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Steven Blonder Bio Image | Much Law

Steve is a valued legal and business counselor who focuses on complex business litigation. He has argued successfully before federal and state appellate courts across the country as well as the Illinois Supreme Court. He possesses a record of consistent success in motion and trial practice, both jury and nonjury, in state and federal courts and in arbitration.

Steve’s clients range from Fortune 500 companies and government entities to small businesses and entrepreneurs in a variety of industries, including gaming, consumer packaged goods, financial services, insurance, and real estate. He has represented a market-leading food company for more than five years, advising on labeling claims, class action defense, consumer claims, Prop 65, and slack fill issues.

As a strategic counselor, Steve learns the economic, financial, and human drivers affecting a client’s business. He helps them identify and overcome obstacles and design plans to accomplish their business objectives. Drawing on his skills as a litigator, he solves problems related to class action defense, corporate governance and control, securities, insurance, real estate, regulatory compliance, and other business issues.

In addition, Steve serves as the first line of defense for clients responding to inquiries from state attorneys general and in qui tam litigation, with experience representing clients before state and federal regulatory and governmental bodies. He also leads internal investigations regarding alleged corporate misconduct and represents parties in trust disputes and other probate matters.

Steve, chair of the firm's social responsibility initiative Much Community, is always on the lookout for ways to impact law reform. Most recently, he filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court of Louisiana arguing defendants convicted by Jim Crow juries have been denied their constitutional rights. He is driven to stand up for those who have no one else to speak for them.

As a member of Much's Management Committee, Steve focuses on growing the next generation of attorneys and instilling that same drive to make a difference.

Much More Than My Work

I serve as chair of Much Community, our firm’s social responsibility initiative. After serving as president of the board of directors for three years, I am chairman of the board for The ARK, a Chicago-based organization dedicated to poverty relief. I was first elected to The ARK’s board in 2016, then served as treasurer and vice president. I also serve as vice chair of the Chicago Bar Foundation’s Investing in Justice Campaign, a position I have held since 2010.

I previously completed two terms on the Board of Trustees and the Audit Committee for Chicago public television station WTTW11 and its sister radio station 98.7WFMT.

I served on the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago (JUF) board of directors for eight years and on various committees for nearly 20 years. I have held multiple leadership positions within JUF’s Young Leadership Division, including president of the division. I am a past recipient of JUF’s Young Leadership Award.

I served on the board of directors for the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (Midwest Region) and the Jewish Community Centers of Chicago. I also served for 10 years as a board member of the Jewish Children’s Bureau. I spent three years as chairman of The Hillels of Illinois and was president of Ezra Habonim, the Niles Township Jewish Congregation in Skokie, Illinois, for four years.

I am a former Executive Committee member of the Midwest Region of the Anti-Defamation League and a former member of the United Jewish Communities National Young Leadership Cabinet. I also served as an officer of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society. Additionally, I have served as a national officer and campaign cabinet member of the United Jewish Appeal, as a national board member of the Jewish Commission of Public Affairs and Hillel, and as a member of Kol Dor.

I have successfully chaired judicial campaigns for a Cook County Circuit Court Judge and an Illinois Appellate Court Justice. I also served as a co-chair of the successful judicial campaign for the first Asian American presiding judge in Cook County.

Client Successes

  • Currently defending a leading pasta maker in multiple nationwide class actions against allegations related to mislabeling and violations of slack fill requirements.
  • Represented Cook County in claims against its former insurance broker for breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty. A jury verdict in excess of $9 million has been obtained following an eight-figure settlement with the insurer. Affirmed on appeal.
  • Successfully defended the majority shareholders in connection with a corporate merger valued at $800 million in which the shareholders exercised drag-along rights in the corporate charter to effect the transaction. Case was dismissed and merger closed.
  • Successfully represented the minority shareholder of a business in seeking to enforce the buy-sell provision in a shareholder agreement that allows the purchase of shares at book value, and in pursuing claims against the other shareholder for misappropriating corporate assets. After a victory at trial, the matter settled on favorable terms.
  • Represented the plaintiffs in a RICO claim alleging that State Farm and others secretly financed and orchestrated a judge’s successful 2004 campaign for the Illinois Supreme Court, without disclosing that information. The judge then participated in a judicial decision reversing a $1 billion judgment against State Farm. Issues included the due process right of a litigant to an impartial hearing before an impartial court, and whether there are consequences for a wealthy and influential corporation that uses dark money to recruit and elect a sympathetic judge without disclosing that information to the court and the other litigants. After a jury was impaneled, the matter settled for $250 million.
  • Defended a pharmaceutical manufacturer in a nationwide consumer fraud class action by purchasers of prescription drugs. The trial court entered final judgment for the defendants on grounds of statute of limitations, federal preemption, and failure to prove elements of consumer fraud. The trial court’s decision was affirmed on appeal.
  • Successfully defended former directors and officers in a shareholder class action, breach of fiduciary duty suits in bankruptcy, and an SEC investigation arising from alleged financial and business misrepresentations. The clients paid nothing.
  • Represented a minority owner of one of the country’s largest privately held companies in an arbitration regarding the value of company stock. The arbitration panel awarded more than $20 million, which was later affirmed by the federal district court and the Eighth Circuit.
  • Defended the exclusive licensee of one of the world’s most popular card games against allegations by the inventor that the licensee breached the terms of the license agreement.
  • Represented parties (on a pro bono basis) in pursuing claims that Uber Technologies Inc. is subject to federal anti-discrimination statutes. The matter presented issues of first impression related to whether an e-commerce business such as Uber, which claims to be merely an electronic marketplace or an app, is subject to the same standards as corporations providing services. Obtained a first-impression ruling that a ride share company cannot discriminate because it is covered as a public accommodation and a travel service under the ADA.
  • Successfully defended former directors and officers of a public company against claims brought by former shareholders arising out of a going-private transaction. During trial, the court entered a directed finding in favor of four directors and exonerated the other two in a verdict. The trial court verdict was affirmed on appeal.
  • Successfully represented a 13-year-old girl in alleging that the Girl Scouts violated the federal Rehabilitation Act in not providing sign language interpreters to a deaf girl who sought to participate in scouting. In a case of first impression, the Seventh Circuit reversed a trial court ruling dismissing the matter, holding that the Girl Scouts are an organization covered by the federal statute. The court’s ruling established that private membership organizations that receive federal funds are covered by federal disability discrimination law.
  • Represented condominium owners alleging that the homeowners’ association violated their rights under the Fair Housing Act by removing their mezuzah from the doorpost of their unit. The dispute was resolved successfully in the client’s favor on the eve of a jury trial.

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