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Stephen B. Goethel

Stephen B. Goethel

Email MeStephen B. Goethel

Ann Arbor, Michigan

“Virtually every client we represent has been through a devastating ordeal as a result of terrible medical care.  Many have lost a spouse, immediate family member or loved one. Usually, without exception, the medical system has totally failed them -- or failed to listen to them. One of the true rewards of the work we do is being there for the client, hearing their concerns and getting answers to the question why things went so wrong; all designed to help them put their lives back together as best as possible.”  Steve Goethel

Steve has been litigating and trying medical malpractice and personal injury cases for over 30 years. He has successfully prosecuted malpractice cases throughout Michigan and the United States. He has numerous multimillion-dollar settlements and verdicts holding negligent doctors, hospitals and health care providers accountable for the harm they cause.

Steve has been named repeatedly to Best Lawyers in America, Best Law Firms in America and selected for inclusion in Super Lawyers. He holds an "AV" rating* from Martindale-Hubble, the highest rating available for both legal ability and legal ethics, a rating he has held for over 15 years. He takes pride representing the interests of the underprivileged and common individual against the large, corporate interests in health care and insurance industry.

Steve was born and raised in Grand Rapids. His passion for the law and the courtroom began while reading "To Kill a Mockingbird." Atticus Finch, the lawyer appointed to represent an unjustly accused African-American, became a motivating influence in his life and career.

His passion for trial work grew after graduating from Michigan State University. Steve worked his way through law school at night, working days as a judicial clerk in the Oakland County Circuit Court. Working in the courtroom day in, day out allowed Steve to watch some of the finest (and worst) lawyers in Michigan. It was there his interest in personal injury and medical malpractice cases developed. Far and away the most gripping trials were the medical negligence, or medical malpractice, cases. The effect on the victims was profound; the medicine interesting; and trial dynamics fascinating. The lawyers trying these cases were among the best in the business. At the end of the day he would leave court to attend law school. The regular law professors didn't work nights. Classes were taught by accomplished practicing lawyers who brought an immense understanding of the practice of law to the classroom.

Steve graduated law school in 1979 and became a member of the Michigan Bar. To continue gaining courtroom experience, Steve joined the Oakland County prosecutor's office where he immediately began trying criminal cases and handling felony preliminary examinations. He left in 1980 to join the firm of Carlin, Rano and Goethel in Southfield to pursue his interest in personal injury work, which he has done ever since.

In 1983 Steve was invited to join his current firm, then known as O'Brien, Moran & Stein. The opportunity to work for three pre-eminent, nationally known lawyers was an honor and a privilege. It also gave him the ability to begin work for victims of medical malpractice.

Since 1983 Steve has handled hundreds of malpractice cases in virtually all areas of medicine from surgery to birth trauma to neuro-surgery; from misdiagnosis to wrongful death. He has recovered millions for his clients.

He is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, the American Association for Justice as well as the Michigan Association for Justice where he sits as a member of the Executive Board.  He is also an adjunct professor of Law at the Thomas Cooley Law School.

His practice area includes all of Michigan. He has tried cases throughout the state.

*AV®, BV®, AV Preeminent® and BV Distinguished® are registered certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell is the facilitator of a peer-review rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings fall into two categories – legal ability and general practice standards.

Areas of Practice

  • Personal Injury
  • Medical Malpractice


  • Detroit College of Law, Detroit, Michigan
    • J.D. - 1979
  • Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan
    • B.A. - 1975
    • Major: Business

Year Joined Firm

  • 1983

Litigation Percentage

  • 100% of Practice Devoted to Litigation

Bar Admissions

  • Michigan, 1979
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Michigan, 1979
  • U.S. District Court Western District of Michigan, 1979
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 6th Circuit, 1983

Published Works

  • The Michigan Court of Claims Battle, Journal of the Michigan Assn. for Justice, Vol XLV, No. 3 (January, 2014)
  • Negligence Lawyer? There's an app for that. The proliferation and suitability of Apple's iPad in litigation practice, State Bar of Michigan, Negligence Law Section (2013)
  • Chiropractic Malpractice Course Book, West (Thomson Reuters) and National Business Institute (2012)
  • Immunity for Some is Justice For None, State Bar of Michigan, Negligence Law Section (2011)
  • Peer Review: Not An Iron Curtain, Michigan Assoc. for Justice (2010)


  • Opening Statement Using Rules of the Road: Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy – actual case presentation, Michigan Association for Justice Annual Medical Malpractice Seminar, 2010
  • Expert Depositions to Establish Rules and Trial Themes, Michigan Association for Justice Deposition Workshop, 2010
  • Adjunct Professor of Law, Thomas M. Cooley Law School, Ann Arbor, Michigan , 2013 – 2014
  • Principles of Witness and Case Sequencing at Trial, Mich Assoc for Justice, 2015
  • Responding to Surgical Complications, AAJ Da Vinci Robotic Surgery Litigation, 2013
  • Panelist, Expert Witnesses, American Inns of Court, Washtenaw County, 2013
  • Using Rules of the Road, Polarizing and Case Themes, Mich Assoc for Justice, Defense Medical Examiner Seminar, 2013
  • Voir Dire: Using Jury Research to Mold Case Nuances in Voir Dire, Michigan Association for Justice Annual Medical Malpractice Seminar, 2013
  • Fundamentals of Robotic Surgery Litigation, MAJ Annual Medical Malpractice Seminar, 2013
  • SB 652: What Happened to the Court of Claims?, MAJ Medical Malpractice, 2013
  • Emergency Medical Services: Responsibilities and Liabilities, Huron Valley Paramedic Program, 2013
  • Chiropractic Malpractice, West (Thomson Reuters), 2012
  • They made their bed, but do that have to lie in it? The use of hospital internal policies post-Jilek., MAJ Medical Negligence Annual Seminar, 2012
  • Taking the fight to the insurance company's front door: Consent judgments and garnishment actions to prevail in medical malpractice insurance coverage disputes., MAJ Medical Negligence Annual Seminar, 2012
  • Maximize your client's recovery: Making sense of Michigan's hybrid collateral source rule., MAJ Medical Negligence Annual Seminar, 2012
  • Taking Effective Expert Witness Depositions, Michigan Association for Justice, 2011

Honors and Awards

  • Best Lawyers in America – Medical Malpractice – Plaintiffs (2010 – Present)
  • Super Lawyers – Medical Malpractice, Plaintiff (2010 – Present)
  • Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Michigan, National Trial Lawyers Association (2013-2014)
  • Best Law Firms – US News & World Report 2014-2015
  • Pace Setter, Michigan Association for Justice (2011)
  • D Business Top Lawyer (Medical Malpractice; Personal Injury) (2011 - Present)
  • Top Attorneys in Michigan, New York Times
  • "AV" rating from Martindale-Hubble, the Highest Rating Available for both Legal Ability and Legal Ethics, (2000 – Present)

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • State Bar of Michigan, Member
  • American Association for Justice, Member
  • Michigan Association for Justice, Member, Executive Board
  • Washtenaw Association for Justice
  • American Inns of Court, Washtenaw Co. Chapter
  • National Crime Victims Bar Association

Past Employment Positions

  • Oakland County Circuit Court, Judicial Clerk
  • Carlin, Rano and Goethel in Southfield, 1980