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Steve Higgins


St. Louis
314 552 6054 direct

For more than 30 years, Steve has maintained a national trial and litigation practice in complex commercial disputes and white collar crime cases.

Described in Chambers USA as "an accomplished heavy hitter", his practice also includes conducting internal investigations and counseling businesses in the establishment of corporate compliance programs.

Steve concentrates his practice on the litigation of complex cases involving the cable and telecommunications industries. In recent years, Steve and his team at Thompson Coburn have successfully handled a string of high-profile cases for AT&T and Charter Communications, ranging from the defense of nationwide consumer class action lawsuits to winning a precedent-setting case limiting the power of government entities to impose fees on telecommunications companies.

Steve also has led the successful settlement of a number of high-stakes lawsuits. In one, a class action filed on behalf of more than 200 Missouri municipalities seeking recovery of back business license taxes from AT&T, more than five years of intense litigation ended with a settlement that was a fraction of the amount claimed by the plaintiffs. In another suit, he was joint lead counsel in a significant legal malpractice case brought by Charter Communications against one of its former transactional law firms. The suit, which sought $150 million in damages, was one of the largest legal malpractice cases brought in recent years. Steve also defended a multinational company in a SOX whistleblower case; the claim was dismissed on summary judgment in 2009 by an administrative court in the Department of Labor.

Utilizing skills he developed as a prize-winning investigative reporter and later as a federal prosecutor of public corruption cases, Steve conducts internal investigations for public and private entities. In one such inquiry, he led a one-year international investigation addressing export control issues on behalf of a global chemical company. Steve has also represented corporate and executive clients in the health care, financial services, automotive, energy and manufacturing industries in federal white collar investigations and trials.

Prior to joining Thompson Coburn, Steve served as United States Attorney for Eastern Missouri and prosecuted major white collar, banking and environmental cases. In earlier service with the Department of Justice, he was first chair in a number of widely publicized political corruption, fraud and racketeering trials.

Steve is active in bar and community affairs and in state politics. Before his legal career, Steve served in Vietnam as an Army officer and later was an investigative reporter for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, receiving both regional and national journalism awards during his time there. In addition to vice-chairing the firm's Business Litigation Practice Group, Steve serves on the firm's Executive, Management, and Contributions Committees.

Steve led a Thompson Coburn trial team in obtaining a resounding defense verdict for Charter Communications in a securities class action case in Delaware Chancery court. Plaintiffs had sought over $40 million in damages and interest alleged to have been suffered during the partnership's sale of its cable system assets to Charter. Vice Chancellor John Noble ruled for Charter on every outstanding issue. The case, originally filed in 1995 and narrowed over the years through successive summary judgment rulings, concluded the Cencom Cable Income Partners litigation. In related litigation involving a secondlimited partnership, Thompson Coburn prevailed through motions winning the dismissal of a derivative lawsuit filed in Chancery Court and a 350-plaintiff securities action in Jackson County, Missouri. The two Cencom Cable Income partnerships at issue in the litigation formed the basis of the original Charter, now the country's fourth-largest cable operator and a longtime client of the firm. (2011)

Steve served as lead counsel for a major telecommunications company in the $65 million settlement of a class action suit filed on behalf of more than 200 Missouri municipalities. The suit sought hundreds of millions of dollars in back business license taxes allegedly owed on the company's revenues included from carrier access, EUCL, interstate telephone service and private line service. As initially filed, this lawsuit alleged tort liability against the company's general counsel and its president; Thompson Coburn succeeded in securing a dismissal of these claims. (2011)

Steve and his team successfully represented Thompson Coburn client Charter Communications in a record-setting legal malpractice action against Irell and Manella, Charter's former lead transactional counsel. The case arose from Irell's failure to properly document a $3 billion transaction. Thompson Coburn aggressively litigated the case and reached a highly favorable settlement. (2009)


Book Review: "Business and Commercial Litigations in Federal Courts - Third Edition";
Precedent, Summer 2013