Christopher M. Mason - Complex Commercial Disputes attorney - Nixon Peabody LLP

Christopher M. Mason

Chris Mason is a litigator well known for his extensive experience in class action defense, arbitration, and complex financial disputes. He typically represents consumer products, technology, financial services, private equity, or industrial companies in state or federal trial and appellate courts, in domestic arbitration and mediation or in regulatory inquiries. Chris, the deputy head of the firm’s Class Action team, is a member of the firm's Cybersecurity and Privacy team, and leads the firm’s Arbitration team of over 150 attorneys. He also has extensive experience in mediation, both representing parties and as a neutral, in a wide variety of cases.

What do you focus on?

My primary goal as a lawyer is to help businesses manage the risks and outcomes of significant disputes.

I have defended many large class or mass actions and prosecuted or defended significant cases in more than half of the states in the country, in numerous federal courts and before the American Arbitration Association, the International Centre for Dispute Resolution, and FINRA. I have successfully resolved well over 100 cases in mediation as a mediator or party.

  • In the Delaware Supreme Court, I won affirmance of a significant Chancery Court decision of first impression (which I had also won) concerning an attempt to substitute an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing for fiduciary duties that had been waived in a limited liability company agreement.
  • In the largest consumer class action in history, with over 200 million class members and minimum statutory damages of $500 billion to well over $1 trillion, I successfully represented a prominent data company that refused to settle when the others in its industry did.
  • In addition to the largest consumer class action in history, I have litigated and resolved hundreds of millions of dollars of other statutory privacy cases, handled and counseled multiple clients on data breaches and ransomware responses, and provided advice on cutting-edge privacy issues in area ranging from gift cards to biometric data in retail settings to geolocation data in the e-vehicle space.
  • I have handled many wireless telecommunications cases, including cases for each of the three largest domestic carriers and for the largest international carrier. Among other things, I have won the first appellate decision under New York law upholding class action waivers against claims of unconscionability and have made new law in the Fifth Circuit as to whether governmental entities can be members of putative consumer classes.
  • For a leading technology company, I eliminated both a mass action and a mass arbitration that threatened to disrupt its unique sales and distribution channels.
  • For the world’s largest wine company, I settled a nationwide class action over millions of bottles of allegedly fraudulent wine, not only for less than seven figures, but for less than the settlement paid by the client’s major competitor. I also represented that client in defeating multiple lawsuits alleging the presence of arsenic in their wines, including defeating efforts to create a multidistrict litigation and eventually achieving dismissals in five different jurisdictions.
  • I have successfully resolved or defeated claims in multiple class actions in multiple jurisdictions for leading providers of consumer information about cars and trucks.
  • For several financial services clients, I have pioneered a unique jurisdictional technique in the resolution of certain kinds of disputes over billions of dollars of structured products.
  • For the world’s leading luxury jewelry brand, I won a seven figure award in a complex purchase price dispute arbitration.
  • I have successfully won or resolved a number of cases for well-known brands of hair-care products, cosmetics, and perfumes.
  • During the COVD-19 pandemic, I have been part of our response team and provided advice to many clients and pro bono clients on issues ranging from PPP lending to insurance to the regulatory requirements for educational safety.

What do you see on the horizon?

Procedurally, the landscape on dispute resolution is continuing to change, with the COVID-19 pandemic having only accelerated it. Having drafted some of the most widely used arbitration clauses in the country and seen (and encouraged) the dramatic increase in the successful use of mediation, including in virtual environments, I believe it has become even more important for businesses to reassess on a constant basis their contracts and dispute resolution programs.

Substantively, I see a resurgence in government enforcement of consumer and civil rights protections at all levels, matched or exceeded only by an increase in the importance of privacy issues, both in the consumer and employment context. And while technology can help in many areas of the law, still nothing beats a lawyer willing to read every word of the relevant documents when complex disputes occur.


Law Clerk to the Honorable J. Clifford Wallace, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Representative cases

  • Orsi v. SP Plus Corp., No. CACE 2298 (Fla. Cir. Ct.), and Orsi v. SP Plus Corp., No. 18-cv-62589-PMH (S.D. Fla.). In these Florida class actions under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, (and its amendment by the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act), Chris was brought in after initial efforts at resolution had failed. In addition to reframing the litigation for our client, he was able to construct an exit strategy in the Orsi case which has resolved the plaintiff’s claims, multiple cross-claims, and a collateral declaratory judgment action, all for less than continued costs of litigation. (The Savett case remains pending.)
  • Miller v. HCP Trumpet Investments, LLC, No. 107, 2018 Del. LEXIS 429 (Del.). In this case, the Delaware Supreme Court affirmed a significant decision of first impression that Chris had won in the Chancery Court, Miller v. HCP & Co., C.A. No. 2017-0291-EG, 2018 Del. Ch. LEXIS 40 (Del. Ch.). The Miller cases involved the extent to which an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing can be used—or not—to substitute for fiduciary duties that had been waived in a limited liability company agreement.
  • Hildene Opportunities Master Fund, Ltd. v. The Bank of N.Y. Mellon, No. 18-cv-08768 (NRB) (S.D.N.Y.). In this, and other similar cases such as Deutsche Bank Trust Co. Ams. as Trustee v. LaCrosse Fin. Prods., LLC, No. 08 CV 0955 (LAK) (S.D.N.Y.), Deutsche Bank Trust Co. Ams. v. Elliot Int’l, L.P., No. 09 CV 5242 (WHP) (S.D.N.Y.), and U.S. Bank N.A. v. Black Diamond CLO 2005-1 Adviser, L.L.C., 11 Civ. 5675 (JSR) (S.D.N.Y.), Chris has pioneered the use of federal statutory interpleader in combination with a little-known federal lien enforcement statute to provide world-wide quasi in rem jurisdiction to resolve disputes over the interpretation of billions of dollars of structured debt products.
  • Ackal v. Centennial Beauregard Cellular, L.L.C., 700 F.3d 212 (5th Cir.). In a decision of first impression in any court, the Fifth Circuit reversed certification of a class in part because of inclusion of governmental entities as absent class members. Chris represented the successful defendants, subsidiaries of AT&T, in the trial court and on appeal.
  • Campbell v. Fast Retailing USA, Inc., No. 14-6752-MSG (E.D. Pa.). Here, Chris represented one of the world’s largest retailers in defending nationwide class actions claiming violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (particularly as amended by the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act), winning dismissal as to all but one defendant and resolving the remaining individual claims for far less than continued defense costs.
  • Merizon Grp. Inc. d/b/a Modern Bus. Mach. v. Canon U.S.A., Inc., No. 12 Civ. 2744 (LDW) (E.D.N.Y.). In this case, Chris represented former Canon office imaging equipment dealers suing for violations of Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Antitrust Act and Section 2 of the Robinson-Patman Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1, 2, and 13, as well as Iowa and Wisconsin state law, to secure access to necessary parts and supplies following termination by a manufacturer. The case concluded successfully with the parts being made available to the former dealers.
  • Fresco v. R.L. Polk & Co., Case No. 07-60695-Civ-Martinez/Bandstra (S.D. Fla.). This case, settled for a modest amount of attorney’s fees, no economic relief to the plaintiffs, and an injunction on consent that, for the most part, simply codified the client’s existing internal controls, involved the defense of a nationwide class action for violation of federal statutory privacy protections brought against the oldest database company in the United States. The nature of the statute, the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act, 18 U.S.C. §§ 2721-25, meant that the minimum statutory damages for the class probably exceeded $1 trillion. The class itself was probably the largest in history, comprising all persons in the United States who, at any time during more than a decade, had ever had a driver’s license.
  • Davis v. Carfax, Inc., No. CJ-04-1316 L (Okla. Dist. Ct.), appeal dismissed, No. 103008 (Ok Sup. Ct.). In this case, Chris defeated class certification and won dismissal of a statewide class action asserting breach of contract and violation of consumer protection statutes. On appeal, the case was used as a vehicle to settle, on terms very favorable to the client, all claims in other parallel state court class actions commenced in California, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas.
  • Digital Documents Store v. Xerox Corp., Case No. 72 155 Y 00474 08 JENF (AAA), and Elite v. Global Imaging Sys. Inc., No. BC379155 (Cal. Super. Ct.). Chris lead the defense of the litigation and arbitration of claims of over $1 billion for breach of contract, antitrust or unfair competition, and misuse of confidential information by a large group of Xerox agents and dealers. Through pretrial proceedings, the various lawsuits were stayed or dismissed and the damages claimed in the arbitration were reduced many-fold. The remaining claimants settled their disputes on terms highly favorable to Xerox and its subsidiary, Global Imaging Systems.
  • Cerdes v. Cummins Diesel Sales Corp., No. 06-cv-0922 (E.D. La.). On behalf of the world’s leading manufacturer of diesel engines, Chris successfully defended consumer class action claims of redhibition (a legal theory unique to Louisiana law) involving purported “early wear out” of engine parts, resulting in no payments to the class.
  • Clark v. Mr. Tire, No. 6:19-cv-06043-MAT (W.D.N.Y.). In this case, Chris successfully defended a leading automotive service and repair company in a multistate class action claiming violations of federal law in the registration of tires sold to consumers, resolving the case on an individual basis for less than the amounts paid by the client’s major competitors in parallel cases elsewhere.  
  • Morrissey v. Nextel Partners, Inc., Index No. 3194-06 (N.Y. Sup. Ct.). In this case, a purported national class by disgruntled cellphone subscribers, Chris defeated national class certification in the trial court, and defeated all efforts on appeal at class certification except for the possibility of a partial class of New York-only customers—as to which there are almost no net damages that could be claimed.
  • Heuer v. Wegmans Food Mkts. Inc., Case No. 07—1412 (RDB) (D. Md.). Here, Chris successfully defended the nation’s most highly-regarded supermarket chain in a nationwide class action claiming violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (as amended by the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act), forcing settlement on an individual basis after a motion to dismiss.
  • Orcutt v. Nat’l Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Inc., No. 6:12-CV-0513 (GTS/TWD) (N.D.N.Y.). This putative nationwide class action claiming violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq. (as amended by the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act) ended in a voluntary dismissal by the individual plaintiffs without class certification.
  • Zeller v. Constellation Brands, Inc., Case No. BC443338 (Cal. Super. Ct.). This was the lead case of several consumer class actions triggered by fraud convictions in France of a number of suppliers in the Languedoc-Roussillon region who had sold the pressings of other varieties of grapes as pinot noir when demand for pinot noir spiked after the hit movie Sideways. A proposed class of all United States purchasers of certain wines from 2005 to 2008 asserted that our client—the world’s largest winemaker—had falsely labeled its wines as pinot noir. After dismissal of several of the plaintiffs’ cases, the remaining action was settled for a very modest amount on a claims-made basis
  • In re: California Wine Inorganic Arsenic Levels Prods. Liab. Litig., MDL No. 2632 (Jud. Panel on Multidistrict Litig.), Crespo-Bithorn v. The Wine Grp., Inc., No. 3:15-cv-01424-CCC (D. P.R.), Lopez v. The Wine Grp., Inc., Case No. 2:15-cv-01131-KDE-DEK (E.D. La. 2015), Marvin v. The Wine Grp., No. 3:15-cv-00176-JJB-SCR (M.D. La.), and Washington v. The Wine Grp., Inc., No. 4:15-cv-00163-RH-CAS (N.D. Fla.). In these cases, Chris led a successful defense of the world’s largest wine company with respect to nationwide class action claims that it and other large wine companies had produced and sold wines containing excess amounts of arsenic. The litigation included defeating MDL treatment, consolidating the Louisiana cases, obtaining dismissals of the cases outside Louisiana, and then a voluntary dismissal of the Louisiana litigation by the plaintiffs in response to our motion to dismiss.
  • In re the Reserve Fund Secs. and Derivative Litig., 09 MD. 2011 (PGG) (S.D.N.Y.). In this case, Chris—after an initial flat denial—persuaded the trial court to reverse its initial decision 180 degrees and recalculate the client’s multimillion dollar entitlement to payment with respect to money fund redemptions in the infamous “break the buck” cases triggered by the Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy.
  • Ranieri v. Bell Atl. Mobile, 304 A.D. 2d 353, 759 N.Y.S. 2d 448 (N.Y. App. Div. 1st Dep’t). In this significant decision, the court (with respect to an arbitration clause drafted by Chris), concluded that in New York “a contractual proscription against class actions” in a form consumer contract “is neither unconscionable nor violative of public policy.”
  • D.S. Meyerson Assocs., Inc. v. Allen, No. 00 Civ. 5772 (S.D.N.Y.). In a unique role as settlement counsel after years of dispute and litigation by other lawyers, Chris achieved a swift and favorable settlement of all claims.
  • Campbell v. AirTouch Cellular, Case No. GIC 751725 (Cal. Super. Ct.). In this case, at the time one of the largest class actions in history, Chris achieved a successful settlement covering multiple different class actions after several years of litigation.
  • Miletich v. Bookmeier, Index No. 00/114972 (N.Y. Sup. Ct.). Chris resolved this difficult shareholder derivative suit with a highly favorable settlement for the client.
  • In re Cellco Consumer Litig., Master File No. L-9435-96 (N.J. Super. Ct.). Chris secured a dismissal after a number of years of litigation (including a successful decertification fight) of this multistate, consolidated consumer class action involving tens of millions of putative class members.
  • Iberia Credit Bureau v. Cingular Wireless, No. 6:01-2148 (W.D. La.). Here, Chris successfully defended a major wireless carrier against multi-state breach of contract and unfair and deceptive trade practices class action claims.
  • Quick Page of New Jersey, Inc. v. Cellco P’ship, Case No. 13 494 00811 00 02 (AAA). In this case Chris won an arbitration award under the Lanham Act and other theories to enjoin advertising and infringing behavior by a former distributor.
  • AXA Réassurance S.A. v. Chase Manhattan Bank, Index No. 99/121290 (N.Y. Sup. Ct.). In this proceeding Chris won dismissal of all claims against a well-known motion picture producer, allowing the producer to pursue his own claims in arbitration.
  • Federated Strategic Income Fund v. Mechala Grp. Jamaica Ltd., No. 99 Civ. 10517 (HB) (S.D.N.Y.). This case ended with Chris obtaining for the client an unprecedented injunction on Trust Indenture Act grounds against a tender offer for debt securities.
  • Omnipoint Commc’ns, Inc. v. New York Yankee P’ship, Index No. 601910/97 (N.Y. Sup. Ct.). Chris won summary judgment on all counts in this case involving substantial breach of contract and tortious interference claims for advertising in Yankee Stadium.



  • “Vendor Due Diligence in the Age of Data Protection Laws,” IAPP Global Privacy Summit 2021, May 19, 2021
  • “Vaccinating the Nation: What you Need to Know,” Head Start & COVID-19: A Symposium on Vaccination and Community Mitigation Efforts, February 8, 2021
  • “Ten Years Later: The Credit Crisis Revisited and Lessons Learned,” Nixon Peabody LLP, November 14, 2017
  • “Ethics and Professionalism: Best Practices for Attorneys 2015,” New York City Bar Association, May 18, 2015
  • “Developments in Arbitration 2014 for the Health Care Industry,” American Arbitration Association Healthcare Dispute Resolution Innovation & Strategy Conference, November 14, 2014
  • “Ethics & Professionalism: Best Practices for Attorneys 2014” (Program Chair), New York City Bar Association, October 10, 2014
  • “The Legal Ethics of Social Media,” Nixon Peabody LLP, December 5, 2012
  • “Common Uses and Abuses of Statistics in Commercial Litigation,” Nixon Peabody LLP, July 16, 2008
  • “Errors in Electronic Ethics,” Nixon Peabody LLP, April 17, 2008
  • “Commercial Arbitration: Recent Developments, Emerging Trends & Future Issues,” New York City Bar Association, March 4, 2008
  • “E-Discovery—How Does Your Legal Department Stack Up?” 19th Annual General Counsel Conference, June 4, 2007
  • “Developments in Class Action Litigation” Professional Indemnity Agency, 2007.
  • “When and How to Use Mediation to Your Advantage” New York State Bar Association/ADR Committee Annual Program, 2007.
  • “Building the Mediation Profession: Are We Certifiable?” Association for Conflict Resolution of Greater New York, 2006.
  • “Alternative Dispute Resolution—What Corporate Counsel Need to Know to Effectively Manage Business Challenges,” 18th Annual General Counsel Conference, 2006.
  • “Factors in Choosing a Mediator for a Business Dispute,” Section on Alternative Dispute Resolution of the New York State Bar Association, 2006.
  • “Electronic Discovery Today,” Annual California MCLE Program, 2006.
  • “Foreign Corrupt Practice Act Basics,” Annual California MCLE Program, 2006.
  • “Shoring Up Your Defenses: Thoughts for Corporate Counsel about Defending Future Class Actions,” Marcus Evans Conference on How to Effectively Master, Settle, and Manage Your Insurance Litigation, 2005.
  • “The Class Action Fairness Act and the New York State Courts (And Some Other Interesting Class Action Developments),” New York State Bar Association, 2005.
  • “Corporate Dissolution in New York State: The Basics and Some Advanced Issues,” New York State Judicial Institute, 2005.


36 Hours: What banks should know about the new reporting requirements for computer security incidents

Banking Law Journal | April 26, 2022

This contributed article by Complex Disputes partners Chris Queenin in Boston and Chris Mason in New York, and Boston partner and Privacy & Technology group leader Jason Kravitz, covers the new federal rule requiring financial institutions to report certain high-risk computer-security incidents within 36 hours after the incident occurs, following a trend of increased federal oversight involving cybersecurity.

9th Circ Amazon Ruling Opens New Driver Exemption Battles

Law360 | August 26, 2020

In this article on the Ninth Circuit’s decision which found that Amazon delivery drivers are exempt from mandatory arbitration, New York Complex Commercial Disputes partner Chris Mason is quoted for his thoughts on arbitration agreements and the importance of how choice of law clauses operate.


Christopher M. Mason

Deputy Leader, Class Actions and Aggregate Litigation
Leader, Arbitration Team
Former Member, Firm Policy Committee
Member, Firm Pro Bono Committee

New York

Phone: 212-940-3017

Fax: 866-947-2229

Duke University School of Law, J.D., magna cum laude (Order of the Coif)

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, B.A., summa cum laude (Phi Beta Kappa)

New York

District of Columbia

U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York

U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York

U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York

U.S. District Court, Western District of New York

U.S. District Court, District of Columbia

U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit

U.S. Supreme Court

Chris was selected, through a peer-review survey, for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2022 in the field of Commercial Litigation. He has been listed in Best Lawyers since 2020.

Chris has been recognized each year from 2006 to the present for his exceptional standing in the legal community in the area of Business Litigation in New York Super Lawyers.

Chris is a member of the Board of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the nonpartisan, nonprofit organization formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to enlist the private bar’s leadership and resources in combating racial discrimination.

Chris has also served on the Executive Advisory Committee of CPR: International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution. He is a member of the American Bar Association (Litigation Section, Committee on Commercial and Banking Litigation; Antitrust Section); the New York City Bar Association (former member of the Professional Discipline Committee, the Professional Responsibility Committee, the Consumer Affairs Committee, and the Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee); the New York State Bar Association (Commercial and Federal Litigation Section, Arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee); and the Federal Bar Council. He has taught at the New York State Judicial Institute, is a member of the Mediation Advisory Committee of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, is regularly appointed as a mediator by the judges of that court, and also serves on the mediation panel for the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Commercial Division.

Chris serves and has served as an director, trustee, officer, or committee member for many educational, charitable, or religious organizations at the local and national level, ranging from a charity doing long-term recovery work on the Hurricane Sandy disaster in New York City (of which he was a founding officer), to a multibillion-dollar pension fund (of which he was the chair of the governance committee and a member of the executive committee), to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, to one of the country’s largest protestant Christian denominations (of which he has been the co-chair of its corporation, an entity dating back to 1799). He also serves as the Moderator of the Permanent Judicial Commission of the Presbytery of New York City, in effect the chief judge in New York City for ecclesiastical litigation in that denomination.

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