T. Steven Burke, Jr.
Steven Burke is a member of the Trial and Litigation Practice Group and Municipal and Special District Law Practice Group. Steve provides advisory, regulatory, transactional and litigation services to individuals, public entities, private businesses, and non-profit mutual benefit corporations.
He handles all stages of litigation and administrative proceedings, from pre-claim through resolution, on a wide scope of disputes, including public entity defense, liability defense, real estate transactions, business matters, real property, and land use. Steve drafts pleadings, discovery, motions and accordant opposition or reply briefs; takes and defends depositions of witnesses, parties, and experts; appears for and argues motions, writ petitions, and appeals; and prepares for and appears at arbitration and trial.
Steve has more than ten years of litigation experience primarily focused in San Diego County Superior Court, in addition to experience in the 4th District Court of Appeal and U.S. District Court, Southern District of California. He has litigated cases throughout San Diego County from case initiation through judgment. Steve’s litigation training includes attending the National Institute of Trial Advocacy’s “Building Trial Skills” program. He also participated in the San Diego Inn of Court College of Trial Advocacy Evidence Workshop.
In the non-litigation arena, Steve represents clients on matters including but not limited to business formation, negotiating and drafting contracts, evaluating statutory compliance, and attending Board meetings. Specifically for public entity clients, he provides general advisory assistance relating to Public Records Act compliance, Brown Act compliance, drafting of ordinances, and attending commission and council meetings. Steve’s service to public entities leverages his recent in-house experience as a Deputy City Attorney II for the City of Oceanside.
Public Entity Experience
- Defended a city in a federal court First Amendment challenge to municipal zoning ordinances governing tattoo establishments. Leveraged a pending summary judgment motion to achieve a favorable settlement.
- Prevailed in arbitration on behalf of a city in a peace officer union grievance alleging MOU violations, implied contract terms, and vested rights.
- Obtained dismissal of a California Department of Health Care Services audit of a city’s Ground Emergency Medical Transportation cost reports.
- Successful anti-SLAPP motion upheld on appeal in a matter alleging constitutional and tort violations arising from an investigation conducted by the police department.
- Nuisance value settlement of significant personal injury claim involving an eight foot fall from an unprotected roadway.
- Writ petition denied where petitioner alleged wrongful termination of vested public housing benefits.
- Successful trial de novo overturning award of damages against a city arising from the application of pesticides.
- Obtained insurance coverage for a disputed claim with resulting settlement of significant personal injury claim for no out-of-pocket payment by a city.
- Obtained insurance coverage for an inverse condemnation claim alleging flooding and soil subsidence in a landscape maintenance assessment district managed by a city.
- Assisted in handling physical takings claims for sewer back-ups, flooding, and damages caused by the police department during law enforcement activities. This includes the tender of defense and the drafting and filing of the initial demurrer in a soil subsidence inverse case arising from an alleged failure of irrigation lines and related soils movement in a landscape maintenance assessment district.
- Advised a City Planning Department, which included working with staff and stakeholders to address limitations on development impact fees and conditions of approval on various projects.
Private Entity Experience
- Demurrer granted without leave to amend on behalf of a real estate broker in a case alleging more than $1,000,000 in damages for fraud and financial elder abuse.
- Direct negotiation of settlement of fraud and financial elder abuse claims against an individual defendant with no out-of-pocket payment by client to the claimant.
- Successful anti-SLAPP motion arising from alleged fraud in the inducement of a settlement agreement resulting in dismissal of the entire claim.
- Direct negotiation of the settlement of a sub-contractor claim against the prime contractor related to unapproved cost overruns in a NASA fixed-cost contract.
- Jury verdict in a motor vehicle personal injury case with disputed allegations of brain injury where the jury did not award plaintiff any damages for brain injury.
- Summary judgment in favor of a landowner in a premises liability case involving allegations of permanent brain damage.
- Leveraged a dispute over the cause and origin of fire damage to a commercial structure to successfully resolve a multi-party subrogation action alleging significant economic loss to neighboring businesses.
- Obtained substantial insurance coverage protections related to claims arising from both a fire and an unrelated wrongful death allegation at a residential care facility for the elderly that only carried homeowner and auto liability policies.
- Settlement of a premises liability case at mediation where plaintiff suffered partial foot amputation for 25% of plaintiff’s pre-mediation policy limits demand.
- Settlement of a strict products liability case at mediation on behalf of an importer/distributor of a foreign product for less than special damages where plaintiff suffered permanent scarring and disfigurement.
- Direct negotiation of the settlement of a landlord/tenant dispute for nuisance value where plaintiff claimed uninhabitable conditions caused a lifelong medical disorder.
- In a major securities class action case, assessed the evidentiary value of voluminous internal e-mails and memoranda of a multinational corporation.
Honors and Awards
- Wiley W. Manuel Award (2005)
Presentations and Publications
- Author, “What Local Governments Can Do to Avoid a Vending Free-for-All In the Wake of the Safe Sidewalk Vending Act,” The Recorder, October 17, 2018
- Author, “New Definitions, Old Rules,” North County Lawyer Magazine, April 2010
- Member, The State Bar of California
- Director, North County San Diego Bar Association
- Co-Chair, Civil Litigation Section, North County San Diego Bar Association
- Barrister Member, Fiorenza V. Lopardo Inn of Court (2012-present), Associate Member (2008-2012), Membership Chairperson (2011-2014)
- Volunteer, Youth in Court Program, North County San Diego Bar Association (2010-2017)
- Member, San Diego County Bar Association (2007-current)
- Thomas Jefferson School of LawJD, magna cum laude, 2006
- University of WashingtonBA, Political Science, 2002