In 2021, Steve will begin his 30th year of practice as an attorney. Steve is the Past-Chair of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice Nursing Home Negligence Section. Steve is one of the only attorneys in the State of North Carolina who devotes his entire practice to the representation of plaintiffs in cases involving long-term care negligence. Steve has obtained the highest rating by Martindale-Hubbell, AV Preeminent Peer Review rated. Steve is a member of Super Lawyers, a rating service that selects the top 5% of attorneys in the State of North Carolina.
Steve graduated in 1987 from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro with a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics. While at UNC-Greensboro, Steve was a founding father and President of his fraternity, Sigma Nu. He was an elected Senator of the Student Council, member of the Inter-Fraternity Council, and heavily involved in other student organizations.
In 1991, Steve earned his Juris Doctorate from Samford University, Cumberland School of Law in Birmingham, Alabama. In law school, Steve was the Comment Editor of the Cumberland Law Review and a member of the nationally acclaimed Mock Trial Team. The year Steve was on the Mock Trial Team, the trial teams placed first and second in the Regional Mock Trial Competition and was one of eight teams in the nation that advanced to the National Mock Trial Competition. In his first year of law school, Steve won the Client Counseling Competition. Steve finished at the top of his class in law school. Following law school, Steve moved to Dallas, Texas to work for one of the largest law firms in the State of Texas.
In 1994, Steve and another attorney opened a law practice. At that time, Steve began representing the victims and the families of victims in cases involving serious personal injury and wrongful death, nursing home negligence, unlawful discrimination, sexual harassment, and other employment matters. While in Dallas, Steve received the highest rating of AV by Martindale Hubbell.
In 2000, and prior to the birth of his son, Brandon, Steve and his wife relocated to North Carolina in order to be close to family. Steve then opened Gugenheim Law. At that time, Steve committed his practice to the representation of plaintiffs in long-term care negligence cases.
In 2002, and due to the growing demands of Gugenheim Law, Steve’s wife, Julie, joined Gugenheim Law. Steve and Julie have tried more long-term care negligence cases to verdict than any other lawyers in the State of North Carolina.
In 2003, Steve and Julie tried their first nursing home wrongful death case as a husband-wife trial team. They obtained one of the largest verdicts in the history of Randolph County for the family of a nursing home resident who fell, fractured his hip and ribs, and then died several weeks later.
In the last 20 years, Steve, on behalf of his North Carolina clients, has obtained tens of millions of dollars in settlements, verdicts and arbitration awards. Steve’s settlements rank in the top settlements of nursing home negligence cases as reported in North Carolina Lawyer’s Weekly.
Steve is a frequent lecturer to attorneys in the State of North Carolina on the topic of nursing home negligence. Most recently, Steve spoke at a seminar hosted by the National Business Institute at the seminar entitled, “Handling Your First Nursing Home Malpractice Case.” Steve recently co-wrote a book entitled, “North Carolina’s Guide to Nursing Home Negligence.” Steve is the Past Chair of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice Nursing Home Negligence Section, is a past member of the North Carolina Bar Association Medico-Legal Ethics Committee. Steve is on the Board of Friends of Residents in Long Term Care, a long-term care advocacy group. Steve is a member of the Adult Care Home Rules Re-adoption Committee, a committee that reports to the Medical Care Commission regarding the Adult Care Home Rules in North Carolina.
Steve is routinely called upon to address issues before the North Carolina Court of Appeals, the North Carolina Supreme Court, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Representative cases include:
Alston v. Britthaven, Inc., 361 N.C. 218, 642 S.E.2d 242 (2007)
Bartels by and through Bartels v. Saber Healthcare Group, LLC, 880 F.3d 668 (4th Cir. 2018)
Williamson v. Windsor House One, LLC, 211 N.C. App. 647, 712 S.E.2d 745 (2011)
Brown v. Kindred Nursing Centers East, LLC, 363 N.C. 580, 682 S.E.2d 206 (2009)
Hayes v. Premier Living, Inc., 641 S.E.2d 316 (N.C. App. 2007)
Hardin v. Liberty Commons Nursing & Rehabilitation Center of Alamance County, LLC, 691 S.E.2d 132 (N.C. App. 2010)
Hager v. Smithfield East Health Holdings, LLC, 826 S.E.2d 567 (N.C. App. 2019)
Steve and his family enjoy adventure travel. Steve and his family have traveled extensively throughout the world, including Peru, Chile, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, the Sinai Desert, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands, England, Ireland, Austria, Czech Republic, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Canada, and Costa Rica. Steve has climbed the Grand Teton, hiked the Inca Trail, cage-dived with Great White Sharks, driven on the Baja 1000 course, motorcycled throughout the United States and hiked all over the world. From 2011 through 2015, Steve raced his Ariel Atom Spec Racer in the SRA Series at Virginia International Raceway and at other race tracks in the United States. In 2015, Steve purchased a Swift DB2 Sports Racer and raced in vintage racing events around the country.