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Stephen B. Litchfield


Steve Litchfield

“Over the years, I have come to appreciate that adding value for your clients is impossible without a foundation rooted in a deep understanding of their business. This allows an attorney to address the issues presented, and the ones that are not.”

Stephen B. Litchfield is LMM’s Managing Partner based out of Newport Beach. He brings a wealth of experience litigating and arbitrating complex claims throughout California and counseling clients in a multitude of other areas, including risk management, claims management, insurance coverage, employment, real estate, and corporate transactions.

Stephen’s practice today largely centers around the close working relationships he has developed with the Architecture & Engineering community and their insurers. In addition to counseling small and mid-size A&E firms, Stephen represents thirty-one companies on this year’s Engineering News-Record Top 500 Design Firms, including three firms in the Top 10 and thirteen in the Top 100. These companies trust Stephen and LMM because of a demonstrated track record of success and a depth of knowledge and industry-specific experience that simply does not exist elsewhere.

Stephen is an Associate Member of the American Institute of Architects and the American Council of Engineering Companies and presents regularly to these and other professional organizations. Stephen serves on the Executive Board of Project: Return 2 Work, a non-profit organization working to provide much-needed employment resources and opportunities to America’s honored veterans.

J.D. | University of California Hastings College of the Law
B.A. | University of California Los Angeles

American Institute of Architects
American Council of Engineering Companies


United States District Court, Northern District of California
United States District Court, Eastern District of California
United States District Court, Central District of California
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Full Defense Award for Engineering Client in Oregon Arbitration. Steve represented a national structural engineering firm in front of a panel of arbitrators for claims arising out of a commercial mixed-use mass timber project in Portland, Oregon. During construction of the project, an adjacent property owner alleged a loss of lateral support to its building as a result of the on-going construction, and specifically alleged that the structural engineer failed to take adequate steps to underpin and support the adjacent structure. The plaintiff sought more than $5,000,000 in damages and attorneys’ fees. After a three-week hearing, during which Steve cross-examined the plaintiff’s structural expert and elicited admissions about the appropriateness of the design, the panel issued a full defense award in favor of Steve’s client.

Arbitration Award for Civil Engineering Firm. Steve represented a civil engineering firm suing for unpaid additional services for a residential development at a major California university. A significant counterclaim was filed against the engineering firm, and after multiple attempts at settlement were unsuccessful, a two-week arbitration went forward. Mr. Litchfield’s client recovered 90% of the fees sought, received a full defense award on the counterclaim, and was deemed the prevailing party, able to recover all of its attorneys’ fees and costs.

Resolution of Dispute Over Mining Water Treatment Plant. Approximately six months before the scheduled arbitration date, Steve was retained to parachute in as counsel for an ENR Top 5 AEC firm in a $150 million arbitration arising out of the design of a complex water treatment plant adjacent to a mining facility in New Mexico. On the eve of arbitration, Steve negotiated and structured a settlement that allowed his client to maintain its commercial relationship with the claimant—a multi-national oil and gas company—without paying anything on the claim.

Response to Cyber Attack. Steve coordinated the response to a sophisticated ransomware attack on behalf of a large architectural firm. Immediately upon learning of the attack, Steve jumped in to assist his client in identifying appropriate consultants to mitigate the attack, coordinating with the client’s broker and insurer to understand the available coverage, and analyzing what obligations the client may have to notify its clients of the attack. Steve shepherded the claim from inception to resolution, allowing the client to minimize its downtime, re-gain access to its server without paying a ransom, and ultimately arrive at a mutually agreeable settlement between the insurer and insured.

Representation of Developer for Multi-Family Community. Steve represented the interests of a developer in the entitlement, design, and construction of a multi-family condominium development. Leaning on his significant experience in the design and construction world, Steve negotiated contracts, advised on financing and loan structure, and helped manage risk throughout the process. Ultimately, the project was delivered on-time and on budget, even in a difficult construction market.

Resolution of Oil and Gas Dispute. Steve represented an engineering firm seeking payment for additional services provided in the design of an oil and gas facility for a large oil resource company. The oil company countersued for more than $3 million in damages it alleged were incurred due to the engineering firm’s negligence. After protracted litigation, the matter was resolved with Steve’s client receiving payment for all of its claimed additional services while paying nothing on the counterclaim.

Defense of County in Wrongful Death Lawsuit. Steve defended a large public agency in litigation involving a wrongful death and dangerous condition of public property claim brought by the estates of four teenagers that passed away after a car accident in the Antelope Valley. Through incisive discovery and the effective use of forensic experts, the claim was resolved on the eve trial on favorable terms for the County.

Dismissal of Cross-Complaint against Engineer. Steve represented a structural engineering client sued by the architect on a cross-complaint in a multi-million-dollar dispute related to a public works project in Santa Barbara County. After a multi-state investigation into the architect, LMM determined that the architect had failed to maintain its ability to transact business in California, had been dissolved in the state where it was formed, and thus had no standing to sue LMM’s client. Through novel motion practice, first to dismiss the architect’s cross-claims, then to dismiss the intervening insurer’s claims, LMM secured orders dismissing the case entirely as to their client.

Successful Resolution of Property Dispute. Steve and LMM represented a tenant in a high-end residential lease in Laguna Beach after a dispute over lease terms arose with the landlord. Leveraging significant experience in landlord-tenant dispute, both individual and commercial, Steve was able to engage a mediator and leverage a settlement that gave LMM’s client each of its preferred material terms.

Successful Resolution of Commercial Lease Dispute. Steve and LMM represented a national architecture firm in a dispute against its landlord in a high-rise building in Southern California. The landlord’s failure to maintain the premises caused a business interruption for the firm. After initiating arbitration proceedings on the client’s behalf, Steve successfully resolved the matter with the landlord and shepherded the process through a coverage dispute under the firm’s business interruption policy, allowing the client to recover on multiple fronts to make itself whole.

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