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Overview

Chris is an experienced trial attorney managing legal teams that navigate complex litigation.  

Chris is experienced in first chairing jury trials and managing litigation teams of attorneys and paralegals when handling sophisticated product, contractor, premises, tort and other liability claims across multiple states. He understands that such management includes not only legal solutions, but financial strategy and the implementation of software and technology. Chris’ decades of experience as a litigator of complex matters allow him to assess and resolve cases efficiently. He enjoys mentoring teammates, sharing tested solutions and streamlining pathways to benefit clients.

In addition to his complex tort practice, Chris has a broad background as a litigator, including arbitration, mediation and case negotiation. He has worked closely with clients to resolve state and federal claims involving fire, construction, employment, commercial disputes, personal injury and environmental damages including Proposition 65, pesticides, Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).


Industries

Services

Education

  • J.D., University of New Hampshire School of Law
  • B.A., University of Pennsylvania
    • cum laude
    • American Civilization

Admissions

  • California
  • New Hampshire
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, District of New Hampshire

Professional Memberships and Certifications

  • State Bar of California
  • New Hampshire Bar Association
  • Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF)
  • Defense Research Institute (DRI)
  • Association of Defense Counsel of Northern California and Nevada (ADCNCN)
  • Representative, New Hampshire House of Representatives, 1980-1982
Experience

Prior to joining Husch Blackwell, Chris was involved in the following trial matters:

  • Webb v. CertainTeed Corp. – Products Liability/Asbestos – 80-year-old Malignant mesothelioma – Jury trial – Lead trial counsel – Resolved an hour before cross-examination of plaintiff began for very low 5 figure amount vs. 7 figure demand. (Alameda County Superior Court, September 16-October 3, 2019)
  • Groves v. J.T. Thorpe & Son – Products Liability/Asbestos – 79-year-old Malignant mesothelioma – Lead trial counsel before jury – Resolved during cross-examination of plaintiff for 25% of demand. (Los Angeles Superior Court, March 18-25, 2019)
  • Slaughterback v. J.T. Thorpe & Son – Products Liability/Asbestos – 76-year-old Lung cancer – Lead trial counsel – Bifurcated jury trial on affirmative defense – Resolved during cross-examination of plaintiff. (San Francisco Superior Court, January 22-February 7, 2019)
  • Hooper v. CertainTeed Corp. – Products Liability/Asbestos – 77-year-old wrongful death malignant mesothelioma – Lead trial counsel – Resolved after jury selection before opening statements at client's nuisance value offer. (Alameda County Superior Court, July 9-18, 2018)
  • Hukkanen v. J.T. Thorpe & Son – Products Liability/Asbestos – 76-year-old Malignant mesothelioma – Jury trial – Lead trial counsel – Case resolved moments before opening statement when plaintiffs accepted long-standing offer. (Los Angeles Superior Court, September 5-21, 2017)
  • Houpt v. J.T. Thorpe & Son – Products Liability/Asbestos – 76-year-old Malignant mesothelioma – CWW Supervised trial attorneys – 10-day jury trial – jury's verdict less than $100,000 against client. (Los Angeles Superior Court, January 23-February 3, 2017)
  • Hahn v. CertainTeed Corporation – Products Liability/Asbestos – Malignant mesothelioma – Resolved during closing arguments after 17-day jury trial. Plaintiffs accepted half of demand. (San Francisco Superior Court, 2016)
  • Vizconde v. J.T. Thorpe & Son, Inc. – Products Liability/Asbestos – Malignant mesothelioma – Resolved during preliminary trial motions. (Los Angeles Superior Court, 2015)
  • Harkin v. J.T. Thorpe & Son, Inc. – Products Liability/Asbestos – Malignant mesothelioma – Lead trial counsel – Resolved for 5 figures number during cross examination of plaintiff's witnesses' during jury trial. (Alameda Superior Court, 2015)
  • Spaulding v. CertainTeed – Products Liability/Asbestos – Malignant mesothelioma – Resolved after 3 weeks of preliminary motions and hearings before starting jury trial. (Santa Clara Superior Court, 2015)
  • O'Kelley v. CertainTeed Corporation – Products Liability/Asbestos – Wrongful death lung cancer – Lead trial counsel – Defense Verdict after 5-week jury trial. (Alameda Superior Court, 2014)
  • McFall v. Jaguar Land Rover North America – Products Liability/Asbestos – Wrongful death/lung cancer – Resolved for 5 figures during examination of plaintiffs' witnesses at jury trial. (San Francisco Superior Court, 2014)
  • Bishop v. CertainTeed Corp. – Products Liability/Asbestos – Malignant mesothelioma – Lead trial counsel – Defense verdict after 4-week jury trial. (San Francisco Superior Court, 2013)
  • McKinley, et al., v CertainTeed Corporation – Products Liability/Asbestos – Wrongful death malignant mesothelioma – Lead trial counsel – Resolved during jury voir dire at trial. (Alameda Superior Court, 2011)
  • Lehman, et al. v Metalclad Insulation – Products Liability/Asbestos – Wrongful death malignant mesothelioma – Lead trial counsel – Resolved during jury voir dire at trial. (San Francisco Superior Court, 2011)
  • McKenzie, et al., v CertainTeed Corporation and Velan Valve Cor. – Products Liability/Asbestos – Wrongful death/Lung Cancer – Lead trial counsel – Resolved during jury voir dire at trial. (San Francisco Superior Court, 2010)
  • Clark et al. v Metalclad Insulation Corp – Products Liability/Asbestos – Malignant mesothelioma – Lead trial counsel – Resolved during jury voir dire at trial. (San Francisco Superior Court, 2010)
  • Bennett, et al. v Plant Insulation – Products Liability/Asbestos – Wrongful death/lung cancer – Lead trial counsel – Resolved during witness examination at jury trial. (San Francisco Superior Court, 2009)
  • Moreno v MTD Holdings Inc. – Products Liability/Asbestos – Malignant mesothelioma – Lead trial counsel – Resolved during examination of last defense witness at jury trial. (San Francisco Superior Court, 2009)
  • Collins, et al. v Plant Insulation – Products Liability/Asbestos – Wrongful death malignant mesothelioma – Lead trial counsel – Jury verdict within evaluated $10M outcome (half of plaintiffs $20M demand). (Alameda Superior Court, 2008)
  • Marshall – Plant Insulation Standard Oil Trial Group – Wrongful death malignant mesothelioma – Lead trial counsel – Resolved during jury voir dire at trial. (Alameda Superior Court, 2008)
  • Johnsen et al. v Ford Motor Company and General Motors – Products Liability/Asbestos – Malignant mesothelioma – Lead trial counsel – Non-suit granted (choice of law). (San Francisco Superior Court, 2007)
  • Villalpando et. al. v Ford Motor Company and General Motors Corp – Wrongful death/malignant mesothelioma – Co-lead trial counsel – Defense jury verdict. (Alameda Superior Court, 2007)
  • Hatcher v Ford Motor Company – Products Liability/Asbestos – Malignant mesothelioma – Lead trial counsel – Non-suit granted (replacement parts). (San Francisco Superior Court, 2007)
  • Sunderman v Cleaver Brooks – Products Liability/Asbestos – Asbestosis – Lead trial counsel – Resolved after jury verdict for 5-figure settlement. (San Francisco Superior Court, 2002)
  • Henderson v. Rudolph & Sletten – Products Liability/Asbestos – Malignant mesothelioma – Resolved during jury voir dire at trial. (Alameda Superior Court, 2001)
  • Murray et al. v Pacific Mechanical Corp. – Products Liability/Asbestos – Lung cancer – Lead trial counsel – Defense jury verdict. (San Francisco Superior Court, May, 2001)
  • Campbell et al. v C&H Sugar – Products Liability/Asbestos – Malignant mesothelioma – Lead trial counsel – Defense jury verdict. (Alameda Superior Court, January, 2001)
  • Armstrong, et al. v Pacific Mechanical Corp – Products Liability/Asbestos – Malignant mesothelioma – Lead trial counsel – Dismissal at end of plaintiffs' case. (San Francisco Superior Court, 1998)
  • Argeris v. Summerfield Suites Hotels – Products Liability/Solvents exposures – Respiratory injury – Lead trial counsel – Verdict of 1/10 of demand. (San Mateo Superior Court, 1997)
  • Johnson v. Cabrillo College – Products Liability/Solvents – Neurological and respiratory injuries – Lead trial counsel – Statute of limitations trial. (Santa Cruz Superior Court, 1990)

Published Appellate Opinions

  • Johnson v. ArvinMeritor (2017) 9 Cal.App. 5th 234 – Order on motion for summary judgment upheld where client met burden to show no threshold exposure to asbestos from its products.
  • Collins, et al., v. Plant Insulation (2010) 185 Cal.App.260, Navy's immunity from suit does not bar allocation of fault (Proposition 51).
  • Hunter v. Pacific Mechanical Corp. (1995) 37 Cal.App. 4th 1282, establishing summary judgment standard for defendant's burden of proof in toxic exposure cases.
  • Setliff v. E.I. DuPont et al. (1995) 32 Cal.App. 4th 1525, foreclosing suit where a party cannot plead the identity of the chemical causing injury.
  • Sununu v. Clamshell Alliance, et. al., 122 N.H. 668, 448 A.2d 431 (1982), upholding due process rights of anti-nuclear organization.

Unpublished Appellate Opinions

  • Hatcher, et al., v. Ford Motor Company, et al., No. A112262, Calif. App. 1st Dist., June 28, 2006, striking allegations of liability for replacement parts [foreshadowing the California Supreme Court's decision supporting same in O'Neil, et al., v. Crane Co., et al. (2012) 53 Cal. 4th 335].
  • Mindham, et. al. v. Plant Brothers Corp., No. A078522, Calif. App., 1st Dist., May, 1998, contractor not liable where no evidence it caused exposure or retained control over work site.
Outside the Office

Chris and his wife enjoy skiing, hiking and kayaking around Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada mountains. They enjoy frequent visits from their adult children, one of whom is also a California attorney, as well as greater family and friends.

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