John Stephens is the chair of Sedgwick LLP's Cybersecurity and Privacy practice group. He focuses his practice on data privacy and digital marketing issues; media and entertainment litigation; live entertainment transactional matters, including music festivals and intellectual property licensing and transactions; and specialty insurance coverage and litigation. Mr. Stephens’ entertainment and media clients include media entities, national and worldwide live entertainment and sports companies, magazines, television and radio stations, production companies, entertainment technology companies, computer technologies, online content and software providers, and talent. Additionally, Mr. Stephens represents clients in manufacturing and the financial and insurance industries.
Data Protection and Privacy
Mr. Stephens advises companies across a broad range of industries on data protection and privacy laws, including retail, health care, and technology companies. He ensures clients meet obligations under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the CAN-SPAM Act, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Federal Trade Commission Act, breach notification laws, and other federal and state laws.
He regularly helps companies formulate or revise privacy policies to comply with new laws or take into account new technologies or changes in business operations. He also advises companies on the data privacy and security implications of mergers and acquisitions, outsourcing arrangements, and other transactions.
Mr. Stephens is experienced in protecting companies both before and after data breaches. His expertise includes minimizing the risk of a data breach and putting companies in the best position to respond if a breach occurs. Preventive measures include privacy and security assessments which help companies develop or improve data privacy practices and incident response plans. In the event of a breach, he provides rapid and comprehensive incident response under the protection of the attorney-client privilege. Mr. Stephens has advised numerous companies in response to breaches, including management consulting, health care, and large multinational retail companies. Mr. Stephens has assisted these companies in determining the source and scope of the breach, assessing regulatory compliance requirements, managing notifications and call centers, and conducting after-action review.
Mr. Stephens also focuses his practice on enforcement and litigation of copyright, trademark, trade dress, trade secret, and false advertising matters. He is proficient at first amendment and defamation issues, all aspects of issues involving live entertainment events with emphasis on music festivals both foreign and in the U.S. He counsels clients on protecting intellectual property rights, as well as handles intellectual property transactions, such as software licenses, product licenses, rights-sharing agreements, and merchandising and branding deals.
Mr. Stephens represents insurers in all aspects of coverage, including defense, preparation of coverage opinions, claims investigation, litigation, and trial. He counsels insurers on claims-handling procedures and loss prevention and assists with drafting media and data privacy policies.
Mr. Stephens is admitted to practice before the United States Courts of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and for all districts of the United States District Court for the State of California.
Martindale-Hubbell awarded an “AV” to Mr. Stephens in recognition of his professional excellence, depth of experience and distinguished levels of skill and integrity. In addition, Mr. Stephens was named a 2014 and 2015 “Southern California Super Lawyer” and a 2005 “Southern California Super Lawyer–Rising Star” by the publishers of Los Angeles Magazine and The Journal for Law & Politics. Additionally, he was featured in the 2014 “Most Influential Lawyers: Digital Media & E-Commerce Law” list and the 2015 “Most Influential Lawyers in White Collar & Cyber Crimes Law” list, both published in the Los Angeles Business Journal.
Mr. Stephens is an active member of the American Bar Association. He is chair of the Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section Law and Public Service Committee and was appointed chair of the Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section Diversity Committee (2010-2012). He served as the chair of the Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Sections’ Intellectual Property Committee (2009-2011) where he was also the co-editor of the committee’s newsletter. In addition, he was one of 21 admitted to the TIPS Leadership Academy of the American Bar Association for 2009-2010.
In 2015, he was named a Board member of the national LGBT bar association. From 2010-2013, Mr. Stephens served on the National Board of Directors for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and was co-chair and Treasurer.