Stephen M. Kristovich

Profile
Community Service
Prior Experience

Steve Kristovich is a trial lawyer specializing in complex civil litigation. He is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Munger, Tolles & Olson.

Mr. Kristovich’s substantial trial court, jury trial and appellate court experience, including an oral argument in the U.S. Supreme Court, is in a variety of areas, including business/commercial, banking, insurance, environmental, toxic tort and products liability. He has been the successful lead trial lawyer in multiple two-month jury trials where plaintiff asked the jury to award billions of dollars in compensatory damages plus punitive damages, and in a one-month arbitration where the plaintiff claimed nearly $200 million in compensatory damages plus punitives.

Mr. Kristovich’s recent significant matters include representing:

  • A defendant as lead trial counsel in a two-week pre-trial and a four-week jury trial in California state court in which the jury unanimously rejected plaintiff’s claim for $400 million in damages and awarded nothing.
  • A defendant company and its chief executive in a dispute in which plaintiff claimed tens of millions of dollars. Mr. Kristovich persuaded the court to grant summary judgment for his clients.
  • Southern California Edison as lead trial counsel in a dispute with a real estate developer who was claiming hundreds of millions of dollars in damages for fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and breach of contract. Mr. Kristovich persuaded the arbitrator to dismiss the fraud and punitive damages claims on a motion for summary adjudication, and to rule for Edison on all claims following a four-week arbitration with 30 witnesses.
  • General Reinsurance, a Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary, in successfully concluding an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission, U.S. Department of Justice and New York Attorney General and a related private plaintiff lawsuit claiming tens of millions of dollars for fraud and breach of contract regarding finite reinsurance.
  • A state-wide campaign committee as lead counsel in a California Attorney General’s investigation of use of campaign funds that successfully resulted in no action being brought.
  • Boeing as lead counsel in multiple lawsuits brought by a putative class as well as hundreds of neighbors of the company facilities alleging exposure to chemicals and diminution of property value. Mr. Kristovich was successful in obtaining dismissals at the pleading stage based on the statute of limitations, and in defending that dismissal on appeal. 
  • Bank of America and related entities in multiple lawsuits in state and federal court in which plaintiffs seek billions of dollars in alleged damages arising out of the purchase and sale of mortgage-backed securities.

Steve Kristovich is a trial lawyer specializing in complex civil litigation. He is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Munger, Tolles & Olson.

Mr. Kristovich’s substantial trial court, jury trial and appellate court experience, including an oral argument in the U.S. Supreme Court, is in a variety of areas, including business/commercial, banking, insurance, environmental, toxic tort and products liability. He has been the successful lead trial lawyer in multiple two-month jury trials where plaintiff asked the jury to award billions of dollars in compensatory damages plus punitive damages, and in a one-month arbitration where the plaintiff claimed nearly $200 million in compensatory damages plus punitives.

Mr. Kristovich’s recent significant matters include representing:

  • A defendant as lead trial counsel in a two-week pre-trial and a four-week jury trial in California state court in which the jury unanimously rejected plaintiff’s claim for $400 million in damages and awarded nothing.
  • A defendant company and its chief executive in a dispute in which plaintiff claimed tens of millions of dollars. Mr. Kristovich persuaded the court to grant summary judgment for his clients.
  • Southern California Edison as lead trial counsel in a dispute with a real estate developer who was claiming hundreds of millions of dollars in damages for fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and breach of contract. Mr. Kristovich persuaded the arbitrator to dismiss the fraud and punitive damages claims on a motion for summary adjudication, and to rule for Edison on all claims following a four-week arbitration with 30 witnesses.
  • General Reinsurance, a Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary, in successfully concluding an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission, U.S. Department of Justice and New York Attorney General and a related private plaintiff lawsuit claiming tens of millions of dollars for fraud and breach of contract regarding finite reinsurance.
  • A state-wide campaign committee as lead counsel in a California Attorney General’s investigation of use of campaign funds that successfully resulted in no action being brought.
  • Boeing as lead counsel in multiple lawsuits brought by a putative class as well as hundreds of neighbors of the company facilities alleging exposure to chemicals and diminution of property value. Mr. Kristovich was successful in obtaining dismissals at the pleading stage based on the statute of limitations, and in defending that dismissal on appeal. 
  • Bank of America and related entities in multiple lawsuits in state and federal court in which plaintiffs seek billions of dollars in alleged damages arising out of the purchase and sale of mortgage-backed securities.

Community Service

Mr. Kristovich has served on either the Board of Directors or Board of Advisors of Inner City Law Center for 20 years, and is a former board president. Mr. Kristovich has been co-counsel with Inner City Law Center on matters on behalf of low income residents of downtown Los Angeles and the homeless. Mr. Kristovich has also been co-counsel with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund as well as the ACLU in numerous cases on behalf of the homeless, persons under sentence of death, and federal detainees subject to forcible drugging.

Mr. Kristovich is a member of the Litigation and the Natural Resources, Energy, and Environmental Law sections of the American Bar Association, and the Section on Environmental Law of the California State Bar Association.

Prior Experience

During the fall semester of his third year in law school, Mr. Kristovich was a full-time student law clerk for Judge Robert F. Peckham, who was then chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Upon graduation, Mr. Kristovich was a visiting fellow for one year at the Center for Law in the Public Interest in Los Angeles.

From September 1979 until November 1983, Mr. Kristovich was an associate in the Washington, D.C. firm of Williams & Connolly. His practice consisted of general civil litigation and criminal law in state and federal courts in the District of Columbia, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey and Ohio.