Stephen J. Foley, a renowned trial attorney who was a founding partner of the national law firm of Foley & Mansfield, died August 16 peacefully at home surrounded by family after a long illness. Foley was 55.

Foley's career was one of remarkable success representing insurers and their insureds in complex product liability, toxic tort and commercial litigation cases nationwide. The breadth of his practice across the country gave him both an understanding of the legal culture, law, and procedures in most of the "difficult" jurisdictions, as well as a reputation in those same jurisdictions as a very formidable player in the courtroom.

Foley tried more than 50 jury trails to verdict in his career, with countless additional resolved before verdict. These include a billion-dollar insurance coverage fight over liability for silicone breast implants, multi-million-dollar fire cases, asbestos-induced mesothelioma and lung cancer cases, and many other product liability cases. He took pride in being a true trial lawyer, always ready to take a case to verdict in front of a jury and his influence helped shape the national asbestos defense landscape. He was instrumental in the firm's growth, building its core Minneapolis practice, and subsequent California operations focused on toxic tort defense. The firm currently has 10 offices across the U.S., including an office in Detroit.

"Steve was a brilliant strategist, a daunting opponent, a strong role model to numerous young attorneys, and a brilliant friend to all who had the privilege to know and work with him," said Kyle Mansfield, who together with Foley, founded the national defense firm in 1989. "His keen wit, intelligence, drive and vision has been key to the development of our firm's culture and continued success these past 25 years."

Throughout his career, Foley was acknowledged by his peers for his legal accomplishments, including numerous recognitions on Top Attorney and Super Lawyer lists and his induction into the Litigation Counsel of America in 2007. In addition to being a sought-after speaker at both national and international conferences, he co-authored Minnesota- Legal Aspects of Doing Business in North America-2nd Edition. He was a member of the Bar Association of California, Defense Research Institute (DRI), Minnesota Defense Lawyers Association, Minnesota State Bar Association, The Northern California Defense Lawyers Association, and Wisconsin State Bar Association.

Athletic and always poised for adventure, Foley was an avid golfer and cyclist. He completed the LoToJa Classic, a 203-mile bike race to raise funds for cancer research, participated in Olympic track cycling trials at the Velodrome, and long cycle trips through China and South America. In 2009, Foley co-founded the Foley & Mansfield Charitable Foundation as a means to give back to the communities in which firm employees work and live.

Foley is preceded in death by father, William Robert Foley and mother, Sara Jane Foley. Foley is survived by his wife, Lynn (nee Parrack), children Lindsey (Rojelio Blanco), Kaitlyn and Dylan, brothers William, Michael (Shayne), John (Beverly), sister Liz (Steve Nelson) and extended family and friends.

Funeral mass was held August 21 at St. Bartholomew Catholic Church in Wayzata, Minn.

Published: Mon, Aug 25, 2014