Christopher Vejnoska

Mr. L. Christopher Vejnoska,

Partner and member of the Mass Torts and Product Liability group, is located in the San Francisco office.

Mr. Vejnoska, a trial lawyer with more than 25 years of experience handling precedent-setting trials, focuses on complex commercial, product liability, class action, mass tort and insurance coverage litigation. Mr. Vejnoska typically handles an average of eight trials per year.

Involved in what The Washington Post described as the largest trial in U.S. history, at the time, Mr. Vejnoska has counseled multinational companies entangled in lengthy, enterprise-threatening litigation and negotiated legal and business solutions involving billions of dollars.

Mr. Vejnoska actively works on cross-office teams in the defense of Chinese companies and their products against American consumer claims; and has significant experience in assisting foreign aerospace companies with international arbitration disputes with first-tier aircraft manufacturers. Mr. Vejnoska also has extensive experience in complex and commercial litigation, ranging from insurance recovery disputes to trade secret issues.

A notable complement to Mr. Vejnoska's litigation practice is his transactional work earlier in his career. He previously represented large public companies in mergers, acquisitions, strategic investments and private financings; private companies in initial public offerings; and emerging growth companies in general corporate matters. Mr. Vejnoska's experience also offers clients a unique perspective on risk mitigation strategies to avoid costly litigation in the future.

Select engagements of work include the following.

Mass Torts and Product Liability Litigation

Union Carbide Corporation. Serving as both Union Carbide Corporation's national coordinating counsel and first chair trial counsel in the defense of asbestos personal injury claims.
Chinese Manufacturer. Representing one of China's largest building materials companies in complex federal multidistrict litigation involving allegations of defective drywall; the matter involves more than 30,000 plaintiffs and 10,000 defendants.
Fibreboard Corporation. Since the late 1980s, served as national coordinating counsel for Fibreboard in more than 300 product liability cases, many of which were brought as national or statewide class actions, involving claims that asbestos-containing insulation products caused property damage to buildings and created a health risk to occupants. Also oversaw the defense and participated in the trial of these property damage cases, which included class and consolidated actions involving all primary and secondary schools in the United States, all colleges and universities, U.S. government-owned buildings, public buildings in numerous states and cities, and various school districts across the country. He also served as Fibreboard's national coordinating counsel in the defense of more than 200,000 asbestos-related personal injury cases and assisted the company in its negotiations regarding the ultimate funding of its global settlement and the resolution of thousands of pre- and post-settlement trust cases.
Owens Corning. Served as co-national coordinating counsel for Owens Corning in more than 100,000 asbestos-related personal injury claims, including representing Owens Corning in a national settlement program that resolved tens of thousands of these cases.
International Product Manufacturer. Represented a large multinational manufacturer of respirators in a number of silica cases, and another large international product manufacturer in asbestos litigation.

Insurance Coverage Disputes

Fibreboard Corporation. Represented Fibreboard in its seminal insurance coverage case against its insurers for personal injury liabilities extending over a period of almost 50 years. Served as one of Fibreboard's trial counsel in In re Asbestos Insurance Coverage Cases, a trial that spanned more than five years and was described by The Washington Post as the largest trial in U.S. history. By winning all the major issues in the trial, Fibreboard was able to obtain several billion dollars from its insurers in a global settlement.
Odwalla. In litigation involving the AIG Insurance Group, successfully negotiated the defense and indemnification by Odwalla's insurers of claims alleging that e-coli contamination of the company's apple juice had caused death and other bodily injuries, and also assisted with its defense against food contamination claims.
Mentor Corporation. Successfully litigated claims against Mentor Corporation's insurers in California and Minnesota for liabilities arising from its breast implant devices, and negotiated the funding by those insurance companies of Mentor's nationwide mandatory class settlement of all breast implant claims, which was the first such settlement in the implant litigation. Also counseled Mentor in its pursuit of coverage for claims arising from other medical devices.
Wyeth. Served as trial counsel in a multiweek arbitration in Bermuda over coverage for injuries allegedly caused by defective birth control implants.
Leading Electronics Company. Represented a large electronics company, a union ERISA plan and an Internet-based company in separate insurance coverage disputes.

Additional Commercial Experience

Environmental Claims. In In re Sacramento River Spill Cases I and II, defended Southern Pacific Railroad against claims arising out of a derailment and toxic spill into the Dunsmuir River.
Trade Secrets and Proprietary Information Litigation. Represented a technology company in a licensing and trade secret dispute with a Taiwanese competitor.
Accounting Dispute. Arbitrated a complex accounting treatment matter for a major energy company.
Commercial Disputes. Represented two aerospace companies in significant aircraft manufacturing disputes and international arbitrations; a well-known computer company in litigation involving promissory notes; and an alternative energy company against various equipment and financial claims in separate disputes.

Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Vejnoska was a partner at Clifford Chance and a partner at Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison, where he was a member of the Policy Committee, a member of the Executive Committee, Chair of the Risk Management Committee and Chair of the Hiring Committee.

Good to know

Areas of Practice 1) Mass Torts & Product Liability, 2) Commercial Litigation, 3) Mass Tort Reorganizations, 4) Trade Secrets Litigation, 5) Insurance and 6) International Arbitration & Dispute Resolution
Law School J.D., Harvard Law School, 1980
Education B.A., cum laude, Harvard College, 1977
Bar Member / Association State bar of California
Most recent firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
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