Stephen J. Meyer

Counsel

Stephen Meyer has more than forty years of experience with complex business litigation with a particular focus in the last several years on food and agriculture.

He advises some of California’s largest agricultural producers on environmental, finance, and business disputes, and has handled matters involving dairies, cattle feeding, fertilizer and pesticide distribution and regulation, egg production, animal welfare, crop damage, food processing, and agricultural finance.  More recently he organized the Food & Agriculture Practice, an interdisciplinary group that has grown rapidly by emphasizing collaboration and cooperation across the broad spectrum of specialty practices at the firm with a focus on food and agriculture in California.

He has represented clients in other areas including banking, oil and gas, pipeline distribution, real estate development, as well as representing public entities. In recent years, he has expanded his practice into alternative dispute resolution, bringing his experience as litigator and mediator, to helping parties resolve business, commercial and environmental disputes.


Professional, Community And Pro Bono Involvement

  • American Bar Association, Alternative Dispute Resolution Section
  • Sacramento County Bar Association, Alternative Dispute Resolution Section
  • Dean’s Advisory Council, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California, Davis
  • Executive Committee of the Agribusiness Committee, State Bar of California, Business Law Section
  • State Bar of California, Litigation Section (Past Co-Chair Sacramento Program Committee; Past Member Executive Committee)
  • State Bar of California, Environmental Section
  • American Agricultural Law Association
  • Sacramento County Farm Bureau
  • Cal Aggie Alumni Association, Former Board Member
  • Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, Former Board Member
  • Valley Vision, Former Board Member
  • Diogenes House, Former Board Member
  • Milton L. Schwartz Inn of Court, Former Member
  • American Bar Association, Environmental Litigation Committee Newsletter, Former Reporter
  • Legal Services of Northern California, Volunteer Work on Housing Issues

Honors & Rankings

  • AV Preeminent® Rating by Martindale-Hubbell®, 1985-present
  • Best Lawyers in America©, Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Litigation-Environmental, 2009-2020 
  • Best Lawyers® 2018 Bet-the-Company Litigation “Lawyer of the Year” in Sacramento
  • Super Lawyers, Northern California Super Lawyer, Business Litigation, 2004, 2007-2019
  • Sacramento Magazine, Top Lawyer, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Business Litigation, Mediaton, Commercial Law, 2015-2019
  • Sacramento Business Journal, Best of the Bar, 2018

Food and Agricultural Litigation

  • Represented a major egg producer in matters regarding Proposition 2, including litigation as well as negotiation regarding legislation and regulation at both the Federal and State level.
  • Represented a major cattle feeding operation in litigation where feeding practices and accounting issues were disputed.
  • Represented parties in disputes regarding milk pricing including litigation with private parties and disputes with State regulatory agencies.
  • Represented large grocery chain regarding disputes with the Department of Pesticide Regulation regarding claims that certain products were subject to DPR jurisdiction because of alleged pesticidal representations.
  • Represented large fertilizer manufacturer regarding false claims by competitors that their fertilizer products were organic when in fact that proved clearly not to be true.
  • Outside General Counsel for the largest organic fertilizer manufacturer in the western states advising regarding State and Federal organic rules and regulations permitting, product safety issues, and business issues. In this regard expertise developed on the general laws and rules regarding organic agriculture and has testified to legislative committees on these issues.

Environmental Litigation

  • Represented as Chief Co-Liaison Counsel for 150 defendants, as well as counsel for the target defendant, in the Lodi groundwater contamination case. This was a highly complex and notorious lawsuit that involved multiple agencies, bizarre financial structures, and incentives for obstruction that almost ruined the City of Lodi financially, and, if written, about would read more like a novel. This case was successfully settled after more than five years for no more than what would have been offered at the beginning of the lawsuit.
  • Represented several Clean Water Act cases involving various businesses including lumber mills, parking lots, mining operations, and waste treatment plants, all of which were favorably resolved.
  • Represented on a RCRA/CERCLA/nuisance case with the owner of a landfill in Imperial County where alleged hazardous waste was hauled from the client’s geothermal power plant, which was settled on favorable terms involving minimal financial contribution.

Business Litigation

  • Represented a number of financial institutions, principally community banks over a 30 year period in wide range of lawsuits, which included lender liability claims, RICO actions, class actions, as well as work out negotiations by and between the Banks and their commercial/business customers. A number of these matters involved multiple institutions and complex financing arrangements involving large financial commitments and major projects. On all of these matters I have been the Lead Counsel and they have been resolved by trial, court order, or settlement on terms the clients viewed as favorable.
  • Outside General Counsel for several years for a large Sacramento community bank (which eventually was sold to a large national bank), advising the Board, advising on regulatory matters, and conducting the Bank’s litigation. And Stephen Meyer has also represented several other community banks on a variety of matters including litigation
  • Represented several businesses including accounting firms in business and partnership dissolution and disputes by and between members/ partners/shareholders, all of which were favorably resolved by Order or settlement.
  • Represented landowners in various disputes involving their real property, including partition claims, trespass claims and nuisance claims. Recently successfully represented through trial verdict large landowner facing adverse possession claims for significant acreage bordering a private golf course.

In the News


Press Releases


Speaking Engagements / Events


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Publications

Stephen Meyer’s passions are agriculture, education, and youth development.  The core of this interest is helping groups solve problems by understanding the interests of people and groups and finding common ground, not necessarily the common lowest denominator, which brings to bear his fourth passion, dispute resolution and problem solving.

Stephen Meyer is known for resolving complex, multi-party disputes in the areas of business, banking, agriculture, and environmental law.

Beginning in 2003, Steve expanded his practice to include alternative dispute resolution. His experience in complex litigation has served as a strong foundation for his work in mediating complex and multi-faceted cases. Over the past 15 years, Steve has mediated over 150 cases in the Sacramento Superior Court, the Third District Court of Appeal, and the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of California. In addition to his practice, he handles pro bono mediations with the Voluntary Dispute Resolution Program for the U.S. District Court, Eastern District and California Lawyers for the Arts.

Mediation Training

  • Harvard Program on Negotiation
  • Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine; Mediation and Negotiation Certification
  • Steven Rosenberg Mediation Training

Experience

  • Steve has acted as mediator in a wide range of cases including business dissolutions, financial/banking disputes, employment discharge disputes, real property claims, business/commercial contracts disputes, adverse possession/prescriptive easement claims, commercial landlord tenant claims, and commercial real estate buy/sell disputes.
  • As a litigator, Steve has represented parties in many matters involving a wide variety of industries where his skills as a mediator were instrumental in achieving favorable resolutions, including oil and gas, pipeline distribution, real estate development, and public entities.
  • Steve’s mediation skills have been valuable in the firm leadership positions he has held over the years: Managing Partner, Litigation Department Chair, Marketing Partner, and member of the Executive Committee.

Professional, Community And Pro Bono Involvement

  • American Bar Association, Alternative Dispute Resolution Section
  • Sacramento County Bar Association, Alternative Dispute Resolution Section
  • Dean’s Advisory Council, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California, Davis
  • Executive Committee of the Agribusiness Committee, State Bar of California, Business Law Section
  • State Bar of California, Litigation Section (Past Co-Chair Sacramento Program Committee; Past Member Executive Committee)
  • State Bar of California, Environmental Section
  • American Agricultural Law Association
  • Sacramento County Farm Bureau
  • Cal Aggie Alumni Association, Former Board Member
  • Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, Former Board Member
  • Valley Vision, Former Board Member
  • Diogenes House, Former Board Member
  • Milton L. Schwartz Inn of Court, Former Member
  • American Bar Association, Environmental Litigation Committee Newsletter, Former Reporter
  • Legal Services of Northern California, Volunteer Work on Housing Issues

Honors & Rankings

  • AV Preeminent® Rating by Martindale-Hubbell®, 1985-present
  • Best Lawyers in America©, Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Litigation-Environmental, 2009-2020 
  • Best Lawyers® 2018 Bet-the-Company Litigation “Lawyer of the Year” in Sacramento
  • Super Lawyers, Northern California Super Lawyer, Business Litigation, 2004, 2007-2019
  • Sacramento Magazine, Top Lawyer, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Business Litigation, Mediaton, Commercial Law, 2015-2019
  • Sacramento Business Journal, Best of the Bar, 2018