Practice areas and experience
Chris has tried cases in Federal and state courts and argued winning appeals in the Seventh and Ninth Federal Circuit Courts of Appeals. His 29 years as a lawyer includes experience handling commercial cases, insurance coverage disputes, claims against directors, officers, and professionals, cases involving failed financial institutions and insurers, including most recently, failed bank investigations for the FDIC. shareholder and member disputes, trust and estate disputes, property damage and personal injury claims, and employment claims; counseling US, Bermudian and London market insurers on insurance claims; corporate related insurance work including acquisitions; other corporate acquisitions; physician contracting; and work as outside general counsel for a wide range of businesses, including closely-held and subsidiaries of non-US companies.
Chris began his legal career in 1983 at Peterson & Ross in Chicago, where he spent 15 years. He ultimately became an equity partner and remained of counsel for several years following formation of Jones Lemon & Graham LLP.
Although representing celebrities is not the norm for him, Chris had the pleasure of representing the Rolling Stones as on-site concert counsel for their visit to Chicago in the late 90’s.
University of Michigan, J.D., 1983 (Associate Editor, University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform); Loyola University, B.B.A. (Public Accounting), magna cum laude, 1980.
Admitted to Practice
Illinois; United States Courts of Appeals for the 7th and 9th Circuits; United States District Courts for Northern District of Illinois, Central District of Illinois, and Eastern District of Wisconsin; Northern District of Illinois Trial Bar; Registered Certified Public Accountant, Illinois.
Representative Litigation, Investigative, and Insurance Coverage Matters
- A case tried to a jury verdict in an Illinois Federal Court, in which Chris and co-counsel defeated many of the claims brought by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation against the board and president of a failed bank
- An Illinois Federal Court case tried to a defense bench-trial verdict, in which Chris and co-counsel represented a fidelity bond insurer in a claim involving an international financial fraud
- An insurance bad faith case tried to a jury verdict in an Oklahoma Federal court, in which Chris and co-counsel kept the damage award against the insurer to many, many multiples below the amount sought in closing argument—and set up an argument that ultimately succeeded on appeal
- A multimillion dollar legal malpractice claim tried to a defense jury verdict, arising from the defense of multiple psychiatric malpractice claims and involving allegations of satanic cult abuse and implantation of false memories, where Chris was actively involved in trial strategy and briefing
- A case in which Chris successfully resolved claims by the Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner alleging London Market D&O insurers were liable for substantially all of over $200 million in damages for allegedly aiding and abetting a breach of fiduciary duty by the board of a failed life insurer
- A case in Oregon Federal Court against the directors, officers, attorneys, accountants, and D&O and blanket bond insurer of a failed savings & loan association, where Chris and co-counsel favorably resolved the claims by the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation, while representing the insurers
- A coverage case involving the settlement of securities litigation arising from Nestle Corporation’s acquisition of Carnation, in which Chris and co-counsel defeated bad faith claims against the D&O insurer and convinced the Ninth Circuit to apply a favorable method of allocating and determining the insurer’s share of a settlement
- A case in California Federal Court for lawyers’ alleged negligence in defending malpractice claims against an insurance broker, where Chris and co-counsel represented plaintiff insurer and achieved policy limits settlement
- A case involving legal malpractice and fiduciary duty claims against company’s outside directors, where Chris defeated claims against lawyers and negotiated favorable settlement of separate fiduciary duty claims against outside directors
- A case against a contractor’s accountant for alleged negligence in providing “reviewed” and “compiled” financial statements, where Chris negotiated favorable settlement for accountant.
- Suits to enforce a New Zealand arbitration award and judgment, and then subsequent proceedings to enforce related US judgments
- Numerous securities class actions, shareholder derivative suits, and managed care class actions, involving millions, and in some cases hundreds of millions in alleged damages, where Chris represented the interests of D&O or E&O insurers
- Numerous property damage and personal injury claims arising from alleged mismarking of underground utility lines and other construction-related litigation involving personal injury
- A multimillion dollar financial institution bond claim, involving fraudulent documents, where we represent two major domestic insurers
- Investigations involving bank failures in and out of Illinois, including claims against directors, officers and professionals
- Anglo-American Insurance Company and Richard Lawrence, an Underwriter at Lloyd’s London ,on behalf of himself and all those other Lloyd’s Underwriters subscribing to Policy No. 595/LEO 09501 v. Emil J. Molin, et al., 670 A.2d 194 (Pa. Cmwlth. Nov. 06, 1995)
- Anglo-American Insurance Company and Colin Spreckley, an Underwriter at Lloyd’s London ,on behalf of himself and all those other Lloyd’s Underwriters subscribing to Policy No. 595/D00114001 v. Emil J. Molin, et al, 673 A.2d 986 (Pa. Cmwlth. Feb. 27, 1996)
- Anglo-American Insurance Company, Zurich Re (UK) Ltd., and Colin William Spreckley, an Underwriter at Lloyd’s London ,on behalf of himself and all those other Lloyd’s Underwriters subscribing to Policy No. 595/D00114001 v. Emil J. Molin, et al., 547 Pa. 504, 691 A.2d 929 (1997)
- In re Carnation Company Securities Litigation, Master File No. CV 84 6913 FW, Asimow v. Carnation Co., 904 F.2d 40 (9th Cir. 1990)
- Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation v. Russell Greenwood, et al., 701 F. Supp. 691 (C.D.Ill. 1988)
- Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation v. Russell Greenwood, et al., 719 F. Supp. 749 (C.D.Ill. 1989)
- Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation v. Russell Greenwood, et al., 739 F. Supp. 450 (C.D.Ill. 1989)
- Kevin Graeme Smith and Certain Other Underwriters at Lloyd’s London v. Carl A. Neumann and Arnstein and Lehr, 225 Ill. Dec. 168, 289 Ill. App. 3d 1056 (2d Dist. 1997)
- (Jane Doe) v. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom 1994 WL 478591 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 1, 1994)
- John N. Basic, Sr. v. Fitzroy Engineering, Ltd., 949 F. Supp. 1333 (N.D.Ill. 1996), aff’d, 132 F.3d 36 (7th Cir. (Ill.), Dec 04, 1997) (TABLE, TEXT IN WESTLAW, NO. 97 1052)
- In the Matter of the Arbitration between Fitzroy Engineering, Ltd v. Flame Engineering, Inc., No. 94 C. 2029, 1994 WL 700173 (N.D.Ill., December 13, 1994)
- Technic Engineering, Ltd. v. Basic Envirotech, Inc., et al., No. 97 C 4674, 1998 WL 173240 (N.D.Ill., April 9, 1998)
- Technic Engineering, Ltd. v. Basic Envirotech, Inc., et al., 53 F. Supp.2d 1007 (N.D.Ill. 1999)
- Matthew Walsh, et al. v. Employers Insurance of Wausau, No. 85 C 01770, (1985 U.S. Dist. LEXIS ( N.D. Ill., November 7, 1985)
- Thompson v. Allied Bank of Texas, et al., Civ. Action No. 87 29 A (U.S.D.C. M.D.La.)(1991 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20247 (Oct. 21, 1991)
- First Bank v. Unique Marble and Granite Corporation et al., 406 Ill. App. 3d 701 (2d Dist. 2010)
Purchase of assets of multi-location wholesale and retail building supply company and manufacturer (2011-2012); Private placement of shares in insurance company program manager and related transactions (with co-counsel, 2009); sale of privately-held insurance holding company to publicly-held London market insurer (over $55 million) (with co-counsel, 2007); private equity investment in manufacturer, with 2 class ownership structure (2010); purchase of thermoforming plastics manufacturer and related real estate (2002); sale of privately held home health care company (2009); sale of specialty wire manufacturer (2008); sale of shares in specialty chemical distributor (2007); purchase of shares in household products manufacturer and wholesaler (2007); sale of aircraft maintenance company (2009); sale of parts distributor and servicer of injection molding machines (1999); sale of tobacco and candy products distributor (1999); sale of majority interest in manufacturer’s representative for multiple audio and visual product lines (2006).
Illinois State and Kane County Bar Associations; American Bar Association including Litigation, Tort Trial and Insurance Practice, and Business Law Sections, Litigation Section Commercial, Insurance Coverage, and Business Torts Litigation committees, and “TIPS” Section Professional, Officers’ and Directors’ Liability, Fidelity and Surety, and Insurance Coverage committees; Illinois CPA Society; Professional Liability Underwriting Society.
Board member, Geneva Community Chest, Anderson Animal Shelter, and the Geneva Lions Foundation; former Arbitrator, Circuit Court of Cook County Mandatory Arbitration Program.