Steven focuses his practice on all aspects of complex civil litigation and appeals. He has significant experience litigating and appealing matters in state and federal courts, including in cases and class actions involving business disputes, privacy and cybersecurity, intellectual property, eminent domain, construction defects, employment issues, and constitutional rights.
He is well-versed in every step of the litigation and appellate processes, including developing effective case strategies, taking and defending depositions, successfully bringing matters to trial, and drafting winning pleadings and briefs.
Known to be a zealous and successful trial and appellate advocate, Steven aggressively litigates cases, while effectively communicating with clients and keeping in mind their goals and objectives. Using this approach, he has prevailed on numerous dispositive motions, obtained many favorable settlements, successfully tried several complex cases before juries, and achieved numerous victories before state and federal appellate courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court.
Prior to joining Michael Best, Steven was a partner at a litigation and corporate law boutique in Salt Lake City. He previously practiced with an international, full service, AmLaw “A-List” firm in its Washington, D.C. offices. Additionally, after graduating from law school, Steven served as a judicial law clerk to Judge Scott Matheson, Jr., of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit and to Chief Justice Matthew B. Durrant of the Utah Supreme Court.
Steven was part of the team of attorneys who drafted the prevailing party’s brief in the precedent setting case, AOSI v. U.S. Aid, in which the U.S. Supreme Court held that the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits the federal government from placing conditions on federal funding to private organizations that require the organization to adopt and publicly profess a viewpoint that mirrors the government’s view but is not held by the organization itself.
He also prevailed in Evans Development v. Salt Lake City Corporation, in which the Utah Supreme Court held that a condemning authority had exceeded the limits of its authority to take property through the exercise of eminent domain power.
Other notable representative experience includes:
- Obtained a unanimous jury verdict in favor of a major oil and gas corporation in a breach of contract case against the Utah Department of Transportation and a private subcontractor. The client was awarded more than $1 million dollars after a week-long jury trial, as well as 100% of the client’s attorney fees and recoverable costs. Steven also successfully defended the jury verdict on appeal before the Utah Court of Appeals.
- Successfully defended an insurance company against multi-million dollar claims alleging breach of contract and tortious interference, obtaining a settlement shortly after finishing opening statements in a jury trial.
- Achieved a unanimous jury verdict awarding a property developer nearly $2 million in just compensation in an eminent domain case involving property taken by the State of Utah.
Honors & Recognitions
- Leading Litigation: General Commercial Law, Chambers USA, 2022-present
- Super Lawyer, Super Lawyers Magazine, 2023
- Rising Star, Mountain States Super Lawyers, 2015-2022
- Utah Legal Elite, Up and Coming, Utah Business magazine, 2016-present
- The Best Lawyers in America©, Commercial Litigation, 2019-present
During law school, Steven received the following honors and awards:
- Traynor Scholarship for Excellence in Legal Writing & Scholarship Recipient
- Best Individual Oralist, 2009 National Moot Court Competition Regional Round
- First Place Team, 2009 Traynor Moot Court Competition
- CALI Award Recipient for Highest Grade in Legal Writing, Constitutional Law I, Civil Procedure, Criminal Procedure, Evidence, Innocence Law, Takings, Civil Rights Practice, Rights of Crime Victims, Lawyering Skills, and Judicial Process.