Stephen Funk

Shareholder

Akron
222 South Main Street
Akron, OH 44308
P 330.849.6602
F 330.376.4577
E sfunk@ralaw.com
Cleveland
1375 East Ninth Street
One Cleveland Center, 10th Floor
Cleveland, OH 44114
P 216.623.0150
F 216.623.0134



Stephen Funk

Shareholder

Phone: (330) 849-6602
Fax: (330) 376-4577
Email: sfunk@ralaw.com

Mr. Funk focuses his practice on business and public law litigation, appellate law, constitutional law, municipal law, real estate, and land use and zoning law. He is a Past President of the Akron Bar Association and has been named one of the “Top 100 Lawyers in Ohio” and as one of the “Top 50 Lawyers in Cleveland” by Ohio Super Lawyers magazine. He has significant appellate experience in both the federal and state courts, including a number of appeals and original actions before the Ohio Supreme Court.  He also is a member of the Advisory Group for the Northern District of Ohio with significant experience in district court.

Mr. Funk is a 1991 graduate of the Harvard Law School and a former law clerk to U.S. District Judge Ann Aldrich in the Northern District of Ohio. Prior to joining Roetzel in 1998, he was a Senior Litigation Counsel for the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.

Representative Matters

  • Obtained favorable Sixth Circuit opinions in federal court actions that sought to challenge Ohio Disciplinary Counsel’s enforcement of judicial canons and Summit County’s enforcement of local consumer protection ordinances
  • Successfully defended political subdivisions and individual police officers in numerous federal court actions filed under 42 U.S.C. 1983, including a successful jury trial in a multi-million dollar wrongful death suit and a successful grant of qualified immunity in Chappell v. City of Cleveland, 585 F.3d 901 (6th Cir. 2009)
  • Successfully defended municipalities, at both trial and appellate levels, to defeat putative class actions that sought to challenge the validity of sanitary sewer user surcharge and constitutionality of extraterritorial water rates
  • Successfully prosecuted challenge to validity of township zoning resolution in Ohio Supreme Court and 9th District Court of Appeals
  • Successfully prosecuted $20 million breach of contract action in a jury trial on behalf of public utility
  • Successfully prosecuted and defended claims arising from the sale of goods under the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), including successful breach of contract action against natural gas supplier that resulted in a multi-million jury verdict
  • Successfully defended the constitutionality of Ohio's E-Check program on behalf of a private contractor
  • Successfully defended a multi-million dollar class action for refund of E-Check inspection fees
  • Successfully defended a municipality, at both the trial and appellate levels, in lawsuits filed to enjoin the closing of a public road
  • Successfully defended probate court judge in writ of prohibition action in Ohio Supreme Court
  • Successfully prosecuted claim against a township that challenged constitutionality of annual appropriation lease
  • Successfully defended multi-million dollar federal court breach of contract claim relating to the termination of lease agreement
  • Successfully defended a zoning lawsuit filed against regional airport to enjoin runway construction project
  • Successfully defended a negligent hiring and retention claim in a state court jury trial on behalf of national security guard company
  • Successfully prosecuted a constitutional challenge to the retroactive application of citizen-initiated municipal charter amendment
  • Successfully obtained favorable decisions from the Ohio Supreme Court and 7th District Court of Appeals regarding the constitutionality statutory amendment for apportionment of local government funds
  • Successfully obtained favorable Sixth Circuit opinion in favor of an Ohio beer and wine distributors who sought to prevent termination of franchise under Ohio's Alcoholic Beverages Franchise Act
  • Successfully obtained a favorable decision in the Ohio Supreme Court relating to the authority of a local transit authority to lease abandoned railroad lines for commercial use
  • Successfully prosecuted a federal court challenge to constitutionality of appropriations riders that barred Army Corps of Engineers from processing permit application
  • Obtained favorable appellate court decisions to preserve shareholder and majority interest in a corporation
  • Successfully defended Board of Directors in lawsuit challenging the removal of a Chief Executive Officer for misappropriation of corporate assets and business opportunities
  • Successfully prosecuted a breach of warranty UCC claim in federal court on behalf of a municipality that purchased fire safety vehicles from an out-of-state corporation
  • Successfully prosecuted breach of contract, negligence, and fraudulent transfer claim arising from failed underground storage tank
  • Prosecuted and defended multiple cases involving successor liability, alter ego, and fraudulent conveyance claims
  • Prosecuted and defended shareholder disputes involving close corporations, including claims for judicial dissolution of corporation
  • Defended multiple shareholder derivative actions relating to alleged securities fraud claims
  • Prosecuted and defended multiple federal and state court actions relating to the theft of trade secrets and the enforcement of non-competition and non-solicitation agreements
  • Defended financial institutions for lender liability, breach of fiduciary duty, and conversion claims under the Uniform Commercial Code
  • Prosecuted and defended federal court actions for contribution, indemnity, and other damages under federal environmental statutes
  • Defended federal court action for breach of contract and negligence arising from the cleaning and inspection of commercial tank trailers
  • Defended a federal court action relating to alleged breach of lease agreement for 13 former E-Check testing stations in the greater Cincinnati area
  • Prosecuted multiple cases and appeals involving constitutional challenges to local zoning ordinances
  • Prosecuted a large number of zoning hearings and administrative appeals on behalf of commercial developers and private landowners
  • Prosecuted and defended eminent domain and takings cases in federal and state court
  • Prosecuted a Section 1983 zoning claim in federal court to enjoin township from eliminating zoning for proposed automobile dealership
  • Defended a local school district in a bench trial that sought to enjoin construction of modular classroom
  • Prosecuted numerous breach of easement and other real property claims on behalf of a public utility
  • Prosecuted and defended appeals on behalf of hospitals and physicians in medical malpractice actions
  • Prosecuted and defended numerous tax disputes relating to valuation of real property and charitable tax exemptions
  • Prosecuted school transfer case before the Ohio State Board of Education and Ohio Supreme Court
  • Advised municipality on creation and implementation of municipal broadband utility
  • Advised three regional transit authorities re: sales tax initiatives
  • Advised municipalities and various candidates on election law issues

Accomplishments

  • President, Akron Bar Association (2013-2014)
  • Named as one of The Best Lawyers in America© for Commercial Litigation (2016-2019), Appellate Practice (2017-2019), Litigation - Land Use and Zoning (2017-2019), Municipal Law (2019)
  • Selected as one of "Top 100 Ohio Lawyers" by Ohio Super Lawyers magazine (2011-2013, 2015)
  • Selected as one of "Top 50 Cleveland Lawyers" by Ohio Super Lawyers magazine (2012-2015)
  • AV® Preeminent™ rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory for the past 15 years
  • Selected as an "Ohio Super Lawyer" by Ohio Super Lawyers magazine (2009-2018)
  • Selected as an "Ohio Super Lawyer - Rising Star" by Ohio Super Lawyers magazine (2005-2007)
  • Law Clerk to the Honorable Ann Aldrich, U.S. District Judge in the Northern District of Ohio (1991-1992)
  • Trial Attorney and Senior Litigation Counsel for the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. (1995-1998)

Education

  • J.D., Harvard Law School
    • cum laude
  • B.A., Miami University
    • summa cum laude

Professional Affiliations

  • Advisory Group for the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio (1999-present); Served as Chair of the Civil Rules Committee (2001-2005), and Co-Chair of the Civil Rules Committee (2005-2012)
  • Federal Bar Association (1999-Present); Served on the Board of Directors for the Northern District of Ohio Chapter (2002-2008)
  • Akron Bar Association (1998-Present), President (2013-2014), President-Elect (2012-2013), Board of Trustees (2002-2005, and 2012-2015), and Chair of Federal Courts Committee (2005-2008)
  • Ohio State Bar Association
  • Ohio Association of Civil Trial Attorneys

Community Affiliations

  • Community Legal Aid Services, Board of Trustees (2010-2012, 2016-Present) and Secretary (2016-Present)
  • Northeast Ohio Legal Services, Board of Trustees (2010-2012)
  • Justice for All Campaign Committee, Community Legal Aid (2008-2010)
  • Board of Education for the Hudson City School District (2004-2006)
  • Citizens Committee for Hudson Schools, Co-Chair (2003-2006)

Publications

  • "Recent Judicial trends in Use of Excessive Force Cases" - Quarterly Review, Ohio Association of Civil Trial Attorneys Volume 12, Issue No. 3 (Summer 2018)

Presentations

  • Advanced Legal Issues Affecting Local Governments and Municipalities: The Ultimate Guide,” National Business Institute, Columbus, Ohio (October 2018)
  • “Practical Guide to Land Use and Zoning,” National Business Institute (August 2018)
  • "Government Liability" – Appellate Advocacy Seminar, Ohio Academy of Civil Trial Attorneys (August 2017)
  • "As Judges See It: Top Mistakes Attorneys Make in Civil Litigation" - Moderator, National Business Institute, Akron, Ohio (May 2017)
  • "Ohio's Public Records Act, Open Meetings Law, and Defending Section 1983 Claims and Police Liability Cases," National Business Institute, Akron (February 2017) and Cleveland (December 2016)
  • "As Judges See It: Top Mistakes Attorneys Make in Civil Litigation" - Moderator, National Business Institute, Akron Ohio (2015)
  • “Impact of the 2015 Proposed Amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure” - Akron Bar Association, Federal Courts Committee (Nov. 10, 2014)
  • "Oil and Gas Leasing Disputes" - Akron Bar Association (May 2014)
  • "Advanced Issues in Appellate Law" - Moderator & Panelist, Akron Bar Association, Akron, Ohio (2013)
  • "What Civil Court Judges Want You To Know" - Moderator, National Business Institute, Akron, Ohio
  • "Zoning In Accordance With A Comprehensive Plan" - APA Cleveland Chapter 24th Annual Zoning & Planning Workshop, Cleveland, Ohio
  • "Navigating Local Land Use Laws - Appealing Land Use Decisions in Court" - National Business Institute, Cleveland and Akron, Ohio
  • "Practical Guide to Defending Police Liability Claims" - Ohio Association of Civil Trial Attorneys, Cleveland, Ohio
  • "Handling Government Liability Cases: Types of Immunities and Common Causes of Action" - National Business Institute, Cleveland, Ohio
  • "Land Use Law: Current Issues in Subdivision, Annexation and Zoning," National Business Institute, Cleveland and Akron
  • "State and Local Government Law: Ethical Issues" - National Business Institute, Cleveland, Ohio
  • "Local Civil Rules: Northern District of Ohio Federal Court Admission Seminar" - Cleveland Bar Association
  • "Local Civil Rules: Northern District of Ohio Federal Court Admission Seminar" - Akron Bar Association
  • "State and Local Government Law: Hot Topics in Land Use and Zoning Law" - National Business Institute, Cleveland, Ohio
  • "Mastering Zoning and Land Use Planning Processes" - National Business Institute, Cleveland and Akron, Ohio
  • "Practical Guide to Appellate Practice Before Ohio's Federal and State Courts" - Moderator, Ohio State Bar Association Convention and Annual Meeting
  • "Land Use and Zoning Litigation" - National Business Institute, Cleveland and Akron, Ohio
  • School Law Seminar on Single-Sex Education, sponsored by the Ohio State Bar Association, Cleveland, Ohio
  • "Practical Guide to Zoning and Land Use Law in Ohio" - National Business Institute, Cleveland and Akron, Ohio
  • "Legal Issues Involving Ohio Local Governments" - National Business Institute, Cleveland, Ohio
  • "What You Need to Know about Public Records and Open Meetings in Ohio"- Lorman Education Services, Akron, Ohio
  • "Children's' Records Law in Ohio" - Lorman Education Services
  • "Use of Scientific Evidence in Environmental Cases" - OSBA Environmental Institute

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