For more than 30 years Jeff has distinguished himself as a tenacious litigator and advocate representing claimants and defendants. He has tremendous skill with legal matters involving the financial services and capital markets industries. Jeff’s area of practice spans complex and aggravated commercial litigation, FINRA regulatory and customer securities litigation, real estate litigation, trade regulation, employment law and professional liability defense.
Complex and Aggravated Commercial Litigation
Jeff has routinely prosecuted and defended breach of contract, fraud, conversion, civil theft and intentional business tort cases. As lead counsel, he has handled some of the largest aggravated civil fraud and business tort cases in federal and Wisconsin state courts. His practice includes navigating matters which have parallel regulatory or “white collar” criminal investigations and proceedings.
His familiarity with parallel proceedings provides Jeff with a unique perspective that helps direct how the civil litigation is handled when balanced with criminal investigations or proceedings. Frequently, in such circumstances, there is much more at stake in parallel cases such as loss of licenses, professional discipline-including suspensions and fines, and in some situations, potentially the loss of liberty. Likewise, Jeff represents the victims of fraud or other intentional wrongdoing and seeks the maximum recovery allowed by law.
Jeff’s skill as a fidelity bond lawyer assists him with investigating the financial facts (“follow the money”). He can develop a litigation strategy with the goal of putting his clients in the best possible position to win—whether on the plaintiff’s or defense side.
FINRA Regulatory and Customer Securities Litigation
Jeff represents both claimants and respondents in FINRA matters. Financial advisors and others who are the subject of a regulatory inquiry by the State of Wisconsin Division of Securities, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, S.E.C. or Commissioner of Insurance have turned to Jeff for legal guidance.
He has successfully arbitrated Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ("FINRA") matters involving customers and/or financial advisors. FINRA cases can involve customer complaints involving suitability, misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty and other claims against registered representatives, investment advisors and broker-dealers.
Real Estate Litigation
In the area of real estate litigation, Jeff has handled numerous matters involving the breach of real estate purchase agreements, leases, development agreements, restrictive covenants, tenant in common agreements, real estate limited partnerships and construction disputes. He has also commenced and tried partition actions, litigated over riparian rights, and sought specific performance over real estate transactions. Jeff is an experienced contract surety bond lawyer.
Jeff has represented manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers and retailers in Wisconsin Fair Dealership Law ("WFDL") or Unfair Sales Act ("Minimum Mark-Up Law") claims. He understands WFDL and the Minimum Mark-Up Law and their draconian remedies can be an unwelcome surprise for the unwary.
Professional Liability Defense
When faced with a professional liability complaint, lawyers, law firms, financial advisors, registered investment advisors, broker-dealers, real estate brokers, real estate sales agents, insurance brokers and agents and other licensed professionals turn to Jeff. He is well-versed in matters alleging breach of professional duty.
- Represented company in civil lawsuit against senior manager who embezzled funds and accepted illegal gratuities from supplier. Succeeded in recovering substantial damages through restitution, insurance or post-judgment civil collection remedies, even though employee was sentenced to prison.
- Successfully represented company whose employees allegedly engaged in commercial bribery, resolving all claims against client before trial. Jury verdict against other alleged co-conspirators after lengthy trial was in excess of $200 million.
- Obtained summary judgment on behalf of bank that sued its borrower for collection on defaulted note. Borrower had counterclaimed for breach of fiduciary duty and lender liability based on alleged misrepresentations and other acts and omissions of loan officer. Counterclaim was dismissed.
- Represented financial advisors, lawyers, bankers, insurance agents, real estate brokers and other licensed professionals in claims involving professional negligence, breach of fiduciary duty or contract claims. Recent case experience involved claim with liquidated damages in excess of $150 million.
- Successfully represented broker-dealer before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration panel in obtaining compensatory and punitive damages, including attorney’s fees in a case involving two former employees who took, without permission, individual customer lists.
- Secured final judgment in favor of client regarding scope of easement that burdened client's lakefront property. Court of Appeals held that based on admissible trial evidence of record, client was entitled to judgment as matter of law.
Articles and Presentations
- Presenter, "Is There Fraud in Your Midst?" University of Wisconsin Family Business Center, October 2014
- Presenter, "Threatening Criminal Prosecution in a Civil Matter - Demand Letters," Serjeants Inn, Milwaukee Chapter, September 2013
- Presenter, "Federal Receiverships as an Alternative to Chapter 11: A New Look at Fed. R. Civ. P. 66 in the Wake of Madoff, Stanford and Wealth Management," 10th Annual Meeting and Presentation of the Eastern District of Wisconsin Bar Association, April 2012
- Presenter, "Arbitration: Rose Garden or Minefield," State Bar of Wisconsin, Business Counsel Institute - Crisis Management, November 2011