Stephen L. Hill Jr. Partner, Dentons US LLP
Stephen Hill Jr

Stephen L. Hill, Jr., a former United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is a member of Dentons' Litigation and Disputes Resolution practice with a focus on white collar defense and government investigations. In his role, Steve regularly counsels boards and business leadership on investigations related to allegations of federal law violations. Since leaving the US Department of Justice (DOJ), Steve has provided counsel in investigations conducted by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the US Department of Health and Human Services and their state and local counterparts.

Appointed by President Bill Clinton, Steve served as United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri from 1993 to 2001. His office obtained numerous convictions involving corruption at City Hall in Kansas City, MO, local county courthouses and the Missouri General Assembly. Steve advised US Attorney General Janet Reno and the Justice Department on corporate prosecution and health care-related policies as part of his tenure on the Attorney General's Advisory Committee. In addition, he co-developed Project Cease Fire, a nationally recognized program targeting prosecution and conviction of felons illegally possessing firearms in Kansas City and western Missouri.

During his tenure, Steve successfully argued the constitutionality of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act of 1994 in United States v. Dinwiddie when the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a federal district court decision finding that Dinwiddie had violated the law. The Dinwiddie decision was one of the first cases in the nation to consider the then-new law's constitutionality.

Experience:

Securities Enforcement

  • Served as lead trial counsel for Stephen M. Kovzan, Chief Financial Officer, NIC, Inc., who was accused of failing, with others, to accurately disclose compensation of NIC's co-founder and former Chief Executive Officer. The trial team obtained verdict completely exonerating Mr. Kovzan after a three week trial in US District Court of Kansas (U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission v. Stephen M. Kovzan, Civ. No. 11-CV-2017, D. Ct. Kan.)
  • Represented Sand Canyon Corporation and a corporate officer in an investigation by the SEC involving more than US$4.3 billion in residential mortgage-backed securities (United States v. Option One Mortgage n/k/a Sand Canyon Corporation, case no. SACV12-633 [C.D.Ca. 2012]).
  • Represented a corporate organization in dual investigations by the SEC and the US Attorney for the Western District of Missouri regarding allegations of inappropriate accounting practices and related violations of federal securities laws (United States v. American Italian Pasta Co., case no. 4:08-cv-00675 [W.D. Mo. 2008]).
  • Represented a multinational public company responding to insider trading investigations by the SEC and DOJ in the Southern District of New York and the Northern District of California.

Cross Border Investigations and Defense

  • Conducted an internal investigation on behalf of a trans-national financial services organization into whether organization personnel had acted in violation of US and other nations' anti-bribery laws in the United States and Venezuela.

Health Care Defense and Compliance

  • Represented a health care system in responding to a criminal and civil investigation by the DOJ Civil Division, the US Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, the Office of Inspector General for Health and Human Services (OIG-HHS) and the FBI, examining whether the company had violated federal law through its contractual arrangements with local physicians (United States v. CoxHealth Company).
  • Represented Air Evac in an investigation stemming from a sealed qui tam complaint by former employees that was publicly disclosed when 50 FBI agents showed up at its corporate headquarters in West Plains, MO, to administer search warrants. Counsel was able to obtain a decision by both the Justice Department's Civil Fraud Unit and the US Attorney for the Western District of Missouri to decline intervention in the qui tam litigation and to close their investigation with no criminal charges or civil claims.
  • Represented a large regional health care organization in an investigation by the DOJ, OIG-HHS and FBI related to the organization's internal investigation and voluntary disclosure (United States v. Freeman Health System).
  • Represented the physician responsible for initially identifying that Robert Courtney, a Kansas City-based pharmacist, was diluting patients' chemotherapy prescriptions. Courtney was ultimately convicted on federal charges of adulterating, misbranding and tampering with medications.
  • As US Attorney, negotiated a unique post-investigation settlement between the United States and Truman Medical Center that allowed the hospital to improve prenatal services offered to patients through a deferred prosecution agreement.
  • Counsel for a children's hospital regarding compliance requirements under federal law for human subject research.

Attorney General Investigations and Enforcement Actions

  • Represented clients in a wide-ranging series of investigations and enforcement actions initiated by state Attorney Generals in consumer fraud and unfair business practice actions that focused on advertising and customer communications that were alleged to have been deceptive.

Product Safety

  • Counsel for an global toy retailer on product safety issues and compliance with Consumer Product Safety Commission guidelines, including guidance on six product recalls.
  • Counsel to client that initiated a successful voluntary FDA recall for a body lotion product.

Recognition: 

  • Selected in Law360’s list of “White Collar's MVPs” in 2014
  • Chambers USA, Litigation: White-Collar Crime and Government Investigations Law, 2010 – 2015; Litigation: General Commercial Law, 2008
  • The Legal 500, Securities: Shareholder Litigation, 2014-2015. Clients were quoted as stating that he is "incredibly personable, likeable and down to earth" and a member of the Kansas City team recognized as "World class trial lawyers."
  • Benchmark Litigation, selected as Local Litigation Star in Missouri: White Collar Crime, 2015
  • Kansas City Crime Commission, Clarence M. Kelly Award, 2000
  • Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers, Health Care, 2006 – 2010

Insights:

  • Co-author, "Global Criminal Risk: Trends and Strategies to Mitigate Vulnerabilities," Ethisphere, October 7, 2014

Activities and Affiliations:

Presentations

  • Speaker, "Does Your Dog Bite? Ethical Issues Generated by New Government Investigative Techniques," Dentons CLE Seminar for In-House Counsel, Kansas City, MO, May 11, 2015; Chicago, IL, June 5, 2015; Saint Louis, MO, June 12, 2015
  • Panelist, "Hammering out the Deal: Perspectives on Settlements in the False Claims Act Context," DOE Contractor Attorneys’ Association, Washington, DC, May 28, 2015
  • Speaker, "A Brand New Day For Risk Analysis," Association of Corporate Counsel Mid-America Chapter, Kansas City, MO, December 3, 2014
  • Speaker, "Global Criminal Enforcement Trends and Strategies to Mitigate Vulnerabilities," In-house presentation for Chicago-based global client, November 6, 2014
  • Speaker, "Going Toe to Toe with the SEC," Webinar, March 12, 2014
  • Speaker, "Insider Trading—Recent Trends In Enforcement Activity," Society of Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals, Kansas City Chapter, Kansas City, MO, May 2012
  • Speaker, "New Trends Leading to Healthcare Fraud Abuse Initiatives," Healthcare Financial Management Association Colorado Chapter Compliance Conference, March 2010
  • Speaker, "Risk Management—One Year After Madoff—What Have We Learned," National Association of Corporate Directors, Kansas City Chapter, November 2009
  • Speaker, "It Is Your First Day on the Job as the Compliance Officer and These Are the Materials Waiting for You," Children's Mercy Hospital, March 2007
  • Speaker, "First, Let's Go Over the New Ground Rules—The New Sentencing Guidelines and the Compliance Officer," Child Health Care Corporation Compliance Officers' Annual Meeting, May 2004
  • Speaker, "The Sarbanes-Oxley Parlor Game—Do I Really Have to Play? A Former Prosecutor's Sarbanes-Oxley Primer for United Kingdom Companies and Their Leaders," The International Association of Insurance Receivers, London Market Seminar, May 2003

Memberships

  • University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law Foundation, board of directors, 2009 – present

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