- Law Clerk to the Honorable Edith Brown Clement, United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
Tulane University Law School, J.D., Summa Cum Laude, 2006
University of Alabama, B.A., Magna Cum Laude, 2000
Benchmark Litigation, Under 40 Hot List, 2016, 2017
Louisiana Super Lawyers, since 2015
Order of the Coif
Tulane Law Review, Member and Editor
Tulane University Law School Faculty Medal
Algernon Sidney Sullivan Award, University of Alabama
Stephen L. Miles represents clients in high-stakes insurance coverage and bad faith litigation as well as in complex commercial litigation, both at the trial and appellate levels across the Gulf South and Southwest. He has handled a wide range of insurance coverage and bad faith lawsuits, as well as environmental and toxic tort cases. Described in Benchmark Litigation as a "lawyer's lawyer," his commercial and securities litigation experience includes representing law firms, investment management companies, accountants, businesses, and other professionals in significant disputes, including cases alleging securities fraud, accounting malpractice, breach of fiduciary duty, trade secrets violations, and breach of contract.
Stephen also brings experience outside the law to his practice. Before law school, he worked for several years as a management consultant in the healthcare industry, providing consulting advice to some of the most prestigious hospitals in the country. Immediately prior to joining the firm, Stephen served as a Law Clerk to the Honorable Edith Brown Clement, United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
Stephen has been recognized as a leading lawyer in the state by Louisiana Super Lawyers, and has been named to Benchmark Litigation’s Under 40 Hot List for 2016 and 2017.
- Stephen advises several insurers in a variety of coverage cases and in suits with allegations of extra-contractual liability. Stephen handles these cases from before the suit is filed through trial and appeal.
- In 2017, Stephen prevailed on behalf of an insurer in a declaratory judgment action that sought a ruling of no coverage for a 2012 accident. Stephen was the lead trial lawyer during the federal court bench trial, which resulted in a complete victory for the Firm's client. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously affirmed. See Bridgefield Casualty Insurance Co. v. River Oaks Mgmt., Inc., 680 Fed. App'x 348 (5th Cir. 2017)
- In 2015, Stephen convinced a Louisiana appellate court to reverse the trial court on a supervisory writ and dismiss an employers’ liability claim against the Firm’s client, thus avoiding costly future litigation.
- Stephen successfully represented a national insurer in a class action involving allegations of improper calculation of depreciation in the adjustment of homeowner' claims.
- In a bellwether case, the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Firm client, determining that Louisiana workers compensation insurers could contract with physicians providing medical treatment to injured workers for payment below Louisiana’s workers compensation fee schedule. With the medical providers seeking penalties and attorneys' fees in tens of thousands of identical suits filed against dozens of insurers, this result saved insurers tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars. Stephen, along with Judy Barrasso, handled all aspects of the appeal in the Louisiana Supreme Court. See Agilus Health v. Accor Lodging North America, 32 So. 2d 1120 (La. 2010).
- Stephen successfully prosecuted on behalf of a workers’ compensation insurer a declaratory judgment action in federal court against medical providers alleging underpayments of the providers’ bills for services. Stephen obtained permanent injunctions against the medical providers preventing them from seeking additional payments from the Firm’s client in any other forum. Stephen also led the team’s effort on appeal, where the United States Court of Appeals for Fifth Circuit twice affirmed the district court’s findings, and where the Supreme Court of the United States denied the providers’ application for certiorari. See Liberty Mut. Ins. Co. v. Gunderson, 305 Fed. App’x 170 (5th Cir. 2008), cert. denied, 130 S. Ct. 61 (2009). See also Liberty Mut. Ins. Co. v. Gunderson, 387 Fed. App’x 480 (5th Cir. 2010).
- Since 2013, the Firm has represented an excess insurer in multi-state litigation involving claims made by dozens of individuals and companies arising out of the acres-wide sinkhole that was discovered in Assumption Parish, Louisiana, in August 2012. Stephen has coordinated all facets of trial preparation, including depositions, written discovery, document production, and dispositive motions. Stephen also coordinated all aspects of multiple appeals in state court that spawned from this years-long litigation, including convincing the court of appeal to reverse a preliminary injunction, a finding of contempt, and two summary judgments on coverage issues.
- Stephen and partner Judy Barrasso were trial counsel for an excess insurer in a three-week insurance coverage trial involving allegations of long-term environmental pollution in state court in New Mexico. Before trial, Stephen handled all aspects of the briefing on multiple dispositive motions on coverage issues, including issues related to trigger of coverage, allocation methodology, enforcement of pollution and other exclusions, calculation of limits in a multi-year policy, and other significant issues. The case resolved in a confidential settlement.
- Stephen quickly and successfully prosecuted on behalf of an insurer a multi-million dollar contractual indemnification claim against a claims processor arising out of alleged errors in claims adjusting.
- Beginning in 2013, Stephen represented an excess insurer in a first-party coverage action brought by a volunteer organization for coverage on sexual abuse claims. Stephen, along with Minor Pipes, successfully brought the case to resolution at mediation before trial.
- Stephen successfully defended an insurer in a significant claim brought by a homeowner whose home suffered wind damage in Hurricane Katrina. After obtaining a take-nothing summary judgment on a policy exclusion in a Civil District Court in New Orleans, the Firm convinced the Louisiana appellate court to affirm, and convinced the Louisiana Supreme Court to deny the homeowner’s writ application. See Ganier v. Specialty Risk Associates, Inc., 977 So. 2d 1089 (La. Ct. App. 4th Cir. 2008), writ denied, 980 So. 2d 691 (2008).
- Stephen obtained complete dismissal of all claims asserted against the Firm’s client, a regional law firm, in a negligent misrepresentation and breach of fiduciary duty suit in federal court arising out of a failed real estate investment.
- During his years of practice, Stephen has led successful pre-litigation negotiation on behalf of multiple Louisiana professionals with their former employers or partners, obtaining releases or reductions of the professionals’ obligations under their non-compete or non-solicitation agreements.
- Stephen represented a staffing company in a lawsuit filed by a competitor alleging misappropriation of trade secrets and violations of the Louisiana Unfair Trade Practices Act. The matter was resolved on confidential terms prior to trial.
- Stephen represented a banking regulator in an investigation into potential wrongdoing and fraud by officers at an insolvent financial institution.
- Stephen successfully represented shareholders in a multi-million dollar shareholder dispute before the American Arbitration Association. The matter settled on confidential terms.
- Stephen currently is defending a business owner in Louisiana state court against a claim for injury allegedly caused by the business owner’s negligent hiring. Stephen already has obtained dismissal of the punitive damages claim asserted by the plaintiff.
Securities Litigation and Regulation
- Stephen successfully prosecuted a multi-million dollar claim for indemnification in Louisiana state court on behalf of an investment management company against an investment consultant. After a lower court had dismissed the claim, Stephen convinced the Louisiana Supreme Court to reverse in a unanimous decision, which paved the way to trial. The parties thereafter resolved their differences in a confidential settlement.
- Successful defense of an investment management company in a multi-million dollar securities case where an investor sought to recover investment losses totaling more than $40 million plus penalties and attorneys' fees under the Louisiana Securities Law. Stephen coordinated the defense’s effort in this multi-party, complex securities litigation, handling all facets of trial preparation, including depositions, written discovery, document production, and dispositive motions. Stephen also coordinated all aspects of multiple appeals in both state and federal court that spawned from this years-long litigation.
- Stephen obtained a complete dismissal of all claims asserted against the Firm’s client, a regional law firm, in a suit by bond purchasers seeking to recoup more than $10 million in lost investments. After obtaining dismissal of the bond purchasers’ federal securities law claims on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the Firm’s client moved for, and obtained dismissal on summary judgment on the remainder of the purchasers’ claims. Stephen handled all aspects of the motion for summary judgment.
- In 2008 and 2009, Stephen represented shareholders in litigation alleging misrepresentation and fraud arising from alleged nondisclosure of material facts in a stock-for-stock merger transaction. This suit was resolved before trial on confidential terms.
- Stephen represented a national accounting firm in a lawsuit brought by a state retirement system, obtaining a complete dismissal of all claims.
Products Liability & Toxic Tort / Environmental
- In 2017, Stephen obtained a favorable, nuisance-value settlement in a products liability claim alleging injury due to a defective airbag.
- Stephen obtained a complete dismissal of all claims asserted against a contractor that was alleged to have allowed a worker to be exposed to cancer-causing chemicals.
- Stephen defended an international manufacturer of deepwater polyester mooring line in federal court in a case in which an oil and gas exploration company alleges that defective mooring line caused extensive downtime of its drilling operations on a rig in the Gulf of Mexico. Stephen successfully moved to dismiss the plaintiffs’ complaint for insufficiency of service of process, and convinced the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to deny the plaintiffs’ petition for permission to appeal that decision. See Dominion Exploration & Production, Inc. v. Delmar Systems, Inc., No. 07-9492, 2008 WL 4809453 (E.D. La. Nov. 3, 2008). The case later was resolved in a confidential settlement.
- Stephen represented a manufacturer in a significant products liability dispute in federal court arising from the use of a cleaning product manufactured by the Firm’s client. The suit asserts claims for breach of warranty, design defect, failure to warn, and manufacturing defect. The case was resolved on confidential terms.
- Louisiana State Bar Association's Leadership Class, Member, 2013-2014
- American Bar Association, Member
- Federal Bar Association, New Orleans Chapter, Member
- August 2, 2017
- January 6, 2017
- November 14, 2016
- August 8, 2016
- December 24, 2015
- December 29, 2014
- January 3, 2014
- September 26, 2013
- August 9, 2013
- “Exploring Unexplored Frontiers: The Private Right of Action Under the Louisiana Securities Law,” 75 La. Law Rev. 801 (2015)
- “Duties of Local Counsel: More Expansive Than You Think?” ABA Ethics Professionalism Newsletter (Summer 2012)
- "Ethics: Candor and Advocacy In and Out of The Courtroom," New Orleans Bar Association's Ethics and Professionalism CLE (November 15, 2016)
- "Louisiana Class Certification Jurisprudence: An Update on Class Certification Decisions In The Five years Since Wal-Mart v. Dukes, 564 U.S. 338 (2011)," New Orleans Bar Association, (May 12, 2016)
- "The Stages of Litigation, Depositions," Louisiana State Bar Association Jazz & Heritage Festival CLE (April 29, 2016)(co-presented with Phil Antis)
- "Practical and Legal Problems with Long-Tail Environmental Coverage Litigation," New Orleans Bar Association (June 19, 2015)
- "Introduction to the Federal Bar Association," Loyola Law School (March 7, 2013)(co-presented with Judge Jane Triche Milazzo, Pam Starns, and Peter Mansfield)
- "PPO Lawsuit Update – Danger At Sea – Will the Whirlpool Suck Us All Under?" Louisiana Association of Self-Insured Employers, (November 4, 2010)(co-presented with Wayne Fontana and Perry Staub)