Stephen C. Reilly
For nearly 30 years, Mr. Reilly’s practice has focused on general commercial litigation, with particular emphasis on the defense of banks and other financial institutions in complex liability cases. He has achieved consistently outstanding results in both state and federal trial and appellate courts in Massachusetts. He has also represented clients before the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, and in connection with investigations by the Federal Trade Commission and the Occupational Safety & Health Administration. Mr. Reilly is also a member of the Firm’s admiralty and maritime practice group. Some of his published work has been re-printed in a leading civil procedure textbook.
Education And Distinctions
More About Stephen C. Reilly
Among other clients, Mr. Reilly has represented Boston Private Bank & Trust Company, Brookline Bank, Eastern Bank, Bank of America, N.A., Sovereign Bank New England (now Santander Bank), U.S. Bank National Association, Leader Bank, N.A., Dedham Institution for Savings, Rockland Federal Credit Union, Wainwright Bank & Trust Company (which was acquired by Eastern Bank), and Danversbank (now Peoples United Bank). He has represented these banks and financial services companies in connection with hundreds of claims involving, among other things:
- letters of credit;
- bank operations and collections;
- commercial paper and check fraud;
- wire transfer fraud;
- safe deposit box litigation;
- the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act;
- the Fair Credit Reporting Act;
- the Electronic Funds Transfer Act and Regulation E;
- the Truth In Lending Act and Regulation Z; and
- legal process issues, including subpoena compliance, trustee process, attachments, search warrants and restraining orders.
Outside the banking field, Mr. Reilly has, among other things, successfully:
- defended clients ranging from restaurant franchisees to consumer products companies in putative consumer class action suits brought under M.G.L. c. 93A;
- defended several different electric utilities in cases involving claims for property damage and catastrophic personal injury;
- served as co-counsel for a pharmaceutical company in trade dress litigation;
- represented entities in proceedings brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1782 involving requests for discovery in aid of proceedings before foreign and international tribunals; and
- represented various Lloyds of London syndicates matters involving insurance coverage and subrogation.
Prior to joining FITCH in 1995, Mr. Reilly was with the Boston law firm of Hale and Dorr (now WilmerHale) for five years.
Mr. Reilly has near native fluency in French.
Cases of Note
- Mr. Reilly represented the defendant bank in both the trial and appellate courts in Grassi Design Group, Inc., et al. v. Bank of America, N.A., et al., 74 Mass. App. Ct. 456, review denied, 454 Mass. 1108 (2009). In that case, the Massachusetts Appeals Court affirmed the trial court’s entry of summary judgment in favor of the bank in a convoluted check fraud saga. The Grassi decision is significant because it marked the first instance in which an appellate court in Massachusetts had ruled on the “same wrongdoer” rule set forth in Uniform Commercial Code (“UCC”) § 4-406(d)(2) — a key defense to many check fraud claims. The Appeals Court also made it clear that, in a check fraud case such as Grassi, the bank’s customer bears the burden of proving that the bank did not exercise “ordinary care” as that term is specifically defined in UCC § 3-103(a)(7).
- Mr. Reilly also represented the defendant bank in both the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts and the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Demelo, et al. v. U.S. Bank National Association, 727 F.3d 117 (1st Cir. 2013). In that matter, which involved complex allegations of predatory lending and wrongful foreclosure, the First Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the plaintiffs’ claims. The First Circuit’s decision, which turned on he application of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 (“FIRREA”), establishes binding precedent for federal courts located in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Puerto Rico.
Teaching and Publications
- Stephen C. Reilly, Creating a Discovery Plan, which appears as Chapter 3 of Massachusetts Discovery Practice (MCLE, Inc. 2002). Portions of that article were re-printed in a leading civil procedure textbook: Subrin, Minow, Brodin and Main, Civil Procedure: Doctrine, Practice, and Context 2nd Ed. (Aspen Publishers, 2004).
- Stephen C. Reilly & Charles Donelan, Preparing To Take A Deposition, which appears as Chapter 3 of the Massachusetts Deposition Practice Manual, 2nd Ed., 1st Supplement (MCLE, Inc. 2008).
- Mr. Reilly has participated as a Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education faculty panelist on multiple occasions.
Professional Activities and Associations
- Admitted to the Massachusetts state bar, the District of Columbia bar, the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, and the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.