Chris is Co-Managing Partner of Quinn Emanuel’s Houston office. Chris is an experienced trial lawyer focused on the key disputes businesses face – from breach of contract and trade secret claims to business torts and antitrust disputes. A natural in the courtroom, Chris brings substantive jury-trial experience and commands the respect of judges and juries alike. His comfort level with going to trial is a formidable competitive advantage for his clients – both in and outside the courtroom.
Chris represents plaintiffs and defendants in state and federal courts throughout Texas and elsewhere. A key to his approach (and success) is developing a close working relationship with his clients and maintaining an open, ongoing dialogue that ensures the best strategic decisions at every stage of litigation. Whether his clients are looking to obtain a quick settlement, or to see their matter through trial, he is prepared every step of the way.
A distinctly business-oriented trial lawyer, Chris studied Business Administration with a concentration in Finance at The University of Texas at El Paso, where he was also a student government senator, captain of the football team, and a bowl game MVP. His demonstrated work ethic today comes in large part from his early drive to succeed. After working in the insurance industry for two years, Chris graduated with honors from the University of Michigan Law School. He then completed a judicial clerkship with the Honorable Philip R. Martinez in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas.
In 2022 and 2023, Chris was ranked by Chambers USA in General Commercial Litigation and most recently has been named Litigator of the Week by The American Lawyer. He has also been repeatedly recognized as a “Texas Rising Star” by Thomson Reuters’ Super Lawyers, and he has been named to the Texas Super Lawyers list from 2020-2022. Most recently was named Legal 500 "Recommended Lawyers" in general commercial Disputes and Energy Litigation: Oil and Gas 2023. Chris has also been selected to the Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Financial Lawyers guide from 2020-2023. Chris currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Houston Parks Board.
- Ocean Point Terminals f/k/a/ Limetree Bay Terminals, LLC.
- Huntsman Corporation
- Limetree Bay Terminals, LLC. v. Unipec America, Inc. (2022) – Lead counsel for Limetree in arbitration seeking to save contract worth approximately $50 million per year that had nine-figures remaining on it and to recover tens of millions of dollars in withheld crude oil storage fees. First-chaired arbitration which resulted in award preventing adversary’s attempt to terminate contract and awarding $20.7 million in damages to client. Received American Lawyer “Litigator of the Week” honors for this victory.
- Huntsman Corporation – Petag Corp. v. The City of Houston, No. 4:20-cv-4160 (S.D. Tex.) (2021) - Lead counsel for Huntsman Corporation where we successfully secured Huntsman’s dismissal from a lawsuit regarding the City of Houston terminating the Plaintiff’s water service.
- Confidential Client (2020) – First-chaired and secured a temporary restraining order stopping operator from shutting in a number of wells in which our client owned an interest without our client’s consent, in violation of the relevant operating agreement. The hearing was held on very short notice and, given COVID-19, argued telephonically. After winning the TRO hearing, the case quickly settled amicably prior to the temporary injunction hearing
- Confidential Client – Successfully led investigation for a Fortune 500 company regarding potential issues dealing with the sale and labeling of a product. The representation involved an extensive analysis of compliance obligations. Interviewed nearly 20 witnesses during this investigation and provided a detailed report outlining our findings and recommendations.
- TOTAL E&P USA – Trial counsel for TOTAL E&P USA in a contract dispute in the Southern District of Texas concerning decommissioning of deepwater oil wells and pipeline.
- Freeport LNG (2018) – Represented Freeport LNG in pipeline dispute with Wood Group Mustang stemming from construction project at Freeport’s liquefied natural gas terminal located on Quintana Island.
- Confidential Clients (2018) – Secured a complete summary judgment victory and permanent injunction on behalf of two U.S.-based airlines stemming from fraudulent liens filed by defendant. The summary judgment order included an award for attorneys’ fees.
- Ruben Rodriguez v. Encana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc. (2017) – Secured a complete dismissal of a breach of contract claim brought against client Helmerich & Payne by a subcontract employee who allegedly was injured on an H&P rig located on Encana’s property. Granting a motion to dismiss, the Court held that the plaintiff could not establish he was a third-party beneficiary of his daywork drilling contract where he only pleaded that he received incidental benefits from H&P’s obligations under the contract.
- Confidential Client (2017) – Successfully first-chaired the representation of a real estate investment group by securing a complete defense victory through summary judgment. Plaintiff, a large real estate firm, claimed the clients owed over $1 million in commissions and asserted numerous claims against the clients and others that included breach of contract, fraud, and trade-secret misappropriation. The Court granted the motion in full, defeating all of plaintiff’s claims.
- Rasmussen v. Wallace (2016) – Successfully first-chaired a pro-bono federal civil rights jury trial on behalf of an inmate injured by a guard, who alleged that the prisoner was disruptive. Won a unanimous jury verdict, including double punitive damages.
- FDNM Inc. v. DTM Assets, LP and David T. McDonald (2016) – Successfully first-chaired a state court jury trial in a business trespass case. Secured a complete plaintiff’s victory through the jury’s verdict, including punitive damages. Additionally, at the close of evidence, argued for and obtained a directed verdict defeating all of the defendants’ counterclaims.
- Brandon A. Backe, et al. v. City of Galveston, Texas, et al. (2014) – Successfully prosecuted as co-lead counsel a high-profile, federal civil rights jury trial on behalf of an ex-MLB player and other victims of alleged police brutality, including examination at trial of 17 witnesses, court argument, and related legal briefing.
- University of Michigan School of Law
(J.D., cum laude, 2008)
- University of Texas at El Paso
(B.A., Business Administration, 2001)
- Alpha Lambda Delta, Scholar Athlete of the Year Award, 2000-2001
- The State Bar of Texas
- United States District Courts:
- Eastern District of Texas
- Northern District of Texas
- Southern District of Texas
- Western District of Texas
- United States Court of Appeals:
- Fifth Circuit
- Law Clerk to the Honorable Philip R. Martinez:
- U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas, 2008-2009
- Ranked by Legal 500 USA, Dispute Resolution: General Commercial Disputes, “Recommended Lawyers” (2023)
- Ranked by Legal 500 USA, Energy Litigation: Oil and Gas, “Recommended Lawyers”(2023)
- Ranked by Law360 Legal Lion of the Week, 2023
- Ranked by Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Financial Lawyers Guide in Commercial Litigation, 2023
- Ranked by Lawdragon 500 Leading Energy Lawyers, Energy Litigation (2023)
- Named Litigator of the Week by The American Lawyer in September (2022)
- Recognized as a “Key Lawyer” in Energy litigation: oil and gas, Legal 500 (2022)
- Ranked in Houston & Surrounds for General Commercial Litigation, Chambers USA (2022-2023)
- Selected to the Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Financial Lawyers guide (2020-2022)
- Selected to the Texas Super Lawyers list (2020-2022)
- Selected as a “Texas Rising Star,” by Thomson Reuters’ Super Lawyers (2014-2019)
- Named a “Houston Top Lawyer” in Business Litigation, H Texas Magazine (2015)
- "True Grit: How Passion and Perseverence Cultivate our Greatest Potential" at Queens College, 2019
- “Drafting and Enforcing Indemnities,” CLE presented to Houston Bar Association Corporate Counsel Section, 2019 (co-presenter).
- “Trade Secrets and Lost Profits,” CLE presented at the 10th Annual Business Disputes Course in Austin, Texas, 2018 (co-presenter).
- “What Every Litigator Needs to Know About the 5th Amendment,” February 2018 (co-author).
- “The Chapter 95 Independent Contractor Defense to Commercial Premises Owner Liability,” presented for various CLEs, 2017 (co-presenter).
- “The Forgotten Children,” HBA Civil/Appellate Bench Bar Conference, April 2017 (co-presenter).
- “Email Etiquette: The Do’s and Don’ts,” CLE presented to legal departments and top management of publicly-traded corporations, 2017.
- “Nonparty Discovery in Texas: An Overview For Practitioners, “The State Bar of Texas, 38th Annual Advanced Civil Trial Course(co-author), presented in San Antonio, Dallas, and Houston, 2015.
- Houston Parks Board, Board of Directors
- Discovery Youth Foundation, Advisory Board Member
- Center for Houston’s Future, Spring 2017 Business/Civic Leadership Forum Member
- Houston Bar Association, Ambassador, 2015-2016