Steven F. Stapleton is a Member in the firm’s Litigation Practice Group and Co-Chair of the 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. He represents coaches and university athletic department personnel in NCAA related investigations.
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 counsels clients in the context of amateur/collegiate competition and represents 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 Vice Chair 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