Services & Industries
Intellectual Property & Trade Secret Litigation
Contract & Commercial Disputes
Accountant & Professional Liability
Financial Services & Investment Management Litigation
Real Estate Litigation
Corporate & Business Owner Disputes
Trust & Probate Litigation
J.D., University of Oregon School of Law, Order of the Coif
B.A., with distinction in major, Colorado College
Bar & Court Admissions
Oregon State Bar
Washington State Bar Association
U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington
U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, 10th Circuit
U.S. Supreme Court
Chris is a partner in Tonkon Torp’s Litigation Department and co-chairs the firm’s Financial Services & Investment Management Practice Group. As a trial lawyer, Chris has tried eight- and nine-figure cases to verdict with juries and judges in federal and state court. Chris has a wide-ranging practice that centers on finding solutions and offering strategic guidance for complex business disputes. In addition to trying cases, Chris represents businesses in enforcing and defending their trade secrets and trade dress, responding to regulatory investigations (at the federal, state, and agency levels), and helping to minimize risks while maximizing returns in a pragmatic manner.
Chris is a past president of the Oregon Chapter of the Federal Bar Association and currently serves as a District of Oregon Ninth Circuit Lawyer Representative. He joined Tonkon Torp after a clerkship with U.S. District Judge Edward C. Reed, Jr., in Nevada. Prior to practicing law, Chris worked as a staff analyst for the Federal Reserve Bank and as a financial analyst at a regional credit union with over $1 billion in assets.
When one of the largest regional accounting firms was sued for malpractice based on a supposed conflict of interest, led the defense of the firm in arbitration, obtaining a complete defense verdict.
Trade Secrets – Software as a Service
Successfully first-chaired a three-week federal jury trial of a nine-figure dispute over claimed trade secrets in software as a service platforms.
Trade Secrets – Bread
Trial counsel for two-week federal jury trial for bread manufacturer accused of trade secret misappropriation, ultimately obtaining a complete victory for the client on appeal.
Trade Secrets – Manufacturing
Defended a local manufacturer against a competitor’s claims for misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of a license agreement, knocking out a substantial portion of the competitor’s claims on summary judgment.
Regularly defends clients in responding to requests and investigations from various governmental divisions and regulatory agencies, including representing: a national retailer in defense of an unfair trade practices claim brought by a State; directors of a bank from a complaint by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency; and principals of an investment company from SEC inquiries and investigations.
Breach of Contract
When a Los Angeles-based finance company sued a local client for a business venture that fell through, obtained a preliminary injunction against the LA-company. At trial, obtained a dismissal of a $50 million claim against the client and succeeded in winning a judgment of almost $2 million in favor of the client.
Represented a hospital organization in a defamation suit brought by a disgruntled former employee; succeeded in getting the case dismissed at summary judgment.
When a beneficiary of a family trust challenged the provisions of that trust, represented the professional trustee and co-chaired a four-day bench trial, which resulted in a judgment upholding the trust.
Represented the purchaser of a troubled green condominium project in North Portland. This Multnomah County Circuit Court case involved over 20 parties, including the architect, general contractor, subcontractors and suppliers. The building, although brand new, experienced significant construction defects, including a prematurely failed roof and acoustic separation issues. The case was ultimately settled following a series of joint expert investigations and a comprehensive mediation process.
Represents both landlords and tenants in connection with commercial leases.
When a former employee sued a client for age discrimination under Washington and Federal law, Chris led the defense of the case, drafting and arguing a motion for summary judgment in federal court that led to a decision in the client’s favor.
In 2021, Tonkon Torp defended its client Sprinklr, Inc. in one of the largest Oregon-based commercial lawsuits to be filed in recent years. The complex case between Sprinklr and plaintiff Opal Labs began in 2017 and involved the high-end technology of two sophisticated companies offering services in content marketing.
A recent dispute between a Tonkon Torp client and a Los Angeles-based finance company was the very definition of “complex commercial litigation.” The case involved a structured finance transaction documented through multiple agreements among multiple parties. Untangling the deal gave Tonkon Torp’s litigators an opportunity to demonstrate their value.
The process to acquire, complete and sell the Mississippi Avenue Lofts involved a broad range of legal transactions from Tonkon Torp, including a funding round, multi-party loan and purchasing agreements, litigation and a final sale. Find the details and more featured cases here.
In April 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down non-unanimous jury convictions in criminal cases in Ramos v. Louisiana. A shameful carryover from the Jim Crow era, Louisiana and Oregon were the last two states that allowed non-unanimous criminal convictions when as many as two jurors believed a defendant was innocent. Overnight, more than 260 cases in Oregon became eligible to seek post-conviction relief for unconstitutional non-unanimous convictions. Housed in the Criminal Justice Reform Clinic (CJRC) at Lewis & Clark Law School, the Ramos Project is a statewide pro-bono initiative providing legal assistance to those seeking redress.
Community Involvement & Activities
Federal Bar Association, Oregon Chapter
2016-2017, Vice President
District of Oregon Ninth Circuit Lawyer Representative
Portland Business Alliance
Leadership Portland Class of 2015
American Bar Association
Federal Bar Association
Multnomah Bar Association
The Best Lawyers in America
2021-2023, Commercial Litigation
2021-2023, Litigation – Banking and Finance
2023, Lawyer of the Year – Litigation – Banking and Finance, Portland
2018-2022, Oregon Super Lawyer – Business Litigation
2014-2017, Oregon Rising Star – Business Litigation
Tonkon Torp attorneys Jessica Morgan and Christopher Pallanch led an informational session on timely topics important to compliance professionals.
Five Tonkon Torp partners have been named 2023 Portland Lawyer of the Year in their respective specialties by The Best Lawyers in America.
Fifty-three Tonkon Torp lawyers representing 37 practice areas have been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2023. Nearly all the attorneys have been previously named to the peer-review list, and most have been listed for more than 10 years.
Thirty-one Tonkon Torp attorneys in 11 practice areas have been included in the 2022 Oregon Super Lawyers or Rising Stars
Fifty-three Tonkon Torp lawyers representing 39 practice areas have been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2022
By Chris Pallanch and Jessica Morgan – On March 30, 2022, the Security and Exchange Commission’s Division of Examinations announced its fiscal year 2022 examination priorities. This year’s theme is empowering compliance officers. Once again, the Division’s priorities fit into several broad categories.
On March 3, 2021, the Security and Exchange Commission’s Division of Examinations (formerly the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations, now either “the Division” or “EXAMS”) announced its fiscal year 2021 examination priorities.
It seems as though products containing cannabidiol (CBD) are everywhere – in supermarkets, health food stores, gyms, even the corner convenience store. And CBD can come in almost every product, regardless of the shape or size: oil, toothpicks, dog treats, beverages, lotions, creams, bath bombs, gummies, and coffee, to name but a few.
So, can you ship hemp across state lines now? Not without risk. The 2018 Farm Bill makes it possible to produce hemp in some states without violating federal law. Nevertheless, uncertainty remains for the hemp industry, as shown by recent efforts to ship hemp from one state to another.
On June 21, 2018, the Supreme Court of the United States invalidated the process that the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) had been using to appoint administrative law judges. Staff from the SEC had selected administrative law judges as “employees” of the Commission through a hiring process. Last Thursday, the Supreme Court held that SEC administrative law judges were “officers of the United States” and therefore subject to appointment only by the president, courts, or agency heads.
Publications & Presentations
“SEC Examination Priorities and Enforcement Update for 2022,” Greater Portland Compliance Association, September 2022
“SEC Division of Examinations Announces 2021 Priorities,” Tonkon Torp Legal Update, March 2021
“Compliance and Enforcement Update,” Greater Portland Compliance Association, October 2020
“Managing Investment Adviser Compliance in the Global Pandemic,” May 2020
Podcast, “CBD’s ‘Patchwork’ Regulatory Scheme is Causing Confusion. What are the Facts?” Portland Business Journal, October 2019
“What You Need to Know About Buying and Selling Products Containing Cannabidiol (CBD),” Portland Business Journal, September 2019
“CBD Business and Regulation Focus – The 2018 Farm Bill,” Tonkon Torp Legal Update, February 2019
“Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations Priorities,” Greater Portland Compliance Association, September 2018
“Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act,” Tonkon Torp Legal Update, April 2018
“Vulnerable Person Abuse Protections Coming to FINRA in 2018,” Tonkon Torp Legal Update, February 2018
“SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations Priorities for 2018,” Tonkon Torp Legal Update, February 2018
“New ‘Financial Abuse’ Mandatory Reporting Requirements for Oregon Investment Adviser Representatives,” Tonkon Torp Legal Update, January 2018
“DOL Fiduciary Rule Delayed for 60 Days,” Tonkon Torp Legal Update, April 2017
“Compliance and Enforcement Update,” Greater Portland Compliance Association, October 2017
“Social Media and GPS Location Information,” Oregon Association of Defense Counsel, June 2017
“Temporary Guidance for Fiduciary Rule Compliance,” Tonkon Torp Legal Update, March 2017
“Fiduciary Rule’s Status Uncertain,” Tonkon Torp Legal Update, February 2017
“Important Developments in e-Discovery,” Oregon Association of Defense Counsel, June 2016
“The PAGA Problem: The Unsettled State of PAGA Law Isn’t Good for Anyone,” Bender’s California Labor & Employment Bulletin, July 2013