Office: (310) 861-2470
Direct Dial: (310) 861-2471
Fax: (310) 861-2476
Chris is a trial lawyer, General Counsel, and deal maker.
Chris has won every case he has tried to a jury or bench verdict. He represents clients in complex trial and litigation matters in a wide variety of industries including real estate, franchise, hospitality, construction, entertainment, sports, energy, and finance. The types of cases Chris has tried and litigated are as far reaching as the industries he has represented, including profits litigation, partnership disputes, franchise litigation, employment matters (representing both executives and companies), trade secret, trademark, corporate governance, white collar crime, and securities matters.
Having previously delivered successful results in “bet the company” disputes, Chris has also been asked to serve as General Counsel to clients in the construction and hospitality industries, managing transactional counsel, negotiating business terms, and establishing company policy and procedures.
Prior to his law career, Chris served in The United States Navy from 1989-1994 as an Operations Specialist Second Class (Surface Warfare) and Anti-Submarine Air Controller, during which time he received three letters of commendation and five medals serving in Operation Desert Storm, counter-narcotics operations, and other missions. Chris was raised in Cleveland, Ohio and is a huge Cleveland Browns, Cleveland Indians, Cleveland Cavaliers, Ohio State Buckeyes, Dayton Flyers, and Bowling Green Falcons fan.
- Obtained dismissal of putative class action brought against large home improvement contractor and national franchisor alleging claims of false advertising and unfair business practices
- Obtained a multi-million dollar settlement for the minority members of a company that operates one of the nation's premier multi-day sporting events against a national event and venue owner in profits litigation involving claims of breach of contract, fraud, and breach of fiduciary duty.
- Prosecuted claims on behalf of a large home-furnishings company and national franchisor for fraud, breach of contract, intentional interference, and unlawful business practices against private equity funds and their principals, ultimately resulting in the elimination of the entire preferred return (in excess of $49 million) associated with stock issued to the private equity funds. The case also resulted in the surrender of the preferred shares to the company for less than half of the amount of the original principal investment of the private equity funds.
- Served as General Counsel in the $100 million acquisition of an international food distributor.
- Won a jury verdict for a medical management company against an operating partner including an award of punitive damages.
- Obtained a defense jury verdict for an investment company and its principal in a case brought by a former investor alleging fraud and breach of contract among other claims.
- Closed several acquisitions, related financings, and lease transactions for real estate developer and holding company including an $18 million acquisition of an industrial building with unique title and zoning issues.
- Defended at trial a loan acquisition company against claims brought by a borrower who claimed that he had formed a joint venture with the client to obtain a loan pool from the FDIC and alleged claims including breach of a joint venture agreement, promissory estoppel, and wrongful foreclosure resulting in a judgment for the client.
- Obtained a judgment (including damages and injunctive relief) on behalf of national franchisor against a franchisee who abandoned its franchise and attempted to sell the franchisor's intellectual property and other assets to a third party.
- Successfully prosecuted at trial claims for breach of a construction loan agreement on behalf of a multi-unit residential developer against a large international bank and subsequent acquirer of the loan for failure to timely and completely fund the loan resulting in a favorable settlement in the middle of trial.
- Obtained a judgment at trial on behalf of a loan investor against a lender arising out of defaulted loans on various real estate projects due to inadequate due diligence performed by the lender prior to funding the loan, inappropriate construction draw approvals, and disregard of the investor's instructions during the foreclosure process.
- Represented a world-renowned music recording and performing artist in surcharge litigation brought by the California Attorney General, including allegations of breach of fiduciary duty arising out of a charitable trust and probate estate of the artist's world-famous mother. The case resulted in a settlement involving no out-of-pocket payment from the client and reimbursement of her attorney fees and costs.
- Conducted numerous internal investigations for clients including the investigation of an alleged multi-million dollar theft by the former partner of an entertainment management company resulting in successful litigation and criminal prosecution against the former partner.
- Obtained a settlement massively reducing triple net lease charges for several groups of medical professionals based on claims of fraud in the procurement of leases and lease extensions after the acquisition of several Class A medical buildings.
- Successfully closed several franchise acquisitions for a national franchisor.
- Successfully represented a water container and distribution company in several acquisitions of retail locations as well as establishment of a franchising unit.
- Prosecuted individual and derivative claims for the minority owner of an aviation maintenance and repair company against the majority shareholder resulting in a favorable buy out of the client's interest in the corporation.
- Successfully represented a hotel land developer and its principals in litigation against one of the largest private equity firms on the West Coast. Chris prosecuted claims related to underfunding of the project and fraud and also successfully defended the clients against breach of contract and alter ego claims asserted by the private equity firm.
- Defended the directors and officers of a large privately held corporation in litigation brought by a minority private equity investor alleging various claims, including breach of fiduciary duty and constructive fraud. The case resulted in a complete dismissal.
- Obtained the dismissal, on a motion to dismiss, of a case brought by a franchisee association against a national franchisor, resulting in the validation of numerous business practices as well as a finding that the franchisee association lacked standing, thus preventing future litigation.
- Represented the founder and owner of an over twenty-five-year-old world famous nightclub against his prior institutional partner, resulting in an advantageous buy-out that restored full ownership to the client.
- Represented a client in an investigation by the Los Angeles District Attorney arising out of a tax assessor scandal resulting in no charges being brought against the client.
- Served as General Counsel in the refinancing of a senior debt facility on behalf of a large home-furnishings company and national franchisor, the acquisition and re-branding of several competing companies, and the negotiation of a new form franchise agreement with its franchisee association.
- Served as General Counsel to a hospitality company in an $11.9 million financing package for a nightclub and restaurant, the acquisition and re-branding of a competing nightclub, and an investment in a high-end restaurant.
- Represented numerous high level executives in litigation or negotiations against former employers, including the executive editor of an internationally circulated magazine, a professional hockey team executive, the editor of a major internet portal, and a recording industry executive.
- Successfully represented a large construction company in several wage and hour class actions and discrimination cases.
- Established employment policies and procedures as well as artist/executive agreements for clients including a film editing company.
- Successfully represented an international food distributor in trade secret litigation against a former partner and several former employees resulting in the buy-out of the former partner from several real estate investments.
- University of Dayton School of Law, J.D., magna cum laude (1997)
- University of the State of New York, B.S., Political Science and Sociology (1993)
- The Ohio State University (1988-1989)
- Leadership Council and Corporations Committee, Lambda Legal
- International Franchise Association
- The Ohio State University Alumni Association
- US. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
- US. District Court, Central District of California
- US. District Court, Eastern District of California
- US. District Court, Northern District of California
- US. District Court, Southern District of California
- “Nev. High Court Split The Baby In Key Foreclosure Law Case,” Law360 (November 21, 2013)
- “Riverisland Ruling Gives Calif. Fraud Victims Fairer Shake,” Law360 (January 23, 2013)
- Named a Southern California “Super Lawyer,” Super Lawyers (2015-2018)*
- “Fund Exits 2018: What are notable exit trends from the past year?” Information Management Network, Laguna Beach, California (January 18, 2018)
- “Fund Exits 2017: What is the Best Exit Strategy in Today's Market?” Information Management Network, Laguna Beach, California (January 19, 2017)
- “New Fund/Emerging Manager Trouble-Shooting Roundtable: Managing the Inherent Risks/Challenges of Getting Started in Today's Regulated Climate,” Information Management Network, Laguna Beach, California (January 19, 2017)
- “Small-Mid Sized Funds: Niche Opportunities & Tricks of the Trade,” Information Management Network, Laguna Beach, California (January 21, 2016)
*Being named to the list or receiving the award is not intended and should not be viewed as comparative to other lawyers or to create an expectation about results that might be achieved in a future matter