Christian B.W. Stephens
Chris Stephens is a seasoned litigator whose practice encompasses business and commercial litigation, consumer financial services, administrative and appellate law.
Business and Commercial Litigation. Chris’s clients include individual business owners and companies ranging in size from small, closely-held businesses to publicly-traded entities. Chris handles a wide range of business and customer disputes involving contract, warranty, fiduciary duty, fraud, trade secret, business interference, unfair competition, and unfair and deceptive trade practices claims. Chris has successfully tried complex disputes involving shareholder and corporate dissolution claims and business disputes brought under Chapter 93A, the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act. Chris has also successfully litigated commercial matters for and against foreign companies and domestic subsidiaries including product liability and contract claims. He routinely represents commercial landlords in disputes concerning lease and license agreements, tenancy and real estate matters.
Consumer Financial Services. Chris has considerable experience representing lenders, investors, mortgage loan servicers, and financial institutions in various types of consumer financial services litigation. Mainly as lead counsel, Chris has handled hundreds of consumer financial services matters in over a dozen States throughout the Northeast. Chris has handled a broad range of financial services matters, including disputes involving loan servicing, contested foreclosures and evictions, lender liability, mortgage lending and fraud, alleged predatory lending, credit reporting, municipal liens and claims including code violation matters, condominium, tax and other priority liens, receivership, bankruptcy, real estate, partition, takings/eminent domain, mechanic’s liens, debt collection and collections activities, and title matters, among others. Chris has litigated and defended matters arising under the full range of laws and statutes regulating the consumer finance industry, such as the Truth-in-Lending Act (TILA), the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Chris routinely defends claims arising under various consumer protection statutes, including Chapter 93A in Massachusetts. Chris works closely with corporate and in-house counsel regarding all aspects of litigation defense and strategy as well as compliance issues and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) claims. Chris has also defended banks with respect to consumer banking claims.
Appellate and Administrative Law. Chris has experience at every level of the state and federal court systems in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, including as appellate counsel of record in matters before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, the Rhode Island Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and the District of Columbia Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court. In particular, Chris has considerable appellate experience handling and litigating administrative matters adverse to state and federal agencies. Chris has prosecuted complex administrative claims and appeals arising under the federal Administrative Procedures Act (APA) and analogous state statutes, federal and state Medicaid programs, the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA), and which involve precedential and constitutional matters of first impression. Chris has litigated constitutional claims involving due process rights, privacy and reputational rights, civil jury trial rights, and Section 1983 (42 U.S.C. § 1983) claims, among others.
- Serve as trial and appellate counsel in a variety of business disputes in state and federal courts in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
- Represent mortgage lenders in various litigation matters, including borrower disputes, tax lien matters, and housing court proceedings.
- Successfully represent at trial and on appeal software developer in business-to-business contract and unfair trade practices dispute. See Full Spectrum Software, Inc. v. Forte Automation Systems, Inc., 858 F.3d 666 (1st Cir. 2017).
- Defend majority shareholder of close corporation against breach of fiduciary duty and other business tort claims by minority shareholders.
- Represent and advise publicly-traded product manufacturer in various litigation matters, including federal class action, product liability, subrogation, and contract disputes.
- Represent companies and corporate officers in shareholder suits, commercial loan, and other business disputes.
- Represent clients in various state and federal administrative law proceedings, including defense and appeal of alleged abuse allegations against health care providers.
- Represent insurers in disputes related to the proper distribution of policy proceeds, contract and coverage disputes.
- Represent national commercial landlord in tenant-related disputes, including eviction actions.
- Represent health care providers and accountants in various professional liability disputes.
- Serve as Massachusetts and Rhode Island local counsel in various product liability and other litigation matters.
- Rhode Island Bar Association
- The Esplanade Association, Friends Council
- New England Center for Homeless Veterans, Volunteer
- UNC-Chapel Hill General Alumni Association, Boston Chapter
News and Insights
- “One Year Later: Massachusetts’ COVID-19 Tolling Orders in Civil Cases,” Boston Bar Journal, April 7, 2021.
- “Mass. Court Deadline Tolling Will Cause Problems For Years,” Law360, June 2020.
- “Spoliation of Evidence Yields Default Judgment,” Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly, August 2022.
- “The Most Important Opinions: January – December 2021,” Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly, December 2021.
- “Default judgment entered over discovery violations,” Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly, July 2021.
- “DC Circ. Tosses FDA’s Electric Shock Harnesses Ban,” Law360. July 2021.
- “3M, Tyco Want Firefighting Foam Contamination Suit Tossed,” Law360, June 2017.
- “Litigation Practice & Strategy: What Every New Civil Litigator Should Know,” Boston Bar Association, February 2015.
- “Beyond the Basics of the Litigation Cycle: Initial Pleadings and Dispositive Motion Practice,” Boston Bar Association, September 2013.