Steven has been a state bar-certified appellate specialist for two decades, handling nearly 100 appeal and writ proceedings for parties and amici before all levels of appellate courts across the country, including the U.S. and California Supreme Courts and half the federal circuits.

He has also defended employers at the trial level in more than 100 class, representative, and collective actions, as well as numerous other employment and commercial cases. He concentrates his practice in wage and hour litigation, and has defended employers in retail sales, pharmaceuticals, information technology, food service, manufacturing, automotive, hospitality, education, defense, insurance and professional sports.

A former federal law clerk, Steven also formerly served on the clinical faculties at UCLA School of Law and Stanford Law School, and frequently appears in the press as a commentator on developments in employment law.

Honors & Recognitions

  • Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® for Employment Law – Management and Litigation - Labor and Employment (2023-2024)
  • Fellow, College of Labor and Employment Lawyers (2022)
  • Southern California Super Lawyers® (2007-2010, 2012)

Professional & Civic Associations

  • Law360 Employment Editorial Advisory Board, 2015
  • Defense Research Institute (Appellate Advocacy and Employment and Labor Law Committees)
  • California Lawyer’s Association
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association

Press Room

Representative Matters

Representative Matters

  • Clarke v. AMN Svcs., 987 F.3d 848 (9th Cir. 2021): Holding that expense per diems are wages under the FLSA in a case of first impression.
  • Williams v. Impax Laboratories, Inc, 41 Cal.App.5th 1060 (2019): Affirming trial court order striking class allegations on manageability grounds.
  • Dawson v. NCAA, 932 F.3d 905 (9th Cir. 2019): Affirming dismissal of FLSA collective action against NCAA and PAC-12 on the ground that they could not be “employers” of college student-athletes.
  • Martinez v. Ready Pac Produce, Inc., 2018 WL 6064948 (Cal. Ct. App. 2018): Reversing ruling that employment-related arbitration agreement was unconscionable and requiring class representative to arbitrate on individual basis.
  • Gardenhire v. Johns Manville, 722 Fed. App’x 835 (10th Cir. 2018): Affirming summary judgment in employer’s favor in race discrimination action.
  • Livers v. NCAA, 2018 WL 2291027 (E.D. Pa. May 17, 2018): Dismissing FLSA collective action against more than a dozen colleges and universities.
  • Dawson v. NCAA, 250 F.Supp.3d 401 (N.D. Cal.. 2017): Dismissing FLSA collective action against NCAA and PAC-12 on the ground that student athletes are not ipso facto employees of the schools they attend.
  • Mahmud v. Ralphs Grocery Co., 2014 WL 5804194 (Cal. Ct. App. 2014): Reversing ruling that employment-related arbitration agreement was unconscionable and requiring class representative to arbitrate on individual basis.
  • Chavarria v. Ralphs Grocery Co., 733 F.3d 916 (9th Cir. 2013): holding employment-related arbitration agreement unconscionable.
  • Brown v. Ralphs Grocery Co., 197 Cal. App. 4th 489 (2011), cert. denied sub nom. Ralphs Grocery Co. v. Brown, 132 S.Ct. 1910 (2012):  Reversing ruling that employment-related arbitration agreement was unconscionable and requiring class representative to arbitrate on individual basis.
  • Dean v. Prudential Real Estate & Relocation Svcs., 2010 WL 3769779 (Cal. Ct. App. 2010): Affirming summary judgment in employer’s favor in wrongful termination action.
  • Dall v. Albertson's Inc., 349 Fed. App’x 158 (9th Cir. 2009): Affirming denial of attorney’s fees following remand order.
  • Gentry v. Superior Ct., 42 Cal.4th 443 (2007), cert. denied sub nom. Circuit City Stores, Inc. v. Gentry, 128 S.Ct. 1743 (2008): Holding that class relief waivers in arbitration are not per se invalid and establishing criteria for determining whether such waivers are enforceable against wage and hour claims.
  • Haeim et al. v. Ely et al., 2008 WL 2346099 (Cal. Ct. App. 2008): Affirming judgment in action over real estate joint venture.
  • Murphy v. Kenneth Cole Enterprises, 40 Cal.4th 1094 (2007):  Holding that Labor Code § 226.7 imposes a premium wage for missed meal or rest breaks, subject to a three-year limitations period. (Brief of amici curiae)
  • ARP Pharmacy Services, Inc. v. Gallagher Bassett Services, Inc., et al., 138 Cal. App. 4th 1307 (2006):  Holding for the first time that penalty provisions of Civil Code § 2527 violate free speech protections under state and federal law.
  • Heller v. Circle K Stores, Inc., 2005 WL 1532346 (Cal. Ct. App. 2005): Affirming judgment in action concerning real estate joint venture.
  • Sav-On Drug Stores, Inc. v. Superior Ct., 34 Cal.4th 319 (2004):  Affirming class certification in misclassification case.  (Brief of amicus curiae.)
  • Reynolds v. Bement, et al., 107 Cal. App. 4th 738 (2003), affirmed 36 Cal.4th 1075 (2005): holding for the first time that California overtime law does not provide for individual liability of directors, officers, and/or agents of a corporate employer.  (Brief of amicus curiae.)
  • Palmer v. Schindler Elevator Corp., 108 Cal. App. 4th (2003):  Holding that service of a second statutory offer of compromise acts as a revocation of an earlier offer, even if the second offer is defective and does not operate to shift costs.
  • CPI Builders, Inc. v. IMPCO Technologies, Inc., 94 Cal. App. 4th 1167 (2001):  Reversing trial court and ordering arbitration where one party to lawsuit initially agreed to binding arbitration, but then repudiated its agreement.
  • Waremart Foods v. United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local 588, 87 Cal. App. 4th 145 (2001):  Holding that Labor Code § 1138.1 may be retroactively applied to injunctions restraining labor picketing.
  • Rutledge v. Seyfarth, Shaw, Fairweather & Geraldson, 208 F.3d 1170 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 531 U.S. 992 (2000):  reversing award of attorney's fees for improvident removal on the ground that the underlying remand was erroneous because ERISA preempted state law claims asserted by plan participant on behalf of a class of all participants against service provider to the plan's trustees.
  • Lockheed v. Superior Ct., 29 Cal.4th 1096 (2003):  Reversing certification of medical monitoring and punitive damages classes in mass toxic tort litigation and announcing for the first time that under California class action law predominance is not satisfied unless each element of the claim is susceptible to class proof.
  • Waffer Int'l Corp. v. Khorsandi, et al., 69 Cal. App. 4th 1261 (1999):  Questioning validity of doctrine that attachment constitutes an election of remedies and holding that attachment is not an election of remedies against joint tortfeasors lacking privity of contract.
  • Bell Gardens Bicycle Club v. Dept. of Justice, 36 Cal. App. 4th 717 (1995):  Holding that the playing of jackpot poker in licensed card clubs is an unlawful lottery subject to injunction.
  • AT&T Management Pension Plan v. Tucker, et al., 902 F. Supp. 1168 (C.D. Cal. 1995):  Decision of first impression holding that ERISA preempts application of the California Family Code's attorneys fee provision to plans joined as third parties to divorce proceedings.

News & Analysis

Speaking Engagements & Industry Publications

  • The Role of Subject Matter Experts in Appeals,” DRI Certworthy newsletter, August 2021
  • "Litigating Like A Textualist," For the Defense, DRI—Lawyers Representing Business, March 2021
  • "Sixteen Things I Learned About Persuasive Writing,"For the Defense, DRI—Lawyers Representing Business, November 2020
  • "Horton hears a death knell," Los Angeles Daily Journal, September 2017
  • “Doubt On PAGA Passing Muster,” Los Angeles Daily Journal, Feb. 25, 2016
  • “Once More Unto The Federal Arbitration Act,” Los Angeles Daily Journal, Apr. 8, 2015
  • “Once More Unto The FAA . . . Again,” Los Angeles Daily Journal, Aug. 7, 2015
  • “Supremacy At The State High Court,” Los Angeles Daily Journal, Dec. 21, 2014
  • “Iskanian: Arbitration’s Got A Brand New Bag,” Los Angeles Daily Journal, June 30, 2014

Blogs, Videos & Podcasts

  • “He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight.”
  • Sun Tzu

Practice Emphasis

  • Appeals and Writs
  • Class Action Litigation
  • Employment Litigation
  • Wage and Hour Compliance and Litigation


Stanford Law School 

  • J.S.M., 1988

University of Southern California Law School

  • J.D., 1987 
  • Order of the Coif

University of Southern California 

  • M.A., 1987

University of Southern California

  • A.B., summa cum laude, 1984
  • Phi Beta Kappa 

Bar & Court Admissions

  • California, 1988 (Certified Appellate Specialist)
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals
  • U.S. Court of Appeals – Third Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals – Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals – Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals – Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals – Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals – D.C. Circuit
  • U.S. District Court – Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court – Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court – Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court – Southern District of California
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