Christopher J. Mead, a partner of Cooper, White & Cooper LLP, is co-chair of the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice Group, concentrating his practice in the areas of business and employment litigation. 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. His employment law background includes defense of wrongful termination cases, prosecution and defense of trade secret and unfair competition matters, wage and hour issues, disability, leave, and accommodation issues, and responses to claims of race, sex, and age discrimination and sexual harassment.
Mr. Mead has also litigated a wide variety of commercial disputes, including contract and business practice suits, maritime and air cargo matters, and numerous 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 in a contractual arbitration to eject the general partner in a $50 million cellular telephone franchise; he has also defended first refusal rights in partnership agreements at the trial and appellate levels. Mr. Mead was one of the principal attorneys representing 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. His experience in the complex asbestos litigation includes a six-week jury trial in Alameda County Superior Court, as well as the successful removal of cases on federal officer and federal enclave bases. Mr. Mead has tried several bench trials to verdict, has conducted numerous arbitrations, and has extensive motion experience, including drafting and arguing some 30 motions for summary judgment or adjudication.
Mr. Mead frequently speaks to both legal and professional groups on employment law topics such as sexual harassment, employee discipline and termination, protection of trade secrets, and accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act. He is a member of the Bar Association of San Francisco’s Committee on Minority Hiring, and was chair of its working group on mid-sized firms.
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.