Christopher Strunk is a partner in Gordon & Rees’ Oakland office with more than 20 years of experience litigating complex environmental and toxic tort disputes.
He focuses on the defense of large, multi-party environmental matters, including mass tort and products liability litigation involving alleged toxic injury arising from asbestos, lead, mold, solvents, and other contaminants. He has represented microchip and technology companies, chemical and petrochemical companies, heavy equipment manufacturers, and the pesticide and fertilizer industry. Over the past five years, he has also developed a significant industrial hemp and cannabis practice, defending ancillary and plant-touching businesses in environmental disputes and litigation.
Mr. Strunk has earned a Martindale-Hubbell AV® Preeminent peer review rating in toxic torts, litigation and products liability each year from 2011 to the present.
Mr. Strunk has extensive knowledge of relevant state and federal environmental statutes, with considerable experience in CERCLA and RCRA claims. He has also successfully defended numerous nuisance and trespass cases arising out of alleged site contamination, and aggressively defends clients in administrative enforcement actions arising out of alleged violations of state law and local ordinances.
Mr. Strunk is particularly experienced in the defense of toxic tort matters, having litigated dozens of cases from filing through final resolution in both state and federal court. He enjoys the challenge of developing creative, “out of the box” approaches to complex issues in order to obtain the best result possible for his clients, whether that means a reduced settlement, winning a dispositive motion, or obtaining a defense verdict. He has also served in a national counsel role for several product manufacturers, overseeing and managing complex litigation and spearheading the coordination of statewide discovery.
Mr. Strunk also has a wealth of experience in commercial litigation. He has successfully represented single-member LLC’s, partnerships and large corporations in multi-million dollar lawsuits involving breach of contract claims, business torts including interference with contract and business relationships, trademark infringement, and unfair business practices under California’s Business & Professions Code § 17200.
Recognizing that the best defense in a lawsuit is avoiding one in the first place, Mr. Strunk counsels clients on compliance with state and federal environmental statutes and assists clients in drafting product warnings and other liability-limiting documents in order to proactively limit downstream litigation risks. He also has experience developing internal policies and procedures for his clients to address environmental risks, including responding to the airborne or water-borne releases of contaminants. Finally, Mr. Strunk assists clients in managing environmental incidents and their aftermath, including appropriate response and reporting, managing health and safety issues, and working with regulators to address remediation issues.
Business Transactions & Counseling
Mr. Strunk has counseled businesses, large and small, on all aspects of business formation, operation, and dissolution. In the process, he has drafted operating agreements, vendor agreements, policies and procedures, commercial leases, liability releases, rights agreements, and agreements governing ownership of intellectual property. Chris also has experience overseeing environmental due diligence in real estate transactions involving contaminated sites.
Mr. Strunk has represented clients in the industrial hemp and cannabis sector since 2014, assisting companies in complying with state environmental laws, managing downstream risk, and defending them in high-stakes product liability litigation. Mr. Strunk is nationally recognized for his work on the environmental issues facing the cannabis industry, including litigation risks, state regulations, and agency enforcement. He is the vice chair of programming for the American Bar Association’s TIPS Cannabis Law Committee, and serves on the Defense Research Institute’s 2019 Cannabis Law Conference Committee. His nationally-published work has been featured in the Defense Research Institute’s The Voice and in the American Bar Association Environmental Law Section's The Year in Review 2018. In 2018, DataBird Research Journal named Chris one of “250 Cannabis Law Experts.” In addition, he is a member of the National Cannabis Bar Association and the San Francisco Bar Association’s Cannabis Law Section.