After decades of civil litigation and trial practice, Chris Appleton has focused his talents primarily on mediation. Chris’ background and experience are extensive and unique, making him an ideal choice to act as a neutral, bringing people together to resolve disputes. Having been both a plaintiff and defense litigator, Chris knows how the sausage is made from both sides.
Chris has a keen understanding of the economic and human costs involved in the litigation process, and what can happen when the risks and uncertainties of trial unfold for either side. Having resolved many hundreds of cases through mediation, arbitration, court trial, jury trial and appeal, Chris can apply his experience to any civil dispute. He credibly and rationally engages the participants in mediation in a way that guides them to resolution that everyone can live with.
While Chris has enjoyed the challenges of litigation on both sides of the table and in the courtroom, his decades of practice have been guided by principled and ethical standards. As a litigator, Chris has been repeatedly recognized with an "AV Preeminent®" rating. This rating signifies that the lawyer's peers and judges rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence for legal knowledge, communication skills and ethical standards. As a Mediator, Chris has been honored as a 2019 Northern California "Super Lawyer®" in the area of alternative dispute resolution. The Super Lawyer® designation recognizes the top 5% of attorneys in a given field of practice for their region.
Chris graduated law school at Santa Clara University School of Law in 1990, and was a National Finalist in the ABA Client Counseling Competition. He obtained his undergraduate degree from U.C. Davis with double majors in Political Science and Rhetoric and Communications in 1987. He served in the U.S. Navy aboard the aircraft carrier USS Coral Sea ‘cruising’ the Western Pacific and the Gulf of Oman.
Since 1990, Chris has been admitted to practice in the courts of State of California, and in the U.S. District Courts for the Northern and Eastern Districts of California.
At various points in his career, Chris has been employed as senior trial counsel for numerous insurance carriers defending individuals and businesses in a myriad of civil disputes. Prior to making the transition to full-time mediation, he was most recently employed as a Senior Trial Attorney for Nationwide Insurance Company’s Trial Division.
Chris has also been in the trenches of private practice; both as a solo practitioner in a general civil practice, and as a partner in a private law firm primarily representing plaintiffs. In his consulting business, “2nd Chair”, Chris served “Of Counsel” to insurance company staff counsel offices and private firms preparing for, and taking cases to trial. These experiences, as well as extensive mediation training programs have given him a background and perspective that dovetails perfectly into his position as your mediator.
In both plaintiff and defense roles, Chris’ practice areas included general civil litigation, business and partnership disputes, catastrophic personal Injury, wrongful death, property damage claims, civil rights, employment, professional liability (medical malpractice and attorney malpractice), construction defect, and real estate litigation. His experience representing defendants in insurance claims has left him with and in-depth knowledge of the claims process and the rationale used by insurance carriers in making their decisions. Conversely, Chris’ experience as a plaintiff’s attorney has given him critical perspective on the personal issues that arise in cases that can’t simply be reduced to formulas, actuarial tables or statistics. From these experiences, Chris can clarify, re-frame, and work through the issues that have become obstacles to settlement.
When Chris not mediating, community service is one of his priorities. He is a longtime member, and academy trainer for the Alameda County Sheriff’s Dive Team. He serves on the board of directors for a non-profit senior living and skilled nursing community in the East Bay, and was a past board member for Castro Valley’s Christmas in April (remodeling and renovating homes for the disabled and elderly), past board member for Row Chabot (developing youth rowing program in the East Bay), and is a volunteer with “Shared Adventures” in Santa Cruz, offering outdoor adventures for the disabled. In his free time, Chris carves out time for fun with family and friends, and spends as much time as possible outdoors. Chris can usually be found on the California coast free diving, spearfishing and SCUBA diving.
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