Christopher M. Ernst is the senior litigation partner in Bricker & Eckler’s Cleveland office. He has a litigation practice of medium and large business cases, with a particular focus on business torts and contract matters. His experience is broad, and he has served as lead counsel on cases valued well into the ten-figure range.
With over 20 years of experience as a neutral, Christopher leads Bricker's ADR Services: Mediation & Arbitration practice area and serves as a mediator or arbitrator on a variety of business disputes and tort actions. He has received neutral training from the Supreme Court of Ohio and the American Arbitration Association. He also serves as a mediator for the Business Mediation program in the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court and the Alternative Dispute Resolution Panel for the United States District Court Northern District of Ohio.
Christopher has recognized experience on the subject of tort law. He wrote Baldwin's Ohio Practice: Tort Law (published by Thomson Reuters/West), the only comprehensive treatise on tort law for the state of Ohio. The five volume book takes an in-depth look at every area of tort law, with a particular focus on business torts, which compliments Christopher's litigation and ADR practices.
In addition, as an outside general counsel, Christopher works with emerging and middle market companies, as well as nonprofits organizations, to provide the kind of day-in, day-out, informed legal advice a business needs. Christopher combines the unique and practical advantages of in-house counsel with access to the broad experience and objectivity of a large outside law firm, all while minimizing expenses to the business's bottom line.
Christopher's experience includes the following:
- Served as an arbitrator for the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas since 1993.
- Serve as private arbitrator of various matters since 2008.
Business Litigation – Breach of contract
- Successfully represented a local construction company in a $160 million breach of contract lawsuit.
Business Litigation – Breach of contracts/fraud
- Successfully represented alternative energy company in a $10 million lawsuit against a foreign manufacturer.
Business Litigation – Corporate dissolution
- Successfully represented a local real estate developer in a $20 million corporate dissolution lawsuit.
Business Litigation – Employment agreements
- Successfully represented a local company accused of causing the violation of an employee’s non-competition and confidentiality agreements.
Business Litigation – Manufacturing
- Served as a national litigation manager for the U.S. subsidiary of an international manufacturing company, representing the company in jurisdictions across the USA.
Business Litigation – Post-sale dispute
- Negotiated and resolved a post-sale multi-million dollar dispute between the seller and buyer of a nationwide wholesale business.
Class Action Litigation – Special Master
- Successfully served as Special Master, overseeing the administration of an $850 million class action lawsuit.
Corporate – General Counsel
- Serve as outside general counsel for multiple companies ranging in size from under $1 million in sales per year to over $100 million in sales per year.
Corporate – Lease agreements
- Negotiated favorable leasing terms for multiple clients.
Corporate – Mergers and acquisitions
- Successfully negotiated the acquisition of a retail food service business.
Insurance Litigation – Bad faith
- Successfully defended a disability insurance carrier in a $30 million bad faith lawsuit.
Insurance Litigation – Breach of contract/bad faith
- Successfully defended a disability insurance carrier in a $10 million breach of contract/bad faith lawsuit.
Insurance Litigation – Life
- Successfully defended life insurance carrier in a $2 million breach of contract lawsuit.
Intellectual Property – Management of portfolio
- Managed intellectual property portfolios for a variety of clients.
Intellectual Property – Trademarks
- Successfully resolved a trademark dispute between a local holding company and an international entertainment firm.
Intellectual Property – Websites
- Prepared necessary legal documents associated with the operation of a variety of websites.
Mediator – Business
- Serve as court appointed mediator in a breach of contract litigation.
- Serve as court appointed mediator in fiduciary duty litigation.
Mediator – Personal Injury
- Serve as court appointed mediator for personal injury litigation.
Oil & Gas Litigation
- Successfully defended oil and gas companies in multiple breach of lease lawsuits.
White Collar Criminal Litigation – Public official corruption investigation
- Successfully represented the only public official to be acquitted of all corruption charges in the federal government’s Cuyahoga County public corruption investigation.
- Successfully represented a local company in settling a dispute with a local municipality.
- Successfully defended wireless telecommunication company in zoning disputes with local municipalities.
Other Court Admissions — United States Supreme Court
United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio
United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio
State of Ohio
United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit