Law at the intersection of information technology (IT), Internet, software, new media and advertising—this is where Steve has built his career and works with clients to build value, close deals and promote compliance.
Steve chairs a multi-disciplinary group of lawyers, as the laws and marketplace dynamics impacting his clients cut across traditional lines. His areas of focus and experience include: copyright, licensing, contracts, Software as a Service (SaaS), cloud agreements, start-ups and entity formation, advertising, health IT, marketing, social media, privacy, security and breach issues, big data, and machine learning/artificial intelligence (A.I.).
Steve is Chair of Fredrikson & Byron’s Internet, Technology & E-Commerce Group. In 2015, Steve founded the firm’s Website Accessibility Group.
32nd Annual E&L Law Seminar Takeaway:
ADA Website Accessibility and Public Accommodations Presentation
Learn More About Internet, Technology and E-Commerce:
What is a “BSA” software audit?
- Christopher & Banks, CRM and Business Intelligence Transactions with Epicor. Represented Christopher & Banks, the women’s apparel retailer with 500+ stores, in its IT, cloud, and licensing contracts with Epicor / ShopVisible as part of its omni-channel business strategy. (Article in Yahoo! Finance.)
- Social Media and Marketing. Represented a major independent advertising agency in contract and compliance matters involving Internet, social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram), lead-generation, customer agreements, talent and rights issues. Represented a large health care provider regarding Internet reviews and defamation issues.
- IT Services and Outsourcing. Negotiated IT services, consulting and outsourcing transactions with Wipro, IBM, Gartner Group, Accenture, Infosys, Deloitte, Covansys, and BearingPoint. Example: Represented a private financial services company on cloud-based data storage, including access, security, disaster recovery and service level issues.
- CRM and ERP. Represented clients purchasing Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, systems, maintenance and other services from SAP, Oracle, Business Objects, Cognos, PeopleSoft, Siebel Systems, and Salesforce.com.
- Website Accessibility / ADA Defense and Compliance. Defended and advised over 50 website, app, and other technology owners regarding accessibility, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and related claims. In addition to obtaining favorable settlements, I have counseled clients on risk-reduction and risk-mitigation programs related to accessible technology, including the use of live-user-audits, scanning tools, and Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) / machine learning to improve accessibility.
- Electronic Medical Records, Practice Management, and Health Technology. Represented over 50 health systems, hospitals, clinics and individual practices in transactions with EMR and other technology vendors such as Epic Systems, GE Healthcare, Allscripts, Cerner, McKesson, eClinicalWorks, Misys, Medinformatix, Eclipsys, NextGen, and A4 Health Systems. Counseled clients on disputes and litigation involving health IT, including poor performance by health IT vendors.
- Consulting and Development Services. Represented Minnesota companies providing consulting, software development, website development, and advertising services to large regional customers such as Target Corp., 3M, and Piper Jaffray.
- M&A Involving Software, Websites, and Customer Data Assets. Represented buyers and sellers in mergers and acquisitions transactions in which software, websites, or customer data are primary assets. Purchase price range: $500,000 to $200 million. Example: Advised client Thomson Reuters on its acquisition of legal publisher O'Connor's.
- Cloud and Telecom. Represented clients in transactions with the following vendors: Microsoft, AT&T, Verizon, Qwest, Google, HP, Double Click, Yahoo, Allant, Campbell Mithun, Avaya, T-Mobile, and Smart Reply.
- BSA Software Audit Defense. Represented over 50 small and large businesses in responding to and negotiating claims of illegal software installations and copyright infringement by the BSA (Business Software Alliance).
- Entertainment and Publishing. Steve has been involved in the following film, television and entertainment projects: Stay Then Go (film, 2014); Ryan Seacrest Productions (represented producer and talent in reality television production in-development, 2013); Nobody (film, 2009); A Prairie Home Companion (film, 2006); Building at a Crossroads (documentary, 2006); Million Dollar Idea (reality tv, 2005); Suspension (film, 2007). Steve also represented Hazelden Publishing, the world’s largest publisher of addiction and recovery work, including related e-book publishing and apps.
Articles & Presentations
October 12, 2018
The first known website accessibility ADA case has been filed by a Minnesota plaintiff in a Minnesota court. What steps can you take to reduce your risk of getting sued?Read More
July 20, 2018
Sacha Baron Cohen just premiered his latest television work, “Who Is America?”Read More
April 25, 2018
Federal Judge James P. Jones handed website owners, operators and developers a major win in April 2018 in dismissing the website accessibility/Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) case brought by blind plaintiff Keith Carroll.
March 23, 2018
Buying a non-accessible website may buy you a class action lawsuit.Read More
January 18, 2018
In a shift from previous tactics, blind plaintiff Juan Carlos Gil sued the underlying platform provider and website developer in his website accessibility/Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) lawsuit, in addition to the specific business promoted by a particular website.
Chicago Tribune Reports: McDonald’s, Kmart and Grubhub Settle Mobile App and Website Accessibility Discrimination Lawsuits
November 10, 2017
For companies that take substantial steps to improve accessibility the defense of "mootness" is having some success.Read More
Class Action Plaintiff Targets Universities and Colleges for Website Accessibility Claims: Fordham and Three Others Sued in One Week
September 26, 2017
In addition to suing Fordham University, the College of Westchester, Iona College and the College of New Rochelle have also been named in class action lawsuits alleging that inaccessible websites violate the Americans with Disabilities Act and other laws.Read More
June 14, 2017
On June 13, Judge Robert Scola, Jr. released his verdict and Order following a non-jury trial: the defendant Winn-Dixie violated Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as its website was not accessible to the plaintiff Joan Carlos Gil, a blind individual who uses the JAWS screen reader to access website content.Read More
June 7, 2017
Silence can be devastating when it comes to intellectual property rights.Read More
May 24, 2017
In the case of Frazier v. AmeriServ Financial Bank, # 17cv0031, 2017 federal district judge Arthur J. Schwab ruled that Title III of the ADA, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability, applies to AmeriServ Bank’s website.Read More
PUBLICATIONS & PRESENTATIONS
- Co-presenter, "Making Your Website Accessible and ADA Compliant," Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association Workshop, September 26, 2018
- Co-presenter, “#CanWeSayThat? AdLaw Answers from Industry Pros,” Fredrikson & Byron Advertising Law Seminar, February 27, 2018
- Co-presenter, “Electronic Health Record: Contracting and Data Security,” Fredrikson & Byron Health Law Webinar Series, January 10, 2018
- Co-presenter, “Website Accessibility: Case Studies, State of the Law and Concerns for Corporate Counsel,” Association of Corporate Counsel Minnesota Lunch & Learn, October 11, 2017
- Quoted in “What do Snooki, Lindsay Lohan, and J.Lo have in common? The FTC put them on notice,” Boston Globe, May 9, 2017
- Co-presenter, “Is Your Website ADA Compliant and What To Do if it Isn’t,” Bank Holding Company Association (BHCA) Spring Seminar, May 2, 2017
- Presenter, “Nondiscrimination Update: Website Accessibility, Recent ADA Litigation and Section 1557 of the ACA,” Health Law Webinar Series, March 8, 2017
- Speaker, “Website Accessibility Litigation Explosion: Practical Tips from Legal and IT,” 3rd Annual Corporate Counsel Institute, February 10, 2017
- Presenter, “Website Accessibility - Understanding the Law, Responding to Demands, & Practical Steps to Reduce Risk for Retail Websites Webinar,” Minnesota Retailers Association, December 6, 2016
- “Community Banks Threatened with Lawsuits for Alleged Inaccessible Websites,” co-authored with Karla Reyerson, Minnesota Bankers Association Magazine, November/December 2016 (used with permission of the Minnesota Bankers Association)
- Co-presenter, “ADA Website Accessibility and Public Accommodations,” Fredrikson & Byron’s 32nd Annual Employment & Labor Law Seminar, October 26, 2016
- “Privacy and Security Risks in Vendor and Supply Chain Contracts,” Midwest Privacy & Data Security Conference, Minnesota Bar Association, January 14, 2016
- “Got an App for That! Health Plans in the Business of Consumer IT,” co-presented with Katherine M. Brennan, Optum Consumer Solutions Group, 2015 Health Law Institute, Minnesota Bar Association CLE, June 4, 2015
- “How to Negotiate Your Starting Salary: Inside Tips and Mythbuster Edition,” pro bono presentation for University of Minnesota Alumni Association, Carlson School of Management, April 28, 2015
- “Legal Guide to Privacy and Data Security,” Minnesota State Bar Association CLE, Legal Guide to Privacy and Data Security, August 18, 2014
- “Data Privacy & Security, Legal and Financial Implications,” at Traust Executive Round Table, co-presented with Teresa Thompson, June 26, 2014
- “Freelancers Don’t Need Contracts,” co-presented with Ryan Miest, Beers with Fred Series @ CoCo, June 17, 2014
- Moderator, “Doing Business in the Cloud,” Fredrikson & Byron’s Practical Perspectives, March 20, 2014
- “Responding to a BSA or Vendor Software Audit, and Software Asset Management Strategy,” at Minnesota Computer & Technology Law Institute, November 19, 2013
- “Data Privacy and Security: A View from the Board Room and C-Suite.” Data Privacy and Security for In-House Counsel, March 21, 2013
- “Legal and Business Tips for Negotiating an EHR Contract,” Health Law Webinar, April 13, 2011
- Quoted in “What to Do When You Receive a BSA Audit Letter,” by Ericka Chickowski, Baseline, January 18, 2008
- “Modern Legal Practice and the Internet,” American Bar Association, Technology in the Workplace subcommittee, discussion paper with Paul Landry, 1998
Honors & Education
- University of Michigan Law School, J.D., 1996, cum laude
- Vassar College, A.B., 1991, cum laude
- University of Edinburgh, Scotland, 1998-1999
- Minnesota, 1996
- U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, 1996
- Minnesota State Bar Association, North Star Lawyer, 2015
- Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, “40 Under Forty”
- Minnesota Law & Politics, Rising Star
- International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP)
- Minnesota Medical Group Management Association
- Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association
- Minnesota State Bar Association
- Hennepin County Bar Association, Computer Law Section
- Minnesota Film and TV Board, Past President of the Board
- Faith’s Lodge, past Board Member
- IFP Minneapolis/St. Paul, past Board Member
- Givenet, past Board Member
- Magazine Club, Co-Founder
- Girl Scouts, Minneapolis 1st Grade Troop, Assistant Troop Leader