Steve had been practicing law in Washington State since 1980. He has represented thousands of disabled clients at Social Security administrative hearings and in the Federal Courts. He also has decades of experience representing clients with personal injury and workers compensation claims.
Steve was born in 1949 in Hampton, Virginia. He received a BS and an MS degree from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1971 and 1974. He worked as an engineer for the DuPont Company and Lockheed California Company, before going to law school. In 1980, he graduated with honors from Southwestern University Law School, where he worked as a research assistant for Professor Jim Kushner, investigating land use, civil rights, environmental, and civil liberties issues.
In 1980, Steve moved to Washington to work as a staff attorney at Evergreen Legal Services. From 1980 through 1983 he represented clients in Ellensburg and Yakima with public entitlement issues, including Social Security disability and SSI claims. Steve moved to Olympia in 1983 to join the staff at the Puget Sound Legal Assistance Foundation, where he continued to represent clients with regard to disability issues. During these years, he was actively involved in class action litigation in the public assistance and Social Security disability areas. This work included cases which forced SSA to apply the improvement standard in disability termination cases, compelled DSHS to apply proper rules when assessing incapacity in Aid to Families with Dependent Children claims, and the Morrison case.
The Morrison case challenged the way that SSA makes decisions at the initial and reconsideration levels of appeal because the agency did not: give proper weight to the opinions of treating physicians; properly handle claims where clients had both mental and physical impairments; consider all of a claimant’s limitations when assessing disability; or apply the improvement standard in cessation cases. The Federal District Court ultimately ordered SSA to reopen and re-adjudicate tens of thousands of claims which had been denied during the early 1980’s.
Since 1984, Steve has been in private practice in Olympia, Washington. For the last twenty-seven years Steve’s practice has placed special emphasis on representation of clients applying for Social Security disability and SSI disability benefits. He has represented thousands of clients at administrative hearings and, when necessary, on administrative appeal and in the Federal courts. In 2005, Jeanette joined Steve as his law partner in Maddox & Laffoon. Steve’s private practice has focused on medical-legal issues, and helping clients with Social Security disability, SSI, Workers Compensation and Personal Injury claims.
Areas Of Practice:
Social Security — Disability
U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit, 1980
Southwestern University School of Law, Los Angeles, California