Stapleton  steven for website

Steven F. Stapleton

Member
Office

Grand Rapids

200 Ottawa NW
Suite 500
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Vcard icon Email icon Pdf icon
Fax: +16166081169
Education
J.D., cum laude, University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, Detroit, Michigan, 1994
B.A., Grand Valley State University, Allendale, Michigan, 1991, Political Science
State Bar Licenses
Michigan
Court Admissions
U.S. Court of Appeals, 6th Circuit
Supreme Court of Michigan
Michigan Court of Appeals
U.S. District Ct., E.D. of Michigan
U.S. District Ct., W.D. of Michigan
U.S. District Ct., S.D. of Indiana
Best lawyers

Steven F. Stapleton

Member

Steven F. Stapleton is a Member in the firm’s Litigation Practice Group and Sports Industry Team. Steve has extensive experience in commercial litigation, with a particular background in labor and employment matters, including the enforcement of non-compete agreements; business ownership disputes; and a variety of specialized contentious claims, including sports-related sexual abuse litigation. He has tried cases before both state and federal courts and has successfully argued before the U.S. Court of Appeals, Michigan Court of Appeals and Michigan Supreme Court. He also is an experienced advocate on behalf of clients in arbitrations and other forms of alternative dispute resolution.

Steve is a trusted advisor to senior management for both public and private employers across the country. He often assists his clients on corporate governance and restructuring, rule/policy drafting, contract review and employment related issues. He has established a niche representing sports related entities and governing bodies and is deeply familiar with the obligations those organizations face under various state and federal laws. He serves as outside General Counsel to the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association and is a member of the USA Hockey Legal Council. Steve serves as special counsel to the Connecticut Hockey Conference, Texas Amateur Hockey Association, Utah Amateur Hockey Association, C2 Attack Volleyball Club, RipFest Diving and advises many other governing bodies, conferences, leagues, teams, administrators and coaches.

Steve has extensive experience in implementing and monitoring comprehensive player safety/background screening programs for sports organizations and, with Clark Hill Sports Industry Team members, conducts sensitive investigations on behalf of sports entities related to allegations of abuse or potential ethics violations. He has also counseled clients in the context of amateur/collegiate competition and represented the sports client in actions seeking to impose discipline or other sanctions related to athletic competition.

Steve is on the Executive Committee of the ABA State and Local Government Section, and currently serves as Secretary of the Section. He will serve as Chair during the 2021-2022 year. Steve is also State Co-Chair of Michigan for Fellows of the American Bar Foundation, a charitable group composed of less than one percent of lawyers in each state.

Publications & Speaking Engagements

  • “Anatomy of a #MeToo Investigation,” ABA Section on State and Local Government Law, Fall Meeting, 2018
  • “A Tale of Two Municipalities (Detroit and Puerto Rico): Legal and Practical Issues Facing a Financially Distressed Municipality” - Moderator, ABA Section on State and Local Government Law, Spring Meeting, 2016
  • “The Art of The Deal: Building and Financing Sports Arenas and Entertainment Venues,” ABA Section on State and Local Government Law, Spring Symposium, 2015
  • “Government In The Workplace, Of The Workplace, And For The Workplace: Who Can You Hire, What Can They Say About You, What Can You Do About It, And When Do You Have To Pay Them,” ABA Section on State and Local Government Law, Fall Council Meeting, 2014.
  • “Legal Update, Michigan Concussion Legislation,” Michigan Amateur Hockey Association Annual Meeting, 2014
  • “Financial Challenges to Local Government CLE,” ABA Section on State and Local Government Law Fall Council Meeting, 2013
  • “Emergency Manager Laws as an Alternative to Bankruptcy in Local Government CLE,” ABA Annual Meeting, 2013
  • “Legal Consideration in National Governing Body (NGB) Compliance and Governance,” University of Michigan Sports Law Society, Going for the Gold Sports Law Symposium, 2012
  • “Non-Profit Corporation/Best Financial Practices Legal Updates for Local Associations,” Michigan Amateur Hockey Association Annual Meeting, 2012
  • “Non-Profit Corporation/Best Financial Practices Legal Updates for Local Associations,” Michigan Amateur Hockey Association Annual Meeting, 2011
  • “Adventures in City Management, The Right to Push the Send Button is Not Unlimited/Anonymous Internet Authors” Iowa City/County Management Association (IaCMA), 2011
  • “The New Letters to the Editor and Anonymous Internet Authors,” ICMA 96th Annual Conference, President’s Colloquium, 2010
Awards/Achievements
American Bar Foundation, Fellow 2005-present
Litigation Council of America, Fellow, 2009-present
Best Lawyers in America - Commercial Litigation
Michigan Super Lawyers, Rising Star, General Litigation, Government/Cities/Municipalities, Civil Litigation Defense, 2009
Memberships
American Bar Association, Council Member, State and Local Government Section, 2013-Present; Committee Coordinator, 2015-Present; Chair, Government Operations Committee, 2012-2015
State Bar of Michigan
Grand Rapids Bar Association
Sports Lawyers Association
Michigan Amateur Hockey Association, General Counsel, 2006-present
USA Hockey, Legal Counsel, 2006-present; SafeSport Screening Appeal Committee, 2012-present; Legal Council Affiliate Agreement Compliance and Audit Committee, 2012-2014; Legal Council League Sanctioning Committee, 2012-2014
Experiences

The Split Ring sculpture, by Clement Meadmore, will return to downtown Grand Rapids in June 2016. It originally sat outside the Frey building before being moved to Woodland Mall. The sculpture is now returning to downtown after almost 50 years. Steve Stapleton and Ingrid Jensen worked on the negotiations and contracts to bring this iconic piece back to the heart of downtown.

 

Represented a NGB on the purchase of a multi-purpose training facility. It was a complex project - one that included real estate, public finance, liquor license, sports and entertainment and other business-related matters.

Tags: Sports

Represented a public safety communications consortium in an action to vacate a significant arbitration award regarding a dispute with a contractor retained to implement an integrated automated public safety system. The District Court agreed with our arguments that the arbitrator exceeded his authority and vacated the arbitration award. The U.S. Circuit Court for the Sixth Circuit affirmed the District Court's opinion and order. 

Successfully argued to the Michigan Supreme Court that the termination of a joint tenancy caused solely by the death of the other joint tenant is not a transfer of ownership that uncaps the property taxes under the General Property Tax Act (GPTA).

Successfully obtained summary judgment for the defendant in a premises liability action claiming a significant head injury and substantial monetary damages that was removed to federal court based on diversity of citizenship. The District Court held that the accumulation of ice and snow on the retailer's roof was an open and obvious danger under Michigan law. 

Successfully argued to the Michigan Supreme Court that the offer of judgment rule (MCR 2.405) did not apply to a monetary settlement offer in return for a quitclaim deed in a quiet title action because said offer was not a "judgment for a sum certain" under MCR 2.405.