Christopher provides legal counsel to municipalities, police departments and private employers. He handles claims involving civil rights, municipal liability, and employment law and their attendant litigation. As a former state-certified instructor, Chris is also a nationally recognized law enforcement expert, frequently called upon to deliver seminars and other training to municipalities, police departments and insurers on a variety of topics including risk management, police pursuits, search and seizure, racial profiling, the Americans with Disabilities Act, hiring practices, Pennsylvania's Right to Know Act and police shootings.
Chris graduated with a B.B.A. from Temple University in 1989. Following graduation, he worked for the Philadelphia Police Department for 16 years, holding positions as a patrol officer, detective, narcotics officer, instructor at the Philadelphia Police Academy and Department Advocate. He was a certified instructor for municipal police officers in both academic areas and emergency vehicle operations, and served as a member of the Curriculum Committee on the Municipal Police Officers Education and Training Committee. He was twice decorated by the Department for meritorious service and attained the rank of Lieutenant before his retirement.
As part of his practice, Chris routinely reviews police policies and procedures regarding pursuits, search and seizure, the use of force and other law enforcement topics. A contributing editor to The BULLETIN, the quarterly publication of the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association, he is frequently called upon to present seminars and training to law enforcement and insurance professionals on topics from liability and defenses, to racial profiling and in-custody deaths. His expertise has also been utilized by numerous clients to review incident-specific information and police response, even prior to the initiation of a suit. These post-incident critiques are utilized both to identify training and policy needs, and in preparation for potential litigation.
He attended Temple University School of Law in the evening while working full time for the Police Department, graduating in 2004. While at Temple Law, Chris served as a staff editor and eventually as editor-in-chief of the Temple Environmental Law and Technology Journal. He is a two-time recipient of the Barrister's Award for Trial Advocacy and won the Golden Prize at graduation for outstanding research and writing. Chris joined Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin in May of 2005 as an associate in the King of Prussia office, and has been a Shareholder in the Professional Liability Department since 2013.
Significant Representative Matters
Summary Judgment in an excessive force and Americans with Disabilities Act claim where officer was alleged to have caused permanent and catastrophic injuries to Plaintiff's back.
Summary judgment in a false arrest and malicious prosecution claim where plaintiff alleged officer improperly charged her with retail theft and used excessive force in taking her into custody.
Summary judgment in an employment law case where plaintiff alleged he was discriminated and retaliated against by his employer as a result of his disability, drug addiction.
Defense verdict in case of SWAT commander whose team members shot and wounded a mentally ill plaintiff who claimed excessive force, and violation of his rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Summary Judgment, affirmed on appeal to the Third Circuit, for municipality alleged to have violated the due process and free speech rights of two employees who were not promoted, after failing one section of a promotional test.
Second chair of jury trial in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in a fatal police shooting where the pre-trial demand exceeded one million dollars.
Obtained a jury verdict in the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County on behalf of a police officer and his Department, where liability was stipulated, but Plaintiff was unable to establish compenable damages.
Karaffa v. Montgomery Township, 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 5130 (3rd Circuit March 3, 2014); 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39185 (E.D. Pa. Mar. 21, 2013)
Sullivan v. Warminster Twp., 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 2271 (3d Cir. 2012)
Gorman v. Warwick Twp., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58415 (E.D. Pa. 2012)
Douris v. Upper Makefield Twp., 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 7399 (3d Cir. 2012)
Municipal Liability in Police Pursuits After Sellers v. Abington, Pennsylvania Association of Defense Counsel, July 2015
Civil Litigation Boot Camp for New Police Chiefs, Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association's Centennial Education Training Conference, July 14, 2014
Train the Trainers Program, Municipal Police Officer Education and Training Commission
Racial Profiling Course, Whitemarsh Township
Current Issues In Municipal Liability, Insurance Industry Seminar
Pennsylvania's Right To Know Act, Montgomery County, Bucks County and Chester County Chiefs of Police
Advanced Constitutional Law Seminar, Rutgers University School of Law
Municipal Liability, Pennsylvania Association of Township Supervisors, Allegheny, Cumberland and Montgomery Counties
Police Liability for Police Supervisors, Montgomery County Pennsylvania, quarterly
Pennsylvania's Right to Know Act, Delaware Valley Insurance Trust
Pennsylvania Right To Know Act for Law Enforcement Executives, Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Conference, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Open Carry in Pennsylvania, Chester County Chiefs of Police, 2012
Legal Updates for Law Enforcement Executives, Missouri Chiefs of Police, 2012
Current Liability Issues for Law Enforcement in Dauphin, Lancaster, Bucks, Montgomery, Chester and Philadelphia Counties, Yearly
"Reversing an Overdose - Law Enforcement and Narcan," and "Legal Updates for Law Enforcement," Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association BULLETIN, Summer 2014
"Risk Management Priorities for New Police Chiefs," Trust Connections, the newsletter of the Delaware Valley Insurance Trust, July/August edition, 2013
"The Law Enforcement Client," For the Defense, December 2012
"Strip & Body Cavity Searches - A Guidance Document for Law Enforcement," Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Bulletin, Summer 2012
"Open Carry in Pennsylvania - A Guidance Document for Local Law Enforcement," Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Bulletin, Winter 2011
"The Perfect Storm—Changes To ADA and Increased EEOC Enforcement Signal Trouble for Employers," Defense Digest, June, 2010
"On Call Or Last Call? Commonwealth Court Stops Property Owner's Celebration Early In Municipal Liability Case," Defense Digest, June 2007
Legal Updates for Law Enforcement, twice monthly newsletter
Chris authored the search and seizure lesson plan taught to all of Pennsylvania's municipal police officers in 2007
Chris is the author of several lesson plans utilized by the Philadelphia Police Department in the areas of sex crimes investigation, constitutional law, crimes code and emergency vehicle operation
Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (J.D., 2004)
Honors: Barrister's Award for Trial Advocacy, 2002-03; 2003-04
Honors: Golden Prize for Outstanding Research & Writing, 2004
Law Journal: Temple Environmental Law & Technology Journal, Editor in Chief, 2003 - 2004
Temple University (B.B.A., 1989)
- Temple University Beasley School of Law (J.D., 2004)
- Temple University (B.B.A., 1989)
- Pennsylvania, 2004
- U.S. Court of Appeals 3rd Circuit, 2009
- U.S. District Court Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 2005
- U.S. District Court Middle District of Pennsylvania, 2012
Associations & Memberships
- Montgomery County Bar Association
- Pennsylvania Bar Association
Honors & Awards
- Pennsylvania Super Lawyer Rising Star, 2013-2014