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Overview

Steven partners with clients facing significant changes and challenges in their professional and business relationships.  He frequently advises clients about key employee departures and guides them through lawsuits involving employee raiding, unfair trade practices, trade secrets, and non-competition, non-solicitation, and non-disclosure agreements.  Steven also advocates on behalf of business owners and officials in disputes about the management, control, and ownership of business enterprises.  He also handles commercial disputes involving contracts, licensing, software, real estate, and product warranties.

Steven regularly represents clients in the North Carolina Business Court, which decides complex cases involving issues of corporate and commercial law.  Steven’s legal career began as a law clerk to the Honorable James L. Gale, a former Chief Judge of the Business Court.

In his appellate practice, Steven has argued in the Supreme Court of North Carolina and briefed numerous cases in North Carolina’s state appellate courts, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court, representing both parties and amici curiae.  Steven also has experience in litigation involving products liability (including mass torts, medical devices, and asbestos), catastrophic injuries and wrongful-death claims, construction defects, defamation, and constitutional issues.

Steven attended the Duke University School of Law, where he served as the Articles and Comments Editor for the Duke Journal of Constitutional Law & Public Policy.  

Before law school, Steven received his undergraduate degree, summa cum laude, from the University of Alabama, where he studied philosophy, political science, and history and was selected to join Phi Beta Kappa.

When he’s not practicing law, Steven enjoys spending time with his family, hiking, making BBQ, and traveling.

Credentials

Education

  • J.D., DUKE UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW, 2013
    • Dean’s Scholarship
    • Duke Journal of Constitutional Law & Public Policy, Articles and Comments Editor (2012-2013); Staff Editor (2011-2012)
  • B.A., UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA, 2009
    • summa cum laude
    • Phi Beta Kappa
    • Presidential Scholarship

Court Admissions

  • North Carolina, 2013
  • United States District Courts
    • Middle District of North Carolina, 2014
    • Eastern District of North Carolina, 2015
    • Western District of North Carolina, 2016
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, 2015

Practice Areas:

  • Appeals
  • Complex Commercial and Business Litigation
  • Intellectual Property Litigation
  • Environmental and Toxic Tort
  • Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices
  • Mass Torts
  • Pharmaceutical and Medical Device
  • Products Liability
  • Tort Trial and Insurance Practice

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • DRI
    • Publications Board (2018-present)
    • Young Lawyers Steering Committee (2016-present)
      • Publications Subcommittee (2016-2019)
      • Supreme Court Subcommittee (2020)
      • SLC Subcommittee (2021)
      • Annual Meeting Committee (2022-2023)
  • American Bar Association
    • Litigation Section
  • North Carolina Bar Association
    • Antitrust & Complex Business Disputes Section

Experience

  • Hutchins v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc., 2022-NCCOA-310, 2022 WL 1313537 (N.C. Ct. App. 2022) – Obtained Rule 12 dismissal of pharmacy-malpractice case and successfully defended that decision on appeal.
  • McDaniel v. John Crane, Inc., No. 1:19CV359, 2021 WL 1111154 (M.D.N.C. Mar. 23, 2021) – In case of first impression, obtained summary judgment for an insulation contractor in a “take home” liability case brought by the spouse of a worker allegedly exposed to asbestos.
  • Nevada Power Co. v. Trench France, S.A.S., No. 2:19-cv-01252-JAD-VCF, 2020 WL 6689340 (D. Nev. Nov. 12, 2020) – Secured pleadings-stage dismissal of an eight-figure commercial dispute.
  • Global Textile Alliance, Inc. v. TDI Worldwide, LLC, 375 N.C. 72, 847 S.E.2d 30 (2020) – Obtained decision overruling adverse party’s attorney-client privilege claims over documents and successfully defended that decision on appeal.
  • Town of Littleton v. Layne Heavy Civil, Inc., 261 N.C. App. 88, 819 S.E.2d 101 (2018), disc. rev. denied, 372 N.C. 104 (2019) – Obtained summary judgment for a general contractor in litigation involving a municipal sewer-rehabilitation project and successfully defended that decision on appeal.
  • Quality Built Homes, Inc. v. Town of Carthage, 371 N.C. 60, 813 S.E.2d 218 (N.C. 2018) – Represented municipalities as amicus curiae in litigation regarding impact-fee ordinances. The Supreme Court of North Carolina adopted the position advanced by the municipalities.
  • Global Textile Alliance, Inc. v. TDI Worldwide, LLC, No. 17 CVS 7304, 2017 NCBC 106, 2017 WL 5641185 (N.C. Super. Ct. Nov. 21, 2017) – Successfully opposed motion for preliminary injunction in litigation involving director/officer fiduciary duties, trade-secret misappropriation, and similar issues.
  • Jemsek v. N.C. Medical Board, No. 5:16-CV-59-D, 2017 WL 696721 (E.D.N.C. Feb. 21, 2017), aff’d per curiam, 697 F. App’x 234 (4th Cir. 2017) – Obtained pleadings-stage dismissal of a federal antitrust lawsuit against a state licensing board and its current and former members and successfully defended that decision on appeal.
  • Parks v. Boston Scientific Corp., No. 5:17-cv-200, 2018 WL 1040103 (W.D.N.C. Feb. 23, 2018) – Obtained pleadings-stage dismissal of a products-liability lawsuit against a medical device manufacturer.
  • Jemsek v. Rhyne, 662 F. App’x 206 (4th Cir. 2016) – Obtained pleadings-stage dismissal of a federal constitutional lawsuit against a state licensing board and its current and former members and successfully defended that decision on appeal.

Pro bono matters

  • In re: C.B., 375 N.C. 556, 850 S.E.2d 324 (2020) – Successfully represented a child as appellate guardian ad litem counsel in a case involving child neglect.
  • In re: C.B., No. COA17-41, 801 S.E.2d 394 (Table) (N.C. Ct. App. July 5, 2017) – Successfully represented a child as appellate guardian ad litem counsel in a case involving child neglect.
  • In re: C.L.S., 245 N.C. App. 75, 781 S.E.2d 680 (2016), aff’d per curiam, 369 N.C. 58 (2016) – Represented a child as appellate guardian ad litem counsel in a case involving child neglect in the Court of Appeals and defended a favorable result in the Supreme Court after presenting oral argument on behalf of all appellees.

Presentations/Publications

  • What’s Fair?, Firm Blog, Contributing Author
  • U Can’t Touch This: The Limits on Section 75-1.1’s Reach to Out-of-State Conduct, What’s Fair? Blog, September 2022
  • “ESI Discovery in Complex Litigation,” DRI Business Litigation & Intellectual Property Super Conference, March 21, 2022
  • “Pleadings-Stage Strategy for Breach of Contract and Tortious Interference Claims,” Antitrust & Complex Business Disputes Section of the North Carolina Bar Association Continuing Legal Education Program, February 3, 2022
  • “Supreme Court Decision on Determining Entities’ Citizenship Signals the Need for Amendment of the Diversity-Jurisdiction Statute,” Antitrust & Complex Business Dispute News, Summer 2016

Awards/Recognition

  • Business North Carolina, Legal Elite, Young Guns (2019, 2022), Appellate (2021)
  • North Carolina Super Lawyers Magazine, “Rising Star”, Business Litigation (2019-2022)
  • Best Lawyers in America, “Ones to Watch” – Commercial Litigation (2020–2023)
  • Supreme Court of North Carolina’s Pro Bono Honor Society (2017)
  • Greensboro Bar Association’s Herb Falk Society – Pro Bono Honorary (2017)