Practice Areas

  • Litigation
  • Business Law
  • Employment Law
  • Insurance

Christopher J. Graham

chrisg@joneslemon.com

View my LinkedIn profile

Practice areas and experience

Chris has tried and won cases and won appeals in State and Federal courts, is outside general counsel for numerous middle-market and small businesses, frequently advises insurers, and even was on-site concert counsel for the Rolling Stones! Chris began his career in 1983 at a large, Chicago-headquartered international law firm (Peterson & Ross) and since 1998, has been a partner in his own now, seven-attorney firm.

Chris regularly provides claims advice and handles litigation for major D&O/EPL/Fiduciary-liability insurers and is national claims and regulatory counsel for a major life and disability insurer. He has extensive experience in E-discovery and computer forensics issues; has handled commercial cases, shareholder disputes, failed-bank investigations and litigation for and opposite of the FDIC, claims against directors, officers, accountants, architects, actuaries, engineers, agents/brokers, surveyors, and property managers, personal injury and property damage defense, and civil rights claims; litigated coverage under financial institution bonds and D&O, professional liability, CGL, life and disability, and property insurance policies; and otherwise provided insurers advice about claims, large-tower coverage disputes, policy drafting, reserves including audits, employment and regulatory matters, and acquisitions.

As outside general counsel, Chris has advised about employment, sales agent, distribution, supply, sales, consignment, independent contractor, and other commercial agreements, real estate, leasing, licensing, intellectual property, and business acquisitions. Chris represents manufacturers, distributors, sales agent, software-related, medical-device, and automation companies, and professional-service firms including actuaries, brokers/agents, and MGU's. Chris's clients include Swiss, German, UK, Chinese, and Mexican companies and, in the past, companies from France, Canada, and New Zealand. Several of Chris's clients are in the automotive industry.

 

Education

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, where Chris and co-counsel defeated many of the claims brought by the FDIC against a failed bank's board and president. 
  • An Illinois Federal Court case tried to a defense bench-trial verdict, in which Chris and co-counsel defended a fidelity bond insurer against a claim involving an international financial fraud.
  • An insurance bad faith case tried to a jury verdict in an Oklahoma Federal Court.
  • A multi-million dollar legal malpractice claim tried to a defense jury verdict, arising from defense of multiple psychiatric malpractice claims.
  • A case by the Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner alleging D&O insurers were liable for 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 by the FSLIC against the directors, officers, attorneys, accountants, and D&O and blanket bond insurer of a failed savings & loan association.
  • A D&O coverage and bad faith case involving the settlement of securities litigation arising from Nestle Corporation’s acquisition of Carnation.
  • A case in California Federal Court for lawyers’ alleged negligence in defending malpractice claims against an insurance broker.
  • A case involving defense of legal malpractice and fiduciary duty claims against the company’s outside counsel, resolved favorably by motion.
  • A case against a contractor’s accountant for alleged negligence in providing “reviewed” and “compiled” financial statements.
  • Suits to enforce a New Zealand arbitration award and judgment, and then subsequent proceedings to enforce related US judgments.
  • Numerous securities class actions, ERISA 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 and 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 $45 million dollar financial institution bond claim, involving fraudulent documents, where our firm represented two major domestic insurers.
  • Investigations and litigation for the FDIC involving bank failures, including claims against directors, officers and professionals.
  • A sales agent's commission and penalty claim against a farming operation and food processor, resolved favorably by motion.
  • A Federal case between business competitors involving extensive E-discovery and computer forensics and allegations of an illegal hiring raid and trade-secret misappropriation, fiduciary-breach, and Computer Fraud and Abuse Act claims. 

 

Reported Cases

Representative Transactions

Sale of assets of manufacturing business in US and UK (2017); sale of insurance brokerage (2017); purchase of assets of wholesale and retail building supply company (2016 Iowa; 2015 Illinois ); purchases of shares of property tax consulting company (2016); purchase of assets of printing company (2014); sale of assets of automation company (2013); 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 (2009); sale of privately-held insurance holding company to publicly-held London market insurer (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).

 

Professional associations

Illinois State and Kane County Bar Associations; American Bar Association including Litigation, Tort Trial & Insurance Practice, Business, and Tax Law Sections, Litigation Section Commercial, Insurance Coverage, and Business Torts Litigation committees, and “TIPS” Section Professional Liability Insurance Fidelity and Surety, and Insurance Coverage committees; Professional Liability Underwriting Society; Claims and Litigation Management Alliance.

 

Blog

Co-author of Jones Lemon D&O Digest, Financial Institution Bond Blog, Professional Liability Insurance Digest; previously co-author of Jones Lemon Employment Law Tracker, Business Law Blog, Lawyers Malpractice Digest

 

Other activities

Past board member, Geneva Community Chest, Anderson Animal Shelter, and the Geneva Lions Foundation; former Arbitrator, Circuit Court of Cook County Mandatory Arbitration Program; former adjunct instructor, business law, Loyola University of Chicago