U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland
Honorable Paul W. Grimm, District Judge, U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland
Maryland State Bar Association
Editorial Board, The Maryland Litigator
Board of Directors, Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake Development Committee
Defense Research Institute, Commercial Litigation Committee
Christopher S. Gunderson
A member of Venable's Commercial Litigation Group, Chris Gunderson is an experienced litigator who represents clients across the country in state and federal court on a range of issues including commercial contracts, securities fraud, various financial and insurance matters, energy and utility regulation, and significant experience with ERISA litigation. Mr. Gunderson also advises clients facing external government reviews, including those conducted under the Clery Act and Title IX.
Commercial, Insurance and Product Liability Litigation
Regulatory Litigation and Government Investigations
- Represented an international insurance brokerage in a multi-jurisdictional dispute involving the alleged tortious interference with a competitor. All claims dismissed as a result of a favorable settlement that protected the brokerage’s ability to pursue new business interests.
- Represented a global life insurance company in a lawsuit filed by a large commercial bank in federal court. The plaintiff sought $500 million based upon allegations arising from its purchase of bank-owned life insurance and subsequent investment in a hedge fund exposed to mortgage-backed securities. All claims dismissed as a result of a favorable settlement.
- Represented an international insurance brokerage in a broker liability dispute involving allegations that the broker failed to obtain adequate coverage for a multi-state manufacturing business after one of its facilities was completely destroyed by a fire. Substituted prior defense counsel and developed new litigation strategy that led to favorable settlement of all claims following briefing of novel causation theory.
- Represented a national home improvement retailer in defense of a $300 million breach of contract claim involving installation services. All claims dismissed on motions to dismiss that defeated initial and amended complaints.
- Represented a national home improvement retailer in defense of breach of contract claims involving the cancellation of various supply contracts due to commercial impracticability following Hurricane Katrina. Defense judgment obtained on summary judgment using UCC contract theory thereafter applied by the client in other similar pending litigation.
- Represented a national weight management company in securities fraud class action and shareholder derivative suits related to a restatement of the company’s financial statements due to accounting errors. All claims dismissed on motion to dismiss with no leave to amend granted.
- Represented a global pharmaceutical company in mass tort litigation involving diet drugs. Handled fact discovery involving depositions of treating physicians and cardiologists for dozens of pending cases in coordinated proceedings that led to favorable resolution of claims through mediation.
- Represented a global pharmaceutical company in mass tort litigation involving non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain medication. Managed drafting and coordination of motions to dismiss complaints filed in state court that obtained favorable rulings dismissing strict liability causes of action.
- Represented national manufacturer of mulch distribution machinery in defense of product liability claims involving the death of a landscape operator. Utilized site inspections to uncover evidence of third-party conduct that supported alternate causation theories. All claims dismissed as a result of a favorable settlement.
Employee Benefit Plan Litigation
- Represented a national energy company and a regulated public utility holding company in their contested application to obtain regulatory approval in Maryland for their $6.8 billion merger. Obtained approval of the merger in Maryland and defeated a motion to stay that approval pending appellate review.
- Represented two national energy companies in their contested application to obtain regulatory approval in Maryland for their $7.9 billion merger. Obtained approval of the merger, which created the largest competitive energy provider in the United States.
- Represented one of the largest universities in the country in a Clery Act program review conducted by the U.S. Department of Education. Managed and worked with a team of over a dozen lawyers to investigate and respond to the Department’s review.
- Represented a global financial and insurance company in connection with an SEC-appointed independent consultant's examination. Following an SEC investigation, an independent consultant engaged in a multi-year review of the company's corporate compliance and disclosure policies in numerous aspects, including: anti-money laundering, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, international trade regulations (OFAC, antiboycott regulations, export control regulations), privacy and data security, and consumer finance. Managed and worked with a team of over a dozen lawyers to investigate and respond to the SEC’s review.
- Represented a global pharmaceutical company in an internal investigation concerning safety profile data used in support of a new drug application. Managed and worked with a team of six lawyers to investigate underlying trial data to determine likelihood of FDA approval for internal business analysis.
- Represented multiple global life, accident and disability insurance companies in numerous lawsuits filed by claimants seeking benefits under both ERISA and non-ERISA benefit plans. Mr. Gunderson's experience includes claims seeking short-term disability benefits, long-term disability benefits, and accidental death and dismemberment benefits.
- Represented a Fortune 100 financial services company in defense of a lawsuit related to a claimant's selection of investments under an ERISA-governed retirement savings plan. The court dismissed all claims on a motion to dismiss with no leave to amend granted.
- Represented a life, accident and disability insurance company in numerous consumer regulatory complaints before the Maryland Insurance Administration. Obtained favorable rulings in each matter, which were each also affirmed by the Maryland Insurance Commissioner's Office.