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Tayback, Christopher

Christopher Tayback

Direct Tel: +1 213-443-3170
Los Angeles
Tel: +1 213 443 3000 Fax: +1 213 443 3100

Chris Tayback is the Managing Partner of the firm’s Los Angeles Office. He has over 30 years experience as a trial lawyer. Before joining Quinn Emanuel, he spent eight years as a prosecutor – first as a Deputy District Attorney in Los Angeles County and later as an Assistant United States Attorney. As a prosecutor, he tried over 40 jury trials, dozens more court trials, and argued over 40 appeals before the Ninth Circuit. He received numerous awards from the various federal, state and local law enforcement agencies with which he worked. The son of an actor, the Los Angeles Times once described him as a "courtroom performer" in its coverage of a prominent murder case he prosecuted.

In his 25 years with Quinn Emanuel, Mr. Tayback has continued to try cases in a broad range of subject matters, including patent, class actions, healthcare, bankruptcy, real estate, construction, partnership disputes, professional malpractice, contracts and fraud. All told, he has tried or arbitrated over 100 cases, civil and criminal, in multiple states. He has represented both plaintiffs and defendants with equal success. In recent years, he has obtained a $128 million patent infringement verdict at trial, a $120 million judgment in a property dispute, and obtained a jury finding of zero damages in defense of a $200 million consumer class action.

Mr. Tayback is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. For over two decades, Mr. Tayback has served as a visiting trial instructor at Harvard Law School. He is listed in Best Lawyers in America, and is a member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum, the Association of Business Trial Lawyers, and is routinely recognized as one of Southern California's "Super Lawyers." Mr. Tayback has been ranked for commercial litigation by Chambers USA, which stated about him, “Christopher is a terrific lawyer. He's aggressive in court but handles the matters in a professional way.”

  • Obtained $120 million judgment after winning a $73 million jury verdict in a property dispute between adjacent oil field operators.

  • Won court trial in Lincoln County, Oklahoma on behalf of hospital management company seeking appointment of receiver over hospitals’ owner.

  • Won dismissal of bankruptcy petition on behalf of secured creditor on basis of debtor’s bad faith filing as determined after a three-day court trial in the Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Oklahoma.

  • Won dismissal of petition for writ of mandamus on behalf of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences against Roman Polanski, upholding the Academy’s expulsion of Mr. Polanski from the organization.

  • Won affirmation of $1 million attorneys fee award after reversal of unlawful detainer judgment. NHP/PMB Burbank Medical Plaza I, LLC v. Premiere Medical Center of Burbank, Inc., et al., B299841 (2d App. Dist., Div. 7).

  • Won dismissal with prejudice of antitrust complaint related to practices of bundling radio advertising for syndicated talk radio programming. Talk Radio Network Enters. v. Cumulus Media, Inc., et al., 271 F. Supp. 3d 1195 (D. Or. 2017).

  • Won dismissal of derivative lawsuit, and affirmance on appeal by the Nevada Supreme Court, on basis of former CEO’s lack of standing to pursue derivative claims. James J. Cotter, Jr. v. Kane, et al. (Reading International, Inc.), 136 Nev. 63 (2020).

  • Won $128 million jury verdict in patent infringement case for Freedom Wireless against 12 defendants over telephone systems and methods.  The trial lasted 15 weeks.  The verdict was the largest ever awarded in Massachusetts, and was the eighth biggest verdict awarded in the U.S. that year.  The case settled for a lump sum payment of $87 million, plus future royalties were valued at approximately $50 million.

  • Won $225 million jury verdict on offsetting breach of contract cross-claims in class action for defendant Sprint Wireless, thereby negating $200 million class action.

  • Obtained complete dismissal of all claims in a qui tam/False Claims Act case on behalf of Northrop Grumman.  Relator sought over $1 billion arising out of alleged wrongful billings in connection with $4.5 billion satellite project for the U.S. government.  After a complete internal investigation and subsequent presentation to the government, the Dept. of Justice declined to intervene and the relator dismissed his case against the firm's client.

  • Won jury verdict for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for breach of contract, enforcing its right of first refusal over ©OSCAR® statuettes previously awarded to silent film stars Mary Pickford and Buddy Rogers.

  • Won multi-million dollar jury verdict for real estate developer against civil engineering firm for fraud, with a finding for punitive damages.  Shortly after three week trial concluded, the case settled for the full amount owed plus all fees and costs.

  • Won patent inventorship trial in a lawsuit brought against cellular technology inventor by a large national cellular carrier alleging that it had acquired the right to exploit certain patents because it had been licensed by an alleged co-inventor.

  • Won a defense verdict and prevailed on cross-claim and award of attorneys fees, for breach of contract on behalf of real estate developer against contractor.

  • Obtained very favorable 8 figure settlement for Penn National Gaming on eve of preliminary injunction hearing in section 1983 civil rights lawsuit against a municipality in Ohio.

  • Obtained a $750,000 settlement for eight families in suit against landlord alleging sub-standard habitability.

  • Obtained a substantial settlement for a telecommunications reseller, which was sued as a defendant by a large cellular carrier in Phoenix, Arizona.  After asserting cross-claims and presenting evidence over the course of a three week trial, the case settled prior to verdict with a substantial payment to the firm's client on its cross-complaint.

  • Defeated a sub-prime mortgage lender accused of unfair competition and trademark infringement in a three week jury trial in Orange County.  Prior to the close of plaintiff's case, successfully persuaded the judge to exclude plaintiff's damages expert and preclude the presentation of its theory of damages, resulting in a prompt and successful settlement of the matter.

  • Obtained defense verdict on claim of racial discrimination in an employment lawsuit on behalf of a defense contractor.

  • Won summary judgment in breach of contract case and award of attorneys fees for Penn National Gaming, Kansas Penn Gaming v. HV Properties, 727 F. Supp. 2d 1100 (D. Kan. 2010); affirmed 662 F.3d 1275 (10th Cir. 2011).

  • Obtained dismissal of forfeiture claims against a large South American bank accused of money laundering by the United States government in a civil proceeding seeking forfeiture and penalties in excess of $12 million.

  • Defended a Waste Management employee in a highly publicized investigation alleging corruption in the construction of a waste disposal site.  Obtained dismissal of all charges.

  • Successfully defended a Japanese executive in an Antitrust and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act criminal investigation; no charges filed.

  • Defended fraud and contract claims on behalf of insurer related to life insurance viatical sales in Nevada state court.

  • Obtained dismissal for CNA Insurance Company of qui tam suit brought by Erin Brockovich under the Medicare Secondary Payer Act, seeking millions of dollars in damages for alleged wrongly withheld payments related to hospital medical malpractice claims.

  • Obtained dismissal of consumer class actions related to various food products for ConAgra in Southern  District of California and Northern District of California.

  • Obtained summary judgment in multi-million dollar real estate development bonding dispute arising out of New Jersey Meadowlands redevelopment.

  • Successfully defended Union Bank of California against allegations arising from $600 million Ponzi scheme.  Neilson v. Union Bank of California, 290 F.Supp. 1101 (C.D. Cal. 2003).

  • Represented clients testifying before various Congressional and Senate subcommittees in connection with investigations into defense contracting and energy market manipulation allegations.


  • Harvard Law School
    (J.D., cum laude, 1989)
  • University of Notre Dame
    (B.A., magna cum laude, 1985)
  • The State Bar of California
  • United States Supreme Court, 2002
  • United States District Courts:
    • Northern District of California
    • Central District of California
    • Southern District of California
  • United States Court of Appeals:
    • Ninth Circuit
    • Tenth Circuit
  • Ranked by Lawdragon 500 Leading Litigators in America –  Civil & Criminal Litigation, 2024
  • Ranked by Legal 500 USA Dispute Resolution: General Commercial Disputes “Recommended Lawyer”, 2023
  • Ranked by Chambers, Litigation: General Commercial California Band 4, 2023
  • Recognized by Lawdragon 500 as a Leading Litigator in Civil & Criminal Litigation, 2023
  • Ranked in Chambers USA in California for Litigation: General Commercial: The Elite, 2022
  • Ranked as one of The Best Lawyers in America, for White-Collar Criminal Defense, 2014-2024
  • Best Lawyers, Criminal Defense: White-Collar 2014
  • Authored a periodic trial strategy column: The Los Angeles Daily Journal (2000-2001)
  • Contributing author, ABA Handbook on Federal Criminal Litigation (1994)
  • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers
  • Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America
  • Visiting instructor on trial advocacy at Harvard Law School (2000-Present) and Notre Dame Law School (2010-2019)
  • Member, Board of Governors, Association of Business Trial Lawyers (2012-2016)
  • Member, American Bar Association: Litigation Section, White Collar Crime Section
  • Member, Los Angeles County Bar Association
  • Member, The State Bar of California: Litigation Section, Criminal Law Section
  • Member, Million Dollar Advocates Forum
  • Member, Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum
  • Member, Board of Directors, Inner City Law Center (2010-2016)
  • Judge Pro Tem, Los Angeles and Pasadena Municipal Courts (1995-2002)
  • Instructor on Evidence, California Continuing Education of the Bar (1995-1996)
  • Volunteer Arbitrator, Los Angeles County Courts (1998)
  • Counsel to Los Angeles County Blue Ribbon Commission on Child Protection (2013-2014)