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Steve helps clients navigate disputes through state and federal court litigation, private arbitration, mediation, and informal resolution outside the confines of the courtroom. He has appeared across the country on behalf of his clients, including matters in California, Florida, Louisiana, Minnesota, Michigan, New Jersey, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Pennsylvania.  As director of the Firm's Financial Services Litigation practice, Steve oversees the Firm's counseling and litigation services to financial services clients, including defense of consumer statute class actions and compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act and related state statutes.
 

In the financial services arena, Steve represents, among others, banks, short-term lenders, mortgage servicing companies, insurers, and individuals in single-plaintiff and class action disputes. His experience has covered the spectrum of financial services, including defense of consumer class actions, individual consumer claims, and claims for alleged statutory violations, as well as representing clients in the enforcement of loan agreements and guaranties.

Steve also counsels clients regarding compliance with consumer statutes. Particular to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Steve audits clients' disclosures, consents, and background check processes and counsels clients regarding adverse action and risk-based pricing notices. Steve is a member of the ABA Consumer Financial Services Committee and is the founder and former chair of the Columbus Bar Association Financial Services Committee.

In the construction arena, Steve represents owners, general contractors, and subcontractors in litigation, arbitration, and mediation of disputes relating to construction defects, contract disputes, in-construction performance issues, professional negligence, and terminations. Steve 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
  • Obtained dismissal of claims for false and deceptive advertising, again life insurance company. 
  • Represented bank in lawsuit against former executive, resulting from executive's violation of non-competition agreement.
  • 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.
  • 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 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 background check processes.
  • Procured early resolution of two lawsuits against online lender involving allegations of Fair Credit Reporting Act violations from background check processes.
  • Counsel digital marketing company regarding compliance with Fair Credit Reporting Act processes in the energy, banking, and telecommunications industries.
  • Counsel digital portfolio company regarding compliance with Fair Credit Reporting Act processes surrounding identity and account verification products.
  • Assisted client with developing online employment application processes to comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
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
  • 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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