As a litigator, 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 confidentiality agreements. In addition, he 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 licensing, software, real estate, and 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 drafted briefs to 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), construction defects, defamation, and constitutional claims.
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, traveling, and hiking.
- 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
- 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
Professional Associations and Memberships
- Publications Board (2018-present)
- Young Lawyers Steering Committee (2016-present)
- Chair, Publications Subcommittee (2017-present)
- American Bar Association
- Litigation Section
- North Carolina Bar Association
- Antitrust & Complex Business Disputes Section
- Town of Littleton v. Layne Heavy Civil, Inc., 819 S.E.2d 101 (N.C. Ct. App. 2018) – Represented a general contractor in litigation involving a sewer rehabilitation project.
- Quality Built Homes, Inc.v. Town of Carthage, 813 S.E.2d 218 (N.C. 2018) – Represented municipalities as amicus curiae in litigation regarding impact-fee ordinances.
- 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) – Representing a corporate officer in litigation involving fiduciary duties, executive compensation, and other 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) – Represented a state licensing board and its current and former members in the trial court and on appeal in a federal antitrust lawsuit.
- In re: C.B., No. COA17-41, 801 S.E.2d 394 (Table) (N.C. Ct. App. July 5, 2017) – Represented a child as appellate guardian ad litem counsel in a case involving child neglect.
- Jemsek v. Rhyne, 662 F. App’x 206 (4th Cir. 2016) – Represented a state licensing board and its current and former members in the trial court and on appeal in litigation involving federal constitutional claims.
- 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 both the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court in a case involving child neglect.
- “Supreme Court Decision on Determining Entities’ Citizenship Signals the Need for Amendment of the Diversity-Jurisdiction Statute,” Antitrust & Complex Business Dispute News, Summer 2016
- Best Lawyers in America, “Ones to Watch,” Commercial Litigation (2020-2022)
- Business North Carolina, Legal Elite, Young Guns (2019 – 2020), Appellate (2021)
- North Carolina Super Lawyers Magazine, “Rising Star”, Business Litigation (2019-2021)
- Supreme Court of North Carolina’s Pro Bono Honor Society (2017)
- Greensboro Bar Association’s Herb Falk Society – Pro Bono Honorary (2017)
- Ellis & Winters Named to 2022 “Best Lawyers in America” List
- Ellis & Winters Secures Victory in Asbestos Case on Issue of First Impression
- Ellis & Winters Attorneys Recognized as 2021 Super Lawyers®
- Business North Carolina Announces 2021 “Legal Elite”
- Ellis & Winters Named to 2021 “Best Lawyers in America” List
- Similar Theories Lead to Different Results (Including a $31.9 Million Judgment), Illustrating the Importance of Categorizing Section 75-1.1 Claims
- FDCA Preemption: A Powerful Defense in Commercial Litigation, Too.
- In a Contract Case, Stick to Contract-Based Claims
- The Business Court Tells a Departing-Employee Case with No Trade-Secret Issues to Buzz Off