John Christopher is a litigation partner in the firm’s Chicago office who represents major corporate clients in product liability, commercial, antitrust, securities, and white-collar cases.
Mr. Christopher won an unprecedented victory in a Commercial Mortgage Backed Securities (“CMBS”) repurchase case, defending the practices of a financial institution in originating and selling a commercial loan. On May 8, 2012, after a week-and-a-half-long trial in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, the jury deliberated briefly before returning a first-of-its-kind defense verdict in a CMBS case, clearing Winston & Strawn's client of any liability.
Mr. Christopher was part of a team of trial lawyers nationwide, defending Pfizer Inc. in COX-2 pharmaceutical cases that were selected for trial. For more than 13 years, Mr. Christopher served as national counsel for Altria Group Inc. and its subsidiaries. Mr. Christopher spent three years in Switzerland, managing litigation worldwide for Philip Morris International, after previous successful assignments in Hong Kong and New York, also managing litigation for Philip Morris entities.
In connection with his work for Philip Morris USA, Mr. Christopher tried two separate, month-long individual smoker cases in Florida, one of which resulted in a unanimous defense verdict on all counts. The trial received national media coverage and was featured in the June 3, 2002 issue of The National Law Journal as the “Verdict of the Week.” In the second trial, the jury found liability on only one count, found no basis for punitive damages, and found the plaintiff 50 percent at fault.
Mr. Christopher also represented lead defendant Philip Morris USA in Washington, D.C. in the largest civil racketeering lawsuit in history, United States v. Philip Morris USA Inc. By the end of the nine-month long bench trial, the government had reduced its original request for $280 billion in damages to $14 billion. The Court ultimately ruled that the government was not entitled to any monetary damages, instead ordering various types of equitable relief.
Mr. Christopher was part of the trial team, led by Dan Webb, that won a judgment of acquittal on behalf of General Electric Company in a landmark criminal antitrust action in the Southern District of Ohio. The result was highlighted on the cover of The American Lawyer (“GE crushes the Trustbusters,” January/February 1995).
After his first year at the firm, Mr. Christopher received the annual Outstanding New Volunteer Attorney award from Chicago’s Austin Christian Law Center “for ambitious pro bono service.”
Honors and Awards
Mr. Christopher served on the Steering Committee of the firm’s Hiring Committee for five years and was the chair of the firm’s Los Angeles office summer associate program for its first three years.
Mr. Christopher received a B.A. from the University of Michigan in 1987 and a J.D., cum laude, from the University of Michigan Law School in 1992.