Steven Lehner's tort litigation and mediation practice is national in scope. He devotes a substantial part of his practice to employee benefits litigation, both ERISA and non-ERISA. Steve has represented employee benefit plans and fiduciaries in court litigation and alternative dispute resolution, including dispositive motions and appeals. His employee benefits litigation experience includes defense of health, life, and disability claims, annuity, suitability, and related disputes, long term care coverage disputes, provider disputes, and breach of fiduciary duty claims.
Steve also has a strong insurance practice, defending insurance companies and self-insured clients both regionally and nationally in the areas of premises liability, insurance coverage disputes, catastrophic litigation, wrongful death claims, dram shop/liquor liability, automobile negligence and general liability litigation. In addition, Steve represents several insurers in first party property work involving sink hole claims, including breach of contract and extra contractual damages claims. Steve's clients include national and regional insurers, hospitality and retail chains, restaurant chains, private commercial security companies and trucking companies. He leads a team of attorneys within the firm that works closely with clients in the hospitality industry.
Steve joined Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP's Tampa office in 1996. He is a member of the firm's Executive Committee and the Associate Hiring Committee. In addition to serving as the partner in charge of the Tampa office, Steve is the co-chair of Hinshaw's Business Litigation Practice Group.
- Defense Research Institute (DRI)
- Hillsborough County Bar Association
- Trial Lawyers Division
- Federal Bar Association
- American Bar Association, Former Member
- Exchange Club of Tampa, Former Member
Honors & Awards
- Holds the AV® Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell, its highest rating for ethics and legal ability
- Selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© for Commercial Litigation, 2020 – 2023
- Named a "Legal Leader," by Florida Trend's Legal Elite, 2016, 2019
- Tampa Bay Business Magazine included Steve on their "Tampa Bay Top Lawyer" list, 2010
A selection of Steve's representative cases includes:
- Defended hotel in premises liability claim. Plaintiff alleged defendant's dock was unsafe. Jury returned defense verdict after 4-day trial.
- Defended grocery chain in a slip-and-fall case. Obtained directed verdict for the defense.
- Represented large lawn care company in a breach of contract suit. Obtained verdict for the defense.
Steve has delivered in-house presentations to his clients on topics including bad faith claim handling and issues of attorney-client and work product privilege. His other presentations include:
- "Current Trends in ERISA Attorneys' Fee Claims" Definitive Disability Conference 4, Boston, Massachusetts, October 2019
- "Effective ERISA Mediations," 11th Circuit ERISA Meeting, Tampa, Florida, January 2012
- "Deposing Expert Witnesses," Hillsborough County Public Defenders and State Attorneys Offices, Tampa, Florida, September 2009
- Eighty-Seven Hinshaw Lawyers Recognized in 2023 Editions of Best Lawyers in America and Ones to WatchAugust 18, 2022Two Lawyers Also Honored as "Lawyer of the Year"
- August 19, 2021Five Lawyers Honored as "Lawyer of the Year"
- February 5, 2021
- Sixty-Five Hinshaw Lawyers Recognized in 2021 Editions of Best Lawyers and Best Lawyers: Ones to WatchAugust 20, 2020Three Lawyers Honored as "Lawyer of the Year"
- August 15, 2019
- District Court Finds Reduction in Monthly LTD Benefit Due to IRA Rollover Appropriate Under Plan TermsOctober 13, 2021The LHD/ERISA Advisor
- September 29, 2020The LHD/ERISA Advisor
Steve enjoys golf, snow skiing, and scuba diving.
- Royal Krewe of Privateers, Member
J.D., University of Florida School of Law, 1994
B.A., with honors, Southern Methodist University, 1991, Political Science
B.B.A., with honors, Southern Methodist University, 1991
- Accounting; Dean's Scholar
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the Middle and Northern Districts of Florida