Arnett, Draper & Hagood
Steve’s 39 years handling asbestos, products liability, trucking and automobile, and premises liability litigation provide him the background to effectively represent clients in virtually all types of personal injury, property damage, insurance, and products liability cases.
For more than 35 years he has defended equipment manufacturers and insulation contractors in hundreds of asbestos personal injury lawsuits in Tennessee, as well as serving for 20 years as national counsel for a regional contractor with cases across the eastern United States.
Steve represents defendants in products liability, trucking and automobile accident, premises liability, and business and insurance cases. He focuses on motion practice, trials, appeals, and on resolving lawsuits efficiently in the client’s best interest.
He has tried jury trials throughout East and Middle Tennessee, including the trial and successful resolution of an asbestos disease case involving a plaintiff who died at age 60 of malignant mesothelioma.
He has tried to verdict vehicle crash, construction, insurance, and workers’ compensation lawsuits and negotiated hundreds of favorable settlements—many of which were mediated.
In 2018, Steve led a team that obtained summary judgment for our trucking company client on the grounds that its independent contractor driver was not its agent (despite displaying a placard with our client's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration number) when he was involved in a crash that caused catastrophic injuries to the plaintiff.
Since the 1980s, Steve has served on the committee investigating applicants to the Tennessee bar. In 2014, the Tennessee Supreme Court appointed him District Investigating Chair for District 2, responsible for investigating bar applicants in Knox County and eight surrounding counties.
Steve is a member of the American, Tennessee, and Knoxville Bar Associations as well as the Defense Research Institute and the Trucking Industry Defense Association.
In 1976, Steve graduated summa cum laude from the University of Tennessee and is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa academic honor society. After graduating from the University of the Tennessee College of Law in 1979, he was admitted to the Tennessee bar and served as law clerk for Judge Robert K. Dwyer on the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals.
In 1980, Steve joined Arnett, Draper & Hagood and has been a partner in the firm since 1986. He is recognized with an AV rating by Martindale Hubbell and was listed in Best Lawyers in both 2018 and 2019.
Steve is married and the father of two. In his free time, Steve and his family are avid followers of University of Tennessee athletics. Steve also enjoys golf, traveling, and gardening.