Fontenelli, Christopher B.

Christopher B. Fontenelli

Partner
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Christopher Fontenelli is a litigator whose practice focuses on two distinct but related areas of law — complex commercial litigation and labor and employment. In the area of complex commercial litigation, Chris represents clients in class and collective actions, commercial contractual disputes, and product liability and mass tort actions. In the area of labor of employment law, Chris counsels clients concerning a wide variety of matters, including disputes relating to discrimination, sexual harassment, employment agreements, wage and hour violations, employee misclassification, misappropriation of trade secrets and enforcement of restrictive covenants. Chris has extensive experience in New York and New Jersey state courts and federal courts throughout the country, and understands the nuances of litigating matters in the public eye.

Since the inception of his legal career, Chris has provided pro bono services to KIND, a leading organization founded by Angelina Jolie and the Microsoft Corporation dedicated to providing compassionate and quality legal counsel to unaccompanied refugee and immigrant children in the United States. During that time, he has appeared in state and federal court to represent numerous unaccompanied children who enter the U.S. immigration system alone to help advance their best interests, safety and well-being.

Christopher Fontenelli is a litigator whose practice focuses on two distinct but related areas of law — complex commercial litigation and labor and employment. In the area of complex commercial litigation, Chris represents clients in class and collective actions, commercial contractual disputes, and product liability and mass tort actions. In the area of labor of employment law, Chris counsels clients concerning a wide variety of matters, including disputes relating to discrimination, sexual harassment, employment agreements, wage and hour violations, employee misclassification, misappropriation of trade secrets and enforcement of restrictive covenants. Chris has extensive experience in New York and New Jersey state courts and federal courts throughout the country, and understands the nuances of litigating matters in the public eye.

Since the inception of his legal career, Chris has provided pro bono services to KIND, a leading organization founded by Angelina Jolie and the Microsoft Corporation dedicated to providing compassionate and quality legal counsel to unaccompanied refugee and immigrant children in the United States. During that time, he has appeared in state and federal court to represent numerous unaccompanied children who enter the U.S. immigration system alone to help advance their best interests, safety and well-being.

Before joining the Firm, Chris was associated with an international, Am Law 100 law and public policy firm headquartered in Washington, D.C. Prior to that, Chris graduated from Seton Hall University School of Law, where he was a member of the Seton Hall University School of Law Interscholastic Moot Court Board and served on the editorial board of the Seton Hall Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law. While pursuing his law degree, Chris interned with the Honorable Madeline Cox Arleo, United States District Judge, of the District of New Jersey and the Honorable Donald H. Steckroth (Ret.), United States Bankruptcy Judge, of the District of New Jersey. Before law school, Chris was a student athlete at Seton Hall University and played baseball in the Big East Conference.

Complex Commercial Litigation

  • Represents various student loan trusts in connection with several class action lawsuits brought in federal district courts throughout the country
  • Represented student loan owners and servicers in bankruptcy adversary proceedings and in bankruptcy class actions involving a variety of bankruptcy law compliance issues and other consumer protection statutes
  • Represents loan servicers in residential mortgage-backed securities (“RMBS”) litigation, including ongoing RMBS actions pending in the New York Commercial Division arising out of repurchase litigation brought against the sponsor of securitizations of mortgage loans alleged to have breached its representations and warranties
  • Counseled one of the nation's foremost Universities and Medical Centers in connection with more than a year-long intensive internal investigation in response to Congressional inquiries and a Pulitzer Prize winning investigative report, which accused the university and hospital's doctor of over 20 years improper expert consulting work
  • Defended a division of the largest private snack food company in the U.S. in a class / collective action in Florida and Alabama alleging misclassification of route sales persons as exempt from overtime
  • Resolved significant fee dispute between pharmaceutical company and contractual counterparty
  • Defended global manufacturer and seller of sunscreen products against a putative class action alleging false advertising and consumer fraud causes of action in federal court
  • Defended one of the nation's largest dialysis providers against a putative class action alleging consumer fraud and product liability causes of action in federal court (and in related federal multi-district litigation) for injuries and deaths allegedly resulting from use of prescription medical device
  • Defended a global manufacturer of organic and specialty foods against multi-million dollar claims arising from a nationwide product recall
  • Defended global food manufacturer in connection with claims brought against alleging product defects
  • Defended loan servicer in connection with a nationwide class action alleging Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) violations
  • Represented national movie theater chain in connection with a commercial contract dispute relating to advertising

Labor and Employment Litigation and Dispute Resolution

  • Secured permanent injunction for portfolio company for a private equity firm whose trade secrets were misappropriated
  • Represented asset management firm and several of its portfolio companies in connection with employment-related disputes
  • Secured a dismissal of a private equity firm in connection with restrictive covenant claims brought against it
  • Successfully defended portfolio company in the horse racing industry in connection with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) complaint
  • Successfully defended movie industry employer in connection with alleged discrimination
  • Resolved significant dispute between private equity company and a former executive relating to employment termination claims
  • Obtained dismissal of multi-million dollar wage claims against an insurance company in connection with independent contractor misclassification allegations
  • Obtained dismissal of a multi-count complaint filed in Arkansas state court against a leading food manufacturing client in connection with independent contractor misclassification allegations
  • Obtained summary judgment in a CEPA matter in New Jersey State Court
  • Settled a threatened litigation in a sexual harassment and retaliation claim under New York law
  • Obtained judgment in New Jersey State Court in favor of a foreign aerospace employer against a former employee for the employee’s wrongdoing
  • Obtained dismissal of complaint brought against employer alleging wrongful termination
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CREDENTIALS
Education
  • J.D., Seton Hall University School of Law
  • B.S., cum laude, Seton Hall University
Bar Admissions
  • New Jersey
  • New York
Professional Affiliations
    • Member, New Jersey Bar Association
Awards & Recognitions
    • Named, Super Lawyers® New York Metro Rising Star, Business Litigation (2020-2021)‎
    • Recipient, Inaugural New Jersey State Bar Association Pro Bono Award: New Attorney (2015)
    • Named, Team Member, Products Liability Litigation Department of the Year, New Jersey Law Journal (2015)