Steven Velkei has served as lead trial counsel on matters totaling several billion dollars in potential exposure over the course of his 25-year legal career. He concentrates on complex litigation matters and investigations, and has tried cases nationwide. Mr. Velkei gets great satisfaction out of taking difficult cases and succeeding where others have failed. Mr. Velkei also provides strategic risk assessment services to avoid litigation while advancing the client’s business goals.
Mr. Velkei joined Baute Crochetiere Hartley and Velkei after successful stints with some of the country’s most prestigious major law firms. He has been recognized by California Super Lawyers (Rising Star, 2004-2005; Super Lawyer, 2006-2010), Benchmark Litigation (Future Star) and Law Dragon. He has also been quoted in a number of periodicals (including LA Business Journal, Daily Law Journal and Law360) and has lectured extensively on government investigations and enforcement actions, trial technique and diversity within the legal profession.
Diversity in the workplace is important to Mr. Velkei. He frequently lectures on diversity issues, and has made presentations to the Association of Corporate Counsel, the statewide conference of the California Association of Realtors, GOOD (“Guys Overcoming Obstacles to Diversity”) Guys, and others. For three years, Mr. Velkei acted as chair of the US Diversity and Inclusion Committee for the world’s largest law firm. He has also consulted with private companies on best practices for promoting diversity in the workplace, and has lectured on regulatory issues and trial advocacy. Mr. Velkei is himself from a diverse background. He is LGBTQ. His mother is Latina, his father is an immigrant from Hungary, and his husband is African American.
Mr. Velkei is involved with a number of major charitable groups in the Los Angeles area and is active politically. He serves on the Steering Committee of GOOD Guys, an advocacy group for greater equality for women in the workplace and associated with the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations. He is the first man to serve in that capacity.
Large medical group: Represents one of the largest independent medical groups in California, as well as its affiliated management company, in pending and prospective litigation matters. Successfully untangled the group from a failed and contentious strategic partnership and paved the way for a “go-to-market” transaction, prevailed over entrenched interests in a local healthcare district hospital that services a large portion of the group’s patient population, and continues to advise on a number of employment and healthcare matters for the group.
Large retailer: Navigating a series of disputes arising out of the retailer’s sale of 2 million square feet of commercial space in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles for redevelopment into one of the largest residential and commercial mixed-use projects in the city.
International film distributor: Representation in disputes over rights to exploitation of feature length films in both domestic and international markets.
Major health insurer: Successfully defended as lead trial counsel through trial and appeals one of the nation’s largest health insurers in the largest enforcement action ever tried by a state agency in the United States, which sought up to $10 billion in penalties against the insurer. In re PacifiCare Life and Health Insurance Company.
International entertainment company: Successfully defended as lead trial counsel the leading indoor trampoline company in litigation in multiple jurisdictions brought by the company’s founder and other members challenging the strategic decisions of the company and the authority of the company’s managers to act. The successful conclusion of the litigation paved the way for the company, owned by less than twenty members, to be sold to a public company for a nine figure purchase price. Richard Platt v. Sky Zone, et al., Case No. BC 558134 (LA Sup. Ct.).
Global theme park owner/operator: Successfully defended NBC Universal against challenges to the expansion of one of the most profitable theme parks in Southern California.
International satellite launch company: Represented as lead trial counsel an affiliate of the Russian Space Agency in a dispute with The Boeing Company over a commercial satellite launch company based in Switzerland, involving alleged damages totaling hundreds of millions of dollars. The Boeing Company v. RSCEnergia, et al., (2:13-cv-00730-AB-AJW).
Large real estate owner: Successfully represented large real estate owner as lead counsel in a highly contentious and difficult redevelopment project in Los Angeles County that had been stalled for years. After successfully defending the company in multiple lawsuits, helped negotiate a resolution of the matter with participation by community interests and local, state and federal agencies that paved the way for the $200 million redevelopment project to proceed. City of Los Angeles v. Lincoln Place Tenants’ Association.
Major real estate investment trust (REIT): Successfully defending in a number of lawsuits involving real estate investment properties across the country (including both conventional and affordable properties) and investments made in the form of real estate limited partnerships.
REIT: Representing in a class action lawsuit brought on behalf of 200,000 limited partners challenging a $1 billion merger.
Insurance products: Achieved an eight-figure settlement against a major insurer in a product targeting low-income residents of North Carolina, Ohio, and Missouri.
Theft of trade secrets / misappropriation: Obtained an eight-figure settlement after trial against a major Silicon Valley company for theft of trade secrets/misappropriation.
Motion picture exploitation rights: Negotiated an eight-figure settlement during trial against a motion picture distributor in connection with the exploitation of the Academy Award-winning picture Monster.
Elite cosmetic company: Achieving complete victory the day before trial in connection with claims brought by an Australian manufacturer.