Michael R. Stiff
Michael R. Stiff is a partner with the firm of Spesia & Taylor in Joliet, Illinois and a lifelong resident of Will County. He is a 1984 graduate of Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois, where he was inducted as a Charter Member of the Lewis Honor Society. He received his Law Degree from Loyola University School of Law in 1988.
Prior to joining Spesia & Taylor, Michael practiced in the Joliet office of a national law firm and then with a small general litigation firm in Geneva, Illinois. He has handled a wide range of litigation matters, including the defense of hospitals and doctors in complex medical cases, serious construction injuries and all types of premises liability claims.
At Spesia & Taylor, Michael has continued to handle a wide variety of litigation matters and all aspects of case management, from investigation through trial, including appellate work. Michael has tried both personal injury and non-injury cases in many Illinois state courts, and appears before the Circuit Courts of Will, Kankakee, LaSalle, Grundy, Cook and DuPage Counties. He has also handled cases in Iroquois, Kendall, Kane, and Winnebago Counties. His current practice includes representation of school districts and other businesses in litigation and other commercial matters.
In addition to his litigation practice, Michael assists in the representation of the Firm’s Municipal Clients, including the Villages of Rockdale, New Lenox, Minooka and Manhattan, and handles bond issues and litigation, tax increment financing, union negotiations and labor issues, annexation, zoning/re-zoning issues, and civil rights cases involving municipal employees and police officers.
For the past seven years, Michael has handled employment law cases for both private and public schools and school districts across the state, as well as general school law matters in both state and federal courts. He has also represented parishes and parish schools in the Diocese of Joliet with respect to general litigation, employment cases and investigation by state agencies. He also advises Firm client Catholic Charities on many varied issues.
Michael also assists the Firm’s probate attorneys with litigation matters as needed.
Michael is admitted to practice before all Illinois courts. As part of his practice of defending municipalities and employers in various employment and civil rights cases, Michael appears before the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, where he is admitted to the Trial Bar, the EEOC, and other state regulatory agencies.
Michael is a past member of the St. Paul the Apostle School Board and is actively involved in planning and working in various community and school events. He has also been a working professional magician and illusionist for many years, and continues to devote his time in entertaining children and adults alike at fundraising and charitable events in the Joliet area. He has also served as a coach of the University of St. Francis Mock Trial Team.
Here are Michael’s successful results and significant cases handled:
- Obtained summary judgment (twice in the same case) in favor of a school district accused of willful and wanton misconduct and negligence regarding bus transportation following an assault on a school bus.
- Obtained summary judgment in favor of a public school district alleged to have been discriminatory in its failure to hire an applicant for a school management position.
- Successfully defended a dog bite case against a commercial landlord by obtaining dismissal with prejudice of the statutory allegations and, after discovery, summary judgment on the common law negligence count, and then successfully argued the appeal of both decisions before the Fourth District Appellate Court.
- Along with attorney Jeffrey S. Taylor, Michael successfully defended (not guilty in a bench trial) a claim on a personal guarantee valued in excess of $2,000,000.00 and alleged breach of fiduciary duty in a complex case which involved issues of estoppel, accord and satisfactory parol evidence, statute of frauds, unclean hands, breach of contract, burden shifting, constructive trust, Marital Settlement Agreements and bankruptcy issues.
- Worked on multiple injunction hearings involving school officials and private businesses.
- Successful defense of a mandamus and declaratory judgment claim against a County Treasurer accused of failing to properly abate taxes on a large commercial property located in an Enterprise Zone.
- As part of his municipal work, Michael serves the Firm’s municipal clients as an Administrative Hearing Officer adjudicating ordinance violations and red light tickets.
- In the past, Michael has prosecuted ordinance violations for the Will County Forest Preserve District, and has tried nearly 100 cases on its behalf.
- Prosecuted bond claims in State and Federal Court for the Firm’s municipal clients.
- As Village Attorney for the Village of Rockdale, Michael guided and assisted the Village in its role as siting authority of a Pollution Control Facility (Transfer Station) from the application stage through a 4 day public hearing, drafting of the siting ordinance, and the special meeting to approve the ordinance as well as the subsequent appeals to the Pollution Control Board.
- Handled multiple cases before the Illinois Human Rights Commission and Department of Human Rights.
- Successful settlement of a major contract dispute between a municipal client and the contractor for its wastewater treatment plant project.
- Obtained summary judgment in favor of a police department client for alleged discrimination in the Village’s administration of Illinois’ Sex Offender Registration requirements.
- Along with attorney Jeffrey S. Taylor, Michael successfully settled a federal declaratory judgment case by securing enough money from the insurer and another non-party to enable the defendant in a significant personal injury action to settle rather than continuing without insurance and significant personal financial exposure.
- Worked with the team of attorneys who successfully handled seventy-six pipeline condemnation cases across seven counties to resolution in fourteen months, including coordinating written discovery and depositions of more than thirty landowners, farm tenants, and others, as well as assisting in the drafting of settlement documents and early access agreements for those cases which did not go to trial.
- Successfully handled a detachment proceeding in which the property of two separate property owners was detached from their school district and annexed to a different district pursuant to the Illinois School Code.
- Michael handles overweight traffic citations for 2 major concrete companies in all of the Chicagoland Counties, including the City of Chicago.