Christopher P. Johnson is a Principal in McKool Smith's New York oﬃce. Chris focuses on complex civil litigation, including commercial, securities, products liability, and constitutional litigation, as well as alternative dispute resolution. He is both a trial and appellate lawyer, with extensive experience in all aspects of civil litigation, from pre-trial proceedings, evidentiary hearings, and trials through appeals and matters before the U.S. Supreme Court. In the past several years, Chris has focused primarily on litigation relating to structured ﬁnancial products, including commercial and residential mortgage-backed securities. His clients range from government agencies, to large financial institutions, to hedge funds, to small companies and individuals.
The 2023 edition of Chambers USA ranks Chris in Band 1 in New York for Securities: Plaintiffs and RMBS. Chambers quotes his clients as saying "He has considerable experience in complex commercial litigation of every type. He also has excellent judgment and sees the angles involved." As the highest ranking awarded by Chambers, Band 1 signiﬁes advanced achievements in technical abilities, client service, and professional conduct, among other qualities. He is also recognized by Lawdragon as one of the "500 Leading Litigators in America" and a "Leading Plaintiff Financial Lawyer" and recognized by Super Lawyers as a leading lawyer in New York for Securities Litigation, Business Litigation, and Appellate matters.
Chris received his undergraduate degree summa cum laude from Fordham University and his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law.
- Federal Housing Finance Agency (“FHFA”), as conservator for Freddie Mac, and Freddie Mac in litigation arising from the settlement of a class action relating to Novastar residential mortgage-backed securities (“RMBS).
- Fannie Mae in a trust instruction proceeding relating to the Stuyvesant Town CMBS trusts.
- Trustees of numerous RMBS trusts in breach of contract "putback" actions against major financial institutions.
- Litigation trustee pursuing securities claims for syndicated notes of leveraged loan.
- A pharmaceutical biotech company in the dismissal of fraud and breach of contract actions against it.
Prior to joining McKool Smith:
- Successfully prosecuted securities claims on behalf of FHFA, as conservator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, against major financial institutions for misrepresentations concerning RMBS.
- Successfully prosecuted contract claims for Chicago Fundamental Investment Partners against major national banks arising from a portfolio credit default swap wrapped by a credit-linked note.
- Achieved dismissal of all claims against LNR Partners LLC arising from CMBS auction of mortgaged property.
- Successfully prosecuted contract and fraud claims on behalf of liquidation trust formed from the bankruptcy of a nationwide beverage manufacturer against insiders, auditors, financial advisors, and other third parties.
- Successfully prosecuted products liability claims on behalf of several hundred individual plaintiffs in the Vioxx litigation.
- Successfully defended chemical manufacturer from multiple product liability claims brought by microchip workers in New York and California, including achieving complete dismissal on summary judgment of birth defects claims.
- Won jury verdict on contract claims for medical billing company and judgment as a matter of law on counterclaims against it, with affirmance by 6th Circuit.
- Achieved dismissal of fraud and contract claims brought against “snowcat” manufacturer and its principals by John DeLorean, with affirmance by 10th Circuit.
- Represented various law firms, hedge funds, and other partnerships or limited liability companies in the litigation, arbitration and/or mediation of issues arising from dissolution.
- Won summary judgment for manufacturer against claims that asthma medications caused birth defects. Helped try and win the nation’s first Daubert hearing, resulting in District Court’s verbatim adoption of the 112-page Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law that Chris authored, and the 3rd Circuit’s affirmance on the basis of that opinion, which it complimented as “meticulous” and “exhaustive.” See Wade-Greaux v. Whitehall Laboratories, Inc., 874 F. Supp. 1441 (D.V.I.), aff’d, 46 F.3d 1120 (3rd Cir. 1994).
- Won dismissal on Daubert grounds of a highly-publicized case where the parents of a young girl alleged that she had contracted AIDS from the polio vaccine.
- Part of a team representing Dow Chemical in the breast implant litigation, including Dow Chemical’s interests in the Dow Corning bankruptcy proceedings.
- Successfully defended computer manufacturer from repetitive stress injury products liability claims, including defense verdict at trial.
Rankings & Honors
- Ranked as a leading lawyer in Securities – Institutional Plaintiffs: Mainly RMBS Litigation by Chambers USA. The 2023 edition notes that "He has considerable experience in complex commercial litigation of every type. He also has excellent judgment and sees the angles involved."
- Recognized as a "Client Service All-Star" by BTI Consulting, 2022
- Recognized in the guide to the Lawdragon 500 Leading Litigators in America (2022, 2024)
- Recognized in Lawdragon's guide to the 500 Leading Plaintiff Financial Lawyers (2020-2023)
- Recognized as a New York Super Lawyer for Securities Litigation, Business Litigation, and Appellate matters (2013-2022)
- Named a local “litigation star” by Benchmark Litigation, (2020-2023)
Community & Professional Activities
- New York County Lawyers Association
- New York City Bar Association
Media & Events
- Spotlight: Chris Johnson - Chambers USA Ranked "Band 1" for Securities Litigation: Plaintiffs and RMBS07.06.2023
- 19 McKool Smith Principals Recognized in Lawdragon's 2023 Guide to the 500 Leading Financial Lawyers05.26.2023
- McKool Smith Represents Plaintiff-Appellant in Second Circuit Appeal Concerning Whether Syndicated Loan Notes Are Securities03.31.2023
- 20 McKool Smith Principals Recognized in Lawdragon's 2022 Guide to the 500 Leading Litigators in America10.04.2022
- 19 McKool Smith Principals Recognized in Lawdragon's 2022 Guide to the 500 Leading Financial Lawyers07.08.2022
- 16 McKool Smith Principals Recognized in Lawdragon's 2021 guide to the 500 Leading Plaintiff Financial Lawyers08.18.2021
- 16 McKool Smith Principals Recognized in Lawdragon's 2020 guide to the 500 Leading Plaintiff Financial Lawyers08.26.2020
- Christopher Johnson Provides Commentary to Bloomberg Tax article "Mattel Probe Refreshes Questions About PwC Auditor Independence11.14.2019
- “Preparing a Challenge to the Admissibility of Expert Testimony in the Federal and State Courts of New York,” the N.Y. State Bar Association’s Products Liability in New York, Strategy and Practice
- “Selection of Experts, Expert Disclosure and the Pretrial Exclusion of Expert Testimony,” West’s Commercial Litigation in New York State Courts
J.D., University of Virginia School of Law, 1986
B.A., summa cum laude, Fordham University, 1982
- U.S. Supreme Court
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the First, Second, Third, Fifth, Sixth, Tenth, and Federal Circuits
- U.S. District Court for the Southern, Eastern, and Northern Districts of New York
- U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
- U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan
- U.S. Tax Court
- New York