Christopher Landau, P.C. - Partner

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Christopher Landau, P.C.

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Washington, D.C.
Phone: +1 202-879-5087
Fax: +1 202-879-5200
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Professional Profile

Chris Landau is a senior partner in the Firm’s appellate litigation practice, and was one of the founders of that practice almost twenty-five years ago. He has briefed and argued appeals involving a wide range of subject matters in courts all across the country, including the United States Supreme Court, every one of the federal courts of appeals, and many state appellate courts. Chris served twice as a law clerk at the U.S. Supreme Court, first to Justice Antonin Scalia (1990-91) and then to Justice Clarence Thomas (1991-92). Over the past two Terms, the U.S. Supreme Court has granted review of five petitions in a row in which Chris served as counsel of record.

Chris is a strong believer in the value of an appellate generalist. By the time a case reaches the appellate level, the client and counsel may have lived with the case or the subject-matter for so long that they can lose perspective on how it fits into the broader fabric of American law. For the most part, however, our judges are generalists, and will approach the case from that broader perspective. A good appellate lawyer can help bridge the gap between subject-matter specialists and generalist judges. Whether a particular case started at Kirkland or another firm, Chris works closely with the subject-matter specialists with the client or the trial team to maximize the chances for appellate success.

Having focused on appellate litigation for a quarter century, Chris is a recognized leader in the field. Indeed, when a group of federal judges decided to bring a lawsuit alleging that the Constitution does not allow Congress to withhold judicial salary adjustments previously established by law, they turned to Chris, and he succeeded in overturning prior binding precedent to vindicate the judges’ constitutional claim. See Beer v. United States, 696 F.3d 1174 (Fed. Cir. 2012) (en banc). And Chris is a “lawyer’s lawyer”: he is intimately and personally involved in every aspect of a case, from developing the strategy of which issues to pursue (or not pursue) on appeal to the drafting of the briefs to the oral argument. At the end of the day, there is no substitute for such close involvement and attention to each client’s needs. 


Representative Matters

Focus on appellate litigation, and have worked on a broad variety of cases in both the federal and state courts. Some representative cases include:

  • U.S. Supreme Court:

    • Perry v. Merit Systems Protection Board, __ U.S. __, 2017 WL 125671 (January 13, 2017) (order granting review) (scheduled for argument on April 17, 2017), which presents the question whether an agency decision disposing of a civil-service employment case involving discrimination claims is subject to judicial review in district court or the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit;

    • Maslenjak v. United States, __ U.S. __, 2017 WL 125668 (January 13, 2017) (order granting review) (scheduled for argument on April 26, 2017), which presents the question whether a naturalized American citizen can be stripped of her citizenship in a criminal proceeding based on an immaterial false statement;

    • Czyzewski v. Jevic Holding Corp., 137 S. Ct. __, 2017 WL 1066259 (Mar. 22, 2017), which presented the question whether the Bankruptcy Code’s priority system applies to settlements, as well as to reorganization plans, under Chapter 11;

    • Commonwealth of Puerto Rico v. Franklin California Tax-Free Trust, __ U.S. __, 136 S. Ct. 1938 (June 13, 2016), which presented the question whether Chapter 9 of the federal Bankruptcy Code preempts a Puerto Rico statute creating a mechanism for the Commonwealth’s public utilities to restructure their debts;

    • Commonwealth of Puerto Rico v. Sánchez Valle, __ U.S. __, 136 S. Ct. 28 (June 9, 2016), which presented the question whether Puerto Rico and the Federal Government are “separate sovereigns” for purposes of the Double Jeopardy Clause of the U.S. Constitution;

    • DIRECTV, Inc. v. Imburgia, __ U.S. __, 136 S. Ct. 463 (2015), which presented the question whether a state-court decision interpreting an arbitration agreement to thwart arbitration rights is preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act;

    • Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC v. Simmonds, 566 U.S. 221 (2012), which presented the question whether the two-year time limit for filing actions under Section 16(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 is subject to tolling, and, if so, whether tolling continues even after the receipt of notice of the facts giving rise to the action;

    • Shady Grove Orthopedic Assocs., P.A. v. Allstate Ins. Co., 559 U.S. 393 (2010), which presented the question whether a state law prohibiting certain claims from being brought as class actions applies to diversity cases litigated in federal court;

    • Buckeye Check Cashing v. Cardegna, 546 U.S. 440 (2006), which presented the question whether a state-court decision refusing to enforce an arbitration agreement on the ground that the underlying contract was void ab initio is preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act;

    • Free v. Abbott Labs., Inc., 529 U.S. 333 (2000), which presented the question whether federal courts may exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the claims of absent class members where those courts have original jurisdiction over the claims of the named plaintiffs;

    • Hughes Aircraft Co. v. Jacobson, 525 U.S. 432 (1999), which presented the question whether the federal employee-benefits statute (ERISA) allows participants in a defined benefit pension plan to obtain investment income generated by the plan;

    • Hughes Aircraft Co. v. United States ex rel. Schumer, 520 U.S. 939 (1997), which presented the question whether amendments to the False Claims Act apply retroactively.

  • U.S. Courts of Appeals:

    • Syngenta Seeds, Inc. et al. v. County of Kauai, 842 F.3d 669 (9th Cir. 2016); Hawaii Papaya Indus. Ass’n et al. v. County of Hawaii, __ F. App’x __, 2016 WL 6819700 (9th Cir. Nov. 18, 2016): obtained affirmance of orders enjoining enforcement of county ordinances that sought to regulate use of pesticides and genetically modified seeds on the ground that the ordinances were preempted by federal and/or state law;

    • In re Jevic Holding Corp., 656 F. App’x 617 (3d Cir. July 27, 2016): obtained affirmance of order holding that private equity investor is not liable as a “single employer” for alleged statutory violations committed by a portfolio company;

    • Camelot Terrace, Inc. v. NLRB, 824 F.3d 1085 (D.C. Cir. 2016): obtained reversal of NLRB order insofar as it directed a company to reimburse both the Board and a union for litigation costs incurred during Board proceedings;

    • In re Jevic Holding Corp., 787 F.3d 173 (3d Cir. 2015), cert. granted, 136 S. Ct. 2541 (June 28, 2016): obtained affirmance of “structured dismissal” of Chapter 11 case in which bankruptcy court approved settlement that deviated from Bankruptcy Code’s priority system;

    • Memorylink Corp. v. Motorola Solutions, Inc., 773 F.3d 1266 (Fed. Cir. 2014): obtained affirmance of orders granting summary judgment on contract claims and dismissing tort claims in dispute over patent inventorship;

    • Jentz v. ConAgra Foods, Inc., 767 F.3d 688 (7th Cir. 2014): obtained reversal of judgment of $177 million in compensatory and punitive damages, and entry of judgment in client’s favor, on the ground that client owed plaintiffs no legal duty as a matter of law;

    • In re Syncora Guarantee Inc., 757 F.3d 511 (6th Cir. 2014): obtained writ of mandamus directing district court to promptly decide appeal arising out of Detroit bankruptcy to allow appellate court to review that decision before confirmation of a plan of adjustment;

    • St. Stephen's School v. PricewaterhouseCoopers Accountants N.V., 2014 WL 2766174 (2d Cir. June 19, 2014): obtained interlocutory appellate review, and vacatur, of order certifying a worldwide class of investors to pursue negligence claims against accountants of funds that had entrusted substantially all of their assets to Madoff investment firm;

    • In re Emoral, Inc., 740 F.3d 875 (3d Cir. 2014): obtained affirmance of district court decision holding that individual creditors lack standing to pursue generalized “mere continuation” claims against alleged successor of debtor-in-bankruptcy;

    • Peterson v. Winston & Strawn LLP, 729 F.3d 750 (7th Cir. 2013): obtained affirmance of district court decision dismissing malpractice claim against law firm brought by trustee of bankrupt investment funds;

    • Kopp v. Klein, 722 F.3d 327 (5th Cir. 2013): obtained affirmance of district court decision dismissing claims that corporate officers and directors violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) by allowing participants in employer-sponsored retirement plan to continue holding and investing in employer stock notwithstanding allegation that employer was aware of material nonpublic information that would adversely affect stock’s value;

    • Dow AgroSciences LLC v. National Marine Fisheries Serv., 707 F.3d 462 (4th Cir. 2013): obtained not only reversal of district court decision upholding administrative agency action on the basis of post hoc rationalizations but also vacatur of underlying agency action as arbitrary and capricious for failure to explain critical assumptions;

    • Beer v. United States, 671 F.3d 1299 (Fed. Cir. 2012), and 696 F.3d 1174 (Fed. Cir. 2012) (en banc): first obtained panel ruling that plaintiff Article III judges were not bound by adverse class-action judgment of which they had not received notice, and then obtained en banc ruling overruling prior precedent and holding that Congress cannot constitutionally withhold judicial salary adjustments previously established by law;

    • Raytheon Co. v. Indigo Sys. Corp., 2012 WL 1764191 (2d Cir. May 18, 2012): obtained affirmance of order dismissing negligence and fraud claims against third-party auditor in connection with Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme;

    • Stephenson v. PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP, 2012 WL 1764191 (2d Cir. May 18, 2012): obtained affirmance of order dismissing negligence and fraud claims against third-party auditor in connection with Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme;

    • CSX Corp. v. The Children's Investment Fund Mgmt. (UK) LLP, 654 F.3d 276 (2d Cir. 2011): obtained vacatur of district court injunction based on the existence of a “group” under Section 13(d) of the Williams Act, and obtained affirmance of district court order refusing to enjoin defendants from voting in proxy contest notwithstanding alleged violation of Section 13(d);

    • Sher v. Raytheon Co., 2011 WL 814379 (11th Cir. Mar. 9, 2011): obtained interlocutory review and reversal of class certification order where district court failed to conduct rigorous analysis of expert testimony upon which certification was based;

    • Dow AgroSciences LLC v. National Marine Fisheries Serv., 637 F.3d 259 (4th Cir. 2011): obtained reversal of district court decision refusing, on jurisdictional grounds, to address challenge to administrative agency action that was causing clients immediate injury;

    • Cook v. Rockwell Int'l Corp., 618 F.3d 1127 (10th Cir. 2010): obtained reversal of $926 million judgment in favor of plaintiff class in nuclear environmental contamination case on a variety of grounds, including erroneous interpretation of the federal Price-Anderson Act establishing claims for nuclear-related liability, erroneous approach to preemption of state law by federal nuclear safety standards, and erroneous interpretation of the Colorado common law of trespass and nuisance;

    • Hoosier Energy Rural Elec. Co-op., Inc. v. John Hancock Life Ins. Co., 582 F.3d 721 (7th Cir. 2009): obtained affirmance of preliminary injunction preventing non-profit rural electricity supplier from being forced into bankruptcy as a result of credit default swap;

    • June v. Union Carbide Corp., 577 F.3d 1237 (10th Cir. 2009): obtained affirmance of summary judgment for defendants in case alleging injury from exposure to radioactive emissions, and seeking damages and medical monitoring, under the Price-Anderson Act;

    • Brown v. Jevic, 575 F.3d 322 (3d Cir. 2009): obtained reversal of order remanding case to state court for lack of federal jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act;

    • Roberts v. Financial Technology Ventures, L.P., 320 Fed. App’x 350 (6th Cir. 2009): obtained affirmance of summary judgment in contract case involving legality of contract and enforceability of release;

    • In re W.R. Grace & Co., 316 Fed. App’x 134 (3d Cir. 2009): obtained affirmance of order disallowing asbestos property damage claims filed after bankruptcy bar date;

    • Bell v. Hershey Co., 557 F.3d 953 (8th Cir. 2009): obtained reversal of order remanding class action to state court for lack of federal jurisdiction, and persuaded Court of Appeals to adopt favorable legal standard for a defendant attempting to prove that the amount in controversy in a class action exceeds the $5 million jurisdictional minimum under Class Action Fairness Act;

    • Koch v. CompuCredit Corp., 543 F.3d 460 (8th Cir. 2008): obtained reversal of order denying motion to compel arbitration, on ground that termination of underlying contract does not terminate obligation to arbitrate disputes arising under that contract;

    • Extra Equipamentos v. Case Corp., 541 F.3d 719 (7th Cir. 2008): obtained affirmance of summary judgment for defendants on fraud and fraudulent inducement claims;

    • Chartschlaa v. Nationwide Mutual Ins. Co., 538 F.3d 116 (2d Cir. 2008): obtained reversal of first judgment allowing insurance agent to sue insurance company under a franchise statute for lack of standing under the bankruptcy laws;

    • United States v. W.R. Grace & Co., 526 F.3d 499 (9th Cir. 2008) (en banc): obtained overruling of adverse circuit precedent limiting trial court’s authority to order Government to disclose witnesses in criminal cases before trial;

    • Leonard v. Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co., 499 F.3d 419 (5th Cir. 2007): obtained reversal of adverse rulings in insurance coverage case involving damage from Hurricane Katrina;

    • Boehner v. McDermott, 484 F.3d 573 (D.C. Cir. 2007) (en banc): obtained reversal of ruling that the First Amendment does not protect the disclosure of truthful information on matters of public concern by persons who obtained such information with knowledge or reason to know it had been unlawfully intercepted by someone else (although a different majority of the court ultimately affirmed the judgment);

    • Discover Bank v. Vaden,, 396 F.3d 366 (4th Cir. 2005): successfully defended exercise of federal subject matter jurisdiction over motion to compel arbitration;

    • Kern v. Siemens Corp., 393 F.3d 120 (2d Cir. 2004): obtained reversal, on interlocutory review, of class certification order;

    • In re W.R. Grace & Co., 2004 WL 2404546 (3d Cir. 2004): obtained reversal of order directing remand of product liability claims to state court for lack of federal bankruptcy jurisdiction;

    • Republic Tobacco Co. v. North Atlantic Tobacco Co., 381 F.3d 717 (7th Cir. 2004): obtained 60% remittitur of damages award in commercial defamation case (after obtaining a prior 60% remittitur of damages award in post-trial motions in district court);

    • Ball v. Union Carbide Corp. et al., 376 F.3d 554 (6th Cir. 2004): obtained affirmance of judgment declining to certify class action, and dismissing claims of individual plaintiffs on statute of limitations grounds;

    • Hawkins v. Aid Ass'n for Lutherans, 338 F.3d 801 (7th Cir. 2003): obtained affirmance of judgment compelling arbitration of claims against fraternal benefit society;

    • Beech Nut v. Gerber Prods. Co., 69 Fed. Appx. 350, 2003 WL 21317277 (9th Cir. June 4, 2003): obtained reversal of judgment dismissing Beech Nut’s antitrust claims against Gerber for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted;

    • Deutsch v. Turner Corp., 317 F.3d 1005 (9th Cir. 2003): obtained affirmance of order dismissing World War II forced labor claims against Japanese corporations on the ground that the California statute creating such claims violated the exclusive federal realm of foreign affairs;

    • AM General Corp. v. DaimlerChrysler Corp., 311 F.3d 796 (7th Cir. 2002): obtained affirmance of order denying preliminary injunction in case involving trademark claims by DaimlerChrysler, owner of the Jeep mark, against General Motors, owner of the Hummer mark;

    • Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corp. v. Mitsui & Co., Inc., 221 F.3d 924 (6th Cir. 2000): obtained affirmance of a ruling that the 1916 Antidumping Act does not authorize injunctive relief, and that courts have no "inherent power" to award such relief;

    • Hermès International v. Lederer de Paris Fifth Avenue, Inc., 219 F.3d 104 (2d Cir. 2000): obtained reversal of a summary judgment dismissing trademark infringement claims against sellers of knockoff luxury handbags;

  • U.S. District Courts:

    • Syngenta Seeds, Inc. v. County of Kauai, 2014 WL 4216022 (D. Haw. Aug. 25, 2014), affd, 842 F.3d 669 (9th Cir. 2016): obtained summary judgment and injunctive relief against enforcement of local ordinance seeking to regulate use of pesticides and genetically modified seeds on the ground that the ordinance was preempted by state law;

    • In re: Emoral, Inc., 2013 WL __ (D.N.J. Jan. 23, 2013), aff’d, 740 F.3d 875 (3d Cir. 2014): obtained reversal of bankruptcy court decision holding that individual creditors have standing to pursue generalized “mere continuation” claims against alleged successor of debtor-in-bankruptcy;

    • In re Oil Spill by Oil Rig Deepwater Horizon in Gulf of Mexico, on April 20, 2010, 902 F. Supp. 2d 808 (E.D. La. 2012): obtained dismissal of claims against BP under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, general maritime law, and state law for “pure stigma” injury to property values, loss of recreational opportunities, and taint to BP brand arising out of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill;

    • In re Oil Spill by Oil Rig Deepwater Horizon in Gulf of Mexico, on April 20, 2010, 802 F. Supp. 2d 725 (E.D. La. 2011): obtained dismissal of claims against BP brought under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) arising out of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill;

    • Allen v. Honeywell Retirement Earnings Plan, No. 04-424 (D. Ariz. Aug. 21, 2008 & Oct. 9, 2009): twice obtained reconsideration of order granting plaintiffs summary judgment against retirement plan under Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) on issues implicating hundreds of millions of dollars in pension liability;

    • Franco v. Dow Chem. Co., 2003 WL 24288299 (C.D. Cal. Oct. 21, 2003): obtained dismissal of action to enforce $489 million Nicaraguan judgment against American defendants;

    • Lichtman v. Siemens AG, 65 F. Supp. 2d 248 (D.N.J. 1999): obtained dismissal of lawsuits challenging the use of forced labor by German industry during the Second World War on the ground that the claims involve non justiciable political questions;

  • State Appellate Courts:

    • Tincher v. Omega Flex, Inc., 104 A.3d 328 (Pa. 2014): obtained reversal of strict-liability judgment for defective product design, and persuaded Pennsylvania Supreme Court to overhaul Pennsylvania product-liability law and overrule a longstanding precedent that lessened plaintiffs’ burden to prove defective product design;

    • Don Johnson Prods., Inc. v. Rysher Ent'ment, 209 Cal.App.4th 919 (Cal. Ct. App. 2012): obtained affirmance of judgment establishing liability in case brought by actor’s corporation against production studio under contract provision giving actor’s corporation partial copyright ownership in television series;

    • Henry v. Dow Chemical Co., 772 N.W.2d 301 (Mich. 2009): obtained reversal of class certification order in mass environmental contamination case;

    • Innophos, Inc. v. Rhodia, S.A., 882 N.E.2d 389 (N.Y. 2008): obtained affirmance of summary judgment in contract dispute over responsibility for $130 million assessment by Mexican government for use of water;

    • Biko et al. v. Siemens Corp. et al., 246 S.W.3d 148 (Tex. App. 2007): obtained affirmance of summary disposition of $80 million contract and tort claims involving employee incentive program;

    • Cosio v. United States, 927 A.2d 1106 (D.C. 2007) (en banc): participated as amicus curiae by invitation of the Court, and persuaded Court to reverse criminal conviction based on ineffective assistance of counsel;

    • Patterson v. General Motors Corp., 2005 WL 1160605 (Mich. App. 2005): obtained affirmance of summary disposition of employment discrimination claims;

    • AIDA v. Time Warner Entertainment Co., LLP, 722 N.E.2d 953 (Ill. App. 2002): obtained affirmance of decision dismissing lawsuit contending that "The Sopranos" television series violated the "Individual Dignity" Clause of the Illinois Constitution;

    • ServiceMaster v. Martin, 556 S.E.2d 517 (Ga. App. 2001): obtained complete reversal of $45 million punitive damages award, and judgment for client as a matter of law, in employment dispute after default judgment entered against client.


Other Distinctions

Trustee of the U.S. Supreme Court Historical Society

Adjunct Professor of Administrative Law at Georgetown University Law Center (Fall 1994 and 1995)

Personal

  • Born November 13, 1963 in Madrid, Spain

  • Fluent in Spanish; proficient in French

  • Lived in Spain, Canada, Paraguay, Chile, Venezuela, and France

  • Married to Caroline Bruce Landau; two children, Nathaniel (born 2001) and Julia (born 2007)


Prior Experience

Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Washington, D.C.
     Partner, 1995–present; Associate, 1993–1995

Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, D.C.
     Adjunct Professor of Administrative Law, Fall 1994 and 1995

Justice Clarence Thomas, United States Supreme Court
     Law Clerk, 1991–92

Justice Antonin Scalia, United States Supreme Court
     Law Clerk, 1990–91

Judge Clarence Thomas, U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit
     Law Clerk, 1990


Courts

U.S. Supreme Court

U.S. Courts of Appeals for the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, District of Columbia and Federal Circuits

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