Stephen T. Owens is an experienced trial lawyer with practice emphasis on complex business litigation including real estate, banking, governmental agency and entertainment litigation.
In his 36 years of practice Steve has accumulated broad experience in all phases of civil litigation in both state and federal courts, from the initial pleading stage through discovery, law and motion, settlement negotiations and trial. He has also handled numerous appellate matters in both the California courts and the federal circuit courts of appeal, resulting in 13 published judicial opinions. In addition to his extensive trial and appellate work, Steve has handled a significant number of matters in arbitration, in both the United States and internationally, before arbitrators appointed by the American Arbitration Association and the International Chamber of Commerce.
Steve has represented many major corporations and financial institutions in the US, Japan, China and internationally including Bridgestone Co., EchoStar/Dish Network, Suzuki Motor Corporation, Toyota Tsusho, China Airlines, Mexicana Airlines, Volaris Airlines, Union Bank, N.A., Bank of Tokyo/Mitsubishi-UFJ, Sinochem, and PrediWave Corporation, as well as various governmental bodies including the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation, Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, City of Pomona (California) and City of West Covina (California).
He has also acted as litigation counsel to a number of noteworthy individuals and companies in the entertainment industry. Among other noteworthy cases, Steve represented the estate of Tupac Shakur in a racketeering (civil RICO) lawsuit against Death Row Records, which resulted in the estate's recovery of the unreleased master tapes recorded by Tupac prior to his murder in 1996. The tracks on the recovered master tapes were released on the posthumous, quadruple platinum, double album R U Still Down? (Remember Me) and on several later albums. In another widely publicized case, Steve successfully defended Internet Entertainment Group against Pamela Anderson's unsuccessful attempt to prevent the company from posting the so-called "honeymoon video" made by her and then-husband Tommy Lee on the Internet, arguing that the First Amendment generally bars courts from issuing a "prior restraint" on speech.
Steve has also represented, on a pro bono basis, a number of elderly, inner city homeowners victimized by home equity fraud schemes. His work in the field was featured on the ABC television program PrimeTime Live.
Highly regarded in the legal community, Steve is the recipient of the American Bar Association’s John Minor Wisdom Public Service and Professionalism Award (1993), as well as the President’s Pro Bono Service Award (1992), conferred by the president of the State Bar of California. He has been named a Super Lawyer by Thomson Reuters each year since 2004.
Some of Steve’s most recent appellate victories are:
Steve has served on numerous boards and commissions including the California State Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation, the Board of Directors of Public Counsel, the public interest law firm sponsored by the Los Angeles County and Beverly Hills Bar Associations, and the Board of Directors of the Constitutional Rights Foundation, a nonprofit educational foundation. He is also special master for the State Bar of California.