Chris practices in the area of litigation for governmental clients, and with over 20 years in practice, he also enjoys counseling clients on day to day matters.
Chris has served as a State Representative in the Illinois General Assembly since January 2013 representing the Seventh District. Prior to serving as State Representative, Chris served 12 years on the Proviso Township District 209 Board of Education. He served as Board President for 10 years.
Chris is a recipient of many awards and/or recognitions including being named one of Illinois’ Leading Lawyers in 2018, a "Rising Star" by Superlawyers Magazine, "SuperLawyer" by Superlawyer Magazine and Chicago Defender Man of Excellence. He was inducted into The John Marshall Law School Hall of Fame in 2015 and an Edgar Fellow in 2016. In 2010, Chris was designated as Top 40 Game Changers under the age of 40 by Black Enterprise Magazine.
- Notable summary judgments:
Summary judgment granted on all counts alleging various civil rights violations including Illinois Religious Freedom Restoration Act, 1st amendment, Fair Housing Act, and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act where city enforced local zoning, fire and building codes against religious entity whose use and occupancy violated such codes. This was a factually complex case with a multitude of written and oral discovery. Affordable Recovery Housing v. City of Blue Island, (Northern District of Illinois, 2016), affirmed in 7th Circuit 2017.
- Wrongful death case arising from multi jurisdictional police response to emergency situation which resulted in plaintiff being shot and killed. We represented the defendant officer who shot the plaintiff. Summary judgment entered our favor. Other less culpable municipality still remains defendant at trial. Gidley v. Blue Island, (Cook County Circuit Court, 2015)
- School Business Manager alleged the school board failed to comply with statutory notice requirements for dismissal of tenured employee. Board alleged proper notification made through agent. District court agreed and entered summary judgment in defense favor. Charnot v Bellwood School District 88, (Cook County Circuit Court, 2015)
- Civil rights claim arising from the alleged use of excessive force and illegal search and seizure by eight Town of Cicero officers. Evidence established that plaintiff was put in a wrist lock and forcefully taken to the ground and sustained a "busted" lip. Despite plaintiffs tangible injuries, summary judgment was entered in favor of defense. Rivera v. Town of Cicero, (Northern District of Illinois, 2013)
- Plaintiff was shot by defendant police officer and alleged excessive force. Plaintiff attacked defendant officer's credibility based on several prior bad acts for planting/falsifying evidence and records and a pending criminal indictment for such acts. Despite such adverse facts, summary judgment was obtained in favor of defendant. Soriano v. Cicero, (Northern District of Illinois, 2010)
- Trials and appellate victories:
- Defense verdict obtained on excessive force suit. Plaintiff was an elderly woman who was a sympathetic witness. Coleman v. City of Chicago, (Northern District of Illinois, 2012)
- Civil rights action alleging violation of the 1st amendment arising from plaintiff's termination for political affiliation. Demand was $160,000 and settlement reached pursuant to pre-trial settlement conference for $40,000. Burdi v. School District 88, (Northern District of Illinois, 2012)
- Plaintiff was shot by defendant police officer and alleged excessive force. Summary judgment affirmed on appeal. Soriano v. Cicero, (Northern District of Illinois, 2010)
- Largest civil rights case in the history of the Northern District of Illinois at the time of trial. Six week jury trial with 79 plaintiffs and 13 defendants ended with a verdict in the amount of $2.7 million when plaintiff asked the jury for $28 million. Defendants offered $3 million prior to trial. Six defendants found completely not guilty. Plaintiffs appealed verdict to the 7th Circuit. Verdict affirmed. Duran v. Cicero,(Northern District of Illinois, 2008)
- School Board member was found living outside the school district. Board voted to expel the school board member. School board member alleged violation of due process and claimed board did not have a right to make that decision. Trial court agreed with the board. Affirmed on appeal. Roxanne Brown v. Bellwood SD, (Circuit Court Cook County appealed to First District Appellate Court, 2005)
- Plaintiff sued defendant driver for running her over in an alley and allegedly breaking her ankle. Plaintiff was drunk, and defense asserted that plaintiff broke her ankle in a fall. Jury found defendant not guilty. Tomzak v. Lee, (Circuit Court Cook County, 2005)
- Plaintiff sued defendant car dealership for violation of warranty. Jury awarded plaintiff a nominal verdict and judge denied plaintiffs petition for significant attorney's fees. Washington v. Sales, Inc., (Cook County Circuit Court, 2005)
Honors & Awards
- Leading Lawyer (2018)
- Edgar Fellow (2016)
- The John Marshall Law School Hall of Fame (inducted 2015)
- Chicago Defender Man of Excellence (2014)
- Designated as a "SuperLawyer" by Superlawyer Magazine (2013)
- Designated a "Rising Star" by Superlawyers Magazine (2011)
- Top 40 Game Changers under the age of 40 by Black Enterprise Magazine (2010)
- Man of the Year Award from the Proviso Township Dream Team (2009)
- Village of Hillside Chairman's Award for his contributions to Human Rights issues (2007)
- PLCCA Image Award (2006)
- Operation Uplift Hometown Dreamweaver Award (2005)