Chris Chorba is Co-Chair of the firm’s Class Actions Practice Group. He specializes in defending class actions and complex litigation, and he has been recognized in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business and in Best Lawyers in America for Commercial Litigation. Law360 also named Mr. Chorba a Class Action MVP, which profiles attorneys who have “distinguished themselves from their peers by securing hard-earned successes in high-stakes litigation, complex global matters and record-breaking deals.”
He has had substantial experience litigating a broad range of complex commercial matters at the trial and appellate level in California and throughout the country. His litigation and counseling experience includes work for companies in every industry, including automotive, beauty and cosmetic, consumer products, education, entertainment, financial services, food and beverage, social media, sports, technology, telecommunications, insurance, health care, life sciences, retail, and utility / energy.
Class and Representative Actions
Mr. Chorba is a nationally recognized expert in defending class actions, including claims involving California’s Unfair Competition and False Advertising Laws (Business & Professions Code § 17200 and § 17500), the Consumers Legal Remedies Act (California Civil Code § 1750 et seq.), the Lanham Act, and the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005.
- After defeating class certification, secured case-terminating sanctions in long-running action against pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs) for spoliation of evidence. Jerry Beeman & Pharmacy Servs., Inc. v. Caremark Inc., 322 F. Supp. 3d 1027 (2018). Secured appellate ruling affirming judgment on separate ground (collateral estoppel). Beeman v. Anthem Prescription Mgmt., Inc., 780 F. App’x 486 (2019).
- Defeated class certification in a series of significant overpayment recovery class actions against a major health insurer and plan administrator. Plaintiffs sought certification under every prong of Rule 23—(b)(1), (b)(2), (b)(3), and (c)(4), and court rejected certification on all grounds, even though other courts had granted certification in similar cases.
- Obtained order decertifying Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) class action against major technology company. Johnson v. Yahoo!, Inc., 346 F. Supp. 3d 1159 (N.D. Ill. 2018). Following decertification, obtained summary judgment determining that company’s system did not qualify as an automatic telephone dialing system (ATDS) as required to support TCPA claim. Johnson v. Yahoo! Inc., 2018 WL 835339 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 13, 2018).
- Defending Facebook in putative class action challenging accuracy of ad delivery.
- Defended major technology manufacturer in nationwide multi-district litigation (MDL 2827) involving flagship smartphone devices. Secured early ruling dismissing all statutory and common law fraud claims with prejudice, as well as all claims based on a broad theory that the devices were “defective.” 386 F. Supp. 3d 1155 (N.D. Cal. 2019). Negotiated nationwide class settlement, and assisted with companion state JCCP action and other proceedings across the country.
- Secured dismissal with prejudice of UCL and express warranty claims in putative class actions alleging “defect” in 8-speed automatic transmissions in several Toyota vehicles. Loo v. Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc., 2020 WL 4187918 (C.D. Cal. Apr. 10, 2020); Morales v. Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc., 2020 WL 4723975 (C.D. Cal. Apr. 27, 2020).
- Defended American Home Shield and affiliates in putative class actions and “mass” arbitrations involving home warranty contracts. Tried several dozen arbitrations to successful verdict.
- Leading defense of J.C. Penney in UCL/FAL action brought by Los Angeles City Attorney challenging “reference pricing” practices of leading retailers. Part of appellate team that secured a ruling that led to dismissal of Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code 17501 claim as unconstitutional under the First Amendment and California Liberty of Speech Clause. People v. Super. Ct. (J.C. Penney Corp., Inc.), 34 Cal. App. 5th 376 (2019).
- Defending entertainment company and content creator in putative class action alleging that placement of videos on YouTube constitutes a violation of federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) and California state privacy laws.
- Obtained dismissal with prejudice of Prop. 65 claim contesting flagship cola product. Riva v. PepsiCo, Inc., No. 14-2020, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26494 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 4, 2015).
- Secured first dismissal with prejudice of “all natural” claim against major beverage manufacturer. Hairston v. South Beach Bev. Co., No. 11-419, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74279 (C.D. Cal. May 18, 2012).
- Defending University of Southern California against high-profile ERISA retirement fees class action. Secured dismissal of all individual defendants and all claims for breach of duty of loyalty and “prohibited transactions,” and persuaded court to strike demand for jury trial.
- Secured the dismissal of several other putative class actions on the pleadings. Parker v. iolo technologies, LLC, 12-00984, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 138803 (C.D. Cal. Aug. 20, 2012); Wright v. General Mills, No. 08-1532, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90576 (S.D. Cal. Sept. 30, 2009); McKinniss v. General Mills, No. 07-2521, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96107 (C.D. Cal. Sept. 18, 2007).
Mr. Chorba has argued several appeals before the federal and state courts of appeal, including the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit:
- Secured dismissal with prejudice of novel “car hacking” claims against Toyota based on the lack of Article III standing, and defended that judgment on appeal. Cahen v. Toyota Motor Corp., 147 F. Supp. 3d 955 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 25, 2015), aff’d, 2017 WL 6525501 (9th Cir. 2017).
- Represented leading technology company in data privacy class action alleging violations of Wiretap Act, California Invasion of Privacy Act, and other statutes. Secured rejection of all class claims for statutory damages, and prevailed on appeal in defending classwide settlement for only injunctive relief. Campbell v. Facebook, Inc., 951 F.3d 1106 (9th Cir. 2020).
- Obtained dismissals with prejudice of all five product liability actions against major technology company involving alleged liability for “distracted driving” accidents, and successfully defended all of these wins on appeal. See, e.g., CADD, 2018 WL 2016665 (Cal. Ct. App. May 1, 2018); Modisette, 30 Cal. App. 5th 136 (2018); Meador, 911 F.3d 260 (5th Cir. 2018).
- Secured the reversals on appeal of judgments totaling $295 million in three certified class actions in New Mexico and California involving installment payment plans for auto insurance policies. Nellis v. Farmers Ins. Co. of Ariz., No. 29,295, 2011 N.M. App. LEXIS 114 (N.M. Ct. App. Sept. 20, 2011); Nellis v. Mid-Century Ins. Co., 2011 N.M. App. Unpub. LEXIS 344 (N.M. Ct. App. Sept. 20, 2011); Troyk v. Farmers Group, Inc., 171 Cal. App. 4th 1305 (2009).
- Successfully defended the dismissal with prejudice of UCL claims alleging consumer deception of birthstone descriptions for high school class rings. Pocino v. Jostens, , No. B181449, 2006 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 3852 (Cal. Ct. App. May 3, 2006).
- Assisted in the defense of a complex fraud and civil conspiracy action brought by the California Insurance Commissioner, which resulted a favorable defense verdict on five of six liability claims and all claims for monetary damages following a lengthy federal jury trial spanning several months in 2005, and a post-verdict order rejecting any punitive damages. Secured favorable jury verdict in limited retrial in 2012, resulting in no award of compensatory damages despite the Commissioner’s demand for $4 billion. The Daily Journal recognized this victory as one of its Top Defense Verdicts of the year.
- Retained by product manufacturer to handle federal Lanham Act trial following an adverse, eight-figure jury verdict after initial trial in 2012. Secured exclusion of all damages evidence on the eve of the retrial, which resulted in a complete win for our client on all of plaintiff’s claims. Successfully defended the favorable judgment on appeal. Munchkin, Inc. v. Playtex Prod., LLC, 600 F. App’x 537 (9th Cir. 2015), as amended (July 31, 2015).
Other Complex Litigation
- Successfully pursued claims on behalf of a utility company and secured a published decision declaring a city ordinance an unconstitutional violation of the Contract Clause, and obtained a substantial award of attorneys’ fees for the client. Cal. Gas Co. v. City of Santa Ana, 202 F. Supp. 2d 1129 (C.D. Cal.), aff’d, 336 F.3d 885 (9th Cir. 2002). Prosecuted similar claims against another municipality, and secured favorable summary judgment ruling and award of attorneys’ fees. So. Cal. Gas Co. v. City of Alhambra, No. 10-8635, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107514 (C.D. Cal. June 6, 2011).
- Persuaded Los Angeles Superior Court to dismiss all claims against German motor vehicle manufacturer for lack of personal jurisdiction, and successfully defended that victory on appeal. ZAP v. DaimlerChrysler AG et al., No. B193331, 2008 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 1392 (Cal. Ct. App. Feb. 21, 2008), review denied (Cal. May 14, 2008).
- Secured dismissal with prejudice of all federal and state false advertising claims against Playtex Products, based on expiration of statute of limitations. Baby Trend v. Playtex Products, LLC, 2013 WL 4039451 (C.D.Cal. Aug. 7, 2013).
- Secured dismissal of all claims with prejudice against First Health and Coventry in putative class action challenging health care coverage in auto insurance policies. Jimenez v. Progressive Cas. Ins. Co., 2016 WL 5858738 (D. Ariz. Oct. 3, 2016).
- Associate Editor, American Bar Association, A Practitioner’s Guide to Class Actions (and co-author of chapters on “Other Due Process Challenges to Class Device” and “Aggregation or Stacking of Penalties or Punitive Measures”)
- Chapters on “Bus. & Prof. Code §§ 17200 and 17500, and the California Consumers Legal Remedies Act,” in California Civil Procedure Before Trial: Claims and Defenses (The Rutter Group)
- “Expert Analysis of Class Certification Issues,” in Litigation Services Handbook: The Role of the Financial Expert
- “Drafting Blow-Up Provisions in Class Action Settlement Agreements,” Strafford Webinars, October 28, 2020.
- Co-Chair, Cambridge Forum on Defense of Class Action Litigation, October 2020
- “Resolving The Dispute Over Injunctive Relief Class Actions,” Bridgeport Consumer Class Action Litigation Conference, January 8, 2016
- “State of the Law on Consumer Class Actions,” 2015 National Consumer Class Action Litigation & Management Conference (Bridgeport), January 9, 2015
- “Other Pivotal Residential Mortgage Class Action Issues Currently in Play and Coming Down the Pike from the U.S. Supreme Court: Class Certifications, CAFA, Removal and More,” 12th National Forum on Residential Mortgage Litigation & Regulatory Enforcement (ACI), January 16, 2014
- “Overview of U.S. Class Actions, Defending and Managing Litigation Against Financial Institutions” (C5 Global Conferences), November 28-29, 2012
After graduating cum laude from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, Mr. Chorba received his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law, where he served on the Editorial Board of the Virginia Law Review. He is admitted to practice before all state and federal courts in California, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court of the United States.