Christopher J. Schmidt is a trial and class action lawyer whose litigation practice focuses on high-stakes litigation, including class action defense, financial institution and complex business disputes, and professional and collegiate sports litigation. Over the course of his career Chris has developed a diverse and sophisticated litigation practice, and he currently co-leads the Firm’s nationally-recognized, sports litigation practice and co-leads the Firm’s Higher Education practice. Chris represents all of the teams in the National Hockey League (“NHL”) in litigation matters ranging from the NHL concussion class action to high-stakes professional sports arbitrations. Chris and the Firm act as national coordinating counsel for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”) and coordinate the NCAA’s nationwide concussion litigation. Chris is the lead relationship lawyer for a number of national firm clients, including major financial institutions, Fortune 200 companies, professional sport franchises, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Chris serves as a trusted advisor and regularly counsels his clients on legal compliance to learn from litigation, minimize risk and establish best practices.
Mr. Schmidt’s pro bono commitment focuses on reuniting internationally abducted children with their families. He regularly handles international child abduction cases for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the US State Department pursuant to the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction.
Chris serves on the Firm’s Partner Advisory Board and also serves on the Recruiting Committee.
Class Action Defense: Mr. Schmidt has spent most of his career defending class actions and his experience encompasses all aspects of class and mass actions, including opposition to class certification, dispositive motions, discovery, depositions, expert strategy, class certification hearings, settlement and settlement administration in state and federal courts around the country. Mr. Schmidt’s class action experience includes representing professional sports teams, pharmaceutical companies, financial services companies and other companies facing a broad array of deceptive practices and consumer fraud claims.
Mr. Schmidt prevailed on appeal to the Eighth Circuit and helped create law establishing that defendants can demonstrate amount in controversy and create federal jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act by providing evidence of the "pot" of money from which damages might be calculated. Raskas et al. v. Johnson & Johnson et al., 719 F.3d 88.
Sports Arbitrations & Litigation: Mr. Schmidt co-leads Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner's Sports Litigation Practice. He is national coordinating counsel for the NCAA, and is lead litigation counsel for all the NHL Clubs in the nationwide MDL concussion class action litigation. Mr. Schmidt coordinates expert strategy, leads trials, and defends high profile depositions of presidents, GMs, owners and former players, among others. Mr. Schmidt serves as lead trial counsel in connection with sports-related arbitrations, including representing professional sports franchises in ownership disputes, executive disputes and player arbitrations. Mr. Schmidt also handles other commercial disputes for his sports clients, including contractual and other third-party disputes involving various aspects of their businesses.
Mr. Schmidt serves as lead counsel for non-party U.S. Clubs in the National Hockey League MDL concussion/CTE litigation. On July 13, 2018, the federal district court denied class certification.
Financial Services Litigation & Complex Business Disputes: Mr. Schmidt represents a number of financial services clients, and leads a nationwide team of attorneys dedicated to representing financial institutions and mortgage servicers in contested litigation, including class actions, standing challenges, and claims arising out of FCRA, RESPA, TILA, TCPA, FDCPA and HOEPA, as well as state consumer protection statutes in federal and state courts throughout the country. Mr. Schmidt learned how to efficiently manage complex consumer finance litigation after being seconded early in his career to a major financial institution’s in-house legal department where he oversaw a repurchase litigation portfolio and managed a multi-state docket of contentious cases. Mr. Schmidt leads the defense of lender liability class actions and regularly provides guidance on regulatory risks identified during the course of litigation.
Mr. Schmidt also represents companies, both plaintiffs and defendants, in a variety of complex business disputes. Mr. Schmidt’s complex business dispute practice focuses on high stakes litigation, including: professional sports arbitrations, international arbitrations, ownership disputes, veil piercing and successor liability claims, misappropriation of trade secrets, termination of distributors, and other complex business litigation
Secured dismissal with prejudice of TILA class action in the Northern District of Illinois for a financial services client. Kier v. Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC, 122 F.Supp.3d 786.