Christopher George OprisonPartner
Chris Oprison is an experienced trial attorney and litigator, handling high profile and high-stakes litigation and appeals. Chris focuses his practice on complex commercial litigation, white collar criminal defense, government enforcement investigations, and healthcare fraud defense matters. He represents and counsels US and international corporations and individuals in connection with civil and criminal litigation matters, government investigations, healthcare fraud and issues and co-leads DLA Piper’s False Claims Act Strike Force and is an active member of the firm’s State Attorneys General practice.
Chris also represents clients in Congressional probes, in complex matters before federal and state courts and administrative agencies, AAA and JAMS arbitrations, and frequently defends individual and corporate clients in connection with Department of Justice, Securities and Exchange Commission, and State and DC attorney general investigations and litigation. Chris has also handled high profile false advertising and false endorsement matters arising under the Lanham Act, as well as class action/multi-district litigation for national and multi-national corporations. He also assists clients with corporate compliance matters, conducting internal investigations on behalf of public company boards and audit committees.
Chris, a former Marine Corps Captain, is dedicated to veterans issues and provides a substantial amount of pro bono legal services to active duty, reservist and retired veterans of the armed services. He served as lead trial defense counsel for one of the Marine Corps' most notable general courts-martial cases in recent years and has been identified as a "recommended attorney" by a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing legal defense services to servicemembers facing the most serious war crimes. Chris also provides pro bono legal services to protect the rights of injured veterans suffering post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury from adverse treatment and discrimination.
Before joining DLA Piper, Chris was a partner in a leading Miami-based national law firm and litigation counsel at a leading global Wall Street-based law firm. From 2006-2008, Chris served in the White House Counsel's Office as an Associate Counsel and Special Assistant to President George W. Bush where he handled hundreds of Congressional investigations directed at the President and Executive Agencies which implicated White House equities. Some of the more high profile investigations for which Chris was responsible on behalf of the Counsel's office included the US Attorneys firings, the investigation and later prosecution of former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, the alleged use of campaign email accounts by political advisors in the White House, compliance with the Presidential Records Act, the invocation of Executive Privilege by the President, and multiple records lawsuits directed at the White House and executive agencies.
Earlier in his career, Chris held clerkships for the late-Judge Fred I. Parker of the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (2002-2003), and then-Chief Judge Terrence W. Boyle of the US District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina (1997-1998). He also served in the United States Marine Corps as a Judge Advocate/Prosecutor (1998-2002) prosecuting hundreds of the most serious felony crimes under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, including more than 30 contested bench and jury trials.
Chris has also appeared on Fox News, CNN, the Blaze TV and various radio talk shows discussing a variety of legal, political and military issues. His successful work on behalf of the Hon. Anthony (Tony) Marshall, son of Brooke Astor, in obtaining a rare medical release from state prison following a corrupt trial and conviction in New York Supreme Court is profiled in the book In the Shadow of a Monument (Aug 2023 ed.).
Representative High Profile Litigation, Appeal and Investigation Matters:
- The Section 501(c)(3) affiliate of the National Rifle Association in defense of a civil enforcement action brought by the District of Columbia’s Attorney General for alleged misuse of charitable funds under the DC Nonprofit Corporations Act and common law. See District of Columbia v. NRA Foundation, Inc. et al, Case No. 2020 CA 003454 B (DC Sup. Ct.)
- Firearms manufacturer against Florida Declaratory Relief Act action by parties seeking to hold manufacturer liable for unlawful use of lawfully manufactured and purchased firearms. Prevailed on behalf of firearms manufacturer in obtaining dismissal of appeal. Guttenberg, et al v. Smith & Wesson Corp., et al., Case No. SC23-185 (Fla. Sup. Ct. 2023)
- Church organization within the Scientology religion in action by former members suing for alleged violations of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA). Obtained order compelling action to religious arbitration. See Gawain Baxter, et al v. David Miscavige, et al, No. 8:22-cv-00986 (MD Fla. 2022)
- Real estate brokerage company, as well as its officers and directors, in connection with multi-state civil enforcement actions, including Florida and Pennsylvania, for alleged deceptive marketing and real estate practices. See Office of the Attorney General of Florida v. MV Realty PBC, LLC, et al, Case No. 22-CA-009958 (Fla. 13th Jud. Cir. 2022); Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. MV Realty PBC, LLC, et al, Case No. 221201288 (Phil. Ct. Comm. Pleas. 2022)
- Social media trade association in action against Florida challenging content moderation law (S.B. 7072) as violating core First Amendment rights of targeted companies to engage in editorial control and judgment. Obtained preliminary injunction. NetChoice, LLC, et al. v. Moody, et al, Case No. 4:21-cv-00220-RH-MAF (2021)
- The Section 501(c)(3) affiliate of the National Rifle Association in defense of a third-party complaint by advertising agency Ackerman McQueen, Inc. seeking to pierce the corporate veil of the Foundation in pursuing claims against the NRA. Obtained dismissal of third-party complaint. NRA v. Ackerman McQueen, Inc., et al, Case No. 3:19-cv-02074-G (ND Tex. 2021)
- One of largest for-profit education companies in putative class action by former students alleging predatory policies and practices, discrimination and reverse red-lining actions. After obtaining partial dismissal of original claims and change of Dept of Ed regulations on borrower defense claims, obtained order compelling case to arbitration. Prevailed on arbitration. See Kareem Britt, et al v. IEC Corporation, et al, Case No. 20-cv-60814-Altman/Hunt (SD Fla. 2020)
- Church organization within the Scientology religion in action by former member of the Church raising abuse allegations. Obtained dismissal of action. See Jane Doe v. Church of Scientology Flag Service Organization, Inc., et al, Case No. 20-002792-CI (Fla. 6th Jud. Cir. 2020)
- Canadian late-stage clinical trial biotech company in multi-jurisdictional litigation to recover stolen clinical trial data of ACP-01, including randomization table. Obtained favorable resolutions and recovery of clinical trial data, enabling Hemostemix to continue its trials. See Hemostemix Inc. v. Kyle Makofka, et al, Case No. 6:21-cv-02036-WWB-EJK (MD Fla. 2021); Hemostemix Inc. v. Accudata Solutions, Inc., Case No. 20-991-SRF (D Del. 2020); Hemostemix Inc. v. Medrio, Inc., Case No. 3:20-CV-07584-LB (ND Cal. 2020); Aspire Health Science, LLC v. Hemostemix Inc., Case No. 2020-CA-001031-O (Fla. 9th Jud. Cir. 2020)
- Commercial real estate investment company in defending against contract and tort claims in hotly contested business dispute. Obtained dismissal of action. Corporate Real Estate Solutions LLC v. Boyd Watterson Asset Management, LLC, Case No. 21-cv-20585-Martinez (SD Fla. 2021)
- Canadian investment management company in defending against fraud claims, including allegations of Florida’s Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act violations. Obtained dismissal of action. Nevada 5, Inc. v. Bridging Finance, Inc., et al, Case No. 19-014926 CA 44 (Fla. 11th Jud. Circ. 2020)
- A dietary supplement licensee in defense of claims by patent troll alleging false advertising under the Lanham Act, unfair competition, and false marketing. Obtained dismissal of all claims with prejudice and award of attorneys’ fees. See ThermoLife Int’l, LLC v. American Fitness Wholesalers, LLC, Case No. 2:18-cv-04189-PHX-JAT (D Ariz. 2018). Prevailed on appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. See ThermoLife Int’l, LLC v. American Fitness Wholesalers, LLC, Case Nos. 20-15163, 20-15807 (consolidated) (9th Cir. 2020)
- One of largest for-profit education companies in Congressional probe by House Education/Labor Committee into admissions practices. Efforts resulted in Committee taking no action beyond initial inquiry
- One of largest for-profit education companies in investigation and qui tam litigation alleging violations of the False Claims Act. Obtained dismissal of action. U.S. ex rel Ortiz v. IEC Corporation, d/b/a Florida Career College, Case No. 1:19-cv-20012-Scola/Torres (SD Fla. 2019)
- The former Chief Financial Officer of Dewey & LeBoeuf in an appeal from a criminal conviction in New York Supreme Court for Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, Securities Fraud in violation of the New York State Martin Act, and Conspiracy in the Fifth Degree. See People of the State of New York v Joel Sanders, Ind. No. 773/2014 (Sup. Ct of NY, Cnty of New York: Part 72)
- The former Chief Financial Officer of Dewey & LeBoeuf in defending securities fraud charges brought by the SEC. See SEC v. Joel Sanders, et al, 14-cv-1528 (VEC) (SDNY 2014)
- Commercial developer in a hotly contested suit to invalidate the election of two non-qualifying candidates for Board of Supervisors for Midtown Miami Community Development District, and defense of Anti-SLAPP counterclaims. Awarded preliminary and permanent injunctive relief invalidating the election and obtaining dismissal of Anti-SLAPP counterclaims. See DDR Miami Avenue, LLC v. Grant Stern, et al, Case No. 2016-031254-CA-01 (Fla. 11th Jud. Cir. 2016)
- Thirty-two highly successful fashion, lingerie and former playmate models in the Southern District of Florida in claims for false advertising and false endorsement under the Lanham Act, civil theft, right of publicity, deceptive and unfair trade practices, defamation and defamation per se stemming from the unauthorized use and alteration of each model’s photographic image in advertisements for events at a Miami swinger/sex club. Defeated motions to dismiss and later obtained summary judgment on liability. See Jaime Faith Edmondson, et al v. Velvet Lifestyles, LLC, et al, Case No. 1:15-cv-24442-Lenard/Goodman (SD Fla. 2015)
- Seventeen successful fashion, lingerie and former playmate models in claims for false advertising and false endorsement under the Lanham Act, civil theft, right of publicity, deceptive and unfair trade practices, defamation and defamation per se stemming from the unauthorized use and alteration of each model’s photographic image in advertisements for events at a Tampa-based swinger/sex resort. See Jaime Faith Edmondson, et al v. Caliente Resorts, LLC, et al, Case No. 8:15-cv-02672-SDM-TBM (MD Fla. 2015)
- Nineteen successful fashion, lingerie and former playmate models in claims for false advertising and false endorsement under the Lanham Act, civil rights violations under New York state law, defamation and defamation per se, and negligence stemming from the unauthorized use and alteration of each model’s photographic image in advertisements for events at a New York-based adult entertainment club. See Jessica Burciaga, et al. v. CJ NYC d/b/a New York City Gentlemen’s Club, et al, Case No.: 15-cv-06181-NG-SMG (ED NY 2015)
- Major League Baseball franchise in connection with investigation by the Department of Justice of agents accused and later convicted of smuggling Cuban baseball players into the United States
- Pro bono representation of a medically-retired Iraqi war veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury in discrimination claim against Lee County, Florida hotel and hotel owner who denied accommodations at the hotel due to service animal. See Jason Allen White, et al. v. Vinit Patel, a/k/a Chandrakat Patel, et al., Case No. 2017 CA 000146
- Pro bono representation of international fraternity in trademark and trade dress infringement litigation against prominent university and cooperative membership organization. Following dispositive motions rulings, obtained a favorable settlement on behalf of the international fraternity. See Theta Chi Fraternity, Inc. v. Leland Stanford Junior University Board of Trustees, et al., Case No. 16-cv-01336-RMW (ND Cal. 2016)
- Pro bono representation a Marine squad leader charged with murder, conspiracy and obstruction of justice after allegedly orchestrating and attempting to cover up the 2006 shooting of an Iraqi civilian in the Iraqi province of Hamdania. Served as lead trial counsel in the general court-martial and presently coordinating the appeal to the Navy-Marine Court of Criminal Appeals. See US v. Sgt Lawrence Hutchins, USMC 2014
- A Department of Defense contractor and affiliated entity in an investigation by the Department of Justice into alleged violations of the False Claims Act stemming from allegations that company submitted erroneous incurred cost submissions and requests for provisional rates in accordance with the Federal Acquisition Regulations and violated relevant Cost Accounting Standards. Following an extensive investigation, the Department declined to intervene in the qui tam relator’s lawsuit. In the ensuing litigation, the court granted the motion to dismiss with prejudice and dismissed the False Claims Act claims. See US ex rel Turner v. KForce Government Solutions, et al, 8:13-cv-1517-T-36TBM (MD Fla. 2013)
- A Royal Bank of Scotland foreign desk trader in connection with the ISDAFIX investigation by the Commodities Futures Trading Commission. After an extensive investigation, the Commission opted not to proceed with its investigation against the client trader
- Whale Wars star and 35-year leader of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in negotiating and helping to coordinate his re-entry into the United States following the issuance of Interpol "Red Notice".
- The late-Ambassador Anthony Marshall, son of Brooke Astor and heir to the estate, in the medical parole application following his conviction and brief period of incarceration. Obtained an unprecedented release under New York’s Medical Parole statute after serving only two months of a one-year prison term, against strong opposition from the Manhattan District Attorneys' office
- A Washington, DC lobbyist and former chief of staff to a member of Congress in connection with a grand jury investigation led by the Department of Justice and the FBI into allegations of kickbacks and honest services fraud. Following an extensive investigation, the Department declined to proceed with criminal charges
- A multi-national airline company and its parent corporation in connection with a federal grand jury investigation into allegations that it falsified aircraft maintenance records. Following an extensive investigation, the Department of Justice declined to proceed with criminal charges and closed the investigation
- One of the largest title insurance companies in the United States in connection with a criminal and civil investigation by the New York Attorney General's Office into allegations of improper payments of referral fees in violation of New York state anti-rebating statutes. After an extensive investigation, a favorable outcome was obtained on behalf of the company
- A national accounting firm in connection with tax shelter-related issues, including defense of a civil suit against the firm by various indicted partners seeking advancement of attorney's fees
- A national accounting firm in connection with civil suits by international re-insurance carriers for fraud and auditor malpractice. Successfully achieved a favorable outcome was obtained on behalf of the firm
- Two separate natural gas suppliers in connection with a national price-fixing investigation by the Commodities Futures Trading Commission. Achieved a favorable outcome on behalf of both suppliers
Representative Healthcare-Related Litigation and Investigations
- A radiation technology manufacturer in connection with an investigation by the Department of Justice into alleged violations of the False Claims Act
- An anesthesiology group in threatened litigation for alleged breach of the anesthesia services agreement
- A prominent physicians practice in litigation against a hospital for breach of the hospital bylaws and credentials policy for restricting the admitting and treating privileges
- A spine center in an investigation by the Department of Justice and Department of Labor involving alleged violations of the False Claims Act, as well as Anti-Kickback and Stark law violations
- A prominent treatment center providing CyberKnife radiation therapy in defending against claims for tortious interference and breach of contract by a serial litigant and disruptive physician, defeating the claimant's emergency motion for temporary and permanent injunctive relief
- A large regional hospital in an internal investigation in response to alleged violations of the False Claims Act, as well as Anti-Kickback and Stark law violations
- A regional, mid-western hospital system in responding to a grand jury subpoena
- A radiation oncology treatment center in an investigation by the Department of Justice into alleged violations of the False Claims Act, as well as Anti-Kickback and Stark law violations. The Department declined to intervene in any lawsuit against the center and the qui tam relator has not pursued the matter against the center.
- A surgery center in an investigation by the Department of Justice into alleged violations of the False Claims Act, as well as Anti-Kickback and Stark law violations. The Department declined to intervene in any lawsuit and the qui tam relator dismissed the center from its complaint.
- A large medical device company in an investigation by the Department of Justice into alleged violations of the False Claims Act. Following an extensive investigation, the Department declined to intervene in any lawsuit and terminated its investigation.
- A parent holding company of one of the largest healthcare systems in the United States and several of its affiliated hospitals in an investigation and later litigation by the Department of Justice and qui tam relator for alleged violations of the False Claims Act in connection with claims made under a state's Medicaid program
- A hospital affiliated with one of the largest healthcare systems in the United States in a state class action
- An international manufacturer and supplier of wound care products in connection with an investigation by the Department of Justice into alleged violations of the False Claims Act stemming from two related qui tam actions alleging fraudulent billing of Medicare. Following an extensive investigation, the Department declined to intervene in the lawsuit. The federal court subsequently dismissed all fraud-based claims brought by both qui tam relators.
- J.D., George Washington University Law School 1997
National Moot Court Team
- B.A., Political Science, University of California at Los Angeles 1994
- The George T. Kilavos Alumni Award from Theta Chi National Fraternity for Meritorious Service to the Fraternity stemming from significant pro bono litigation.
- Pro Bono Service Award (2016)
- Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal
- "Outstanding Trial Advocacy Award" from the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (Naval Justice School)
- "Award for Trial Advocacy" from the New York Bar Association on Military Affairs and Justice (Naval Justice School)
- Honor Graduate, Marine Corps Officer Candidates School, Quantico, Virginia
- False Claims Act Year in Review 2022 (published Feb. 2023)
- False Claims Act Year in Review 2020 (published Feb. 2021)
- False Claims Act Year in Review 2019 (published Feb. 2020)
- "Board of Director and Audit Committee Issues," Chapter 21, The General Counsel's Guide to Government Investigations, Government Investigations and Civil Litigation Institute (2019 ed.)
- "Board of Director and Audit Committee Issues," Chapter 21, The General Counsel's Guide to Government Investigations, Government Investigations and Civil Litigation Institute (2018 ed.)
- "Board of Director and Audit Committee Issues," Chapter 21, The General Counsel's Guide to Government Investigations, Government Investigations and Civil Litigation Institute (2017 ed.)
- Co-Presenter, "Understanding and Navigating DOJ's Guidance on Individual Accountability," Florida Hospital Association Webinar, January 14, 2016
- Speaker, "Taking it to the Feds – Going on the Offense in Government Investigations and Prosecutions," Litigation: Management or Mayhem? You Choose, October 2014
- Associate Counsel and Special Assistant to President George W. Bush (2006-2008)
- Law Clerk to the Honorable Fred I. Parker, US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, (2002-2003)
- United States Marine Corps, Judge Advocate/Prosecutor (1998-2002)
- Law Clerk to the Honorable Terrence W. Boyle (then Chief Judge), US District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina (1997-1998)
Civic and Charitable
- Board of Directors, Beta Alpha Alumni Association of Theta Chi Fraternity (UCLA) (2015-present)
- DC Affordable Law Firm pro bono supervision and representation
Memberships And Affiliations
- Board of Trustees, Marine Corps University Foundation: General Counsel, Audit and Executive Committee member (2006, 2008-present)
- Board of Directors and Executive Committee member, Library of Virginia: Appointed in 2013 to a five-year term by former Virginia Governor Robert F. McDonnell
- Member of the Special Committee on Lawyer Malpractice Insurance, Virginia State Bar: Appointed in 2013 to a five-year term by the state bar president
My latest insights
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