Scouts ending their decades-long discrimination against gay and lesbian scout leaders.
  • Prevailed on a motion to dismiss for the New Orleans Saints against claims by Travelers in federal district court seeking reimbursement of California workers compensation payments made by Travelers to a former Saints player and for a declaration of non-coverage for 11 former Saints players. The Travelers Indemnity Company v. New Orleans Louisiana Saints LLC, 2014 WL 1716056, No. 8:13-cv-1998-JLS-JPR (C.D. Cal 2014)., 2014
  • Reached a successful resolution on behalf of the Denver Broncos Football Club in a dispute with former players to determine whether the current owner of the Denver Broncos football franchise is responsible for cumulative trauma claims brought by players employed by a prior owner.  PDB Sports Ltd v. George Goeddeke, et al., No. 11-CV-8097 (Denver County, Colo. 2013).
  • Reached a successful resolution for the current owner of the Denver Broncos football franchise in an insurance coverage dispute relating to cumulative trauma claims of former players.  St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Company, The Travelers Indemnity Company v. PDB Sports, Ltd d/b/a Denver Broncos, No. 11-cv-1476 (D. Colo. 2012).
  • Defending a nationwide group of companies regarding the issuance of title commitments and insurance against a qui tam claimant. US Ex Re. Dale Todd v. Fidelity National Financial, Inc., et al., No. 12-cv-666 (D. Colo.).
  • Secured dismissal of breach of fiduciary duty claims against the former chairman of the board of directors for a large, multi-state energy organization.  Chimney Rock Public Power District, et al. v. Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association, Inc., et al., 2010 CV 02349 (D. Colo.).
  • Successfully resolved an injunctive relief on behalf of Suncor Energy (U.S.A.) Inc. against ConocoPhillips and Phillip 66 under the Petroleum Marketing Practices Act to permit Suncor to continue selling Phillips 66 branded motor fuel in Colorado.  Suncor Energy (U.S.A.) Inc. v. ConocoPhillips et al., 2013 CV 34926 (D. Colo. 2013).

“I enjoyed attending law school and working at a big law firm in New York City, but it is really great to be back in the West.  I was raised on a small family ranch in rural Idaho.  When you work on a ranch, there is no time clock.  If something needs to be done, you work until it is done.  I was raised this way, and I bring the same work ethic to the legal work that I do for my clients.”



image Practice Areasimage
  • Complex Civil and Commercial Litigation
image Educationimage
  • J.D., New York University School of Law
  • B.A., University of Idaho
    cum laude
image Bar & Court Admissionsimage
  • State of New York
  • State of Colorado
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
image Leadershipimage
  • Board Member and Programming Co-Chair, Colorado GLBT Bar Association
  • Co-Chair Hate Crimes Task Force, Colorado Lawyers Committee
  • Member, Center for Legal Inclusiveness' Community Connection Initiative (2014-present)
image Recognitionimage
  • Finalist, Denver Business Journal's Power Book (2015)
  • Volunteer Lawyer of the Year, Denver Bar Association (2015)
  • Barrister of the Year, GLBT Community Center of Colorado (2015)
  • Award of Special Recognition, Colorado Lawyers Committee (2015)
  • Visionaries in Action Award, GLBT Community Center of Colorado (2015)
  • Rising Star, Colorado Super Lawyers (2014, 2015)
  • Honoree, Out Front Colorado Power Party (2015)
  • Lawyer of the Year, Law Week Colorado (2014)
  • Up-and-Coming Lawyer, Law Week Colorado (2014)
  • Finalist, Gary McPherson Outstanding Young Lawyer Award, Colorado Bar Association (2014)
 Presentations & Publicationsimage
  • Trial Tactics: Openings/Closings, University of Colorado Law School (2015)
  • Resume Writing and Interviewing for GLBT Attorneys and Law Students Panel, Colorado GLBT Bar Association (2014)
  • Marriage Equality Update, CLE Presentation, Colorado Bar Association (2014)
  • Litigating Marriage Equality, Presentation to DU OUTLaws, University of Denver Sturm College of Law (2014)
  • Marriage Equality Panel (Moderator), Ira C. Rothgerber Conference, University of Colorado Law School (2014)
image Professional Membershipsimage
  • Colorado Bar Association
  • Colorado GLBT Bar Association
  • Denver Bar Association
  • Colorado Lawyers Committee
  • Faculty of Federal Advocates
image Mediaimage