Biography

Christopher Wheeler is a trial lawyer and civil litigator.

In the landmark antitrust class action against Sutter Health, the largest hospital system in Northern California, Chris led the Farella team that, along with co-counsel and the California Attorney General, obtained a recovery of $575 million and historic injunctive relief on behalf of a certified class of California corporations, government entities, and union trusts. After more than five years of litigation, including an unsuccessful interlocutory appeal by Sutter (see UFCW & Employers Benefit Trust v. Sutter Health et al., 241 Cal. App. 4th 909 (2015)), Sutter settled following jury selection. The Sutter case marks the first time a California court has certified a class in a hospital services antitrust action. Plaintiffs have moved for preliminary approval by the San Francisco Superior Court.

Chris’ trial and litigation experience is varied. He successfully defended a leading Silicon Valley company in a patent license arbitration against a competitor—backed by one of the world’s largest private equity firms—that was seeking tens of millions of dollars in unpaid royalties. Following three years of litigation and an evidentiary hearing lasting 25 days, the arbitrator sanctioned the competitor for more than it recovered in unpaid royalties. Chris has also prosecuted and tried to verdict a number of criminal cases as a “loaner” Assistant District Attorney in the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office. His jury verdicts have been upheld on appeal. People v. Alcauter-Martinez, App. No. 15-008044, slip op. (S.F. Super. Ct. App. Div. Mar. 5, 2018).

In his securities practice, Chris has represented officers, directors and investment advisors in SEC, FINRA and Department of Business Oversight investigations and enforcement actions. He has also represented investment advisors, banks and individuals in private securities actions. Chris’ clients in the financial technology space have included the industry leader in digital couponing as well as a global digital currency exchange. Before joining Farella, Chris served as vice president and deputy director of the Committee on Capital Markets Regulation, where he conducted one of the first investigations into the regulatory failures contributing to the U.S. financial crisis. Previously, Chris analyzed sovereign risk at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

In his pro bono practice, Chris has represented indigent tenants in unlawful detainer actions and victims of elder abuse. He has also won political asylum for refugee families, including a Laotian Hmong veteran of the CIA “secret army” and three generations of survivors of the Liberian civil war.

Memberships and Affiliations

  • President, Harvard Law School Association of Northern California
  • Member, Litigation Section Executive Committee, Bar Association of San Francisco (2016-2017)

Firm Highlights

Publication

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Insights and Resources

The spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) is causing disruption throughout the US that we have not seen in generations. Governmental entities, academia, and the private sector are working diligently to contain COVID-19 while it...

Read More
Publication

CARES Act Money for Wineries?

Beginning tomorrow morning, April 3 rd , the Small Business Administration will begin accepting applications for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans under the new CARES Act. Amid the flurry of news, small winery owners may...

Read More
Publication

Updated California Shelter-In-Place Orders Include New Requirement for Social Distancing Protocol

Several California counties updated their Shelter-In-Place orders to extend the compliance period and to further define and restrict essential business activities. An overview of the new restriction was published by Farella here . One...

Read More
News

Insurers Brace for Coronavirus Hit to ‘Event Driven’ D&O Line

Mary McCutcheon was quote in the Claims Journal article,"Insurers Brace for Coronavirus Hit to ‘Event Driven’ D&O Line." Link to read the full article .

Read More
News

Daily Journal Names Farella Lawyers Among Top IP Lawyers in California

Farella Braun + Martel is proud to announce that partners Jeffrey M. Fisher and James L. Day were named to the 2020 list of “Top Intellectual Property Lawyers” in California by the Daily Journal...

Read More
Event

7th Annual Partner Compensation One-Day Workshop

Brian Donnelly is presenting the case study session, "Managing Partner Performance" at Fairfax Associates' 7th Annual Partner Compensation One-Day Workshop. Click here for more information.

Read More
Publication

Wine Businesses, Lenders, and Difficult Conversations

The COVID-19 pandemic and public health efforts to combat it will impact different wine businesses in different ways.  Those that depend on on-premise and direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales, such as restaurant, hospitality, and tasting room...

Read More
Publication

Trademark Office Deadlines and Coronavirus-Related Delays

With all of the business interruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, many worldwide trademark offices have taken steps to recognize the issues caused by the crisis. The offices in which applicants from the U.S...

Read More
News

Farella Advises on Sale of Diamond Creek Winery to Maison Louis Roederer

SAN FRANCISCO/ST. HELENA, March 16, 2020: Farella Braun + Martel represented the family of the late Boots Brounstein on the sale of their Diamond Creek Winery in Calistoga, Calf. to French Champagne producer Maison...

Read More
News

Farella COVID-19 Update: A Message From the Managing Partner

To our clients, alumni and friends, During these unsettling times, Farella Braun + Martel is focused on protecting the health and safety of our firm members, clients, and communities and doing our part to...

Read More