Christopher Torres

Christopher Torres

Shareholder

Christopher Torres is the Administrative Shareholder of the Tampa Office. Chris concentrates his practice on business and complex commercial litigation, toxic tort defense, environmental litigation, and land use litigation. Previously, Chris has represented clients in the areas of securities litigation and enforcement, white collar litigation, and appeals. He also has experience in the areas of corporate and securities law where he advised boards of directors on corporate governance issues and contests for corporate control, represented companies in mergers and acquisitions, represented investors and companies in private equity investments, and developed prospective securities litigation strategies.

Concentrations

  • Business and complex commercial litigation
  • Toxic tort defense
  • Environmental litigation
  • Land use litigation
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Capabilities

Experience

  • Currently defending an action by commercial fishermen alleging damages purportedly resulting from a release of approximately 65 million gallons of process water from an industrial facility into Tampa Bay. The action was originally brought as a class action, which was defeated, as were efforts to join additional commercial fishermen. The representation involves the scientific and technical disciplines of ichthyology, benthic ecology, marine biology, physical oceanography, estuarine science, commercial fishing economics, and statistics.
  • Currently defending three companion derivative actions involving the merger and acquisition of a regional bank and asserting, among other claims, breaches of fiduciary duty and civil conspiracy.
  • Currently defending a national retailer in a trade dress infringement action brought by an international manufacturer and competitor.
  • Obtained summary judgment in defense of a marine dredging and engineering company in action demanding in excess of $25 million and alleging breach of contract, tortious interference, and misappropriation of trade secrets arising out of the acquisition of an engineering services business.
  • Obtained summary judgment for a mining and chemical processing company in a toxic tort action in which Plaintiff sought in excess of $63 million and alleged she suffered adverse health effects as a result of exposure to industrial air emissions and fugitive dust. Excluded the proffered expert opinion of plaintiff’s toxicologist through the granting of a Daubert motionManaged defense experts in the disciplines of toxicology, air modeling, medicine, clinical psychology, life-care planning, economics, and biostatistics.
  • Defended a mining and chemical processing company in a sixteen-count federal court action including the alleged breach of various land reclamation agreements and state mining regulations affecting more than 2,000 acres of waste clay settling areas and phosphate lands mined by the client and various legacy owners over a 40-year period. Plaintiffs sought damages in excess of $50 million. Plaintiffs were only able to proceed to trial with approximately $10 million in claims after extensive motion practice. Plaintiffs’ claims were further reduced by almost half through a motion for judgment as a matter of law. A jury subsequently returned a split verdict and awarded Plaintiffs approximately $1.5 million in damages, or less than 3% of what they had originally sought. The court subsequently ordered a remittitur, which reduced the damages award by more than $750,000.
  • Defended a mass toxic tort with more than 1,100 plaintiffs alleging wrongful death, personal injury, medical monitoring, and property damage claims arising out of purportedly contaminated groundwater, surface water, soil, and air in a large area surrounding a facility that manufactured animal feed supplements and certain by-products. Obtained entry of a Lone Pine order requiring plaintiffs to substantiate their allegations of injury and causation or be subject to dismissal.
  • Obtained summary judgment and a final judgment in excess of $12 million in favor of a syndicated bank lending group against a regional bank. The syndicate sued a blind participant to recover a multimillion-dollar setoff exercised by the participant against the syndicate’s borrower in connection with a consumer mortgage fraud scheme and FBI investigation. The case raised an issue of first impression under Florida law and included claims of breach of contract, constructive trust, conversion, and tortious interference.
  • Obtained a jury verdict in a New York federal court trial in a property dispute action.
  • Obtained a permit on behalf of large real estate developer in an administrative trial arising from a permit challenged by CSX Transportation. Strategized and coordinated the defense with the state regulatory authority and a local municipality.
  • Defended a leading food distributor in the resolution of a highly publicized investigation by the Economic Crimes Division of the Florida Office of the Attorney General against allegations of fish misbranding or mislabeling (i.e., substitution of commercial fish species). Resolution was without admission of liability or recommendation of penalties. The resolution was accomplished by, among other things, substituting a protein based testing method, isoelectric focusing, with a state of the art DNA testing method, cytochrome c oxidase subunit I, which is verified against the Fish Barcode of Life database.
  • Obtained dismissal of a technology company in a wrongful death action based on an alleged breach of contract entered into with a state agency.
  • Obtained dismissal of an international specialty chemical company in alleged wrongful death and personal injury action.
  • Represented a chemical manufacturing and advanced materials company in connection with the field application of a new-to-market soil fumigant.
  • Defended a technology company in an action seeking declaratory relief and alleging breach of contract, tortious interference with advantageous business relationship, and violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act. Obtained dismissal of the tortious interference and FDUTPA counts, and filed an eight-count counterclaim. Obtained a favorable resolution to client following the filing of the counterclaims and engaging in motion practice.
  • Defended a warranty company in putative class action alleging a violation of a Florida insurance statute and civil conspiracy. Obtained a voluntary dismissal of the action.
  • Defended a former City Commissioner in an action alleging violation of Florida’s Public Records Act implicating private political activity, and obtained two dismissals of the action, the second of which was appealed and affirmed by a Florida appellate court.
  • Obtained dismissal for an industrial client in an action seeking a recovery of past and future investigative, remediation, and removal costs under Section 107 of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, a declaratory judgment declaring the rights and duties of the parties under CERCLA, and the recovery of cleanup and management costs under section 376.313, Florida Statutes.
  • Defended an industrial client in a toxic tort action alleging personal injury as a result of exposure to toxic contaminants, including radionuclides, through the contamination of the water, soil, and air on the plaintiff’s property.
  • Worked with technical team and experts in defending a preliminary injunction action brought by various environmental groups to enjoin phosphate mining operations authorized under a Clean Water Act permit issued by the United States Army Corps of Engineers. The environmental groups charged that the company failed to follow the mandates of the CWA and the National Environmental Policy Act.
  • Defended a leading producer and marketer of concentrated phosphate and potash before Florida’s Division of Administrative Hearings in an expedited hearing in which the company’s environmental resource permit and conceptual reclamation plan were challenged by a local government. Case involved, among other things, the successful defense of the company in an eDiscovery challenge by the local government, which was the first time such a matter had been briefed and argued before the Division.
  • Obtained summary judgment in a multimillion-dollar contract action involving an option to purchase more than 20,000 acres of land.
  • Represented a corporate client in a lawsuit involving Florida’s Sunshine Law and Public Records Act filed on the company’s behalf against a Florida county to release to the public the transcript of a “shade meeting” (a non-public meeting between a county commission and its legal counsel that enjoys a qualified exemption from Florida’s Sunshine Law).
  • Assisted in the resolution of an investigation and complaint filed by the Economic Crimes Division of the Florida Office of the Attorney General against a national identity theft protection company for alleged violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.
  • Defended a leading pharmaceutical manufacturer in the resolution of a Florida Department of Health investigation associated with a Stop Sale Notice issued by the same entity for two of the company’s drugs.
  • Represented client in obtaining injunctive relief in a non-compete and trade secret action.
  • Defended a leading regional credit union against allegations that company engaged in conduct that violated, among other things, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Defense was successful on motion practice that included obtaining a favorable reversal on reconsideration under Rule 59(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
  • Defended a national insurer against a multimillion-dollar putative class action for federal securities fraud and various state laws claims, including state law RICO, which dismissal was affirmed by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Defended a publicly traded company in a putative class action for federal securities fraud under the PSLRA.
  • Represented a corporate client in an action against a major national health insurer for failure to provide conversion coverage to company employees.
  • Represented a corporate client in achieving a favorable resolution and settlement with the Florida Attorney General’s Economic Crime Division against allegations of price gouging.
  • Represented clients in public and quasi-judicial hearings before various local governments.
  • Represented land developers by means of extraordinary writ.

Recognition & Leadership

  • Listed, The Legal 500 United States, Product Liability and Mass Tort Defense - Toxic Tort, 2015-2018
  • Team Member, U.S. News - Best Lawyers®, Best Law Firms Edition, “Law Firm of the Year,” Environmental Law, 2016
  • Listed, The Latino American Who’s Who, 2015
  • Listed, Chambers USA Guide, 2011-2014
  • Listed, Florida Trend magazine, “Legal Elite,” Litigation, 2011-2013, 2015-2016
  • Listed, Attorney at Law Magazine, “Attorneys to Watch in 2012,” 2012
  • Member, The Florida Bar
  • Member, District of Columbia Bar
  • Member, The Massachusetts Bar
  • Member, American Bar Association, Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, Environmental Enforcement and Crimes Committee
    • Vice Chair, The Year in Review
    • Vice Chair, Technology, 2011-2012
  • Member, Defense Research Institute
  • Member, Hillsborough County Bar Association
  • Member, The Hispanic National Bar Association
  • Member, Latino Justice PRLEDF
  • Member, Leadership Tampa, Class of 2010

Credentials

Education
  • J.D., Harvard Law School
  • B.A., New York University
Admissions
  • Florida
  • District of Columbia
  • Massachusetts
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts
Languages
  • Spanish, Conversational