PARTNER CHRISTINE D. SPAGNOLI has obtained many multimillion-dollar verdicts, including in the 1999 General Motors case in which a defective fuel tank was found responsible for the burn injuries of two adults and four children. The jury returned with a landmark $4.9 billion verdict. She was co-counsel in the largest personal injury verdict in California, which resulted in a $58 million verdict for a man severely burned by a defective O-ring. In July 2010, she and partner Bruce Broillet obtained a $5 million verdict against Ford Motor Company for a man injured in when the roof of his van crushed in a rollover causing permanent spinal cord injuries.
Her achievements cover the full range of personal injury and product liability cases. Chris has earned widespread recognition for her work as co-counsel in the 2001 negligence case against Southern California Edison, which resulted in a $21 million verdict for an electrocuted avocado picker. Among her other cases are Brezovec v. State of California – $8.8 million, a brain/motor vehicle injury case, Ogden v. Hamm Brothers Construction – $6.4 million, a personal injury matter, and McGee v. The City of Alameda – $25 million, an electrocuted construction worker.
Chris was named Most Outstanding Young Trial Lawyer of 2001, the F. Scott Baldwin Award, by the American Association for Justice (AAJ), New Lawyers Division. She also received Loyola Law School’s 2001 Trial Lawyer of the Year Award. She was nominated as a finalist for the Consumer Attorneys of Los Angeles Trial Lawyer of the Year three times. In 2012, Chris was honored as the first female recipient of the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles Trial Lawyer of the Year Award.
Within professional organizations, Chris has assumed numerous leadership positions. She served as the President of the Consumer Attorneys of California (CAOC) in 2009 and was the 2002 president of the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles (CAALA). She was elected as a fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers in 2007 and is also a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) where she holds the rank of Associate. Her other memberships include the American Association for Justice (AAJ), where she served as a Chair of the Product Liability Section, Trial Lawyers for Public Justice, and the Attorneys Information Exchange Group, an organization specializing in automotive product liability cases. In 1998, she was appointed by the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court to the Civil Jury Instructions Committee (CACI), where she still serves.
Chris has been ranked as one of the Top 100 Most Influential Attorneys in California by the Los Angeles Daily Journal, which has also named her as one of the Top 50 Women Litigators since 2002. She has also been named among the Top Women Southern California Lawyers since 2004, and a Super Lawyer in the Southern California Super Lawyers peer-nominated listings compiled and published by Law & Politics. She was named by Lawdragon.com to its inaugural list of “The Lawdragon 500 Plaintiffs Lawyers” in the United States. She was also named one of the Best Lawyers in America by Woodward/White, Inc., based on a survey of her peers.
From 1991-1994, Chris was Editor-in-Chief of the CAALA “Advocate,” the organization’s monthly publication. In 1995, she was Editor-in-Chief of the CAOC “Forum,” a statewide trial lawyers monthly publication. She also is the co-author of a CAOC Amicus Brief in Soule v. General Motors (1994) in which the California Supreme Court rejected manufacturers’ efforts to overturn landmark strict liability consumer expectation tests. As a frequent lecturer and author, Chris has shared her expertise on various trial techniques including demonstrative evidence, direct and cross examination methods, written discovery and demonstrating head trauma injury in children. Among the organizations she has addressed are CAALA, CAOC, AAJ, Los Angeles County Bar Association, and Western Trial Lawyers Association.
Areas of Practice
- Personal Injury Plaintiff
- U.S. District Court Central District of California
- U.S. District Court Northern District of California
- Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, California
- J.D. (Cum Laude) – 1986
- University of California, Los Angeles, California
- B.A. – 1978
- A Cite for sore eyes: Buell-Wilson I, Advocate Magazine, August, 2010
- Punitive Damages Evidence: The scope from the Auto Manufacturer, Advocate Magazine, June, 2000
- “Forum”, Editor-in-Chief, CAOC, 1995
- “Advocate”, Editor-in-Chief, CAALA, 1994
- Amicus Brief in Soule v. General Motors, Co-Author, CAOC, 1994
Professional Associations and Memberships
- Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles (CAALA), President, 2002
- Consumer Attorneys of California (CAOC), President, 2009
- American Association for Justice, Product Liability Section, Past Chair
- Trial Lawyers for Public Justice
- Attorneys Information Exchange Group
- California Supreme Court, Jury Instructions Civil Subcommittee (Appointed by the Chief Justice)
- American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys
- Lecturer, Demonstrative Evidence
- Lecturer, Direct and Cross Examination Methods
- Lecturer, Discovery and Demonstrating Head Trauma Injury in Children
Honors and Awards
- Named by The Los Angeles Daily Journal as one of the Top 30 Plaintiff Attorneys in California, 2017
- Named one of “10 Best Female Attorneys” for California, American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys
- Best Lawyers in America, Best Lawyer, Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs, 2007 – 2017
- Best Lawyers in America, Best Lawyer, Product Liability Litigation – Plaintiffs, 2007 – 2017
- California Super Lawyers Peer-Nominated Listings, Top 50 Women Southern California Lawyers, 2004 – 2017
- Named “Lawyer of the Year – Product Liability Litigation (Los Angeles)” – Best Lawyers in America, 2013
- 2012 Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles Trial Lawyer of the Year
- Ranked as One of the Top 100 Most Influential Attorneys in California, Los Angeles Daily Journal
- California Super Lawyers peer-nominated listings, Top 100 Southern California Lawyers, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011 – 2013, 2015-2017
- Received The 2017 Rage for Justice Lifetime Legal Achievement Award, Consumer Watchdog
- Named Daily Journal Top Women Lawyers list 2002-2017
- Southern California Best Lawyers, (Personal Injury, Product Liability), 2011
- Named in Daily Journal’s Top Verdicts of 2011, Mauro v. Ford Motor Company Inc.
- Most Outstanding Young Trial Lawyer of 2001, F. Scott Baldwin Award, American Association for Justice, New Lawyers Division, 2001
- Recipient, 2001 Trial Lawyer of the Year Award, Loyola Law School, 2001
- Named by lawdragon.com, Inaugural List of “The Lawdragon 500 Plaintiffs Lawyers” in the United States
- Rank of Associate, American Board of Trial Advocates
- Fellow, International Academy of Trial Lawyers
- President of the Consumer Attorneys of California (CAOC) in 2009
- President of the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles (CAALA) in 2002
- Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court to the Civil Jury Instructions Committee (CACI)