Stephen J. Hulst
Business Valuation Litigation
A shareholder and Chair of the Commercial Litigation Practice Group, Steve specializes in business litigation. He has significant experience in helping and representing businesses and individuals in all kinds of cases concerning their business interests, including shareholder oppression and dissenter's rights cases, contractual disputes, fraud claims, breach of fiduciary duty claims, the enforcement of noncompetition agreements, and claims under Michigan's Sales Representative Commission Act. Steve routinely represents clients in complex, high-stakes business cases, handling everything from the filing of the case through trial.
In many business litigation matters, the value of the business at issue represents the majority of any potential damages. Steve is able to provide his clients with special expertise on this important issue. Since graduating with a business degree, Steve has enhanced his knowledge of business valuation by taking comprehensive courses through both the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and American Society of Appraisers (ASA). He is currently taking the ASA's rigorous business valuation courses, which require him to pass an exam after each multiple-day course. To date, Steve has taken two of the four core ASA business valuation courses, passing both, and will complete the remaining courses over the next year.
- Acted as the lead lawyer in a multi-day arbitration proceeding in Omaha, Nebraska, defending a small business against the largest contract food manufacturer in the United States. After successfully recovering his client's equipment in a related lawsuit, Steve then successfully defended his client against over $400,000 in claims asserted by the manufacturer;
- Litigated contract dispute involving one of the largest carton companies in North America through an appeal to the Sixth Circuit, obtaining order for summary judgment in favor of client from the Sixth Circuit;
- Member of a trial team that obtained an $8 million jury verdict and, ultimately, a $10 million settlement in a complex business-tort case, both of which were recognized as the top verdict and settlement in the state of Michigan for their respective years;
- Assisted in obtaining a unanimous Michigan Supreme Court decision invalidating parental pre-injury waivers, permitting client's child to recover for injuries sustained at the defendant's establishment;
- Obtained a favorable six-figure settlement on behalf of a client who was fraudulently induced into investing in an annuity;
- Obtained a favorable six-figure settlement for a client under Michigan's Sales Representative Commission Act;
- Obtained dismissal of complaint for business client sued under the Uniform Commercial Code in a case arising out of the sale of a recreational vehicle.
Honors and Awards
- Recognized by Michigan Lawyer's Weekly as a 2014 "Up and Coming Lawyer"
- Since 2009, regularly selected for inclusion in Michigan Super Lawyers Rising Stars in the business litigation field, a designation given to less than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state
- Valparaiso University School of Law: Law Review member, graduate of Honors Program (full-ride scholarship and advanced course requirements), Class Honors in Civil Procedure, Uniform Commercial Code: Sales and Secured Transactions, Medical Malpractice, and Legal Process
- Hope College: Phi Beta Kappa, George F. Baker Scholar, Washington D.C. Honors Semester participant, Dean's List every semester
Valparaiso University School of Law, Juris Doctor, summa cum laude, 2006
Hope College, Bachelor of the Arts - Business Management, summa cum laude, 2003
News to Share
M&A deals often result in shareholder litigation. As this study shows, that is especially true if the deal is significant. Shareholder Lawsuits After M&A: The Cornerstone Study, Today's General Counsel, March 2, 2015
In the News
- Association for Corporate Growth - Western Michigan, Young Professionals Board Member
- Managing Partners Diversity Collaborative, Recruiting Committee Member
- Legal Aid of Western Michigan, Volunteer Attorney
- State Bar of Michigan, Litigation Section Member
- Grand Rapids Bar Association, Litigation Section Member
- Federal Bar Association for the Western District of Michigan, Member
- Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals
- United States District Court, Western District of Michigan