Steve represents plaintiffs and defendants in a wide range of commercial disputes, including intellectual property matters, business torts, contracts, securities claims, and employment-related issues. He tries cases, handles appeals, engages in ADR, and assists clients with litigation-related counseling.
Steve joined Savitt Bruce & Willey in 2003 and previously practiced with Perkins Coie in Seattle and Latham & Watkins in Menlo Park, California. Steve has also been in-house as the sole Corporate Counsel for a 100-employee start-up company, where he was responsible for all legal matters, including contracting, corporate finance, and intellectual property enforcement. He is a graduate, cum laude, of the University of Wisconsin Law School and is licensed in Washington and California.
In prior incarnations, Steve taught high school, was a free-lance writer, did a stint as a chef, and worked in a nightclub. Steve lives on Bainbridge Island with the lovely and talented Gretchen and their three children. When not working like a dog or wrangling small fry, Steve likes piña coladas, getting caught in the rain, the feel of the ocean and, of course, the taste of champagne.
Areas of Practice
- Contracts and Commercial Litigation
- Corporate Governance Disputes
- Employment Litigation
- Intellectual Property Litigation
- Risk Management and Litigation Avoidance
- Real Estate Litigation
- Securities Litigation
Prior Professional Experience
- Latham & Watkins LLP, Menlo Park CA, 2001-2003
- ELetter Inc. / Launchpoint, San Jose CA, Corporate Counsel, 2000-2001
- Perkins Coie LLP, Seattle WA, 1994-2000
InfoFlows v. Corbis. Prosecuted claims for misappropriation of trade secrets, fraud and breach of contract relating to digital image tracking technology, and defended related counterclaims; obtained $36 million jury verdict and defeated counterclaims in three-week trial.
ChemPoint v. Xenon Arc Inc., et al. Defended technology startup and its founders against claims for misappropriation of trade secrets, false advertising, usurpation of corporate opportunity and breach of fiduciary duty; obtained ruling entitling clients to advancement of fees under plaintiff’s articles of incorporation, partial summary judgment, and then favorable settlement.
Rtischev v. SRI International. Defended claims for breach of contract regarding speech-recognition software; obtained complete dismissal of all claims, and recovery of attorneys’ fees incurred, following arbitration hearing and proceedings.
National Flood Services v. Torrent Technologies. Defended claims for trade secret misappropriation, copyright and Lanham Act violations, and breach of non-competition agreement against startup business; obtained dismissal of key claims by summary judgment and then favorable settlement.
Maier v. Sesame Communications Inc. Prosecuted claims for breach of employment agreement, wage and hour law violations, and tortious interference with exercise of stock options arising from termination of company founder and CEO’s employment; obtained favorable settlement.
Amazon v. Expedia. Defended claims and prosecuted counterclaims for breach of linking and co-branding agreement between national e-commerce giants; defeated motions for summary judgment, developed counterclaims, and then obtained favorable settlement.
Confidential Arbitration. Represented former partner of law firm in prosecuting claims for breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty; obtained award for client following arbitration.
vCustomer Corp. v. Acorn Ventures Inc. Defended claims alleging dissenters’ rights arising from company determination of fair value of stock; obtained favorable settlement.
Fuhlendorf v. Isilon Systems Inc. Defended claims for indemnification and advancement under articles of incorporation and bylaws; obtained favorable settlement.
Confidential Arbitration. Represented nonprofit research institute in prosecution of claims for breach of research and licensing contract and for tortious interference with federal agency relationship; obtained favorable settlement.
Professional Recognition & Honors
- Selected to Best Lawyers in America, 2014-2019
- Ranked in Chambers USA Guide to Leading Lawyers, 2013, 2016-2019
- Selected to Washington Super Lawyers, 2006-2019
- Selected to Washington Super Lawyers Top 100 List, 2017-2019
- Named BTI Client Service All-Star, 2015, 2019
- Named one of “Washington’s Most Amazing Attorneys”, Washington CEO magazine, 2006
- 10.0 Rating on Avvo.com
Professional Associations & Leadership
- Member, American Inn of Court, Intellectual Property, 2011-present
- Member, American Constitution Society for Law and Policy, 2004-present
- Federal Bar Association of the Western District of Washington
- American Bar Association
- Washington State Bar Association
Publications & Presentations
- Lexis Nexis Practice Guide: Washington Contract Litigation, Co-editor (LexisNexis/Matthew Bender 2015)
- Finessing the Fine Print: Agreements to Arbitrate and Covenants not to Compete, Washington Association of Corporate Counsel, presenter, 2014
- Covering Your Bases: Practical Tips to Deal with and Avoid Litigation, Washington Association of Corporate Counsel, presenter, 2013
- Anatomy of a Deal Gone Bad, The William L. Dwyer American Inn of Court, presenter, 2013
- The New Supreme Court, Federal Bar Association Annual Federal Practice CLE, moderator, 2005
- Basics of Accounting & Finance, Practicing Law Institute, presenter, 2002
- University of Wisconsin, J.D., cum laude, 1994
- Williams College, B.A., 1985
- Wisconsin (inactive)
- United States Supreme Court
- United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
- United States District Court, Western District of Washington
- United States District Court, Eastern District of Washington
- United States District Court, Northern District of California
- United States District Court, Central District of California
- United States District Court, Western District of Wisconsin