Apr 13 2023
Chris Avallone Co-Chairs von Briesen’s Appellate Section and is a member of the Commercial and Business Litigation Section. He has represented a wide variety of clients in both the Wisconsin Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, as well as the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. In his commercial practice, Chris represents a diverse group of clients in complex civil litigation, with an emphasis on disputes between the shareholders or members of privately-held companies, breach of contract actions, and class action defense. At all stages of litigation, Chris uses his strong writing skills and “big-picture” mentality to distill complex facts and tell his client’s story, inform the court of the law, and – when necessary – argue for a change in the law.
In addition to his litigation practice, Chris is active in the community and pro bono activities. Chris has obtained excellent results in multiple federal civil rights actions on behalf of incarcerated individuals. In the greater Milwaukee community, Chris serves on the Board of two non-profit organizations, Milwaukee Riverkeeper and Project Return. Milwaukee Riverkeeper is a science-based advocacy organization working for swimmable, fishable rivers throughout the Milwaukee River Basin. Project Return is a non-profit that provides a wide array of services to people after incarceration.
Before joining von Briesen, Chris served as a law clerk to Justice Shirley Abrahamson of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. He graduated Order of the Coif from University of Wisconsin Law School. During law school, Chris served as a judicial extern to U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb. He also completed internships with the United States Department of Interior, Office of the Solicitor and University of Wisconsin Law School Consumer Law Litigation Clinic. Chris served as a research assistant to Professors Miriam Seifter and Steph Tai performing research on state and federal regulatory agencies.
- Representing insurer on appeal in action where the circuit court granted motion for summary judgment dismissing insured’s counterclaim; decision pending.
- Represented county in Wisconsin Supreme Court in case brought by police officer who asserts that the county violated his procedural due process rights during his demotion arising from the officer’s leaking of confidential information; decision pending.
- Submitted non-party brief on behalf of the Association of Health Information Outsourcing Professionals in Banuelos v. UW Hospital; decision pending.
- Fast-tracked Wisconsin Supreme Court review of adverse motion to dismiss rulings for insurance client in COVID-19 business interruption coverage class actions by filing multiple petitions for non-final review and then successfully petitioning the Wisconsin Supreme Court to bypass Wisconsin Court of Appeals; resulting in unanimous decision in favor of our client.
- Obtained Wisconsin Supreme Court victory for county defending the dismissal of a challenge to the county’s sales and use tax.
- Successfully opposed plaintiffs’ petition for non-final review of circuit court’s venue in shareholder dispute.
- Successfully opposed petition for non-final review in breach of contract and tort action after colleague obtained summary judgment on majority of causes of action.
- Successfully petitioned court of appeals to review non-final decision by circuit court in Chapter 128 proceeding that erroneously asserted personal jurisdiction over client, resulting in favorable settlement of dispute.
- Represented health care provider in appeal of class certification decision in medical records class action.
- Successfully represented county’s board of adjustment’s decision in appeal challenging circuit court ruling that affirmed decision granting lawful nonconforming use status to gravel pit.
- Successfully represented bank in appeal to the Seventh Circuit in case arising out of residential foreclosure.
- Successfully defended circuit court decision dismissing guardianship action against client and granting motion for attorneys’ fees.
- Represented municipal fire and police commission in action by terminated officer seeking backpay and alleging procedural irregularities.
- Represented auto manufacturer in appeal in Lemon Law action.
Trial Court Matters
- Representing multiple healthcare providers and vendors in class actions alleging that providers or vendors charged excessive fees for medical records.
- Representing majority shareholder in multiple actions alleging breach of fiduciary duty, securities fraud, and shareholder oppression.
- Representing dealer in Wisconsin Fair Dealer Law action against foreign manufacturer.
- Obtained favorable settlement for LLC and its majority member in action brought by dissociated member.
- Achieved favorable exit from multiple companies for minority shareholder in lawsuit against majority shareholders, alleging direct and derivative claims based on breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, corporate waste, and shareholder oppression.
- Represented private company in case involving allegations of shareholder oppression that culminated in a month-long trial.
- Obtained favorable settlement for organic farm in case arising out of unauthorized pesticide application.
- Defended medical billing service in complex contractual dispute with health care provider, resulting in a settlement that was a fraction of plaintiff’s demand.
- University of Wisconsin, J.D., cum laude, Order of the Coif; 2016
- Marquette University, B.A., 2013
- U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit
- American Bar Association
- Milwaukee Bar Association
- Eastern District of Wisconsin Bar Association
- Fairchild Inns of Court
- Best Lawyers: Ones To Watch® in America, Commercial Litigation (2023-2024), Appellate (2024)
- Wisconsin Rising Stars (2023)
- Milwaukee Riverkeeper, Board of Directors
- Project Return, Board of Directors