Chris has extensive experience in product liability, business tort and mass tort litigation. He has represented clients in governmental cost-recovery suits, class actions and cases brought by individuals and corporations. He also counsels clients on strategies for reducing litigation and enforcement risk in the context of domestic and international clinical trials.
Chris’s practice focuses on formulating and developing medical, scientific and statistical defense strategies primarily in the areas of toxic tort, business tort, products liability and intellectual property. He has successfully resolved client matters before trial through targeted discovery of fact witnesses, treating physicians and experts. He has also created defense strategies for litigation and arbitration involving a broad range of exposures and products, including foods, alcohol, tobacco, automobiles, pharmaceuticals and medical devices in federal, state and international venues.
Chris is a member of the firm's Knowledge Management Working Group, has been a member of Shook’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee and is involved in the firm’s mentoring and business development programs.
Before joining Shook in 1997, Chris focused on federal white collar criminal law, trade regulation and appellate practice. He completed an extern clerkship for The Hon. Alex Kozinski of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit and served as a pro bono housing attorney for Mid-Minnesota Legal Assistance.
Lock v. Philip Morris USA Inc., et al. (Favorable verdict)
Nichols v. Asbestos Corporation Ltd., et al. (Dismissed on motion after expert discovery)
Szymanski v. R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, et al. (Defense verdict)
Willis v. R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, et al. (Willis I mistrial, Willis II defense verdict)
Pokarney v. Kraft Foods North America, Inc., et al. (Settled on favorable terms after expert discovery)
Krigbaum v. American Tobacco Company, et al. (Dismissed after treater depositions)
Coolidge v. Philip Morris Incorporated, et al. (Defense verdict on medical issues)
Americo Napoli, Jr. v. E & T, LLC d.b.a. Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House. (Settled on favorable terms after expert reports served)
Chris represents pro bono client KlaasKids Foundation in a suit against the California Department of State Hospitals (formerly Department of Mental Health) and its director for the agency's failure to comply with the Sexual Violent Predator Act as strengthened by Jessica’s Law, which mandates a full clinical evaluation of inmates identified as potential sexually violent predators before releasing them back into the community. Chris is also representing the family of a child who was molested and murdered by an inmate illegally released after being identified as a potential sexual violent predator.
Chris has authored four articles for the American Bar Association Product Liability Section, titled "Inside the Learned Intermediary Doctrine" (Products Liability Litigation E-Newsletter - July 29, 2013); "'Exhaustion Doctrine' Doesn't Apply in Context of GM Seeds" (News and Developments - June 6, 2013); "Retroactive Elimination of Private Action Upheld" (News and Developments - Feb. 28, 2013); and "Pay-to-Delay OK Says 11th Circuit" (News and Developments - June 1, 2012).
While in law school, Chris was a member of the law journal Transnational Law and Contemporary Problems and authored “Protectionism Toward Transplants and Obligations Under GATT, FCN Treaty and OECD Instruments: Trojan Horse or Engine for Growth?” TLCP (1994).
Chris recently presented on products liability to the Silicon Valley Association of General Counsel and litigation risk avoidance strategies at an American Conference Institute program on "International Clinical Trials." He has also contributed a Podcast, "U.S. v. Caronia: Off-Label Promotion Is Protected Speech," to the ABA Section of Litigation's "Sound Advice" feature.