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, start-ups and entity formation, advertising, health IT, marketing, social media, privacy, security and breach issues, big data, and the cloud.
Steve is Chair of Fredrikson & Byron’s Internet, Technology & E-Commerce Group and Co-Chair of the firm’s Media & Entertainment 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?
A client suspects that they just detected a data security breach. What should they do next?
- 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, Google+), 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.
- Electronic Medical Records, Practice Management, and Health Technology. Represented over 40 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.
- 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.
- 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
February 1, 2017
An established plaintiff disability law firm, Carlson Lynch, has sued HCA Holdings in federal court, alleging that websites operated by over 100 hospitals and health care facilities owned by HCA are not accessible to blind individuals and therefore violate Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act.Read More
January 18, 2017
The sharp rise of website accessibility litigation and demands that impacted retail, fast-food, financial organizations, banks and education sectors in 2015 and 2016 has expanded to target the healthcare industry, including: hospitals, clinics, health insurance as well as related providers such as drug stores and optical stores.Read More
Financial Services Industry Targeted in Wave of Lawsuit Threats Over Websites Allegedly Inaccessible to the Visually Impaired
November 15, 2016
In a trend that began several years ago and has migrated through several industries, investment firms are among those being targeted by enterprising plaintiffs’ lawyers alleging that the firms’ website are inaccessible to blind or otherwise disabled users. The claim is that the firms are violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).Read More
November 4, 2016
The Wall Street Journal ran a major story on November 1, 2016, describing the growing trend of lawsuits brought by a handful of plaintiff law firms representing blind individuals against hundreds of website operators including well-known names such as Foot Locker, Toys ‘R’ Us, Brooks Brothers and the NBA.Read More
September 1, 2016
Is your bank’s website accessible to the visually impaired? If it is not - or if you are not sure - now is the time to address this issue as businesses across the country are receiving demand letters and being made parties to legal claims for alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).Read More
What's Behind E*TRADE Accessibility Initiative and Press Release? Disability Lawyers Target Financial Industry for ADA Claims
July 6, 2016
E*TRADE's recent press release reads as though E*TRADE simply discovered its inner, more-inclusive, corporate self "E*TRADE Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:ETFC) today announced an initiative to enhance its website, mobile applications, and desktop trading and investing platforms to make them more accessible for customers with disabilities."Read More
Four Class Actions in 14 Days: Quick Serve, Fast Casual, Restaurant Industry Targeted for Alleged Inaccessible Websites
May 27, 2016
Between April 19 and May 3, 2016, Olive Garden, Domino's, Potbelly and Dean & Deluca were each named as a defendant in four separate but similar class action lawsuits. The suits, all brought by the Lee Litigation Group, allege that the defendants' improperly designed websites are inaccessible to blind users and violate Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act as well as state and local laws.Read More
May 19, 2016
In what appears to be the first court decision of its kind, a California state court held not only that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to websites, but also that in the case of ColoradoBaggage.com, the website design and features were sufficiently inaccessible to blind users (using screen reader technology) that the site owner violated ADA as well as the California Unruh Act and is liable for monetary damages and injunctive relief.Read More
April 27, 2016
Three blind law school graduates just filed a federal class action lawsuit in Texas, alleging that BarBri, Inc., the leading bar exam test prep company, violated Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act by “maintaining barriers to the accessibility of its services for blind students who use talking screen reading software and failing to make reasonable accommodations or provide auxiliary aids or services.” See, Stanley V. BarBri, Inc.Read More
February 8, 2016
Oklahoma-based pizzeria Mazzio’s Italian Eatery filed a preemptive “declaratory” lawsuit in federal district court against the Carlson Lynch law firm on February 2, 2016. Mazzio’s, LLC v. Carlson, Lynch, Sweet & Kilpela, LLC, N. Dist. Oklahoma, Case No. 16-cv-59-CVE-TLW.Read More
PUBLICATIONS & PRESENTATIONS
- 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
- “Responding to a BSA or Vendor Software Audit, and Software Asset Management Strategy,” at Minnesota Computer & Technology Law Institute, November 19, 2013
- “How Can I Fire My Electronic Health Record (E.H.R.) Vendor?” Minne Analytics forum, October 11, 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
- “What Doctors and Dentists Need to Know About Facebook.” ExecSense Webinars, 2013
- “Social Media: Hot Legal Topics in Health Care,” guest faculty at the University of St. Thomas, June 1, 2011
- “Legal and Business Tips for Negotiating an EHR Contract,” Health Law Webinar, April 13, 2011
- Co-Chair and Presenter, “Data Privacy & Security,” MN Bar Association CLE, January 21, 2011
- “Creating a Social Media Policy for Your Company: Sharing With Employees What They Can and Can Not do on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn & Other Social Media Sites,” Webinar with Reed Seminars (available at Amazon.com), May, 2009
- “Legal Nuggets for Negotiating High Value Information Technology Contracts,” Minnesota Medical Group Management Association 2009 Winter Conference, March 9-11, 2009
- Quoted in “What to Do When You Receive a BSA Audit Letter,” by Ericka Chickowski, Baseline, January 18, 2008
- Quoted in “8 Ways to Avoid an Audit from the Business Software Alliance,” by Ericka Chickowski, Baseline, January 11, 2008
- “Legal Issues for Filmmakers,” Minneapolis College of Art & Design, February, 2007
- “Data Security - Businesses Must Now Notify Customers of Possible Identity Thefts,” Upsize Minnesota Magazine, June/July, 2006
- “Starting Your Own Consulting Business,” Twin Cities Quality Assurance Association, April, 2006
- Quoted in “An Ordeal: Copin’ with COPPA,” Wired, online, September 20, 2000
- “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