Steven Bader is Of Counsel and head of appellate practice at Cranfill Sumner LLP. Steven is a persuasive writer and polished oral advocate with experience handling a wide range of issues on appeal, including questions of statutory interpretation, application of common law principles, and review of discretionary trial court rulings. He has authored briefs, motions, and petitions to the North Carolina Court of Appeals, the North Carolina Supreme Court, and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

In addition to appellate work, Steven advises insurers on coverage issues, including business interruption claims stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting government shut-down orders. He also maintains an active litigation practice, defending general casualty matters such as wrongful death suits, personal injury claims, and construction defect allegations.

Prior to joining Cranfill Sumner in 2019, Steven partnered at a mid-sized insurance defense firm in Saint Cloud, Minnesota. His practice centered on general tort litigation, insurance coverage, and appellate advocacy. Steven briefed and argued numerous cases before the Minnesota Court of Appeals and the Minnesota Supreme Court, and also tried more than a dozen cases to jury. Steven was named a Rising Star by Minnesota Super Lawyers in 2019.

Steven is an active member of the Defense Research Institute. His articles have been published in For the Defense (monthly publication of DRI), Minnesota Defense, and Bench and Bar of Minnesota. Steven is a cum laude graduate of the Gonzaga University School of Law where he served as articles editor of the Gonzaga Law Review, an associate editor of the Gonzaga Journal of International Law, and a research assistant. He graduated magna cum laude from Saint Cloud State University and was a captain of the men’s track and field team.

Steven and his wife, who is also an attorney in Raleigh, are parents to two young boys. When not practicing law or chasing his children (or dogs), Steven enjoys running, reading, history, skiing, watching sports, and cooking.


  • Defended homeowner sued by entrant for hunting accident. After a defense verdict at trial, briefed and argued appeals to the Minnesota Court of Appeals and Minnesota Supreme Court that clarified application of the Minnesota Recreational Use Immunity statute.
  • Represented national insurance carrier in declaratory judgment action brought against corporate entity that sought defense and indemnity for the company’s alleged negligent supervision of its sole owner, who engaged in deliberate abuse of children. The district court granted the carrier’s motion for summary judgment and awarded costs and disbursements, which was affirmed on appeal.
  • Defended negligent supervision / premises liability matter that was partially affirmed on appeal, and then obtained defense verdict on the remainder of the case remanded for jury trial.
  • Represented motorist in an appeal that challenged numerous favorable post-trial rulings, including application of the Minnesota collateral source statute, alleged erroneous jury instructions, and prevailing party and cost-shifting determinations made by the district court. The court of appeals affirmed on all issues.
  • Obtained defense verdict for homeowners’ association sued for negligence in an accident where plaintiff suffered injuries that rendered him a quadriplegic. The case involved numerous motions for summary judgment, a motion for reconsideration, an effort at an interlocutory appeal by the plaintiff, extensive motions in limine, and a five-day jury trial that ended in a defense verdict.
  • Obtained defense verdict on liability and damages in an automobile accident tried to jury.
  • Obtain defense verdict on damages in a construction defect case tried to jury.
  • Obtained defense verdict on liability and damages in a jury trial where a contractor was sued for workmanship that allegedly caused frozen pipes and corollary damages.


  • “The Last Line of Defense: The ISO Virus Exclusion Meets COVID-19 Business Interruption Suits” (co-author with CSH colleague Jennifer Welch) DRI, For the Defense, Vol. 62, No. 12, December 2020
  • “Down on the Farm: Does the Pollution Exclusion Remove Coverage for E. Coli Infections Linked to Petting Zoos” DRI, For the Defense, Vol. 61, No. 7, July 2019
  • “Supreme Shift: Lessons the Defense Bar Can Learn from Recent Supreme Court Opinions” Minnesota Defense, Volume 39, Issue 3, Fall 2018
  • “Join the Retail and Hospitality Committee” (co-author), Minnesota Defense, Volume 38, Issue 2, Summer 2017
    “Develop Effective Trial Themes from Discovery to Trial” Featured Article, DRI Trials and Tribulations, the Newsletter of the Trial Tactics Committee, Volume 22, Issue 4
  • “The Joke is on Your Client: An Analysis of Liability Coverage and Defense for the Creators of Online Parody Accounts” DRI, For the Defense, Vol. 57, No. 4, April 2015
  • “Every Dog Has its Day (In Court) – Defending Dog Attack Cases in Minnesota” Minnesota Defense, Volume 35, Issue 1, Spring 2014
  • “When the Grass Turns Brown: Prosecuting Marijuana Mixtures in Minnesota” Bench and Bar of Minnesota, Volume LXIX Number 1, January 2012.

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Cranfill Sumner Attorneys Volunteer for Legal Aid Eviction Project

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In May 2020, Legal Aid of North Carolina launched an effort to help North Carolinians who were struggling to pay rent and were facing eviction. Legal Aid paired available emergency financial support with a search for volunteer attorneys from across the state who could help negotiate past and future payments with landlords.… Read More