Chris Wadley has significant experience litigating cases around the country, at both the trial and appellate levels. Chris’s cases have involved, among other things, insurance coverage and bad faith lawsuits, business and commercial disputes, and tort litigation. Chris has also counseled insurance companies and policyholders on various coverage matters, and he has counseled other business clients on issues pertaining to compliance with federal and state laws and regulations.
Some recent highlights of Chris’s practice include:
- Obtained dismissal of coverage and bad-faith complaint against insurer seeking to recover $12 million for underlying malicious prosecution claim against municipality. Sanders v. Illinois Union Ins. Co., No. 16 CH 2605 (Ill. Cir. Ct., Cook Cnty., Jan. 2, 2018).
- Obtained summary judgment in favor of insurer on bad-faith claim alleging that insurer wrongfully failed to settle underlying claim arising out of grain bin explosion. Also briefed and argued appeal affirming summary judgment. West Side Salvage, Inc. v. RSUI Indem. Co., No. 16-3928, 2017 WL 6422107 (Dec. 18, 2017).
- Obtained dismissal of coverage and bad-faith complaint against insurer seeking to recover $28 million in defense costs and indemnity for underlying lawsuit against bank arising out of imposition of overdraft fees on bank customers. Also briefed and argued appeal affirming dismissal. BancorpSouth, Inc. v. Federal Ins. Co., 873 F.3d 582 (7th Cir. 2017).
- Obtained summary judgment in favor of general liability carrier on claims alleging wrongful denial of coverage and bad faith arising out of underlying FELA lawsuit against railroad. BNSF Railway Co. v. Gilster-Mary Lee Corp., No. 15-cv-250-JPG-SCW, 2016 WL 3548453 (S.D. Ill. June 30, 2016).
- Obtained dismissal of claim against insurer alleging breach of duty to defend, estoppel, and bad faith arising out of underlying lawsuit claiming violation of federal regulations pertaining to owner-operator agreements between insured and truck drivers. Also briefed and argued appeal affirming trial court’s decision. Altom Transport, Inc. v. Westchester Fire Ins. Co., 823 F.3d 416 (7th Cir. 2016).
- Obtained dismissal of claim against professional liability carrier alleging wrongful denial of coverage under claims-made policy for underlying legal-malpractice claim. Also briefed and argued appeal affirming trial court’s decision. Reifer v. Westport Ins. Corp., No. 321 MDA 2015, 2015 WL 7354650 (Pa. Super. Ct. Nov. 20, 2015).
- Obtained summary judgment in favor of commercial general liability insurer on claim made by insured and claimant concerning application of insurance policy deductible. Select Build Ill., LLC v. ACE Am. Ins. Co., No. 1:14-cv-08653 (N.D. Ill. Nov. 16, 2015).
- Obtained judgment in favor of commercial general liability insurer enforcing legally-obligated-to-pay and voluntary-payment provisions to preclude coverage for consent judgment entered against insured without insurer’s consent. Also briefed and argued appeal affirming trial court’s decision. Klepper v. ACE Am. Ins. Co., 999 N.E.2d 86 (Ind. Ct. App. 2013), transfer denied, 12 N.E.3d 878 (Ind. 2014).
- Defeated a motion filed by a claimant and an individual attorney insured under a professional liability insurance policy, in which the claimant and insured sought court approval of a proposed $3.8 million consent judgment to be entered against the insured without the consent of the insured’s liability carrier. Later, successfully briefed and argued appeal upholding trial court’s decision. Hidalgo v. Barker, 309 P.3d 687 (Wash. Ct. App. 2013).
- Obtained dismissal of complaint against professional liability insurer alleging that insurer wrongfully denied coverage for underlying breach of contract and negligence claims against escrow company. Hawks v. Am. Escrow, LLC, No. 09 C 2225, 2012 WL 966059 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 16, 2012).
- Counseled professional liability insurance carrier and defended carrier at trial in connection with a multimillion-dollar claim for attorneys’ fees and loss allegedly incurred by an insured attorney in two complex underlying lawsuits. After trial, the court held that the carrier did not breach its duty to defend or act in bad faith with respect to its handling of the claim. The court also found that the carrier was not obligated to indemnify the insured for any loss the insured allegedly incurred in the underlying lawsuits. Weinstein & Riley, P.S. v. Westport Ins. Corp., No. 2:08-cv-01694-JLR, 2011 WL 887552 (W.D. Wash. March 14, 2011), aff’d, 484 Fed. Appx. 121 (9th Cir. 2012).
- Obtained judgment in favor of life insurance carrier following trial on claim alleging that the carrier breached a life insurance policy by refusing to pay benefits. Swarn v. Great-West Life & Annuity Ins. Co., Case No. 2005 L 013868 (Ill. Cir. Ct. Cook County 2008), aff’d, No. 1-08-2449 (Ill. App. Ct. 1st Dist. Oct. 22, 2009).
Business and Tort Claims
- Obtained jury verdict following trial in favor of home inspection company on negligence claim based on company’s alleged failure to identify hazard that caused fire that destroyed home two weeks after the plaintiffs moved into the home. Whitney v. Power Inspection Services, Inc., No. 13 cv 00899 (Wisc. Cir. Ct., Walworth Cnty. Nov. 5, 2015).
- Briefed and argued appeal upholding summary judgment in favor of a product manufacturer based upon the application of Texas’s statute of limitations to product-liability claims filed in Washington state court. Hai v. STL Int’l, Inc., No. 43877-1-II, 2014 WL 1494107 (Wash. Ct. App. Apr. 15, 2014).
- Obtained an order compelling the plaintiffs to arbitrate their claims against an architectural firm in a case in which the plaintiffs claimed that they had been victims of a real estate scheme to defraud investors in connection with the redevelopment of vacant lots in the City of Chicago. Blythe Holdings, Inc. v. Flawless Financial Corp., No. 06-C-5262, 2009 WL 103196 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 15, 2009).
- Obtained summary judgment in favor of a leading material-science technology company on claims that it breached various technology licensing agreements. SMS Demag Aktiengesellschaft v. Material Sciences Corp., 528 F. Supp. 2d 887 (C.D. Ill. 2007).
Chris has also been involved in various pro bono activities, including assisting the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, Inc. in the representation of individuals against unions and the representation of juveniles in delinquency and expulsion hearings in the Chicago Public Schools.
U.S. District Court, D. Colorado
U.S. District Court, C.D. Illinois
U.S. District Court, N.D. Illinois
U.S. District Court, S.D. Illinois
U.S. District Court, N.D. Indiana
U.S. District Court, S.D. Indiana
U.S. District Court, D. Nebraska
U.S. District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
U.S. Court of Appeals, 3rd Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit
Professional and Community Organizations
American Bar Association
Chicago Bar Association
Chicago Legal Clinic
Illinois State Bar Association
Super Lawyers® Illinois Rising Stars 2018
Super Lawyers® Illinois Rising Stars 2017
Super Lawyers® Illinois Rising Stars 2016
Super Lawyers® Illinois Rising Stars 2015
Super Lawyers® Illinois Rising Stars 2014
Super Lawyers® Illinois Rising Stars 2013
Super Lawyers® Illinois Rising Stars 2012
Super Lawyers® Illinois Rising Stars 2011
Super Lawyers® Illinois Rising Stars 2010
Super Lawyers® Illinois Rising Stars 2009
University of Illinois at Chicago, B.S. (Criminal Justice), with high distinction, 1999
Loyola University, J.D., cum laude, 2002