Jeffrey A. Soble

Partner

Overview

Jeffrey (Jeff) A. Soble is a partner and litigation lawyer with Foley & Lardner LLP. His practice focuses on product liability, commercial disputes between businesses, class action defense, post-transaction disputes, construction losses, and general contract and tort law. He is experienced in supply chain management and contract enforcement, in particular with limited or sole-source suppliers and just-in-time suppliers. He has further experience in the litigation of insurance coverage claims. Jeff is a member of the Business Litigation & Dispute Resolution Practice and former co-chair of the Automotive Industry Team. He is a member of the American Arbitration Association’s Roster of Neutrals. Jeff is the co-editor of Dashboard Insights, the Automotive Industry Team blog, which was named to the ABA Journal’s Blawg 100 in 2016. His varied clientele includes manufacturers (light and heavy), distributors, service providers, and technology companies.

Representative Experience

  • Defense judgment in bench trial obtained in favor of insurance brokerage firm defeating claims for breach of contract. Case affirmed on appeal. Altman Mgmt. Co. v. AON Risk Ins. Servs. W., Inc., No. 328593, 2016 WL 5122109 (Mich. Ct. App. Sept. 20, 2016), appeal denied, 893 N.W.2d 632 (Mich. 2017).
  • Attained a Temporary Restraining Order on behalf of Tier 1 automotive supplier client against its customer OEM compelling the OEM to conduct a recall of certain vehicles to replace certain emissions related components.
  • Obtaining a jury verdict in a premises liability matter for a leading national retailer. Plaintiff claimed permanent head injuries and sought $6.5 million. As liability was admitted, the matter only concerned damages. The jury awarded Plaintiff $150,000. After setoff from a settling defendant, the client’s liability was reduced below $65,000 – less than the last settlement offer before trial and only 1% of plaintiff’s claimed damages.
  • Successfully obtaining a Preliminary Injunction against a former employee after he nefariously obtained confidential and trade secret information from the client after the employee’s termination.
  • An award of $13.09 million on behalf of a private equity client in a post-transaction working capital adjustment arbitration.
  • Successfully obtaining a $2.55 million arbitration award in a post-transaction working capital adjustment for a scrap metal recycling client.
  • The victorious defense through the granting of a motion for judgment on the pleadings prior to the start of discovery in defense of a purported consumer class action against a large international retailer.
  • The defeat of a Motion for Class Certification in the defense of a heavy equipment manufacturer in a purported nationwide class action lawsuit alleging breach of express and implied warranties, and negligent misrepresentation.
  • The granting of class certification in a pro bono habeus corpus proceeding in an action challenging the indefinite detention of foreign citizens ordered removed from the United States. Kazarov v. Achim, No. 02 C 5097, 2003 WL 22956006 (N.D.Ill. Dec. 12, 2003).
  • The winning defense through the granting of judgment after a bench trial of a contested $33 million breach of contract and express warranty claim. Judgment affirmed, In re Comdisco, Inc., 434 F.3d 963 (7th Cir. 2006).
  • The successful urging of the Illinois Appellate Court to adopt a new standard for the protection of non-party litigants from the discovery of their confidential business information. Int’l Truck & Engine Corp. v. Caterpillar, Inc., 814 N.E.2d 182 (Ill. App. Ct. 2nd Dist. 2004).
  • The dismissal of claims brought pursuant to the Commodity Exchange Act by the Commodity Futures Trade Commission because the CFTC did not have jurisdiction over the foreign currency transactions at issue. Case affirmed, CFTC v. Zelener, 373 F.3d 861 (7th Cir. 2004).
  • The successful defense through the granting of judgment after a two-week arbitration before a panel of three arbitrators arising from breach of warranty-related claims. The client, a small engine manufacturer, was originally sued for in excess of $24 million. The arbitration panel found entirely for the client in ruling them not liable.
  • Obtaining summary judgment in a class action lawsuit on behalf of a corporation alleged to have violated its Articles of Incorporation. In re Sunstates Corp. Shareholder Litigation, 788 A.2d 570 (Del. Ch. 2001).

Select Publications and Speaking Engagements

  • “Here comes the US-Mexico trade agreement,” Automotive World, author, September 4, 2018
  • “As Automation Expands, Driver Error Persists,” WardsAuto, author, July 24, 2018
  • “Supply Chain Agreements: Consequential Damage Disclaimers, Indemnity, Force Majeure, Termination, Warranty Provisions,” presented at CLE Training hosted by Strafford Webinars, June 19, 2018
  • “UPS Buys 50 Electric Vehicles in Push for Sustainable Transport,” Supply Chain Dive, quoted, February 26, 2018
  • “U.S. Paris Accord Withdrawal Shouldn’t Change Auto Industry’s Approach,” Wards Auto, author, July 25, 2017
  • “Paris or No Paris, Auto Emissions May Fall,” Daily Journal, June 22, 2017
  • “LexBlog Leaders: Dashboard Insights is Excited to See Where the Road Takes Them,” The Lexblog Network, featured 2016
  • “An Ounce of Prevention – Be Ready for PL Claims Now,” presented at The 12th Annual IPSLP Product Safety & Liability Prevention Conference, July 27 and 28, 2016
  • “Protect Yourself! How to Supply Into the Land of Lawsuits,” presented at Foro Automotriz Querétaro 2016 in Santiago de Querétaro, Mexico, June 23 and 24, 2016
  • “Reducing Risk With Contracts, Warranties and Safety Programs,” Westlaw Automotive Journal, co-author, 2015
  • “Three Privileges That Can Help You In US Product Liability Litigation,” Business Law Journal (Japan), co-author, 2015
  • "Preempting and Mitigating Product Liability Claims," Practical Law, 2014
  • "Opportunities and Challenges in Mergers and Acquisitions," Directors Roundtable, May 7 and 9, 2013
  • "Strategic Considerations in Working Capital Disputes – The Role of the Neutral Arbitrator," Foley Web Conference in coordination with FTI Consulting, June 8, 2011
  • "Purchasing Law: Effective Contract Negotiation & Management In Times of Financial Uncertainty" presented by Lorman Education Services, April 26, 2010
  • "What Every Lawyer Should Know About Post-Closing Working Capital and Earnout Disputes," presented at CLE Training hosted by Foley & Lardner LLP, September 15, 2009
  • "Reading, Interpreting, and Litigating Complex Commercial Contracts: Strategies for Success," presented at CLE Training hosted by Foley & Lardner LLP, August 28, 2008
  • "Supplier Relationships: Where the Breakdowns Occur" and "The Litigation Process," presented at Purchasing Law Boot Camp hosted by the National Association of Purchasing Management, Chicago, IL, May 7, 2008

Admissions and Professional Memberships

Jeff is admitted to practice in the State of Illinois. He is admitted to practice in the following additional jurisdictions: the USDC for the Northern and Central Districts of Illinois, the USDC for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, the USDC for the Eastern District of Michigan, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth and Seventh Circuits. He is a member of the Trial Bar of the Northern District of Illinois. As a result of his national practice and having represented clients on a regional and national basis both directly and in coordinating litigation, Jeff has been admitted pro hac vice in many state and federal courts around the country.

Recognition

Jeff has been Peer Review Rated as AV® Preeminent™, the highest performance rating in Martindale-Hubbell's peer review rating system. He is a former member of Foley’s national pro bono committee as well as the former chairman of the pro bono committee for the firm’s Chicago office. Jeff has twice been successful obtaining the release of immigrants indefinitely detained by the federal government. As a result of one such victory, Jeff was awarded a Pro Bono Leadership Award from the Midwest Immigrant & Human Rights Center and the Chicago Bar Association – Young Lawyers Section. For his work on the Dashboard Insights blog, he was named the Readers’ Choice 2017 Top Author on Driverless Cars by JD Supra.

Certifications

Jeff is certified as a Trial Advocacy Teacher by the National Institute of Trial Advocacy.

Education

A 1996 cum laude graduate of the Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Jeff was a member of Loyola's National Champion Trial Competition Team and received the George A. Spiegelberg Award presented to the Best Oral Advocate at the competition by the American College of Trial Lawyers, as well as the Loyola Academic Achievement Award in Appellate Advocacy.

Jeff received his Bachelors of Arts degrees in economics and history from the University of California at Los Angeles.

Representative Matters

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Represented a Japanese-affiliated steel logistics company in negotiating a steel logistics contract with an automaker.
Defeated motion for class certification in the defense of a heavy equipment manufacturer. The purported nationwide class action brought claims for breach of express and implied warranties, in addition to negligent misrepresentation.
Represented a Tier 1 automotive supplier when General Motors (GM) recalled 1.3 million compact cars to replace a motor in the power steering system due to a loss of power assist. Our client supplied the column type electric power steering system used in the vehicles and contested whether the electric power steering system failed to meet GM's specifications, whether the recall was prudent and necessary, and other issues. Foley served as lead counsel for the supplier in defending GM's claims for all losses and damages proximately caused by the recall. The matter will be submitted to binding arbitration by agreement of the parties, to take place in Detroit.