Chris McGrath is the Chair of the Orange County Litigation Department at Paul Hastings and is based in the firm's Orange County and San Diego offices. His practice encompasses complex business litigation on behalf of public and private companies in state and federal courts. In particular, Mr. McGrath focuses his practice in securities litigation, class actions and complex corporate litigation, defending companies, pension funds, hedge funds, officers, directors, financial institutions and underwriters in shareholder class actions, merger litigation and derivative lawsuits and commercial disputes throughout the country. He has substantial experience in trade secret litigation. He also counsels and represents companies, boards and individuals in connection with securities industry regulatory compliance issues and investigations.
Mr. McGrath has been recognized by The Best Lawyers in America® (2010-2023) (Commercial Litigation, Litigation - Mergers and Acquisitions, and Litigation - Securities), and by Super Lawyers (2007-2023). In 2022 he was recognized as "Lawyer of the Year" for Southern California in Litigation - Mergers and Acquisitions by Best Lawyers.
- University of California, Berkeley School of Law, J.D., 1990
- University of California, Berkeley, A.B., 1984 (with honors)
- Mr. McGrath obtained a dismissal with prejudice of a securities class action against Identiv, Inc. in the Northern District of California which was affirmed by the Ninth Circuit in 2018.
- He defeated an attempt by shareholder plaintiffs to enjoin a merger transaction involving Inseego Corp. in the Southern District of California in 2017, which was subsequently dismissed.
- Mr. McGrath led an Audit Committee investigation of a public company's international sales and revenue policies in 2017.
- He represented a Paris-based bank and related entities in state court litigation related to claims arising from investments in warrants linked to a fund of hedge funds.
- Mr. McGrath represented the San Diego City Employees' Retirement System (SDCERS) in a high-profile state court mandamus proceeding by the City of San Diego, challenging the pension system’s historical allocation of investment gains and losses to the City.
- Mr. McGrath represented a UK-based investment advisory firm in California and Delaware federal court litigation arising from hedge fund losses during the credit crisis.
- In other merger litigation, Mr. McGrath represented Accelrys, Inc. and its directors and officers in merger litigation arising from the tender offer by Dassault Systemes Americas Corp. He represented Ardea Biosciences, Inc. and its directors and officers in California state court merger litigation arising from its acquisition by Astrazeneca plc. Mr. McGrath also represented SRS Labs, Inc. and its directors and officers in Orange County and Delaware actions arising from its acquisition by DTS, Inc.
- He has represented many boards of directors, audit committees or special committees in conducting internal investigations, including, but not limited to audit and accounting issues, Reg FD, insider trading and compliance with related rules. Mr. McGrath also has represented numerous individuals in connection with internal investigations conducted by public company boards, audit committees and special committees.
- Mr. McGrath has represented many public companies in federal and state securities class actions alleging accounting fraud, misleading statements in financial reports and proxy-materials, wrongdoing involving sub-prime mortgages, mortgage-backed securities, option backdating and violations of underwriting standards. He has a great deal of experience representing technology companies in such cases, and, in particular, extensive experience in representing biotechnology and pharma-related companies.
- He has also represented private and public companies in commercial and licensing disputes and trade secret litigation, as well as state and federal unfair competition and consumer claims alleging violations of various consumer protection laws (including, but not limited to, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act).
- Mr. McGrath obtained the first published decision within the Ninth Circuit establishing no private right of action under SOX 304. Together with William Sullivan, Mr. McGrath represented Dura Pharmaceuticals and its directors and officers before the United States Supreme Court, and obtained a unanimous result in Dura’s favor, establishing plaintiffs’ current pleading standard on loss causation in federal securities class actions.
Engagement & Publications
Mr. McGrath is a frequent panelist and author on litigation and corporate responsibility issues. Representative engagements and writings include:
- SEC Issues Updated Disclosure Guidance for Forward-Looking Projections in the Context of Business Combinations, Co-author, Lexology, December 18, 2017;
- Post-Closing Claims Alleging Uninformed and Coerced Stockholder Vote Survive Motion to Dismiss, Co-author, Lexology, April 6, 2017;
- Blowing the Whistle: Ninth Circuit Rejects Narrow Interpretation of Dodd-Frank's 'Whistleblower' Protections, Lexology , March 10, 2017;
- Is New York Now a More Favorable Disclosure-Only Settlement Jurisdiction? Time Will Tell, Co-author, Lexology, February 24, 2017;
- The ABC's of An SEC Investigation, Panelist, American Bar Association, Fidelity and Surety Law Committee, 2017 Midwest Meeting, Hotel Roosevelt, New Orleans, Louisiana, January 19, 2017;
- Practical Considerations for Defense Counsel Contemplating Joint Defense Arrangements, Co-author, Federal Bar Association/Orange County Chapter, Fall 2016;
- The Defend Trade Secrets Act: Will It Do More Harm Than Good?, Co-author, Orange County Business Journal, July 18, 2016;
- From Life-Saving to Lethal: Product Liability After a Cyberattack, Co-author, Orange County Business Journal, June 20-26, 2016;
- The Delaware Court of Chancery May Shake Up the "Sue-On-Every-Deal" Phenomenon, Co-author, Orange County Business Journal, November 9, 2015;
- Beyond Blocking Statutes: Revisiting Foreign Discovery Under the Hague Convention, Co-author, U.S. Law Week, February 3, 2015;
- Securities Fraud Actions Just Got Harder in Ninth Circuit, Co-author, Law360, December 23, 2014;
- Orange County Insider Trading Case Hastens SEC Retreat from Federal Court, Co-author, Orange County Business Journal, November 2014;
- Searching for An Efficient Market With Cross-Listed Securities: Denial of Class Certification In Deutsche Bank Illustrates Increased Scrutiny of the Fraud On The Market Doctrine, Co-author, Financial Law Fraud Report, November/December 2013;
- Delaware Courts Rein in Overzealous Shareholders, Co-author, The Daily Journal, November 11, 2013;
- Pharmaceuticals See Wave of Securities Fraud Litigation, Co-author, The Daily Journal, September 21, 2012;
- Pleading and Proving Loss Causation: Litigating Securities Fraud in a Post-Dura World, Co-author, Bloomberg Law Reports, November 1, 2010;
- Confidential Witness Deposition Permitted on Motion to Dismiss, Co-author, American Bar Association, Securities Litigation Journal, Summer 2010;
- How to Be In House, But Not in The Dog House: Surviving Stepped Up Scrutiny of Corporate Counsel (Securities), Presenter, Association of Corporate Counsel, San Diego, California, July 17, 2008;
- Restating Financials? Forfeiting Bonuses and Profits to the SEC Now a Real Threat, Co-author, Bloomberg Law Reports, January 14, 2008;
- Survival Skills for Litigating in Federal Court, Presenter, Federal Bar Association (San Diego Chapter), February 13, 2007;
- Biotech’s Onus of Disclosure, Co-author, The Daily Journal, December 12, 2006;
- FDA and SEC Issues in Representing Public Biotechnology Companies: An ACCA San Diego Roundtable Discussion, Presenter, Association of Corporate Counsel, San Diego, California, October 16, 2006;
- Key Principles of Corporate Governance and Internal Controls; Identifying and Preventing Fraud, Presenter, National Business Institute, Wyndham Emerald Plaza, San Diego, California, March 30, 2006;
- Latest Developments in U.S. Securities Class Actions and SEC Enforcement Priorities, Presenter and Author, 9th Annual D&O Liability Insurance Forum, Russell Hotel, London, United Kingdom, March 23-24, 2006;
- Dura Pharmaceuticals v. Broudo, The Supreme Court’s Decision, An Advocate’s Perspective, Presenter, Paul Hastings Interactive Teleconference, May 4, 2005.
- Director, Public Law Center (2017 to present)
- Director, Federal Bar Association of Orange County (2017 to 2021)
- Member, Masters Division of Orange County Bar Association
- Served as President of the Board of Directors of the San Diego Volunteer Lawyers Program (2013-2014) and previously a member of the Board of Governors, Association of Business Trial Lawyers (San Diego Chapter), 2001-2003
- Master in the American Inns of Court, J. Clifford Wallace Chapter (2007 to 2014)
- Admitted to practice in the State of California; the Supreme Court of the United States; the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth and Ninth Circuits; the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, the District of Colorado, and the Eastern, Northern, Central and Southern Districts of California