About

Stephen D. Houck is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School.  He is admitted to practice in New York State, all federal district courts in New York State, the D.C., Second and Third Circuit United States Courts of Appeal and the United States Supreme Court.

Private Practice

While in private practice, Mr. Houck worked on numerous antitrust matters in litigation and arbitration and before federal and state antitrust enforcement agencies.  He has also successfully litigated a wide variety complex civil matters representing both plaintiffs and defendants – from contract disputes to allegations of recovered memory sexual abuse to matters arising out of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy.  In August 2019, he obtained a landmark decision from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals upholding the rights of university employees to defend themselves against accusations of sexual harassment.  See https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=11740077104017296958&q=menaker+v.+hofstra&hl=en&as_sdt=6,33&as_vis=1

Government Experience

Mr. Houck’s government experience includes more than four years as Chief of the Antitrust Bureau in the New York State Attorney General’s Office.  While there, he served as lead trial counsel for New York and the other 19 plaintiff states which, together with the Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice, successfully sued Microsoft for violating Section 2 of the Sherman Act in connection with its Windows operating system.   He subsequently served for more than eight years as Enforcement Counsel to the California Group of states on matters relating to enforcement of their Final Judgment.  Notably, in that capacity, he led the plaintiff states’ successful effort to extend the term of their Final Judgments over the combined opposition of both Microsoft and the U.S. government. See https://www.casemine.com/judgement/us/5914b345add7b049347653bc

Under his leadership, the Antitrust Bureau vigorously enforced the antitrust laws within New York State as well as nationally in cases like Microsoft.  One notable success was a challenge to the withdrawal of discount coupons for grocery products in Western New York by a leading grocery chain and many prominent U.S. grocery manufacturers. See https://apnews.com/c54d73c7a29b0b47e2df1526d7330a24.  Another noteworthy achievement was a lawsuit brought by his office to enjoin the combination of two hospitals in Poughkeepsie, one of the few such government actions to succeed in the last several decades.  See https://www.dailyfreeman.com/news/poughkeepsie-hospitals-agree-to-dissolve-joint-venture/article_879acd9a-d40d-5203-a675-f111bc289448.html.  Mr. Houck was also the principal draftsman for the state attorney generals of the Protocol for Merger Investigations Between the Federal Enforcement Agencies and State Attorneys General.  See https://www.justice.gov/atr/protocol-coordination-merger-investigations-between-federal-enforcement-agencies-and-state  He is a recipient of the Marvin Award, given annually by the National Association of Attorneys General to recognize outstanding expertise, achievement and leadership by an assistant attorney general.

Not-for-Profit Leadership

Mr. Houck served as the Executive Director of the State Center, a not-for-profit corporation whose mission is to enhance the enforcement of antitrust and consumer protection laws at the state level, from its inception in 2005 to 2020.  In that capacity, he devised and organized numerous programs, trainings, workshops and conferences to assist state attorneys general in their work.  See www.statecenterinc.org.

Community Service

Mr. Houck has been actively engaged in civic activities to benefit the community in which he lives.  He is a Past Chair of the New York State Bar Association’s Antitrust Law Section, serves on its Executive Committee, and inaugurated and developed its trial/expert witness training programs.  He is a recipient of the Antitrust Law Section’s William T. Lifland Award given annually in recognition of a member’s distinguished service to the Section and to the legal profession generally.

Mr. Houck has successfully litigated pro bono matters on behalf of African American corrections officers regarding issues of employment discrimination and on behalf of H.E.L.P, an organization founded by Andrew Cuomo to combat homelessness, in a NIMBY lawsuit regarding the siting of a homeless shelter in Westchester County.  He has been a long-time member of the Board of Princeton Interns in Civic Service, a not-for-profit corporation which places Princeton undergraduates in summer civic service internships (https://pics.princeton.edu/).  In addition, Mr. Houck has served as a member of his condominium board in Brooklyn.