Mr. Christopherson brings exceptional insight and depth of understanding to his litigation practice, drawing on more than 30 years of experience in commercial, banking and real estate litigation.
In September 2016, Mr. Christopherson tried an action in the US District Court in Milwaukee, achieving a $3 million judgment in favor of his client, a well known international heavy equipment manufacturer, and against his NYSE traded opponent.
Coming from an early background as an in-house attorney for Wells Fargo Bank, it is not surprising that Mr. Christopherson has developed a successful litigation practice principally focused on commercial and consumer lending. His experience extends into both the fields of real estate secured lending (including defense of claims for wrongful foreclosure, equitable subordination, partition, eminent domain, and mechanic’s liens) and personal property loans and leases (including defense of claims under the “Lemon Law”, the California Automobile Sales Finance Act and Vehicle Leasing Act, and claims for dealer fraud). Of course, representation of lenders in such claims has led Mr. Christopherson to successfully defend related claims arising under the California and Federal Fair Debt Collection and Fair Credit Reporting Acts.
Cases arising in retail banking, including claims for improper payment of forged checks at the hands of an embezzling bookkeeper, losses from safe deposit boxes, and the like, are also in Mr. Christopherson’s repertoire.
Mr. Christopherson is skilled both at recovering collateral and collecting money from commercial and consumer debtors. His expertise extends to prejudgment writs of possession (i.e., replevin) or attachment (i.e., imposing a prejudgment lien to secure previously unsecured obligations). Furthermore, contempt proceedings are sometimes filed against judgment debtors who ignore, at their peril, a judgment requiring that they redeliver collateral to his clients.
After graduating from the University of San Francisco School of Law in 1985, he worked as a litigator in Wells Fargo Bank’s Legal Department in Los Angeles. His principal client groups within Wells Fargo at that time were the auto finance, credit card and loan adjustment groups. It is telling that he still counts Wells Fargo among his principal clients more than twenty five years later.
In 1988, Mr. Christopherson joined Frandzel & Share (a firm which specialized in representing lenders in litigation and transactional matters), following which he moved to the former McCabe, Schwartz firm in the East Bay. He has had his own practice since 1996, and has been partnered with Jim Dawe (formerly a partner at McCabe Schwartz Evans Levy & Dawe) since 2006.
Mr. Christopherson has twice co-authored an “Action Guide” published by the State Bar of California regarding foreclosure on personal property. He has also addressed the California Consumer Affairs Association on auto leases – where he was the spokesman for the consumer finance industry – and he has spoken on a number of occasions at in-house seminars for commercial clients on a wide range of topics, ranging from litigation practices and tactics, fraud, the “Lemon Law” and other issues. He has provided certain transactional assistance to lenders and lessors, ranging from drafting or updating Master Dealer Agreements (the contract governing the terms under which a lender will purchase loan or lease agreements from dealers), acting as a telephone resource to address time-sensitive issues presented to clients prior to the institution of litigation, drafting manuals and other publications used by clients’ staff.
Mr. Christopherson is a member of the State Bars of both California and Washington. He is also admitted to practice before all Federal District Courts in the State of California, the Western and Eastern Districts of Washington, the Eastern District of Wisconsin, and the Seventh and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeal. Mr. Christopherson is a graduate of the University of San Francisco School of Law (JD 1985) and the University of Washington (BA 1981).