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Steve has litigated business disputes for over 20 years. In that time, Steve has crafted an approach to litigation that is attuned to the needs of business clients, including the need to control costs and burdens and the need to seek opportunities to further clients’ business interests, even in the context of a heated dispute.  

Much of Steve’s work has been in the auto industry, where he represents manufacturers in dealer disputes. Through his litigation and trial work for manufacturers, Steve has learned the lessons necessary to be an effective business counselor who advises manufacturers in connection with a range of dealer network initiatives.

In his career, Steve has taken several business disputes through trial, and has enjoyed the kind of meaningful trial experience that is uncommon among business litigators. That experience allows Steve to more effectively plan dispute resolution strategies for both the short and long terms, frequently resolving disputes before litigation and, when that is not possible, understanding what needs to be done to maximize his clients’ chances of prevailing at trial.

Always a Business Counselor

Steve understands that his clients are not in the business of litigating cases, and the burdens of litigation detract from achieving business goals. Accordingly, he works to minimize the burdens of litigation as much as possible for his clients and to help identify opportunities for resolution short of trial.

Steve also knows litigation is often unpredictable, and it is critical for clients to understand the process, the risks, and the potential outcomes. He accordingly draws on his experience litigating business disputes to advise clients throughout the process, helping them balance the risks in deciding when and how to resolve a case.

Representative Matters

  • Successful defense of vehicle manufacturer in New York state court bench trial against dealer encroachment and product allocation claims.
  • Lead counsel for vehicle manufacturer in Idaho federal court preliminary injunction hearing in which dealer sought to prevent termination of dealer agreement; Court denied dealer’s request for preliminary injunction.
  • South Carolina federal court jury trial for motor vehicle manufacturer facing claims for breach of dealer agreement and violation of state dealer franchise act; jury verdict entered in client’s favor on all counts.
  • Lead counsel in federal court jury trial for infant product manufacturer facing claims by terminated distributor; case favorably settled after hung jury mistrial.
  • Lead counsel in Massachusetts federal court action for vehicle manufacturer defending statutory and contract claims arising out of rejected franchise sale; summary judgment granted in client’s favor and affirmed by First Circuit.
  • Lead counsel for Tier 1 supplier in litigation over long-term supply agreement with Tier 2 supplier. Case favorably settled, with long-term business priorities being secured.
  • Represented community bank in seven-figure dispute related to fraudulent wire transfer. Case favorably settled before completion of discovery.
  • Lead counsel for issuer of subordinated notes in JAMS arbitration filed by noteholders; arbitration award entered in client’s favor on breach of contract claim and follow-on fraud lawsuit filed against individual officers dismissed with prejudice.
  • Lead counsel for infant products manufacturer in putative consumer fraud class action related to alleged misrepresentations about product safety; action dismissed with prejudice at pleading stage.
  • Lead counsel for gear supplier to major wind turbine manufacturer in Ohio breach of contract arbitration.
  • Defended apparel company in distributorship termination litigation. Case favorably settled before final decision.
  • Defended auto manufacturers in several price discrimination actions related to incentive and bonus programs.
  • Litigated and tried commercial cases in construction, real estate, consumer goods, supply, and distribution.

Activities & Honors

  • Selected, The Best Lawyers in America© (2021) 
    • Franchise Law
  • Member, ABA Dispute Resolution and Litigation Sections and Forum on Franchising
  • Member, University of Illinois Law Alumni Board (2010-2012)

Speaking Engagements & Presentations

Articles & Publications

News

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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