As the co-chair of the firm’s Litigation Department, Steve combines a keen business acumen with zealous advocacy to consistently achieve the highest level of success in his litigation matters.
Steve has brought his expansive litigation experience and talents to a broad range of clients in litigation matters in a multitude of industries. His litigation practice, in both federal and state courts, spans arbitration, mediation, discovery, motions, trials and appeals. His complex commercial practice includes an expertise in chancery matters as well as disputes involving statutory and contract claims, real estate, shareholder, partnership and limited liability company member actions, tax, probate, trusts and estates, environmental litigation, employment law disputes, director and officer liability, foreclosure and lender liability matters, surety and insurance disputes and construction.
Steve joined the firm in 1980 as a summer associate, going on to serve as an associate. A Member of the firm since 1987, his numerous litigation accomplishments 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 ; And
- 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.
Networks & Affiliations
He has been 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, and served as special litigation counsel for the New Jersey insurance commissioner in the Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Company rehabilitation proceedings. He has also served as an expert witness in attorney and accounting professional negligence matters.
Steve has served as an adjunct professor teaching legal research and writing at Seton Hall University School of Law, has taught business law as an adjunct professor at Seton Hall University School of Business, and has lectured and written for various professional and civic organizations. He was president of the Bergen County Bar Association and has held numerous other titles and positions in the organization as well as the Bergen County Bar Foundation. Steve received the Attorney Achievement Award in 2018. He is also a member of the New Jersey State Supreme Court Advisory Subcommittee on Information Technology and Electronic Filing.
Honors & Awards
Chambers U.S.A.: America’s Leading Lawyers For Business describes him as “a key player in the New Jersey Bar” with “an active practice that spans a full range of corporate and commercial disputes, with a particular niche in real estate cases…Steven Klein can be brought in to deal with even the most difficult of cases, sources confirm, and he boasts a wide array of civil litigation experience. He is also a successful arbitrator and appellate attorney…Steven Klein is an adept practitioner before both state and federal courts. Sources describe him as ‘a terrific lawyer and really solid guy who is very experienced and a very steady litigator.’” Benchmark Litigation has recognized Steve as a “local (New Jersey) litigation star.”
Recognized in Chambers U.S.A. 2015: ” ‘Excellent attorney’ Steven Klein is also co-chair of the litigation practice, and continues to assist clients with significant and complex matters. He is a highly regarded figure in the commercial litigation space, well known for his ability to represent clients in all manner of disputes, whether at the state, federal or appellate level, as well as in arbitration proceedings.”
Steve has been consistently awarded the highest ratings for his professionalism and the quality of his legal work. He has been lauded by Best Lawyers in America in the areas of “bet the company” litigation, commercial litigation, tax, labor and employment and trusts and estates litigation; New Jersey Super Lawyers in Business Litigation; and Martindale-Hubbell with an AV Preeminent rating. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.