Steven L. Katz

Principal, Chicago
Phone: 312.245.7500
skatz@masudafunai.com

Steve Katz is a commercial litigator and business counselor with 20 years of experience representing clients on issues relating to product sales, distribution and technology. Mr. Katz represents clients across many industries, including consumer products, printing, automotive parts supply, semiconductor, computer numerical control, machine tool, construction equipment, outdoor power products, office/home furniture, industrial engine, software and information technology.

Mr. Katz has successfully represented manufacturers and suppliers in a wide variety of litigation, appellate and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) proceedings across the country, including claims for breach of contract/warranty, intellectual property infringement, antirust and unfair competition.

Outside the courtroom, Mr. Katz represents clients across the globe in negotiating licensing arrangements and sales-related contracts, including OEM and supply agreements, terms and conditions of sale and security agreements, relating to both domestic and worldwide supply relationships. He also counsels clients in all facets of their agreements and disputes with distributors, dealers, sales representatives and franchisees, including the termination of those relationships.

Mr. Katz regularly advises on antitrust issues concerning product distribution and licensing, including issues relating to pricing, exclusive dealing, territory and customer restrictions, refusals to deal, tying arrangements and relations with competitors.

As a member of the firm's Intellectual Property & Technology Group, he also counsels clients on intellectual property and trade secret protection, advertising and information technology issues.

Mr. Katz is a frequent author and speaker on litigation, antirust and sales/distribution topics, with a focus on issues that impact foreign companies conducting business in the United States. He was recently published in the National Litigation Consultants' Review: "The Risk of Proffering Financial Expert Testimony in Lay Witness Clothing: The Limits of Rule 701 of the Federal Rules of Evidence", Litigation Forensics Board of the National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts (NACVA), National Litigation Consultants' Review, Volume 2, 2013, page 6.

Mr. Katz is a member of the American Bar Association Sections of Litigation and Antitrust and a member of the Chicago Bar Association Federal Civil Practice and Antitrust Committees.

Mr. Katz is admitted to practice in Illinois; the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, including its Trial Bar; the U.S. District Court for Arizona; and the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Seventh and Eighth Circuits. He obtained his law degree, magna cum laude, from Northern Illinois University College of Law in 1992, where he received the 1992 "Antitrust Prize" awarded for his scholarship in that area of law. He was also the recipient of American Jurisprudence Prizes in Contracts, Corporations, Property, Antitrust Law and Legal Research and Writing. Mr. Katz was a member of the 1991-1992 NIU Law Review and of the NIU National Moot Court Team. He obtained his B.A. from the University of Michigan in 1989.

Representative Matters


  • As lead counsel, obtained summary judgment in federal court in Chicago for a manufacturer of outdoor power equipment on a $2.8 million breach of contact claim against a former New England distributor, including dismissal of the former distributor's $50 million franchise law counterclaim. Also represented and obtained summary judgment for the replacement distributor in dismissing the multi-million dollar cross-claims brought by the former distributor for unfair trade practices. Successfully represented both clients on appeal before the federal court of appeals in Chicago, which affirmed summary judgment in all respects. The trial court's reported opinion can be found at: 2011 WL 148396; 84 Fed. R. Evid. Serv. 692 (N.D. Ill. 2011); the appellate court's reported opinion can be found at: 661 F.3d 859, 2011 WL 5041711 (7th Cir. 2011).

  • As lead counsel, swiftly secured dismissal with prejudice in federal court in Chicago for clients on a pro se plaintiff's billion dollar claim for infringement of a U.S. patent relating to security and mobile telephone technology. The trial court's opinion can be found at: 2011 WL 5373989 (N.D. Ill. 2011).

  • Represented machine tool manufacturer and its foreign parent company in obtaining a preliminary injunction against the infringing use of its name and other trademarks before a federal court in Chicago. The trial court's reported published opinion can be found at: 576 F.Supp.2d 868 (N.D. Ill. 2008).

  • As lead counsel, settled on highly favorable terms to defendant seafood distributors, claims of patent infringement and unfair trade practices brought by patentee in federal court in Hawaii.

  • As lead counsel, successfully defended a manufacturer of graphics arts equipment at a week-long trial in federal bankruptcy court in North Carolina against claims of breach of warranty and unfair trade practices alleging over $5 million dollars in damages.

  • Successfully defended food products franchisor against multi-million dollar claims in a two-week trial conducted before the American Arbitration Association in Los Angeles, California.

  • Represented Japan manufacturers of semiconductor equipment and a California subsidiary in collecting on multi-million dollar unsecured claims and settling on highly favorable terms multi-million dollar preference claims asserted by bankrupt customer in federal bankruptcy court in Delaware.

  • Coordinated defense and secured dismissal of all claims against a Japan high tech equipment manufacturer and its Illinois subsidiary with regard to breach of warranty and fraud claims asserted by end user in Texas state court.

  • Represented printer supplier in federal court in Chicago in the successful repossession of capital equipment from defaulting customers located in Florida, Las Vegas and other states.

  • Coordinated defense of Tier I automotive parts supplier in federal court in Ohio from claims brought by a disgruntled industrial equipment supplier. The case was settled and dismissed without any payment to the plaintiff.

  • Settled and resolved on highly favorable terms multi-district claims pending against a manufacturer of graphics arts equipment in Chicago and New York federal courts alleging antitrust violations, fraud, deceptive trade practices and wrongful termination of dealer contracts and claiming several million dollars in damages.

  • Settled on highly favorable terms claims of wrongful dealer termination pending in federal court in Puerto Rico against a manufacturer of outdoor power equipment.

  • As lead counsel, successfully defended admiralty claims against manufacturer of large diesel marine engines pending in federal court in Alaska. Obtained dismissal of fraud and unfair trade claims, including dismissal of multi-million dollar punitive damage claim.

Practice Areas

Education

  • University of Michigan, 1989
  • Northern Illinois University College of Law , Magna Cum Laude, member of the NIU Law Review and NIU National Moot Court Team, 1992

Admissions

  • Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Including Trial Bar
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona

Professional Activities

  • Japan America Society of Chicago

Distinctions

  • Recognized as a Leading Lawyer, 2013-2017