Christopher M. Curran
Christopher M. Curran is a senior litigation partner who has been with the firm for over 35 years. He is a trial and appellate lawyer based in the Firm's Washington office. He has consistently been recognized as a leading litigator for his work representing domestic and multinational clients in complex civil and criminal litigation. In addition to his representations of corporations and business executives, he has represented many foreign sovereigns in U.S. court proceedings.
Mr. Curran has won high-stakes verdicts and judgments in jury and bench trials across the country, and has argued appeals in the District of Columbia, Second, Third, Fourth, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, and Federal Circuits, as well as in the United States Supreme Court. A significant part of his practice focuses on issues of international law and federal-government regulation of business, particularly in the field of antitrust. Many of the cases he handles are class actions, often consolidated in Multi-District Litigation (MDL) proceedings. Frequently, Mr. Curran serves as global coordinating counsel to ensure a consistent defense in various tribunals around the world.
Mr. Curran has handled all types of antitrust cases, including price-fixing, monopolization, and merger cases. He has also handled all sorts of international-law cases, including cases under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, the Alien Tort Statute, the Anti-Terrorism Act, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, antidumping and countervailing-duty statutes, and various laws and regulations relating to economic sanctions. He has handled securities-fraud cases brought in federal courts against foreign issuers.
Mr. Curran frequently handles cases from their inception in federal district court through trial and all appeals (sometimes all the way to the Supreme Court). His arguments in the Supreme Court have included antitrust and foreign-sovereign-immunity cases. In 2019, he won an argument in the Supreme Court dealing with the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act and the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, prevailing 8-1 in a decision reversing a $315 million judgment.
In addition to handling trial and appellate litigation, Mr. Curran represents clients in connection with investigations before government agencies and regulatory bodies, including the Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Department of Commerce, the Department of the Treasury, the Department of Defense, the International Trade Commission, Congressional committees, and State Attorneys General.
Mr. Curran has represented two foreign governments in negotiations with the US Department of State leading to historic bilateral claims-settlement agreements. Both transactions required securing legislation through the U.S. Congress.
Mr. Curran served three three-year terms on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit's Advisory Committee on Admissions and Grievances, serving as its Chairman for much of that time.
In 2014, Mr. Curran was inducted into the American College of Trial Lawyers – an honor extended by invitation to only the most experienced trial lawyers who have mastered the art of advocacy, and whose professional careers have been marked by the highest standards of ethical conduct, professionalism, civility, and collegiality.
Year after year, clients and peers recommend Mr. Curran to the top legal rankings agencies. He is the only lawyer ranked as "Leading" for both Antitrust Litigation and International Litigation in The Legal 500 US (2020-2023) and is described as an "antitrust heavyweight" with "precedent-setting" cases. Clients also said: "he is a skilled litigator who is careful and thoughtful in his approach," (Chambers USA, 2021). Mr. Curran is a two-time Law360 Competition MVP (2017, 2013).
Mr. Curran is frequently asked to provide trial advocacy training, including by the ABA’s Section of Antitrust Law.
Among the significant publicly reported matters on which Mr. Curran has served as lead counsel are:
- Successful defense of multi-billion-dollar "opt-out" price-fixing antitrust case in electronics industry, winning defense verdict after seven-week jury trial in Northern District of California.
- Successful defense of multi-billion-dollar class-action price-fixing antitrust case in electronics industry; prevailed after six-week federal jury trial in Northern District of California, with client owing no damages.
- Successful defense of a major antitrust action brought by US Federal Trade Commission against pharmaceutical manufacturers relating to settlement of patent litigation. After 40-day trial, won defense verdict. Successfully briefed and argued Eleventh Circuit appeal upholding trial verdict.
- Successful defense of various Asian rubber-thread manufacturers against allegations of price-fixing in violation of US antitrust laws. Defeated $100 million civil class action, winning jury verdict. Argued and won affirmance of verdict in Fourth Circuit, setting important precedent on extraterritoriality of US antitrust laws.
- Successful defense of major Norwegian shipping company against Federal criminal antitrust charges; prevailed after bench trial.
- Successful defense of paper manufacturer in civil antitrust action brought by US Department of Justice. In two-week trial, successfully refuted allegations of territorial allocation among competitors.
- Successful defense of federal criminal action against individual charged with obstruction of justice; won jury acquittals on both substantive counts.
- Successful defense of major Saudi bank alleged to have financially supported terrorism. Won pre-trial dismissal of $1 billion claim in Southern District of New York. Argued and won appeal in Second Circuit. Won again in copy-cat action by new plaintiffs.
- Successful defense of foreign issuers sued in securities class action; won on motion to dismiss based on lack of extraterritorial reach of U.S. Securities Exchange Act; defeated class certification.
- Successful defense of price-fixing case against pet-food maker; won motion to dismiss in Northern District of California.
- Successful defense of Republic of Sudan; won reversal of $34 million judgment in Fourth Circuit and won vacatur of $4 billion in punitive damages in DC Circuit.
- Successful defense of Saudi travel agency; won reversal of jury verdict in Fourth Circuit and won retrial in Eastern District of Virginia.
- Successful defense of Pakistani bank alleged to have supported terrorism; won motion to dismiss in S.D.N.Y.; secured dismissal of appeal in Second Circuit.
- Successful defense of antitrust action against U.S. mattress manufacturers who initiated antidumping proceedings; won motion to dismiss under Noerr–Pennington Doctrine; won dismissal of appeal.
- Successful defense of foreign electronics manufacturer in lithium-ion-batteries price-fixing case; defeated class certification in Northern District of California
- Successful defense of major New York bank in private US federal civil action and in federal government and regulatory investigation related to misappropriated funds. Won civil action on merits, including award of $1.74 million in attorneys' fees, and obtained dismissal of regulatory investigation.
- Successful defense of Central Bank of Jordan in federal action brought by foreign banker. Prevailed on pre-discovery motion to dismiss. Also lead counsel on appeal in DC Circuit affirming dismissal.
- Successful defense of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in federal action brought by Iraqi national alleging wrongful seizure of bank; prevailed in district court and in DC Circuit.
- Successful defense of Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in federal action in D.D.C. relating to attack on U.S. troops in Jordan.
- Successful defense of Libyan Government in multi-billion-dollar US litigation; negotiated historic US-Libya bilateral agreement resolving such litigation.
- Successful defense of private civil action against importers of foreign-made steel products alleged to have violated US antitrust and trade laws. Successfully removed case from state court to federal court on pre-emption grounds, successfully defeated motions for TRO and for preliminary injunction, and won pre-trial dismissal of case.
- Successful defense of Republic of Costa Rica in $352 million federal antitrust action brought by cellular telephone company. Prevailed on motion to dismiss after limited discovery.
- Successful defense of Republic of Kazakhstan in federal action arising from international commercial transaction. Retained after default judgment was entered and was being enforced; prevailed by having default judgment vacated, enforcement enjoined, and claim dismissed.
- Successful representation of Government of Vietnam in US federal action to determine current ownership of US assets that had been frozen upon the 1975 fall of Saigon. Won $3 million dollar judgment.
- Successful defense of private-equity firm in NY State Attorney General criminal investigation.
- Successful defense of numerous corporations and executives in US criminal investigations under antitrust laws and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Inducted into the American College of Trial Lawyers, 2014
Leading Lawyer, The Legal 500: Antitrust: Class Action (defense), 2018-2023
Leading Lawyer, The Legal 500: International Litigation, 2020-2023
"Competition MVP", Law360, 2017, 2013
Litigation Trailblazer & Pioneer, National Law Journal, 2015
"Trial Ace," Law 360, 2015
Listed, Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America, Lawdragon, 2014, 2022
Litigator of the Week, The American Lawyer, 2013
Lawyer of the Year, Global Competition Review, 2013 finalist
"Visionary" of the DC Bar, The Legal Times, 2009