Photo of Stepfon R. Smith

Stepfon R. Smith

Partner

Industries

Education

The John Marshall Law School, J.D.

Webster University, M.B.A.

Northeastern Illinois University, B.A.

Admissions

Illinois

For 15 years, Stepfon has concentrated his practice in the defense of elected officials, units of local government and corporations and their management in labor and employment, workers’ compensation, commercial litigation, contract disputes and class-action matters. Stepfon is a civil litigation attorney, who functions as management-side counsel, defending a variety of matters, ranging from the most complex employer liability and contract disputes, to disputes involving high exposure occupational injuries to matters addressing grievances filed with unions that ultimately end in arbitration proceedings.

Throughout his career, Stepfon has taken many cases to trial, obtaining several not guilty verdicts and disposing of cases through dispositive motions. Additionally, Stepfon has disposed of cases at early stages by effectively responding to charges of discrimination filed at the EEOC and IDHR. Stepfon has an excellent record of obtaining favorable case outcomes, with only one case in 15 years that resulted in an attorney fee award for a plaintiff’s attorney in a Federal Section 1983 matter. Stepfon has made it a priority over the years to collaborate effectively with claims professionals and excess carriers to stay ahead of case risks and resolve cases at the absolute earliest and lowest cost possible.

Honors

  • Selected to the Illinois Super Lawyers "Rising Stars" list: 2014, 2015

Experience

  • Disposed of a fraudulent workers’ compensation claim filed by a public official ultimately resulting in prosecution by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office
  • Disposed of several charges of discrimination at the EEOC and IDHR that did not result in subsequent litigation in state or federal court
  • Obtained complete dismissal of retaliatory discharge claims and supplemental state breach of contract claims filed in federal court for a corporate client
  • Obtained two not guilty verdicts in a negligence action brought by customers of the second largest public transportation company in the U.S.
  • Received a jury verdict awarding 30% contributory negligence when defending a client accused of striking a pedestrian with a motor vehicle while employed with a public transportation company
  • For a public entity, obtained summary judgment in a case involving allegations of employee negligence
  • Obtained case dismissal in a premises liability case successfully arguing the defense of natural accumulation
  • Obtained case dismissal in a premises liability case successfully arguing the defense of latent defect
  • Obtained complete dismissal of all Section 1983, First Amendment claims against a municipality, its chief of police, and a police detective in a case alleging retaliation and official misconduct
  • Obtained complete summary judgment of all claims against a municipality and six police officers in a seven count lawsuit alleging conspiracy, false arrest, malicious prosecution, excessive force, and Monell claims where the plaintiff claimed damages in excess of $1 million
  • Obtained complete summary judgment in favor of a municipality and a police officer in a case where the plaintiff alleged malicious prosecution, false arrest and conspiracy claiming damages in excess of $500,000
  • Obtained summary judgment in a police brutality action in favor of police officer who was accused of seriously injuring the plaintiff during an arrest
  • Obtained a jury verdict of $120,000 in a case where the plaintiff asked the jury for $1 million involving claims of false arrest, assault, battery and malicious prosecution where plaintiff sustained three broken ribs and a fractured clavicle in an altercation with a suburban police department
  • Obtained dismissal of a quo warranto proceeding initiated by a resident of municipality challenging an annexation agreement to acquire additional land for the municipality
  • Successfully defended a city in a matter involving a high speed police chase where the plaintiff was seriously injured and filed suit against the city and the felon. The plaintiff asked for $3 million in damages. The jury found that the city was not liable.
  • Handles the most complex workers’ compensation cases, those involving allegations of permanent and total disability

News & Press Releases

Blog

Contributing Author, SmithAmundsen's Labor & Employment Law Update, a labor and employment advisory blog.

Contributing Author, Illinois Chamber of Commerce's Chamber Dispatch, an HR advisory blog.