Steve is a commercial trial attorney who has taken several cases through jury trials, arbitration hearings, state court bench trials, and administrative hearings. Steve’s experience taking cases through trial allows him to see the big picture, efficiently litigating matters by focusing on important issues and helping clients make the right decisions about if, when, and how to settle a case, or whether to take it through trial.
Steve’s principal industry focus has been in the motor vehicle industry, where Steve has tried several cases, including termination and add-point cases. Steve also counsels and represents motor vehicle manufacturers on dealer network initiatives and disputes. In his counseling work, Steve has developed successful strategies for improving dealer networks and has advised clients on dealer network initiatives including incentive programs and vehicle allocation.
In addition to the motor vehicle industry, Steve has counseled and represented clients in several other industries, including infant products, apparel, construction, and manufacturing.
- Lead counsel defending infant product manufacturer in federal court jury trial against allegations of wrongful termination of a distributor agreement; case favorably settled after jury failed to return unanimous verdict.
- Defense of a motor vehicle manufacturer in federal court jury trial against allegations of breach of a dealer agreement and violation of state motor vehicle code; verdict entered for client on all counts.
- Representation of a motor vehicle manufacturer in declaratory judgment action seeking to prevent dealership ownership transfer.
- Lead counsel for motor vehicle manufacturer in preliminary injunction hearing seeking to enjoin motor vehicle dealer termination; dealer’s request for preliminary injunction was denied.
- Lead counsel for motor vehicle manufacturer in state court administrative hearing seeking approval to terminate dealer agreement. State agency approved dealer termination after finding good cause.
- Representation of auto manufacturers in several price discrimination actions arising out of incentive programs.
- Argued appeal for motor vehicle manufacturer defending district court’s decision to grant summary judgment allowing termination of dealer agreement; U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit affirmed summary judgment.
- Obtained pleading stage dismissal of consumer class action against infant products manufacturer alleged to have misrepresented facts about product safety.
- Lead counsel defending issuer of subordinated notes on claims for fraud and breach of contract; arbitration award entered in client’s favor.
- Representation of an auto parts manufacturer in connection with a sales representative’s claims for unpaid commissions.
- Obtained summary judgment for an auto manufacturer in a dealership termination dispute arising out of dealer’s refusal to provide a relocation plan after Hurricane Katrina.
- Obtained summary judgment for defendant alleged to have violated a non-compete and accused of destroying electronic documents.
- Argued appeal involving a motor vehicle challenge to the scope of an arbitration agreement; appeal granted by U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
- Representation of motor vehicle manufacturers in several lawsuits involving motor vehicle dealers, including price discrimination claims arising in connection with incentive programs and add-point, relocation, and termination protests.
Professional Activities & Honors
- Board Member, Greater Chicago/Upper Midwest Region of the Anti-Defamation League
- Board Member, University of Illinois Law Alumni Board
- ABA Dispute Resolution and Litigation Sections and Forum on Franchising
University of Illinois College of Law, J.D., magna cum laude, 1999
Indiana University, B.A., 1995
Bar & Court Admissions
- State of Illinois
- U.S. District Court - Northern District of Illinois
- U.S. District Court - Central District of Illinois
- U.S. Court of Appeals - 1st Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals - 5th Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals - 7th Circuit