After 38 successful years as a trial attorney whose practice has been limited to all aspects of personal injury and civil litigation, Steven R. Kuhn, Esq. is focusing his career on Dispute Resolution. He has mediated and arbitrated over 6,000 cases in the field of personal injury, medical and legal malpractice, and business litigation, as well as in other fields such as homeowner association, real estate, employment, and construction defect matters.
Mr. Kuhn is respected for his professionalism, sensitivity, knowledge, and preparedness. His integrity and fairness are matched by his willingness to persist and resolute calmness through complex and difficult hearings. He has a success rate of in excess of 90 percent in resolving mediated matters. One attorney commented "In my opinion, Mr. Kuhn's solid grasp of the law together with his strong reputation in the community helped me get my matter resolved to my client's complete satisfaction
- Construction Defects
- Homeowner Association Matters and Business/Contractual
- Legal/Medical Malpractice
- Personal Injury
- Product Liability
- Real Estate
- Successfully mediated in excess of 6,000 cases
- Panel member on CEB legal malpractice seminar
- Expertise in complex personal injury cases, including, but not limited to, construction site accidents, automobile/truck/motorcycle accidents, slip and fall accidents, schoolyard accidents, defective road condition accidents, dog bites, mold cases, and premises liability accidents
- Expertise in Homeowner Association cases, having numerous such cases, and also having been president of three different HOA’s and a planning and transportation commissioner for the City of Irvine
Enjoys golfing, reading, and traveling
- Neutral, Judicate West (2009-Present)
- Law Offices of Kuhn & Belz, specializing in personal injury, professional negligence, business, construction defect and real estate litigation cases. Served as a private mediator (1998 - 2009)
- Law Offices of Steven R. Kuhn, an emphasis on personal injury, attorney negligence and business litigation cases (1979-1998, and 2009-2011)
- Associate, Hunt, Liljestrom & Wentworth, Santa Ana, CA., with emphasis in plaintiff personal injury (1976-79)
- Associate, Parker, Stanbury, McGee & Babcock, Los Angeles, CA., emphasizing insurance defense (1973-76)
- B.A., Economics, University of California at Los Angeles (1970)
- J.D., Southwestern University School of Law (1973)
- Orange County Superior Court, Arbitrator and Mediator
- Los Angeles Superior Court, Mediator
- Mediating the Litigated Case at Pepperdine University Straus Institute (2003)
- Orange County Trial Lawyers Association, President (1991)
- United States District Court for the Central District of California, Settlement Officer
- California Trial Lawyers Association, Board of Governors (1991-94)
- California Continuing Education of the Bar and Consumer Attorneys Association of CA, Lecturer
- Irvine Chamber of Commerce, Board of Directors and Legal Counsel (1983-88)
- Orange County Bar Association, Board of Directors (1991)
- Orange County Bar Association, Client Relations and Judiciary Committee (2004)
- Orange County College of Trial Advocacy, Workshop Judge
- City of Irvine, Planning and Transportation Commissioner
- Named by Los Angeles Magazine as one of California's top lawyers in the field of Alternative Dispute Resolution (2013-2020)
- Economic Honor Society - U.C.L.A.
- Top 10% of class, Law Review - Southwestern University
- Recipient of Wiley W. Manuel Pro Bono Services Award
- California Trial Lawyers Association (recognition of experience in areas of trial lawyer, general personal injury, product liability and professional negligence)
- Member Million Dollar Advocates Forum
- AVVO Superb Attorney Rating
- Rated as a Top Attorney in Alternative Dispute Resolution Law, Orange Coast Magazine
- Named a Super Lawyer, by Super Lawyers Rating Service (2010 through 2024)
- Awarded AV Preeminent Status by Martindale Hubbell for over 25 years
- Plaintiff slipped and fell on her knee in market. Market only kept a snippet of the video and has no proof of sweeps before the accident. Plaintiff went to a family doctor and chiropractor. Plaintiff had 2 epidurals and a minimally invasive percutaneous discectomy.
- Defendants defaulted on a lease of property used as a bar. Some of the defendants were judgment proof, but the combined settlement of the remaining defendants was reached.
- Defendant hired by plaintiff to design and build a medical product. They did not produce the product on time and produced a faulty product according to plaintiff. Defendant claims the delays caused by plaintiff and plaintiff owed them a five-figure sum for the cost of designing and building the product. Case settled with plaintiff paying defendant a low-figure amount in satisfaction of their outstanding invoice and defendant will turn over all original design plans and IP documentation.
- Plaintiff hired defendant to remodel her office. Defendant used defective flooring and also did not determine if the main sewer line could accept the new plumbing. Defendant admitted to defective flooring but claims tenant is responsible per the contract to make sure the main sewer line was in proper working order. Plaintiff claimed damages, including loss of income and also attorneys fees.
- House in Malibu was damaged in the fires of 2018. A remediation company was hired to do remediation and they subcontracted with a window cleaning to do part of the work. Homeowners claims work caused additional damage to their home. The remediation company sued homeowners for the balance due for remediation work and homeowners cross complained against the remediation company and window cleaners and for their damages. A mechanics lien was filed against the property. Case settled with the use of a Mediator's Proposal.
- Plaintiffs own a large home in Orange County. They hired Defendants to put epoxy in their pipes to prevent leaks. Plaintiffs claim defendants did not do a workmanlike job and caused damages such that the house needed to be entirely re-piped. Defendants claim there are a few places where there is too much epoxy and it can be fixed for under a certain amount. There is also a liquidated damages clause that limits the damages to the amount of the contract.
- The minor plaintiff had a finger partially amputated while helping other students put up a volleyball referee stand that was old and defective, with no teacher supervision. She has a permanent cosmetic and functional disability.
- Bad faith insurance case. Stipulated judgment in underlying case of seven figures. Defendant claimed collusion between the parties and claimed no coverage due to exclusions in the insurance policy. Demand at beginning of mediation was eight figures with no offer. Case settled in mediation.
- Dispute between two adjoining landowners regarding responsibility for the repair of the fence between the two properties, but fully on one landowner's property. Case settled in mediation as the parties agreed to what was considered a fair division of repair work and maintenance responsibilities going forward.
- Claimed chiropractic malpractice. Plaintiff had a neck injury through workers' compensation and was sent to a chiropractor. Adjustment allegedly caused the plaintiff to have a stroke. Defendant denied liability. Plaintiff made a good recovery and all neurological tests were normal but was claiming subjective residuals. Also, there was a claim of lack of informed consent.
- Plaintiff in her eighties received hundreds of chiropractic visits with the defendant's chiropractors over a period of almost two years. Plaintiff claimed service was excessive and damaged her brain and balance so she can no longer care for herself. She continued to treat with the chiropractors despite her continued injury claims. She also wrote letters saying what a great job the chiropractors did. She retained experts who say she was injured and at her age should not have been receiving adjustments. Defense has experts that refute this.
Breach Of Contract
- Plaintiff claimed wrongful eviction as a tenant following Unlawful Detainer Judgment against the property owner. Case complicated by former owner/landlord failing to give any notice to his tenant who occupied a small unit on the foreclosed property. The new owner entered the property and removed single female tenant who alleged emotional distress damages, punitive damages, and attorney fees based on statutory violations.
Home Owners Association
- HOA case where homeowner sued the association and its board for failure to maintain proper reserves, breach of fiduciary duty for failure to maintain the common areas, allowing them to go in disrepair. The case was settled for payment by the association for the plaintiff's attorney's fees. HOA to hire a forensic accountant to audit the financials of the HOA; an oversight committee will be formed to make sure the repairs and construction being done are done properly. The HOA was to send out a monthly update on the construction project as well as a letter to the members of the HOA advising them of the settlement and that the plaintiffs filed the lawsuit in the best interests of the community.
- The homeowner in an association built a room addition without obtaining HOA approval before doing so. The homeowner submitted the request for approval after and the HOA would not approve it. The HOA had two different insurance companies during this time.
- Landlord-tenant dispute wherein the tenant claimed the landlord failed to maintain the property, alleging unsafe conditions and failure to proper landscape maintenance which compromised view from the property. Settled for five figures and return of security deposit.
Warranty of Habitability
- Habitability case where the plaintiff claims landlord retaliated against her for reporting violations to the city inspector. Musty carpets, leaking toilet, and nonworking wheelchair lift. Case settled in mediation.
- Plaintiffs were minors who were placed in a home for children without a warrant by the City. They were then held for 10 months by the County and then released back to their mother. Issue if the government entities infringed on the civil rights of the minors for various reasons. If the plaintiffs were successful on any claim, they would be entitled to attorney fees. The case was settled in mediation.
- The plaintiff was thrown out of his wheelchair when leaving his doctor's office due to the parking lot being in disrepair. The plaintiff sustained a torn meniscus but is a paraplegic, and therefore is unlikely to get surgery. He was on pain medications before the accident, so it is difficult to prove how much more pain he is in due to the injuries sustained in the accident. The case also involves violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Unruh Act. There is also injunctive relief requested to fix the parking lot. A settlement was reached.
- Negligence claim against a skilled nursing home. Plaintiff, with dementia and trouble walking, had numerous slips and falls while in the facility, some causing fairly serious injuries. Claims that facility did not take proper care of the plaintiff and did not respond to call button. All claims were denied by the defendant. Case settled in mediation.
- Plaintiff was living in a convalescent home and was being taken for dialysis by the defendant's transportation service. Instead of taking the plaintiff out of the vehicle with an exit with no step, they took the plaintiff out through an exit with a step and the plaintiff fell onto the sidewalk. Plaintiff sustained 4 broken ribs and contusions and was hospitalized for days. Home alleged note to the driver to take plaintiff out the proper exit.
- Child struck by an unattended commercial vehicle, causing severe injuries. Case settled with a structured settlement for the minor in the seven-figure range.
- Minor severely bitten by defendant's dog, with the issue of potential trespassing involved. Case settled for a six-figure amount.
- 51-year-old female bit on mouth by a dog. Defense claiming comparative fault for disturbing the dog when it was eating. Facial scaring that can be improved with plastic surgery. Case settled in mediation.
- Defendant's dog was off-leash on federal land where horses were ridden. Signs clearly indicated dogs were to be kept on leash. Defendant's dog attacked the plaintiff and her horse, biting the horse numerous times and causing the plaintiff to fall off the horse. Minor soft tissue injuries to the plaintiff but the horse needed extensive surgery and incurred vet bills. The horse also needs a lifetime of treatment. Plaintiff was also claiming emotional distress which is not allowed unless there is an intentional act. Defense claimed no intentional act and the plaintiff was not entitled to future treatment for the horse based upon the CACI instructions. Plaintiff was planning to amend the complaint for trespass, and intentional tort. Case settled in mediation.
- Plaintiff was badly injured when a pit bull owned by defendants, bit her and knocked her to the ground, causing her to have a broken leg that needed surgery with plates in her leg. She has bad residual scarring on her leg and stomach. She continues to have pain and discomfort in her leg. The dog had bitten someone previously, and the plaintiff contends the dog should have been declared vicious and put down.
- Plaintiffs are 2 homeowners who live adjacent to the defendant's property. One Neighbor caught the defendant with pesticide pellets and he allegedly was putting them below the plaintiff's trees. The plaintiffs had been losing trees since 2011 and claim the defendant previously did the same thing. They had the soil tested and found the pesticide in the soil.
- Decedent was taken to the defendant's mortuary after dying from covid. They were overwhelmed with bodies and did not embalm or refrigerate the body and allowed it to deteriorate to the point they could not have had an open casket. The defendant violated the California Code of Regulations Title 16, Art. 1 Section 1223(c) where they were supposed to refrigerate the body within 24 hours if it was not embalmed. The case settled.
- Slip & fall accident while plaintiff was in the course and scope of her employment. Case settled for a low six-figure amount with the worker's compensation carrier waiving their lien in exchange for a 3rd party C&R
- Plaintiff slipped and fell on the liquid in an aisle of the grocery store. The defendant claimed no notice. Plaintiff sustained a shoulder injury resulting in arthroscopic surgery. Case settled in mediation.
- Slip and fall at a supermarket. Fractured femur with surgery with pinning. Good recovery. Plaintiff claimed low five-figures for medical bills as well as low four-figures for loss of earnings. Defense claimed no notice of small puddle of water and plaintiff was wearing flip flops. Case settled in mediation.
- Slip and fall in a grocery store near check stands. Sweeps are not done properly. Plaintiff had knee surgery but no knee complaints for several weeks after the accident. Inconsistent complaints to different doctors. Plaintiff does not speak English.
- Contested liability trip and fall at a hotel in Anaheim where plaintiff tripped over a decorative boulder next to a walkway. Plaintiff claimed very dark and didn't see boulder. Defense claimed open and obvious. Serious injury to shoulder with surgery for plate and screws for fracture and also carpal tunnel surgery. Medicals around $45,000 and LOE around the same. Case settled in mediation.
- Plaintiff was working for a subcontractor to a general contractor and was using a cement mixer that his employer had altered and taken off the protective grate. Plaintiff's hand got stuck while putting a bag of cement in the mixer and he sustained a very serious injury to his major right hand. Defendants were the general contractor and the manufacturer of the cement mixer. Major issue of comparative fault of plaintiff and his employer.
- Plaintiff tripped and fell over drain pipes while walking to her laundry room at her apartment complex. Plaintiff was pushing a laundry cart and the wheels of the cart caught the drain and caused her to fall and break her left wrist. Case settled during mediation.
- Plaintiff slipped and fell on a newly mopped floor at a gas station market. Defense argued since there were three wet floor signs and video surveillance showed a very mild fall with Plaintiff getting up immediately with no injuries reported; Plaintiff did not need the surgery she ended up having. Case settled in mediation.
- Automobile accident involving 3 different policies of insurance with UM Coverage. Case settled for a six-figure amount divided equally among the 3 insurance carriers.
- Plaintiff was a pedestrian who was struck in a crosswalk by defendant's vehicle, a commercial vehicle. Plaintiff suffered multiple fractures. Case settled for a six-figure amount of general damages.
- Automobile vs. motorcycle accident resulting in complaints of complex regional pain syndrome, and also knee surgery. Defense claimed the plaintiff was speeding. Case settled in mediation for a six-figure amount.
- Contested liability auto vs. auto accident. Plaintiff had both a cervical and lumbar laminectomy as a result of the accident and had to retire early. Case settled for high six-figures.
- Auto incident dispute that involved issues with liability, causation and damages. Plaintiff had two lumbar surgeries with poor results. Defense asserted that plaintiff ran red light and was subjected to unnecessary surgery as the impact was minor. Case settled in mediation for a 6 figure amount.
- This was a 3 car automobile rear-end accident. At the second session, a Mediator's Proposal was made which was initially accepted by the plaintiff and rejected by the defendant. After continued follow-up by the mediator, the case was set for a 3rd session of mediation at which time the case settled.
- Mediated and settled case involving plaintiff who had two lumbar surgeries. Problems on liability, causation and damages.
- Plaintiff was driving a tractor trailer when he was rear-ended by defendant's tractor trailer at 55 MPH. Plaintiff sustained low back injuries and PTSD. No surgery for low back but he did receive injections in his low back. Case settled in mediation.
- Rear-end automobile accident while plaintiff was a passenger in a car driven by a co-employee in the course and scope of his employment. Allegations that co-employee was negligent for failing to tie down a pump in the back seat. Surgery to shoulder and knee and soft tissue injuries to back and neck. Dispute settled in mediation.
- Motorcycle vs. car accident. Disputed liability. Serious injuries with six figures in medical special damages. Case settled in mediation.
- Pedestrian vs. auto accident in unmarked crosswalk. Plaintiff sustained badly fractured leg and shoulder injury. Surgery to leg and continuing pain and discomfort. Case settled in early mediation prior to depositions being taken.
- Auto vs.18 wheeler with clear liability. The automobile rolled 6-7 times Main injury was PTSD for which plaintiff is still treating. She had pre-existing depression problems. Case settled in mediation.
- Rear-end auto accident with clear liability and heavy PD. Plaintiff in course and scope of employment. Plaintiff has thoracic outlet syndrome, tinnitus, hearing loss, and partial loss of vision in one eye. Case settled in mediation exclusive of workers compensation lien.
- Bad liability bicycle vs. auto accident. Plaintiff riding on the sidewalk in violation of Municipal Code at 15-20 MPH. Even if allowed to ride on the sidewalk, not supposed to go faster than 5 MPH. Also wearing headphones listening to music. Defendant makes right turn into the gas station driveway and hits the plaintiff on his bike. Plaintiff had been complaining of low back pain for months before the accident and was on his way for X-rays when the accident happened. Plaintiff is now claiming he was just telling his doctor of back pain to get Percocet so he could lift weights. Plaintiff had epidurals and low back surgery.
- Defective repair of a motorcycle by defendant's motorcycle shop. Lugnut came off the front wheel while plaintiff was riding the motorcycle on the freeway the same day as repair. Driver of motorcycle sustained a large laceration to his leg with sutures and staples. Also sustained a broken wrist with surgery. Passenger on motorcycle sustained road rash and badly broken left hand with residuals of no use of the pinky. Case settled for both the passenger and the driver.
- Clear liability auto case where plaintiff turned left on a green arrow and defendant made a right turn on a no right turn red light. Plaintiff tried conservative care which didn't work and she had disc replacement surgery on the cervical spine. Also developed Horners Syndrome (drooping eye) after surgery.
- Aggravated liability/road rage auto accident. Plaintiff had neck surgery in 2014 and was improving very well before this accident. She had to have another neck surgery after accident and probably needs a 3rd surgery.
- Contested liability in a motorcycle vs. car accident. The car made a U-turn in front of a motorcycle in a school zone, but couldn't fully make the turn and stopped at the curb. This case settled after consistent follow-up over the course of two years.
- The plaintiff was rear-ended by the defendant. Almost a year later he has very bad neck pain and ends up with brain surgery and neck surgery for a cyst and syrinx. He is told by all of his treating doctors it is not related to the accident. His attorney hired a doctor who says it wasn't caused by the accident but was aggravated by the accident, leading to the surgery. He has medical bills, including the surgery in the six-figure range. He has also developed CRPS. Case settled.
- A mother and two young children were walking in a crosswalk when a church van made a right turn and hit them. They were thrown 15 feet in the air and suffered various injuries including concussions, abrasions, a skull fracture, a knee injury, a collapsed lung, and anxiety and depression. Case settled in the seven-figure range.
PI Sexual Assault
- Two young minors claim to have been molested over several months by an employee of a private after school program. The employee was not supposed to be left alone with any of the children but was, according to witnesses. Both cases were settled in mediation.
- Plaintiff was a high school senior who is special needs and was molested by another special needs student. Plaintiff claimed considerable emotional distress from the incidents.
- 3 year old went down an old slide in a city park and caught his pinky finger on a protruding dangerous weld on the slide. This caused a traumatic amputation of the finger. Attempts to reattach the finger were unsuccessful.
- Very tough case; extremely emotional. 21-month-old boy drowns in babysitters pool. Case settled for policy limits, plus defendants agree to move from the neighborhood and sell their house. Also agree to pay plaintiffs back the amount in which the babysitter had earned from babysitting over the year prior to the accident.
- Plaintiff was a patient at a hospital and was being transported in a van as he was wheelchair-bound. Van driver failed to help him down the ramp from the van and he tipped over and broke his femur. All of his treatment was at the hospital so there were no medical special damages. He had an open reduction, internal fixation of the fracture. He also had an increase in his PTSD. Case settled in mediation.
- Electrical shock on the gate at a hotel with clear liability. Plaintiff had a lot of pre-existing conditions but made much worse by accident. Claimed TBI that defense disputes. High 5-figures in present medicals with hundreds of thousands in future medicals claimed. Defense claims no TBI and plaintiff was faking some of her injuries. Settled in mediation for a confidential amount.
- Plaintiff sustained a badly fractured ankle jumping on a trampoline at a trampoline park. The park just opened 3 weeks before the accident and failed to supply suction socks as they said were required to use the trampoline. Instead, they let the customers jump without the socks. Plaintiff slipped on one of his jumps and injured himself. Plaintiff signed a waiver and lied that he was 18 when he was only 17. He also lied in his deposition and said he did not sign the waiver and also lied in discovery when he did not disclose a subsequent accident where he broke his same ankle. Defense also claimed the assumption of the risk. Case settled in mediation.
- Slip and fall on a privately owned sidewalk in City. Trees caused sidewalk to come up and cause a tripping hazard. Defendant responsible for maintenance of property had fixed other areas of sidewalk before the accident and removed trees but did not fix the area where plaintiff fell. Plaintiff fell and sustained fractures to 2 bones in left arm requiring 2 surgeries and plates and pins as well as a non-displaced fracture in another arm. Residual problems that likely will require should replacement.
- Plaintiff in the course and scope of her employment was a security officer. Defendant was driving a golf cart with no headlights and hit the plaintiff who was sitting in the middle of an intersection that had no lighting. Golf cart ran the stop sign and ran over plaintiff. Defense claims plaintiff on cell phone and not carrying her lightsaber. Co-Defendant should have had lights at the intersection and put them in after the accident. Plaintiff had a ton of comparative fault and so did her employer and co-employees. Claimed shoulder, back, and concussion such that plaintiff could no longer work.
- Virtual mediation involving a plaintiff who slipped and fell on a wet floor. Plaintiff had pre-existing conditions including being on disability for low back and shoulder problems. She also had depression, neck pain, and whole-body fatigue before the accident and complained of bilateral shoulder pain 3 months before the accident. The surgery was not successful and she has been told she needs more shoulder surgery which she has not had.
- The plaintiff was a customer in the defendant's store when the owner's son, who had a history of depression, bipolar, and assault and battery, cold-cocked the plaintiff without provocation. The plaintiff went to the hospital and was diagnosed with a mild concussion. He later developed low back pain and is claiming that it is due to the incident, as well as memory and concentration issues.
- An elderly plaintiff fell down the stairs at her apartment. She doesn't have a memory of the fall. The owner of the property had been repeatedly cited for code violations, including the stairs and handrails in question. The plaintiff is claiming punitive damages and attorney fees under CC1942.4. She fractured her skull, had a brain hemorrhage, nasal fracture, wrist fracture, hemothorax with pneumonia, and a spleen hemorrhage. Her medical bills are in the six-figure range. Case settled.
- The plaintiffs and their son were walking on a trail next to a driving range when a ball either came through a hole in the net or over the net and hit the woman in her forties in the forehead. She needed stitches but had a normal neurological exam and a normal CT in the ER. Plaintiff then started treatment with attorney-referred doctors who say she has a TBI with residual headaches, balance issues, memory loss, and blurred vision. The husband is making a loss of consortium claim. The defendants are the golf course and the city. The case settled.
- Plaintiff, in her early 70s, fell and broke her wrist on an escalator when the handrails malfunctioned at a hotel. They had been having a problem with the handrails for several years, and there had been a recommendation from the elevator company to have them replaced, which had not been done. She had ORIF surgery on her wrist and has made a 85-90% recovery. Plaintiff claimed LOE as she was forced to retire early.
- The plaintiff was working as a warehouse worker. He left a forklift in an improper location and then stopped an automated lift before it finished its trip and used it manually. He was backing up and tripped over the forks of the lift that he had just parked. He claims that the tiller did not stop the lift as required and caused him to trip over the other lift. He sustained a very badly fractured leg and required surgery with significant residuals that limit his activities of daily living, and has not worked since the accident. The defendant states that there was nothing wrong with the lift, and it was put back into service with no repairs.
- The plaintiff, a young child, was playing on an inversion chair that was left plugged in. He started the electric mechanism and caught his thumb in a worm drive that was exposed, causing him to lose the upper part of his thumb with most of the nail gone. The plaintiff claims that there was a product defect and that the manufacturer could have covered the worm drive better, as well as a failure to warn.
- Decedent was at a fast-food restaurant that had been having trouble with vagrants and violent acts. A homeless person was outside bothering customers. The decedent went outside and told him to leave. Defendant pulled out a knife and stabbed the decedent. Issues of insurance coverage since it is an issue if the decedent was an employee, agent, or officer of the insured restaurant. The landowner is an additional insured under the insurance policy. Plaintiffs are the two children of the decedent.
- The decedent, a teenager, was crossing the street at a red light while in the crosswalk with several of his friends and was hit by the defendant with his car. Defendant did not stop at the scene and later pled guilty to felony hit and run.
- Settled a case in which the decedent of the plaintiffs, a middle-aged man, was killed in a collision. Defendant claims to have entered the intersection at a yellow light. The plaintiffs, heirs of the decedent, claim the decedent was stopped and when the light turned to green he entered the intersection when the accident happened. The City and construction company were involved as well since there was a signboard that allegedly blocked the vision of the two drivers. They also claimed the yellow light was too short and they had been instructed to make it longer but had not done it yet.