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Frederick W. Stephenson Law

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  Frederick W. Stephenson


What follows on this page is a discussion of the areas in which I currently practice.


Lawsuits, also more formally called "litigation," are claims filed by someone in the courthouse seeking to obtain something from someone else. They can be very common and routine, such as the typical "collection action" filed to recover an unpaid credit card balance, but then they can also be substantial, such as a claim on the part of someone with very serious injuries and loss of income, perhaps permanent, or a suit between two companies over a business contract or another type of business controversy. How each case is handled can vary considerably, and having a depth of experience can be quite valuable in achieving the best and most cost efficient handling of pretty much any lawsuit. Litigation has been a significant part of my practice, starting with four years as a deputy district attorney, and including trying well over 150 jury trials over the years. I am quite familiar with virtually any of the types of litigation you might encounter.


Personal injury law as I treat it includes wrongful death claims and professional negligence claims such as medical malpractice claims. This is all a particular type of lawsuit or litigation, and I have had extensive experience in all of this area as well. Within the last ten years or so I obtained a $3.6 million verdict in a jury trial for a 71 year old quadriplegic man after rejecting a $5,000 offer to settle his case. There have also been a number of six figure recoveries over the years.


Business law is a very broad area, and includes business formations, such as incorporations, and partnership and LLC formations, and beyond that mergers, acquisitions, and dissolutions. Beyond those areas there are the areas of preparing and negotiating contracts, handling business disputes through negotiation, and if necessary, through court proceedings, and dealing with governmental regulatory matters. I have extensive experience in all areas of business law.


Real estate is also a very broad area, and there is often a significant legal aspect, which can also be quite technical. The major areas of real estate center on purchases and sales of real estate, and leasing, whether we are talking about vacant land, a residencial space, or business premises. Another major aspect concerns real property security interests (most commonly in the form of a note and deed of trust), and in particular the enforcement of such interests, such as through foreclosure. Additional separate areas involve real estate development and mechanics liens. Simply stated,I have broad experience in all of the areas just mentioned


Wills and trusts essentially involve addressing what an individual wants to have happen to his or her property upon his or her death, sometimes called estate planning. Commonly, an objective in estate planning is to avoid probate, which is the legal process of dealing with a deceased person's property, or "estate" as it is called, before the courts. I have extensive experience in all of these subjects.


Over the years I have done a lot of family law, and I still do those cases as they are presented. Sometimes what is presented is very simple and straight forward, and the case is not costly to the client. At the other extreme, family law cases can be quite involved and complicated, very stressful to the client, and also quite expensive.


Unfortunately, this is an area which until recently was very active, both in so-called "straight" bankruptcy, also called "Chapter 7," where all or almost all indebtedness is cancelled, and in "wage earner plans," also called "Chapter 13," where there is a partial repayment of debt and the remainder is cancelled. Bankruptcy is very complicated and technical, and it is very important that it be done correctly. Primarily I represent people seeking to eliminate their debt and get a fresh start, although from time to time I do represent creditors. Although I also do business Chapter 7 cases, I do not do business "reorganizations," Chapter 11 filings for businesses. I can however, in the very infrequent situation where Chapter 11 would appear to be a viable alternative, refer such a business to competent counsel.


There are several other areas in which I have practiced over the years, but in which I am not notably active at this time. These areas include workers' compensation law and criminal law. If you have a case in these areas, or in any other area, I would certainly be available to consult with you upon it, and if I felt that I could not help you, I would be able to refer you to a lawyer who could help you.