Christopher Wheeler litigates high-stakes, complex civil matters, with a focus on antitrust and healthcare. He is a founding partner of the firm’s Healthcare Litigation and Investigations practice.
Chris has worked on landmark healthcare matters in Northern California and across the country. In the antitrust class action against Sutter Health, the dominant provider system in Northern California, Chris led the Farella team that, along with the California Attorney General and co-counsel, obtained a $575 million settlement and historic injunctive relief on behalf of a certified class of California employers, government entities, and union trusts. The settlement represents the largest all-cash settlement in the history of California state court. As Harvard Business School Professor Leemore Dafny, one of the nation’s leading healthcare economists, stated in the Los Angeles Times: “These plaintiffs are among the first, but will not be the last, to successfully challenge dominant healthcare systems who undertake land grabs to mark up prices at the expense of patients and employees. This settlement has provided a marker for the rest of the nation.”
State Attorneys General across the nation have recognized Chris’s healthcare expertise, retaining him in connection with both merger and conduct cases. In addition, as one of the attorneys overseeing the implementation of the injunctive relief ordered by the United States District Court for the Northern District of California in the Wit v. United Behavioral Health case, Chris brings the unique perspective of a neutral to his healthcare litigation practice.
Chris also brings a background in economics and market regulation to his antitrust and complex litigation practice. During the U.S. financial crisis, he served as vice president and deputy director of the Committee on Capital Markets Regulation, where he led one of the first investigations into the regulatory failures contributing to the crisis. Chris began his career at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Chris’s 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 also has prosecuted and tried to verdict a number of criminal cases as a “loaner” Assistant District Attorney in the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office.
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
- Immediate Past President, Harvard Law School Association of Northern California
- Member, Executive Committee, Harvard Law School Association
- Member, Antitrust Practice Group, American Health Law Association
- Member, Antitrust Law Section, American Bar Association
- Member, Executive Committee, Antitrust and Business Regulation Section, Bar Association of San Francisco
- Member, Litigation Section Executive Committee, Bar Association of San Francisco (2016-2017)