John A. Hughes, Partner


John Hughes is a commercial litigator and member of the franchise and distribution team. John has nearly 20 years of experience representing franchisors and manufacturers in a wide variety of disputes in federal and state courts and alternative dispute resolution forums throughout the United States.

John has represented franchisors and manufacturers in many industries in matters involving franchisees, suppliers, distributors, and competitors in individual actions, class actions, and group actions.

He regularly represents clients in actions involving claims for breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, tortious interference with contract, fraud, consumer fraud, encroachment, employee misclassification, joint employment, and trademark infringement. His practice also extensively involves franchisee termination issues and the enforcement of post-termination covenants.

In addition to his litigation practice, John frequently counsels clients on issues they often confront, including terminations and non-renewals, enforcement of system standards, managing relationships with franchisees and distributors, and transfers.

Representative Experience

  • Obtained and confirmed a $9 million arbitration award on behalf of a global hotel franchisor.
  • Successfully represented the world’s largest hardware retail cooperative in an arbitration hearing involving fraud and breach of contract claims.
  • Obtained a preliminary and permanent injunction, as well as the dismissal of counterclaims for fraud and for violations of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act and Illinois Franchise Disclosure Act, on behalf of an international chain in a dispute with a terminated franchisee.
  • Successfully represented a janitorial cleaning franchisor in an administrative hearing before the Illinois Department of Employment Security involving a claim for employee misclassification.
  • Obtained a summary judgment in favor of a global hotel franchisor dismissing a $100 million damages claim.
  • Advised a global biopharmaceutical company on trade secret issues for a citizen petition.
  • Secured the dismissal of counterclaims for violation of the South Carolina Unfair Practices Act, tortious interference with contract, and tortious interference with prospective advantage on behalf of a restaurant franchisor.
  • Successfully represented an airline affiliated with a restaurant chain in a dispute involving claims for misappropriation, fraud, and unjust enrichment relating to the development of the airline.
  • Secured a judgment on the pleadings on behalf of a global restaurant franchisor on claims for unfair trade practices under Georgia and Illinois statutes, fraud, and breach of contract.

Legal Services

Education and Honors

  • George Washington University (J.D., with honors, 2001)
    • The George Washington University International Law Review Moot Court Board
  • Michigan State University (B.A., 1998)

Bar Admissions

  • Illinois

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 10th Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, District of Colorado
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois

Professional and Civic Activities

  • Member of the International Franchise Association Legal Symposium Task Force (2016)

Professional Recognition

  • The Best Lawyers in America®, Franchise Law, 2021, 2022, 2023
  • Franchise Times Legal Eagle, 2021, 2022
  • Super Lawyers, 2019
  • Super Lawyers, Rising Stars, 2010-2016
  • Selected as a Leading Lawyer in Franchise and Distribution and Commercial Litigation
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