Christopher S. Hennessy focuses his practice on litigation, where he has counseled and assisted businesses across numerous industries. Chris’s proactive approach when working with businesses helps to keep them out of the courtroom when possible but at the same time, prepares them for the successful prosecution of their rights or defense of their conduct.
Chris also assists his clients with risk management and conflict avoidance and works with them to understand their businesses from the inside-out. This allows him to assist those businesses throughout the gamut of their operations; including contract drafting and negotiations, employment and non-disclosure agreements, insurance and risk management needs, and litigation strategies.
Chris’s litigation and trial experience informs his counseling strategies, while at the same time enabling him to fully protect the rights of his clients through verdict, if necessary. The wide range of Chris’s experience is evident from the variety of industries in which he has represented clients.
For example, Chris has helped clients with ERISA claims brought by union pension and welfare funds alleging improper or insufficient contributions under multi-employer plans and defended employers from wage grievances brought pursuant to collective bargaining agreements. He has assisted clients in several different industries with drafting employment agreements and has successfully pursued the employer’s rights under such agreements.
In the construction context, Chris has represented owners, general contractors, subcontractors, and design professionals in claims related to construction defects, delays, and construction site injuries. He has both pursued and defended claims under the Illinois Mechanics Lien Act, and has defended professional liability claims against doctors, attorneys, and insurance producers and brokers.
Chris also has significant and varied experience in more traditional litigation involving personal injury and property damage claims, handling those cases from case inception through verdict. He has assisted his clients in the hospitality industry with claims ranging from Dram Shop Act matters to premises liability cases. Chris defended multiple cases — including one for wrongful death — arising out of a Legionella outbreak at a major hotel.
Chris has experience in defending product liability claims that result in both property damage and personal injury, including product failure cases in the plumbing industry and personal injury cases arising out of claims against retailers and manufacturers of dietary supplements.
Chris is an accomplished author, contributing two chapters of a book on Illinois construction law (Claims Against Construction Participants and Delay Claims and Damages).
He has given presentations to various audiences in the construction industry, discussing purchasing and interpretation of liability insurance for contractors; the insurance industry, teaching claims personnel about early intervention, claim investigation, and litigation; and for design professionals, on issues they uniquely face in the construction context.
Chris has also published in the area of employment litigation, and is an Editor for ABA Section of Litigation’s Employment & Labor Relations Law Newsletter. Outside the firm, Chris is the president of the board of directors of the Chicago Area Runners Association and a past board president of the Peoples’ Music School.
Chris graduated from Northern Illinois University in 1991 with a Bachelor of Science in communications and received his law degree, cum laude, from The John Marshall Law School in 1996. Chris is licensed to practice before the state and federal courts in Illinois and Arizona, as well as before the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
- Negotiated a favorable resolution of nationwide product liability claims, brought against our plumbing component manufacturer client, that centered on alleged component part material defects which caused the products to fail, resulting in significant property damage.
- Obtained dismissal of a Dram Shop claim against a hotel, and successfully resolved a companion claim against the hotel for failure to provide security.
- Defended an international hotel company against claims arising out of a Legionella outbreak that resulted in numerous injuries and three fatalities, resolving admitted liability cases through trials, mediations, arbitrations, and settlement.
- Obtained a temporary restraining order against an employee for violating restrictive covenants in an employment agreement.
- Obtained summary judgment on behalf of a beneficiary of a land trust against a claim of a former beneficiary. This result was affirmed on appeal.
- Obtained summary judgment on behalf of a shipper in a case stemming from a container-related accident that occurred in an intermodal rail yard.
- The John Marshall Law School, J.D., cum laude, 1996
- Northern Illinois University, B.S., 1991
BAR ADMISSIONS : Illinois; Arizona
COURT ADMISSIONS :
- U.S. District Court — Northern District of Illinois
- U.S. District Court — Northern District of Indiana
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
AFFILIATIONS : American Bar Association
Rate : $$$