Stephen B. Welch


Stephen B. Welch is a partner in the Walnut Creek office of Lewis Brisbois and a co-chair of the firm’s Construction Practice. Steve specializes in representation of subcontractors, material suppliers, design professionals, general contractors, developers, and owners in all types of construction disputes. These include claims for construction defects, product liability, property damage, breach of contract, delay damages, business interruption, mold contamination and job site injuries. Additionally, Steve has represented owners, general contractors, subcontractors, and material suppliers in claims involving bid, performance and payment bonds for construction of both commercial and residential projects. He has provided counseling and advice to surety companies in responding to and resolving bond claims. He has also defended owners, contractors and suppliers in mediation, arbitration and litigation involving bond claims and drafted agreements settling those claims.

Steve represents a national window manufacturer in litigation in California, Nevada, Colorado and Texas, and has developed a specialized knowledge of fenestration claims. Steve has successfully managed over 400 claims and lawsuits involving alleged window failures in both commercial and residential projects. He is familiar with window product development, design, manufacturing, and certification. He has evaluated many claims of window product failures and has evaluated testing of windows based on ASTM and AAMA standards. He has also handled numerous claims involving window installation defects. 

Steve represents a major international building industry corporation which owns numerous trade subcontractors and material suppliers throughout the country. He has managed over 500 cases involving the defense of this client. In many cases, he has obtained dismissals or nominal settlements for the client. 

For over 25 years, Steve has represented one of California’s largest residential grading and paving contractors in various litigation matters, including over 70 construction defect cases involving claims of foundation movement, soil subsidence, landslides, retaining wall failures, and street paving failures. He has obtained dismissals for his client in many cases.

Steve represents civil engineers, geotechnical engineers, architects, land surveyors, and building inspectors involving claims of professional negligence relating to building design and construction, property damage, building assessments, and asbestos surveys. 

He has also represented an international petroleum company in litigation involving construction of oil and has drill rigs, pipelines and production facilities.

Steve routinely provides advice and counseling to clients regarding negotiation of construction contracts, including analysis of contractual indemnity obligations, insurance obligations, and warranty obligations. He has also assisted clients in evaluating claims based on consumer product warranties.


  • State Bar Admissions
    • California
    • Colorado
    • Nevada
    • Texas
  • United States District Courts
    • United States District Court for the Central District of California
    • United States District Court for the Eastern District of California
    • United States District Court for the Northern District of California






U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Eastern and Central Districts of California


  • Associated General Contractors of America
  • Association of Defense Counsel for Northern California and Nevada
  • Contra Costa County Bar Association
  • Associated Roofing Contractors of Bay Area Counties
  • Defense Research Institute
  • Western States Petroleum Association

Awards & Honors

Northern California Super Lawyers, 2008-2014, 2019.


Santa Clara University School of Law

Juris Doctor, 1989

St. Michael's College

Bachelor of Arts, 1985

Representative Matters

Construction Defect

  • Represented the developer of a 140 unit town home project who was sued for construction defects by the Homeowner’s Association. Steve prepared a motion for summary adjudication on the grounds the HOA lacked standing to pursue many of the claims in the suit. A courtesy copy of the motion was submitted to opposing counsel prior to filing with the court. The plaintiff quickly compromised its claim and a global settlement of all claims was reached shortly thereafter. Most of the settlement was funded by contributions from the cross-defendant subcontractors.
  • Represented a large residential grading subcontractor in a trial involving foundation movement and soil subsidence at 11 homes in a residential subdivision. Steve argued the damages were caused by inadequate foundation design rather than negligent grading of the subject lots. After a 5 week trial, the jury returned a defense verdict for Steve’s client. The court awarded the client over $200,000 in attorney fees and costs pursuant to the attorney fee provision in the subcontract. Steve also represented the client on the appeal of the award which was affirmed by the appellate court.

Product Liability

  • Represented a street paving subcontractor in a series of consolidated actions involving alleged improper installation of a street subgrade material at 30 miles of roadway in Contra Costa County. The plaintiffs were local governments which sought over $25 million in damages to remove and replace all of the roadways. Steve brought a motion for summary adjudication on the grounds some claims were barred by the statute of limitations and others were barred by the terms of a prior release. Steve also provided evidence the roadway problems were caused by a defective base material rather than installation error. A global settlement was reached in which Steve’s client paid approximately 1% of a multi-million dollar settlement.

Commercial Litigation

  • Represented an international petroleum company in an action to recover $30 million in cost overruns for the construction of two off-shore oil platforms in Venezuela. The action was a “fast track” arbitration proceeding which involved dozens of witnesses and over 100,000 documents. All pre-arbitration discovery was completed in 2 months. A favorable settlement was reached after a 6 week arbitration.

Personal Injury

  • Brought motions for summary judgment on behalf of the general contractor in two different construction site personal injury actions on the grounds no duty of care was owed by the client to the injured employee of an independent subcontractor. Both motions were granted and both clients were dismissed from the actions.
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