257 East 200 South, Suite 1100
Salt Lake City, UT 84111
Stephen D. Kelson joined Christensen & Jensen in 2013 and became a shareholder in 2015. Stephen is an experienced, AV rated litigator, who has focused his practice on civil litigation, including commercial litigation, construction defect, professional liability, product liability, personal injury, as well as mediation.
AREAS OF PRACTICE Commercial Litigation: Represents corporations and businesses in contract disputes, unfair competition issues, trade secret claims, lease issues, and other commercial disputes:
Achieved successful resolution of numerous business disputes including breach of asset claims, division of assets, and lease disputes
Represented corporation in claim alleging interference with business relationships
Professional Liability: Handles cases regarding professional liability, including claims against attorneys, insurance companies, design professionals, board members, corporate offices, and real estate professionals, including developers, agents, brokers and appraisers in professional liability matters. Representative matters include:
Obtained summary judgment in malpractice claims against attorneys in multi-million dollar federal case alleging civil conspiracy
Successfully pursued case against accounting firm for negligence, resulting in million dollar embezzlement.
Obtained dismissal with prejudice in favor of real estate professionals in claims of fraud, breach of contract, and professional negligence
Represented design professionals against claims of negligent design allegedly resulting in property damage.
Represented insurance company in bad faith claims by insurer
Represented developer in multi-million construction defect and breach of limited fiduciary duty claims involving HOA in Park City, Utah
Represented real estate agents and appraisers in negligence and breach of limited fiduciary duty claims
Product Liability: Represents companies involving equipment, motor vehicles, component parts, and other claims involving manufacturing processes, design, and warnings. Representative matters include:
Represented fortune 500 companies in numerous product liability cases involving personal injury and wrongful death
Represented fortune 500 company in product liability cases involving residential fire claims
Defended manufacturer of swing components in personal injury case
Construction/Design Professional: Represents developers, contractors, and design professionals in claims alleging construction defects. Representative matters include:
Represented architects, general contractors, and real estate agents in third-party claims
Represented construction manager in construction defect claim involving roofing materials
Represented stucco contractor in construction defect claim involving home in Moab
Insurance: Represents insurance companies in coverage disputes and bad faith claims; provides opinions and analysis to insurance carriers in a wide range of liability and coverage; including personal and commercial lines, commercial property, and excess and surplus lines. Representative matters include:
Representation of insurance companies in declaratory actions involving coverage disputes
Successfully overturned federal case law regarding MCS-90 coverage of interstate commercial trucks
Defended insurance company in bad faith claims associated with repairs of fire-damaged property
Personal Injury, Plaintiff and Defense: Represents injured persons and defendants in personal injury actions, involving catastrophic injuries, automobile and semi-truck accidents, and slip-and-fall. Representative matters include:
Obtained six-figure arbitration award for injured plaintiff involved in an on the slope skier to skier accident
Defended truck driver in complex, multi-vehicle, catastrophic accident
Defended numerous premises liability claims against businesses and private property owners
Dispute Resolution: Mediations with Stephen are scheduled through Utah ADR Services, 801-943-3730, www.utahadrservices.com. He is a Qualified Mediator on the Utah State Court Roster of Mediators, and has obtained his Master of Dispute Resolution from the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University's School of Law in Malibu, California.
AV Rated, Martindale Hubbell
“Legal Elite,” Civil Litigation, Mediation/Arbitration Utah Business, 2013, 2015-present
2011 Utah Service to the Courts Award, Utah Judicial Council
“Rising Star,” Mountain States Super Lawyers (Thomson Reuters), 2009 and 2010
Mediator of the Year, Utah Dispute Resolution, 2005
Pepperdine School of Law, Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, MDR, 2013
J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University, J.D., 1999
University of Utah, M.A. Modern European History, cum laude, 1997
University of Utah, B.A. History, Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi; Phi Alpha Theta, 1995
SELECTED LECTURES AND PUBLICATIONS
Author: The Threat of Violence: What Wisonsin Lawyers Experience, June 2019, WIS. LAWYER
Speaker: Civility in the Face of Incivility, Utah State Bar and Utah State Bar Dispute Resolution Section, Salt Lake City, Utah, June 20, 2018.
Speaker: Innovations in the Practice of Law, invited by the Utah Bar Association to co-present at the Innovation in Practice First Annual Practice Management Symposium, Salt Lake City, Utah, May 31, 2018.
Speaker: Ethics and Professionalism in Mediation, invited to present to the Basic Mediation course (Spring Semester 2018), J. Reuben Clark Law School, Provo, Utah, April 4, 2018.
Speaker: “Yeah, That’s Not an Apology” invited to present to the Basic Mediation course (Spring Semester 2018), Utah Valley University, Orem, Utah, April 3, 2018.
Speaker: Effective Remedies to Combat the “Rambo” Litigator, invited to present to the Southern Utah Section of the Utah Council on Conflict Resolution, St. George, Utah, March 29, 2018.
Speaker: The Application of Alternative Dispute Resolution, invited to co-present, Alternative Dispute Resolution Society, J. Reuben Clark Law School, Provo, Utah, including Nini Rich and Joshua King, November 7, 2017.
Speaker: The Future of Utah’s Legal System: Expanding Access to Justice, invited to present to Kiwanis Club of Salt Lake City, Utah, July 20, 2017.
Speaker: Good Faith Negotiations: Is There Any Other Way, panel moderator, Utah State Bar and Utah State Bar Dispute Resolution Section, Salt Lake City, Utah, including Clark Fetzer, Adam Mow and Benjamin Lieberman, June 21, 2017.
Speaker: Avoiding Malpractice Claims as a Tax Practitioner, invited to present to the Utah State Bar Tax Section, Salt Lake City, Utah, May 31, 2017.
Speaker: “You Call that an Apology?” Identifying and Utilizing an Effective Apology, invited to present at the UCCR 19th Annual Symposium, Utah Council on Conflict Resolution, Salt Lake City, Utah, May 19, 2017.
Speaker: Identifying and Utilizing an Effective Apology, invited to present to the Mediation Techniques and Practices course, Center for Conflict Resolution (Spring Semester 2017), Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, April 6, 2017.
Speaker: How to Identify and Utilize an Effective Apology, invited to present to the Basic Mediation course (Fall Semester 2016), J. Reuben Clark Law School, Provo, Utah, November 2, 2016.
Speaker: Connecting Cultures, Keynote Speaker, Utah Asian Chamber of Commerce 11th Annual Scholarship and Awards Gala 2016, Salt Lake City, Utah, May 7, 2016.
Speaker: Stepping too Far: When Paralegals Cross Ethical Lines, invited to present for Utah Paralegal Association, Salt Lake City, Utah, October 9, 2015.
Speaker: “You Call that an Apology?” Using the Double-Edged Sword Effectively, invited to present for Utah State Bar Dispute Resolution Section and UCCR CLE, Salt Lake City, Utah, September 16, 2015.
Speaker: Behind Closed Doors: An Insider’s View of the Rise of Mediation, invited to co-present, American Bar Association 2015 Convention, Chicago, Illinois, including Karin S. Hobbs and Michael J. Leech, July 31. 2015.
Speaker: Avoiding Legal Malpractice: Avoiding Professional & Ethical Pitfalls, panel moderator, Utah State Bar and Utah State Bar Dispute Resolution Section, Salt Lake City, Utah, including Keith Call, George Burbidge II and Robert Gilchrist, June 17, 2015.
Speaker: Clash of Cultures: How We Manage Personal Conflicts and Why, invited to present to the Utah Chapter of the National Federation of Filipino American Association (NaFFAA), Salt Lake City, Utah, April 18, 2015.
Speaker: Dirty Litigation Tactics: How to Deal with the “Rambo” Litigator: Identifying the “Rambo” Litigator, invited to present by National Business Institute (NBI), Salt Lake City, Utah, April 15, 2015.
Speaker: Dirty Litigation Tactics: How to Deal with the “Rambo” Litigator: Hidden Agendas: Why Does “Rambo” Exist?, invited to present by National Business Institute (NBI), Salt Lake City, Utah, April 15, 2015.
Speaker: What Goes on Behind Closed Doors in Mediation, invited to co-present for the Utah State Bar Spring Convention, St. George, Utah, March 13, 2015.
Speaker: “Effectively Representing Clients in Mediation with Civility and Professionalism,” panel moderator, ADR Academy, Utah State Bar Dispute Resolution Section, Salt Lake City, 2014.
Co-Presenter: “What Goes on Behind Closed Doors in Mediation,” Utah State Bar Summer Convention, 2014.
Speaker: “Civility in Negotiation and Mediation,” Utah State Bar Dispute Resolution Section/UCCR Annual Ethics Seminar, 2014.
Author: “Don’t Lose the Trial Before It Begins: Evaluate Your Case,” DRI (The Voice of the Defense): 20 Trials and Tribulations 2 (Spring 2014).
Author: “Why are so Many Attorneys Bad at Mediation? And How Can the Mediator Help?,” Utah State Bar Dispute Resolution Section, October 20, 2014, available here.
Speaker: “Tools to Success in Mediation,” Solo, Small Firm, and Rural Practice Section of the Utah State Bar, 2014.
Speaker, "Dirty Litigation Tactics: How to Deal with the 'Rambo' Litigator: Defeat the Unethical Practices of Opposing Counsel!," National Business Institute (NBI), 2013
Speaker, “Communication Theory and Skills,” Institute of Advanced Mediation & Problem Solving, 2013.
Speaker, "Violence and Threats Agains the Utah Legal Profession: What is Occurring and How to Respond," Utah State Bar, Fall Forum, 2013
Author, "Violence Against the Oregon Legal Profession: A 2012 Survey Reveals Some Startling Results," Oregon State Bar Bulletin, November 2013
Speaker, "Crossing Ethical Lines: When Paralegals go too Far," Utah Paralegal Association, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2013
Author, "Arizona Lawyers Respond to Survey on Violence Against the Legal Profession," 50 ARRIZ ATTORNEY 18 (Nov., 2013)
Speaker, "Persuasion in Mediation," Utah State Bar Dispute Resolution Section/UCCR, 2013
Speaker, "Ethics and Effective Communication in Conflict Resolution," Utah State Bar Dispute Resolution Section/UCCR 2013
Author, "Violence Against the Iowa Legal Profession: Results of a 2013 Survey Indicate a Significant Percentage of Attorneys in Iowa have and do Face Threats and Violence Related to Their Practice of Law," 73 IOWA LAWYER 8, Sept/Oct 2013.
Speaker, "Violence in and around the Courthouse," New Mexico Mediation Association, 2013 Spring Convocation, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 2013
Speaker, “Handling ‘Rambo’ Litigators in Utah: Ethics and Professionalism,” National Business Institute, 2012.
Author, “Where Many Litigators Still Fear to Tread: Adapting to Mediation,” 25 Utah Bar J. 6, Nov/Dec 2012.
Author, “Violence Against the Wyoming Legal Profession: Results of 2012 Survey,” 35-OCT Wyo. Law. 38 (2012).
Speaker: “Real World Conflict Resolution and Communication Effectiveness: Pitfalls on Dealing Poorly,” Utah State Bar, 2012.
Author, “Violence Against the Nevada Legal Profession: Results of the 2012 Survey,” available here.
Speaker, “Uncivil Negotiations: How Contentious Tactics Harm the Legal Practice,” Idaho Bar Association, 2011.
Speaker, “Foreclosure: Legal and Tax Issues, Resources for Recovery After Foreclosure & Updates,” Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, 2011.
Speaker, “Why Are Lawyers Such Lousy Negotiators?,” Utah State Bar Spring Convention, 2011.
Author, “Ellis v. Estate of Ellis: The Unequivocal Death of Interspousal Immunity in Utah,” 21 Utah Bar J. 2, Mar/Apr 2008.
PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS AND ADMISSIONS
Admitted to practice in all Utah state and federal courts
U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals
Utah State Bar Association - Litigation Section
American Bar Association - Dispute Resolution Section
Federal Bar Association, Utah Chapter
Utah Council of Conflict Resolution
Defense Research Institute
Utah Defense Lawyers Association
J. Reuben Clark Law Society
SELECTED RULING AND OPINIONS
Carolina Cas. Ins. Co. v. Yeates, 584 F.3d 868 (10th Cir. 2009) (Full circuit rehearing reversing MCS-90 case law)
In re Busch v. Busch, 294 B.R. 137 (2003)
Salt Lake Kiwanis Club
Pro Tempore Judge, Third District Court
Volunteer Mediator and Mediation Coordination, Utah Dispute Resolution
Utah Council of Conflict Resolution
Salt Lake City Office 801-323-5000
257 East 200 South, Suite 1100 Salt Lake City, Utah 84111