At Martin & Jones, Chris works on a variety of matters, including consumer class actions, civil rights litigation, serious workplace injury lawsuits, and product liability cases. A large percentage of his time over the past several years has been spent on predatory lending class action suits that resulted in favorable appellate decisions for North Carolina consumers. Chris also continues to work on serious workplace injury cases and product liability suits involving defective products and exposure to toxic chemicals.
Chris was a part of the Martin & Jones team that successfully litigated predatory lending consumer class actions against Bank of America and CitiFinancial. The class action lawsuits were extensively litigated throughout the state and federal courts of North Carolina. Both cases were argued before the North Carolina Supreme Court and resulted in important legal precedents that will benefit North Carolina consumers for years to come. The suits involved unlawful sales of credit insurance products to subprime borrowers and allegations of predatory lending.
The Tillman v. CitiFinancial Services, Inc. case was settled for $42.5 million. Through the settlement of the Tillman case, some 10,000 North Carolina borrowers received settlement payments. The case was litigated throughout the state and federal courts of North Carolina and resulted in a landmark ruling by the North Carolina Supreme Court in 2008. In Tillman v. Commercial Credit Loans, Inc., 362 N.C. 93 (2008), the North Carolina Supreme Court held that the arbitration clause included in borrowers’ loan documents was unenforceable based upon unconscionability. The decision represented the first time an appellate court in the State had struck down an arbitration clause as unenforceable due to unconscionability.
In Richardson v. Bank of America and the companion case of Williams v. EquiCredit Corporation of NC, more than 800 North Carolina subprime borrowers received significant settlement payments. Class members recovered, on average, more than $31,500 each. The Richardson case was argued at the North Carolina Court of Appeals and the North Carolina Supreme Court. In the Court of Appeals’ decision, Richardson v. Bank of America, N.A., 182 N.C. App. 531 (2007), the Court of Appeals affirmed trial court rulings that the bank violated the North Carolina Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act and committed a breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing in selling credit insurance products that had not been approved by the Department of Insurance. The North Carolina Supreme Court heard arguments in the case and then decided that review had been improvidently granted, meaning that the Court of Appeals decision remained the law of the case and binding precedent.
Chris has been practicing law with Martin & Jones since 2001. Before joining Martin & Jones, Chris worked for five years at one of the state’s largest and most prestigious defense firms. After law school, Chris served as a law clerk to the Honorable Franklin T. Dupree, Jr., a federal court judge in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. He graduated from Campbell University School of Law, magna cum laude, in 1994. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill in 1990. Chris has been recognized by his peers as among the Best Lawyers in America since 2011. Active with state bar and civic functions, Chris also regularly performs pro bono work for underprivileged clients through the Volunteer Lawyer Program of Legal Aid of North Carolina.
Licensed since 1994
To say that Chris is a great lawyer and a terrific consumer advocate is an understatement. His groundbreaking work in consumer class actions in this state speaks for itself. I have had the opportunity to learn from Chris over the last several years. He and his firm care deeply about seeking justice for their clients, and I and would heartily recommend him to those seeking legal help.
Jacob Norris Lemon Law Attorney
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
|GA||Active Member in Good Standing||2012||07/06/2015|
|Award Name||Grantor||Date Granted|
|Best Lawyer||Best Lawyers in America||N/A|
|AV Preeminent 5.0 out of 5 Peer Review Rated||Martindale-Hubbell||N/A|
|Law Clerk||Honorable Franklin T. Dupree, Jr||1994 - 1996|
|Association Name||Position Name||Duration|
|North Carolina Bar Association||N/A||N/A|
|North Carolina Advocates for Justice||N/A||N/A|
|Tillman v. Commercial Credit Loans, Inc., 362 N.C. 93 (2008)||$42.5 Million Settlement on behalf of more than 10,000 class members|
|Richardson v. Bank of America, N.A., 182 N.C. App. 531 (2007)||More than 800 class members recovered, on average, more than $31,500 each in a class action settlement of $38.75 million.|
|Estate of Harbin v. N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, I.C. No. TA-22283 (2013)||$527,946 plus costs|
|Campbell Law Review||State v. Garner: North Carolina Adopts the Inevitable Discovery Exception to the Exclusionary Rule||1993|
|Campbell University, Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law||Law||JD - Juris Doctor||1994|
|University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill||N/A||BA - Bachelor of Arts||1990|