Christopher J. Mead, a partner of Cooper, White & Cooper LLP, is Chair of the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice Group, concentrating his practice in the areas of business and employment litigation and employment counseling. Mr. Mead has litigated a wide variety of employment disputes in the United States and California courts, as well as claims before the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing, Labor Commissioner, Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board, and Worker’s Compensation Appeals Board, and before appointed arbitrators. He has defended wage and hour class actions, wrongful termination cases, trade secret and unfair competition matters, disability, leave, and accommodation claims, and claims of race, sex, and age discrimination and harassment. His last jury trial was defense of wrongful discharge and retaliation claims conducted in Mandarin.
Mr. Mead has also litigated a wide variety of commercial disputes, including contract and business practice suits, maritime and air cargo matters, and claims relating to real estate rights and interests, including defense of easements obtained by regulated public utilities by express grant and prescription, enforcement of utility rights-of-way, workouts and foreclosures. He has defended claims relating to the Unruh Civil Rights Act, RICO, and the Lanham Act, as well as claims against the media, including defamation and invasion of privacy.
Mr. Mead was the lead attorney prosecuting the breach of a $2 billion pharmaceutical supply contract; and in an arbitration to eject the general partner in a $50 million limited partnership. Mr. Mead represented a privately owned water company in a condemnation case litigated in the state and federal trial and appellate courts, including the United States and California Supreme Courts, as well as before the California Public Utilities Commission. He has also defended first refusal rights in partnership agreements at the trial and appellate levels. He has represented a national defense contractor in the assertion of federal officer and federal enclave defenses. Mr. Mead has conducted both bench trials and arbitrations, and mediates numerous cases every year.
Mr. Mead is a frequent presenter to legal and professional groups on employment law topics such as the anatomy of class actions, sexual harassment, employee discipline and termination, California law on restrictive covenants, protection of trade secrets, and accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. He is a longtime member of the board of the Contra Costa County Bar Association’s Employment Section.
Mr. Mead attended Vermont’s Middlebury College, where he received his B.A. degree, cum laude, in 1976. He received his J.D. degree from Hastings College of the Law in 1984. He was a judicial extern for the late Robert F. Peckham, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. Mr. Mead joined Cooper, White & Cooper LLP as a general commercial litigator in September 1984. He became a partner of the firm on January 1, 1991.