Steve's practice focuses on complex, national product liability litigation, with an emphasis on representation of manufacturers of prescription drugs and medical devices. He also practices in the area of agribusiness and food safety.


Steve has spoken or written on:
  • federal preemption;
  • innovator liability;
  • the use of epidemiology in tort litigation;
  • the Restatement (Third) of Torts;
  • the learned intermediary doctrine;
  • the forum non conveniens doctrine;
  • removal issues; and
  • the use of social media advertising by food and beverage manufacturers. 
Steve previously chaired Shook, Hardy & Bacon’s Associates Committee, and he has been a member of the firm's Diversity and Inclusion Committee. In addition, he co-chaired a task force focused on leadership and management skills – an initiative for which he received an award for “Excellence in Professional Development.” He has also been an active member of the firm’s Recruiting/Hiring Committee, chairing for two years a summer associate program that has been ranked among the best in the country.

Before his legal career, Steve worked as a news reporter for The Associated Press (Lincoln, Nebraska), The Palm Beach Post (West Palm Beach, Florida), The Omaha World-Herald (Omaha, Nebraska) and The Cape Cod Times (Hyannis, Massachusetts).

Steve is married to Rory Barrett Thomas, and they have two girls, Charley and Coco.

Representative Matters

  • Represented pharmaceutical company in multidistrict litigation involving allegations that an antiemetic medication caused birth defects;
  • Represented pharmaceutical company in multidistrict litigation involving allegations that use of a statin caused women to develop diabetes;
  • Represented limited liability company in connection with dispute over entity’s citizenship for purposes of diversity jurisdiction;
  • Nelson v. American Home Products Corp., 92 F. Supp.2d 954 (W.D. Mo. 2000), struck six plaintiffs’ experts on Daubert grounds and obtained summary judgment;
  • Nix v. SmithKline Beecham Corporation d/b/a GlaxoSmithKline, No. 06-43, 2007 WL 2526402 (D. Ariz. Sept. 5, 2007), obtained summary judgment based on learned intermediary doctrine and absence of proximate cause;
  • Faulise v. SmithKline Beecham Corporation d/b/a GlaxoSmithKline, 223 Fed.Appx. 239, 2007 WL 1051441 (4th Cir. 2007), affirmed summary judgment based on statute of limitations;
  • In re Rezulin Prods. Liab. Litig. (Glossip v. Warner-Lambert Co.), No. 03-4763 (S.D.N.Y. 2004), recognized equitable exception to one-year limit on diversity-based removals in light of plaintiff’s tactical efforts to thwart removal.  


Recent Publications and Presentations

"The Winners and Losers in the Food Litigation Wars – What Constituencies Benefit the Most from Consumer Fraud Class Actions Against the Food Companies?" (Panel), Challenges Facing the Food & Beverage Industries in Complex Consumer Litigations, June 2013.

Steve Thomas & Jennifer Stonecipher Hill, Conte Reeling in the Wake of California Supreme Court Decision, 20:2 RX for the Defense, July 2012.