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Clients call on Steve to litigate and try complex commercial disputes. What they expect, and what they get, is nearly 20 years of commercial trial experience brought to bear through every stage of the case. From day one, Steve plans for the possibility that a case will go to trial, which requires that cases are focused on the key issues at the outset and remain focused even as new information is learned. This trial-focused approach limits costs and burdens of pre-trial discovery, leads to a stronger presentation at trial, and, for those cases that settle, gets to resolution with less delay and pre-trial expense. 

Some Cases Have To Be Tried

Even in a legal environment in which a majority of cases settle, some cases have to be tried. Steve’s primary concern in those cases is that his clients understand the risks of trial. But if a client, knowing the risks, decides to try a case, they will find that they have a determined and prepared trial attorney who will fight for their position and present the most compelling case possible. Steve believes that it is critical for clients to be able to proceed to trial with confidence that their attorney has the experience to make the best presentation possible and do so without personal trepidation over taking a case to trial.

Mitigating Risk With Strategic Counseling

In addition to litigation and trial work, Steve counsels clients on disputes before litigation arises. This counseling includes developing strategies to avoid litigation, as well as brainstorming business solutions that could not be obtained through litigation. To that end, Steve represents clients in negotiations over complex disputes as well as in mediations, frequently resolving cases without significant time and money spent on litigation.

Representative Matters

  • 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.
  • Defended motor vehicle manufacturer in bench trial involving proposed establishment of a new dealership; judgment entered in client’s favor.
  • 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.
  • Lead counsel defending issuer of subordinated notes on claims for fraud and breach of contract; arbitration award entered in client’s favor, with follow-on lawsuit against individual officers dismissed with prejudice.
  • Lead counsel for manufacturer of industrial gears in arbitration involving fluctuation in steel pricing.
  • 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.
  • Representation of an auto parts manufacturer in connection with a sales representative’s claims for unpaid commissions.
  • Defended apparel company in distributorship termination litigation. Case favorably settled before final decision.
  • 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 and obtained favorable decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in a dispute over the applicability and scope of an arbitration clause.

Professional & Community Activities

  • Board Member, Greater Chicago/Upper Midwest Region of the Anti-Defamation League
  • Board Member, University of Illinois Law Alumni Board
  • Member, ABA Dispute Resolution and Litigation Sections and Forum on Franchising

Articles & Publications

Education

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
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