Stephen E. Morrissey
Partner
Seattle Office Phone: (206) 373-7380 Email Download vCard Print Bio to PDF
Education
  • University of Iowa (B.A., with honors and distinction, 1993)
  • Columbia University School of Law (J.D., 1996)

Steve Morrissey, a partner in Susman Godfrey's Seattle office, is an experienced trial lawyer who has devoted more than twenty years to achieving winning results in complex commercial litigation in state and federal courts throughout the country.  Mr. Morrissey has represented his clients in trials and arbitrations of complex business disputes from Seattle to New York, often as lead counsel on trial teams that have won cases for plaintiffs and defendants in a broad range of legal areas such as intellectual property, securities, bet-the-company, entertainment and product liability.

High Stakes Individual Representations

Mr. Morrissey is currently representing Steven Lamar and his company, Jibe Audio, in a breach of contract case seeking more than $100 million in damages from Beats Electronics LLC, Dr. Dre, and Jimmy Iovine.  Morrissey scored a significant win for Lamar in appellate court in 2016 when the Court of Appeal of the State of California, Second District, reversed a lower court ruling that granted a summary judgment in favor of Beats.

Mr. Morrissey is also co-lead counsel to Peak Hosting in its breach-of-contract and trade secret misappropriation lawsuit against Machine Zone, Inc.—a Silicon Valley giant and purveyor of two of the most popular mobile games, “Mobile Strike” and “Game of War.” The matter is valued at over $100 million.

High Profile Class Actions

Mr. Morrissey is currently representing a proposed class of property owners in litigation in Michigan arising out of the Flint water crisis.  Morrissey was chosen to serve on the serves as a member of the Executive Committee for the proposed class, and has helped develop the claims against the engineering firms.

Morrissey is also co-lead counsel for a proposed class of members of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board of Trade in a breach of contract class action seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in damages from the CME Group in Cook County Circuit Court in Chicago.

Additionally, Morrissey is also co-lead counsel for 1970’s music group, The Turtles, and a class of owners of pre-1972 recordings in a certified class action lawsuit against Sirius XM that settled less than 48 hours before the jury trial was scheduled to begin.  Sirius XM agreed to pay at least $25.5 million (over $16 million after fees and expenses) and royalties under a 10-year license that is valued up to $62 million (over $41 million after fees and expenses) as compensation for publicly performing without a license Pre-1972 sound recordings. The settlement was approved by the Court, and has received widespread media coverage from publications such as The New York TimesBillboardThe Hollywood ReporterLaw360Rolling StoneVarietyReuters and Managing IP.  

In 2017, Mr. Morrissey also helped secured a $43.45 million cash fund (final amount after fees and expenses to be determined) and an agreement to pay future royalties to settle a class-action lawsuit with Spotify brought on behalf of music copyright owners. The suit alleged that Spotify made music available online without securing mechanical rights from the tracks' composers.

Successful Defense Cases

Mr. Morrissey also has extensive and diverse experience representing defendants in complex litigation matters. He has represented:

  • an insurance company in defending fraud and bad faith claims in federal courts in Seattle and Oregon,
  • a Fortune 500 mortgage insurance company in “bet the company” arbitrations involving hundreds of millions of dollars in claims relating to its residential mortgage insurance portfolio,
  • several entertainment and pharmaceutical companies in antitrust litigation, and
  • a mainframe computer manufacturer in defending dozens of patent infringement claims brought by a competitor while pursuing antitrust claims as part of the same action.

A History of Success

Mr. Morrissey’s biggest wins include:

  • A $180 million jury verdict on behalf of three minority shareholders in an environmental cleanup firm in state court in Dallas (subsequently settled for a confidential amount)
  • A $43.5 million judgment following a bench trial of medical device manufacturer Masimo’s antitrust claims against Tyco Healthcare, after the trial court ordered a new trial on damages following a jury verdict for $420 million
  • A multi-million dollar arbitration award as lead trial counsel for an Egyptian investor in a FINRA arbitration against an international investment bank in New York
  • A multi-million dollar verdict as lead trial counsel in jury trial against a Chinese electronics manufacturer in Los Angeles
  • The favorable settlement of a multi-hundred million dollar patent and patent lawsuit on behalf of a mainframe computer startup in federal court in New York
  • The landmark settlement of a pioneering antitrust class action against the NCAA in federal court in Los Angeles challenging rules precluding schools from providing scholarships that cover the full “cost of attendance” for football and basketball players
  • The confidential settlement on behalf of founders and early shareholders in Epinions of their claims against the venture capitalists and co-founder of fraud and breach of fiduciary duty claims arising from the cancellation of their stock in the company without compensation
  • Winning summary judgment for an insurance company on a $30 million fraud and breach of contract claims in federal court in Oregon in a case where we were hired after the court had denied a motion for summary judgment filed by prior counsel and with the case set for trial three months after our retention

 

Mr. Morrissey is always willing to handle cases by the hour, but prefers to work on a contingent or flat fee arrangement that rewards results, and would be happy to talk to you about the type of arrangement that would work best for your case.

Honors and Distinctions
  • Law Clerk, Hon. David M. Ebel, U.S. Court of Appeals, 10th Circuit
  • Managing Editor (1995-1996) and Staff Member (1994-95), Columbia Law Review
  • Kent Scholar (1996)
  • Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar (1994-95)
  • Represented Columbia at Willem C. Vis International Arbitral Moot Court, Vienna, Austria (1996)
  • Phi Beta Kappa
  • Named "Rising Star" by Southern California Super Lawyers
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Articles

Note, "State Settlement Class Actions that Release Exclusive Federal Claims: Developing a Framework for the Multijurisdictional Management of Shareholder Litigation," 95 Colum. L. Rev. 1765 (1995).

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Wins

October 2013.  Parvin v. CNA – Won Summary Judgment.  Along with Justin Nelson and Dan Shih, won summary judgment in fraud and breach of contract case in District of Oregon in which plaintiff sought tens of millions of dollars based on claimed business losses after malpractice case was settled over his objection. Susman Godfrey was retained three months before scheduled trial date, and after plaintiff had overcome a prior motion for summary judgment. Case was dismissed in its entirety after successful motions in limine and renewed motion for summary judgment.

January 2013. Jefferies & Co. v. NASDAQ. – Won at Arbitration.  Along with Steve Susman and Seth Ard, Morrissey represented NASDAQ and its affiliate IDCG in an arbitration in New York. The plaintiff, Jefferies & Co., sought tens of millions of dollars in damages based on a claim that it was fraudulently induced to clear interest rate swaps through the IDCG clearinghouse. After a one week trial in the fall of 2012, at which Morrissey gave the opening statement and put on NASDAQ’s principal fact witness, the Panel issued a decision in January 2013 denying all of Jefferies’ claims and awarding no damages.

July 2009. Casey v. Simmons — Won $178.7 million jury verdict. Along with Steve Susman, Katherine Treistman and Stephen Shackelford and co-counsel, tried this a breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract case arising from his clients' investments in NL Environmental Management Services, Inc., an environmental cleanup company owned by NL Industries and its controlling shareholder, Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons. After a two week trial in state court in Dallas, Morrissey's clients won a $178.7 million jury verdict, including $145 million in punitive damages. In 2010, the case settled while on appeal on confidential terms.

October 2009. Masimo v. Tyco Healthcare Group - Won $58.9 million judgment. With partners Steve Susman, Marc Seltzer and Vineet Bhatia, won a $420 million jury verdict (after trebling) in Masimo Corp. v. Tyco Healthcare Group L.P. Masimo was an antitrust case involving exclusionary contracting practices in the United States market for pulse oximetry products. The trial court upheld the jury's liability findings, but ordered a new trial on damages. After the subsequent re-trial, the trial court awarded Masimo a final judgment of $43.5 million in damages (after trebling) in June 2007, plus attorneys' fees. The judgment was affirmed on appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and Masimo ultimately was awarded $58.9 million.

November 2008. Segue Electronics — Won multi-million dollar jury verdict. After a three week jury trial, Morrissey, along with partners David Marcus and Suyash Agrawal, won a $3.9 million verdict on behalf of client Segue Electronics in Los Angeles Superior Court in a breach of contract claim against two Chinese electronics manufacturers arising out of their alleged breach of Segue's exclusive distribution agreement. At trial, Morrissey conducted the direct examinations of Segue's principal and Segue's damages expert, cross-examined the defendants' damages expert, and gave the closing argument.

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Professional Associations and Memberships
  • State Bar of California (Antitrust & Unfair Competition and Litigation Sections)
  • American Bar Association (Litigation and Antitrust Sections)
  • District of Columbia Bar
  • Association of Business Trial Lawyers (Los Angeles Chapter)
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association
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Notable Representation

September 2009. Confidential Client — Favorable Settlement on eve of trial. Morrissey was one of the lawyers principally responsible for representing a leading mortgage insurer in an arbitration against a mortgage lender arising out of his client's rescission of more than $500 million in bulk mortgage insurance coverage. The case touched on many of the issues that were at the center of the collapse of the housing market and the global financial crisis. After an intense pre-trial discovery period that allowed the case to be ready for trial just over a year after it was filed, Mr. Morrissey's client was able to negotiate a favorable settlement less than two weeks before trial.

June 2008. PSI v. IBM — Obtained favorable settlement of multi-hundred million dollar antitrust claims against IBM. Morrissey was one of the lead lawyers responsible for the representation of startup mainframe computer manufacturer Platform Solutions, Inc. in prosecuting antitrust claims against IBM, and in defending PSI against patent infringement, copyright, and trade secrets claims brought by PSI. Morrissey was also involved in coordinating PSI's prosecution of competition claims against IBM in the EU. In July 2008, the case settled on confidential terms in June 2008; as part of the settlement, PSI was acquired by IBM.

2006-2008. White v. NCAA - Landmark settlement of class action on behalf of student athletes.Morrissey was one of the lead lawyers responsible for the groundbreaking litigation and settlement in White, et al. v. NCAA, an antitrust class action in the Central District of California, in which the plaintiffs challenged NCAA's restrictions on athletics-based financial aid. The district court certified the class and denied the NCAA's motion to dismiss in 2006. With the case scheduled for trial in January 2008, the parties reached a settlement in December 2007 that was approved by the Court in August 2008. Under the settlement, the NCAA will make $218 million over five years available to provide additional benefits for student-athletes, will revise its rules to allow member schools to provide student athletes with comprehensive year-round health insurance, and will create a $10 million fund to cover educational and professional development expenses incurred by members of the class.

December 2005. Ravikant v. Tolia — Obtained settlement for start-up employees in lawsuit against venture capitalists. Settled Ravikant v. Tolia, a case brought by 51 former shareholders of Epinions, Inc. (including three founders of that company) whose stock was cancelled without compensation in the 2003 acquisition of Epinions by DealTime, Ltd. (which subsequently became Shopping.com, Ltd. and was acquired by eBay, Inc.). The defendants included the venture capitalists and venture capital firms that were alleged to have participated in and approved the Epinions/DealTime merger; the CEO of Epinions at the time of the merger; and Shopping.com. The amount and terms of the settlement are confidential, but we and our clients were pleased with the result.

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