Litigation Department Co-Chair Steven R. Klein leverages a keen business acumen and zealous advocacy when representing clients.
Described by Chambers USA as “experienced in handling an array of contentious commercial issues, such as contract and shareholder disputes,” Steven is an adept practitioner before both state and federal courts. Sources associated with Chambers USA describe him as a “very experienced and a very steady litigator” and “genuinely caring.”
Steven brings expansive litigation experience and talents to a broad range of cases in federal and state courts and represents clients from a multitude of industries. His complex commercial litigation practice spans arbitration, mediation, discovery, motions, trials and appeals, including issues such as:
- Chancery litigation
- Construction disputes
- Director and officer liability
- Employment law disputes
- Environmental litigation
- Foreclosure and lender liability matters
- Partnership and limited liability company member actions
- Real estate litigation
- Shareholder disputes
- Statutory and contract claims
- Surety and insurance disputes
- Trusts, estates and probate litigation
A selection of Steven’s most notable cases include:
- Establishing precedent in the New Jersey Supreme Court affirming the Appellate Division and trial court’s confirmation of an arbitration award in favor of the majority owner of an automobile dealership/real estate enterprise.
- Following the close of discovery and filing of dispositive motions, successfully mediated a settlement of a multimillion dollar attorney malpractice claim against a major New Jersey law firm arising out of a shareholder buyout transaction.
- Following trial, obtaining judgment in favor of the minority limited partner of a real estate venture ordering a buyout of the majority general partner’s interest (a precedential result).
- Following hearing, securing for the defendant franchisee of a national steakhouse chain the dismissal of a complaint seeking confirmation of an arbitration award granting fifty percent of his franchise territory rights to the plaintiff based on the unclean hands doctrine (a novel application affirmed by the Appellate Division).
- Following trial, obtaining judgment in favor of a land owner in a boundary line dispute that ordered the destruction of a retaining wall encroaching upon our client’s property.
- Following arbitration, obtaining an award (confirmed by the court) that enjoined a group of employees from joining a competitor and using our financial services client’s confidential information.
- Following hearing, obtaining an order in favor of our majority member of a chemical company directing the buyout of a minority limited liability company member based on the New Jersey Oppressed Minority Shareholder Act (a precedential result).
- Following trial, obtaining an injunction against a union picketing in front of our real estate developer client’s personal residence.
- During trial, obtaining a directed verdict dismissing plaintiff’s complaint on behalf of a national retailer that had obtained a municipal contract under challenge by a plaintiff claiming to be the lowest responsible bidder.
- On behalf of a public company, obtaining a permanent injunction against defendants who designed and marketed software that injected computer programming code into the source code of our client’s website thereby modifying our client’s homepage, intercepting certain of our client’s customers and redirecting other customers to our client’s competitors.
- Following the first trial that established our manufacturing client’s liability for an environmental cleanup, the plaintiff was only able to establish, at a second trial, damages of approximately 20% of the total sought based on cross-examination demonstrating inflated costs and ambiguous contract language.
- On motion, obtaining summary judgment for a national food manufacturing client sued by its founder/former CEO for wrongful termination.
- Following appeal, securing a reversal of a trial court judgment ordering a buyout of our manufacturing client’s co-shareholder to impose the least favorable buyout terms of the parties’ shareholder agreement.
- Following hearing, obtaining an injunction in favor of a lighting manufacturer whose fixtures were being installed and designs used at the Riyadh Airport in Saudi Arabia.
- Following trial, obtaining a judgment reinstating our client as an officer and director of a nonprofit corporation and establishing the governing bylaws of the organization.
- Initiating litigation against the State of New Jersey for retroactively taxing New Jersey residents who won and began receiving lottery prizes prior to a change in the applicable law and successfully defending against the Division of Lottery’s motion to dismiss such claims.
- Having been admitted pro hac vice into NY Supreme Court, on the eve of trial successfully mediated a licensing agreement dispute resulting in our client’s payment of only ten percent of the plaintiff’s damage claim.
- Appointed by courts to serve as special fiscal agent, special officer, provisional director and custodial and/or liquidating receiver, arbitrator and mediator in major corporate and partnership disputes.
- Served as special litigation counsel for the New Jersey insurance commissioner in the Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Company rehabilitation proceedings.
- Served as an expert witness in attorney and accounting professional negligence matters.
Ethos & Leadership
Steven has spent his entire legal career at Cole Schotz. He originally joined the firm in 1980 as a summer associate and went on to serve as an associate until 1987 when he was made a member of the firm. Steven is currently a senior member and has served as co-chair of the firm’s Litigation practice group for over twenty years. He collaborates with other leaders in the creation of team development initiatives including programs such as attorney training bootcamps and seminars.
Networks & Affiliations
Steve has served as an adjunct professor at Seton Hall University School of Law where he taught legal research and writing. In addition, Steven has lectured and written for various professional and civic organizations. He has served as president of the Bergen County Bar Association and held numerous other titles and positions with the bar association as well as the Bergen County Bar Foundation. He has also been a member of the New Jersey State Supreme Court Advisory Subcommittee on Information Technology and Electronic Filing.
Honors & Awards
- Over the course of an esteemed career spanning over forty years, Steven has received many awards and accolades, including:
- Band 1 Ranking, Chambers USA – ranked consistently for 13 years
- New Jersey Super Lawyers – ranked consistently for 19 years
- 2023 and 2024 Lists of 500 Leading Litigators in America, Lawdragon
- 2023 Top 10 Influential Commercial Litigators, Business Today
- “Local Litigation Star” List, Benchmark Litigation
- “Lawyer of the Year in Litigation,” Best Lawyers
- 2018 Attorney Achievement Award, Bergen County Bar Association
Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.