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With deep experience in compliance with consumer finance statutes and consumer class actions, Steve helps clients navigate disputes through state and federal court litigation, private arbitration, mediation and informal resolution outside the courtroom. Steve’s practice focuses on counseling clients regarding the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and related state statutes, as well as other federal and state consumer statutes. He has appeared in matters across the country representing (among others) banks, credit unions, short-term lenders, mortgage servicing companies and insurers in single-plaintiff and class action disputes. Steve has been recognized by Best Lawyers in America and Ohio Super Lawyers for his litigation experience and is a member of the ABA Consumer Financial Services Committee and founder of the Columbus Bar Association Financial Services Committee.
 

Steve additionally represents owners, general contractors and subcontractors in litigation, arbitration and mediation of disputes relating to construction defects, construction contract disputes, in-construction performance issues and terminations. He is a 2014 alumnus of the Builders Exchange of Central Ohio's Rising Leaders Program and is a founder and moderator of construction law programs at the Builders Exchange for new hires in the construction industry.
Reported and Representative Cases
Financial Services Litigation and Fair Credit Reporting Act Issues
  • Won Sixth Circuit affirmance of federal district court dismissal of putative class action against insurer regarding plaintiff’s claim that insurer failed to pay the actual cash value (ACV) of a total loss vehicle.
  • Won Ohio state appellate court affirmance of trial court dismissal of putative class action against insurer regarding plaintiff’s claim that insurer failed to pay the actual cash value (ACV) of a total loss vehicle.
  • Obtained dismissal of multi-district litigation (MDL) application by borrowers of the CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) who claimed financial institutions failed to compensate the borrowers’ agents, and obtained dismissal of putative class action by those plaintiffs in federal court.
  • Represented the Ohio Credit Union League as amicus curiae in successful appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court regarding the standards applicable to cognovit note provisions.
  • Won Ohio state appellate court affirmance of trial court dismissal of union’s claims against State retirement system relating to change in cost-of-living-adjustments (COLA) program.
  • Obtained dismissal of claims for false and deceptive advertising, against life insurance company. 
  • Represent fraternal benefit society in challenges to denial of accidental death insurance policies.
  • Obtained early dismissal of class action against logistics company client for alleged violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
  • Resolved lawsuit filed on behalf of registered investment advisor firm against departing investment advisor representatives in violation of non-competition and non-solicitation covenants.
  • Obtained early dismissal of a federal court class action against small dollar lender, challenging the lender's right to perform services pursuant to the Ohio Mortgage Loan Act.
  • Coordinated early resolution of claims against small dollar lender relating to debt collection allegations.
  • Obtained verdict for bank, denying a guarantor's claims to enjoin enforcement of a personal continuing guaranty of a commercial loan and to void the guaranty due to mistake or fraudulent inducement.
  • Prevailed on a motion to dismiss in federal court lawsuit alleging violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) against credit card loyalty program company.
  • Represent telecommunications company in federal court class action alleging improper background check procedures.
  • Represented talent staffing agency in defense of class action surrounding alleged violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) background check processes.
  • Procured early resolution of two lawsuits against online lender involving allegations of Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) violations from background check processes.
  • Counsel digital marketing company regarding compliance with Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) processes in the energy, banking, and telecommunications industries.
  • Counsel digital portfolio company regarding compliance with Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) processes surrounding identity and account verification products.
  • Assisted client with developing online employment application processes to comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
Construction Litigation
  • Represent university in lawsuit arising from installation of a defective artificial turf athletic field.  
  • Represented hospital in lawsuit resulting from defectively installed windows in maternity and surgical step-down wing.  
  • Procured substantial arbitration award for general industrial contractor in a construction contract dispute. 
  • Represented general contractor in dispute trial with subcontractor relating to construction of big-box retailer store.
  • Represented general contractor in dispute with owner and subcontractor relating to rehabilitation of a hotel.
  • Represented site contractor in state and federal court lawsuits seeking insurance coverage from more than 50 insurers as an "additional insured" on subcontractors' policies, relating to underlying litigation of alleged construction defects.
  • Defended specialty subcontractor in lawsuit resulting from the accidental collapse of a bridge shoring system. 
  • Represented specialty subcontractor in multi-party arbitration relating to construction of an intermodal yard and federal court litigation regarding enforceability of the arbitration award.
Commercial Litigation
  • Obtained summary judgment and recovery of nearly $600,000 in legal fees and costs for defendant in copyright infringement lawsuit relating to sale of automobile auction websites and software.
  • Obtained early voluntary dismissal of client from copyright infringement lawsuit filed in California federal court.
  • Resolved federal and state court lawsuits in Oregon and Florida against client relating to billing for medical services.
  • Obtained early settlement of copyright infringement lawsuit in Georgia federal court for plaintiff-client, including agreed permanent injunctions against future infringement.
  • Represent direct-selling manufacturer in dispute with former digital marketing vendor: defending vendor's breach of contract claims and prosecuting client's numerous counterclaims for unfair business practices.
  • Obtained favor resolution for dairy product manufacturer in a product recall action filed in Minnesota and transferred to Florida court. 
  • Prevailed on all claims for monetary relief sought by competitor in protective clothing industry after ten-day bench trial in federal Court.
  • Obtained successful injunction in favor of electronic voting machine manufacturer in lawsuit against the Ohio Secretary of State, in response to the Secretary's attempt to bar the client's sales to Ohio municipalities. Coordinated intervention of numerous county boards of election with an interest in purchasing client's products and defended the injunction through multiple appeals.
  • Obtained trial verdict on behalf of a School District in a matter involving interpretation of a statute relating to regional water and sewer districts.
  • Prevailed in obtaining preliminary injunction in favor of staffing company in non-competition lawsuit against former employee and former customer.
  • Co-counsel for numerous automobile manufacturers in protests filed with the Ohio Motor Vehicles Dealers Board.
  • Represented an Internet, Data and VOIP communications company, which owns and operates data centers, in its appeal of a significant use tax assessment relating to telecommunications services. The Department of Taxation assessed use taxes on the client’s provision of efficient internet routes for customers on the grounds that the client’s selection of the pathways added new value and security to the pathways the client purchased from providers. The assessment was retrospective but also created risk of future, ongoing use tax assessments. We were able to resolve the assessment in the client’s favor through appeal to the Ohio Board of Tax Appeal. 
     
Additional Experience:
  • Hirschvogel Incorporated v. Allison Transmission, Inc., 2019 WL 2075934 (S.D.Ohio May 10, 2019)
  • Schmitt v. Nationwide Life Ins. Co., No. 2:17-CV-558, 2018 WL 4051835 (S.D. Ohio Aug. 24, 2018)
  • Hirschvogel Inc. v. Allison Transmission, Inc., No. 2:17-CV-458, 2017 WL 7513240 (S.D. Ohio Oct. 20, 2017)
  • Horter Investment Management, LLC v. Cutter et al., 2017 WL 2619337 (S.D.Ohio June 16, 2017)
Ice TV
Firm Publications
News
Published In
  • Author, Ice Miller's "Current-C" Newsletter, updating clients on current commercial, consumer, and class action litigation matters.
  • Author, "2012: The CFPB Set Its Sights on Credit Card Companies", Business Law Today, ABA Business Law Section March 2013.
  • Contributing author, "Financial Institutions Litigation" Chapter, ABA Annual Review of Business and Corporate Litigation 2012.
  • Author, "The CFPB in Review: A Healthy Dose of Enforcement and a Dash of Setting Boundaries," Banking & Financial Services Policy Report October 2013.
  • Client Alerts regarding construction industry.
Speaking Engagements
  • “Current Trends in Class Action Litigation – Things that Keep GCs Up at Night,” Ice Miller CLE Forum: The Ins and Outs of LGBTQ+ Law, June 17, 2021
  • "Cannabis and Hemp Banking: Opportunity, Compliance, Risks, And What We Can Expect Next," inVest48 hosted by the Ohio Credit Union League, May 12, 2021
  • “Overdraft and Non-Sufficient Funds Issues and Class Action Lawsuits Updates,” Ohio Credit Union League, April 22, 2021
  • Construction Law Basics, Central Ohio Builders Exchange, 2015-present
  • Presented AIA Contract Document Workshop for HalfMoon Education, March 28, 2018
  •  Presented Construction Law Basics to general contractor client, April 27, 2018
  • "FCRA: A Small Misstep Can Lead to Significant Exposure", Ice Miller CLE Forum for In-House Counsel June 7, 2018, Dec. 5, 2017, and Nov. 29, 2017
  • "Comparison of Circuit Court Decisions Post-Spokeo", Columbus Bar Association Nov. 28, 2017
  • "CFPB Year In Review," Ice Miller CLE Forum for In-House Counsel, Indianapolis, Indiana - Dec. 11, 2015
  • "CFPB Year In Review," Ice Miller CLE Forum for In-House Counsel, Columbus, Ohio - Dec. 1, 2015
  • “The CFPB: Where has it been and where is it going,” Ice Miller CLE Forum for In-House Counsel, Columbus, Ohio - Dec. 4, 2014
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