Christopher Orton, Esq.Christopher is a co-founding partner of the firm.  He has been a practicing civil litigator since his admission to the Rhode Island bar in 1992.  Over the course of his career he has represented a wide variety of clients, including individuals, small business entities, large corporations, non-profit groups, insurance carriers and municipalities.  His practice focuses on personal injury, general litigation, municipal law, business litigation, administrative procedures, insurance defense, wills, estates and probate, criminal defense, appellate law and legal malpractice defense.

Christopher has a wealth of experience defending attorneys against legal malpractice claims, having been involved in the defense of approximately 100 such claims.  He has defended various municipalities in a wide array of civil disputes, including those sounding in civil rights, discrimination, constitutional claims and administrative violations.  Christopher regularly appears in the state’s trial courts and before various municipal and state boards and agencies.  He frequently represents clients in the many probate courts across the state, where among other things he provides advice on the administration of probate estates, the creation and maintenance of guardianship estates, and will contests.  He has served as assistant solicitor in the Towns of Jamestown and Exeter, a special solicitor for the City of Cranston, and as a Guardian Ad Litem in the Superior Court and several probate courts.


Results:

  • Christopher successfully defended the owner of a home against a multi-million dollar claim brought by an injured tenant.  His client had emigrated from Thailand, worked to become a naturalized citizen and through his small grocery business had saved enough money to purchase a three family home, in which he resided with his family, renting out the remaining apartments.  Everything the client had worked to accomplish was placed in jeopardy when one of his tenants was randomly attacked by an unidentified gunman in the driveway of the property.  The tenant was shot twice, rendering her a paraplegic.  She sued the homeowner claiming he had been negligent in failing to take steps to secure the property against such criminal acts and demanded several million dollars in damages.  Christopher obtained a summary dismissal of the case in the Superior Court, putting forth the argument that the homeowner had no legal duty to safeguard against the criminal acts of a third party; a decision that Christopher was able to convince the Rhode Island Supreme Court to uphold on appeal.

  • For 15 years Christopher served as general counsel to a quasi-municipal corporation that was responsible for overseeing a detention facility that housed 300+ federal pre-trial detainees.  In that role he advised the entity on a variety of issues, including  inter-governmental relations, public/private sector relations, contract negotiations, litigation and liability, insurance, labor, finance and construction matters.  He served as borrower’s counsel to the entity during its successful $106 million public bond offering.  With Christopher’s advice and counsel, the entity was able to successfully fund and construct an expanded physical plant capable of accommodating in excess of 700 detainees (while remaining fully functional during the construction phase) and economically repositioned the facility by transitioning its day-to-day operations away from a private contractor to the quasi-public detention corporation.
  • Christopher defended a local municipality and eight of its police officers against the claims of a woman who was paralyzed from the waist down after being struck by a vehicle fleeing from the police.  The case experts estimated the value of the claim at $15 million dollars; plaintiff’s demand for settlement was $6.75 million dollars.  Based upon the litigation strategy created by Christopher, the Municipality was able advantageously position itself within the litigation and ultimately resolve the case for a fraction of the Plaintiff’s demand and without exposing its individual police officers to personal liability.
  • Christopher represented a young woman who had broken both her legs and her pelvis when the motorcycle on which she was a passenger collided with several other motorcycles on interstate 195.  Christopher adeptly navigated complex liability and insurance coverage issues in obtaining a settlement for his client that paid her the full coverage limits from policies written by three separate insurance companies, as well as recovering monies directly from the defendant primarily responsible for causing the accident.

Bar Admissions:

Christopher is admitted and licensed to practice in the following courts:

All Rhode Island State Trial and Appellate Courts
The United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island
All Massachusetts State Trial and Appellate Courts
The United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts
The United States First Circuit Court of Appeals
The United States Supreme Court


Education:

Suffolk University School of Law, Boston, Ma, Juris Doctor, 1992

University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI, Bachelor of Arts (Political Science and US History), 1989


Reported Cases:

Christopher has had the following cases decided by various appellate courts 

Rhode Island Supreme Court

Thanadabouth v. Kongmany, 712 A.2d 879 (RI 1998)
Ahmed v. Greenwood, 706 A.2d 1332 (RI 1998)
Ahmed v. Greenwood, 706 A.2d 1333 (RI 1998)
Connell v. Macioci, 725 A.2d 886 (RI 1998)
State v. RI Alliance of Social Service Employees, 861 A.2d 455 (RI 2004)
Robinson v. Mayo, 849 A.2d 351 (RI 2004)
Scarborough v. Wright, 871 A.2d 937 (RI 2005)

First Circuit Court of Appeals

Ahmed v. Rosenblatt, 118 F.3d 886 (1st Cir 1997)

United States Supreme Court

Ahmed v. Greenwood, 522 U.S. 1148; 118 S.Ct. 1165, 140 L.Ed. 176 (1998)


Professional Affiliations:

Rhode Island Bar Association

Massachusetts Bar Association


Community Involvement:

Warwick Boys and Girls Club

Member of Board of Directors, 1996-1999

Warwick Junior Hockey Association:

Secretary, Board of Directors, 2010-present

Legal Advisor to the Board of Directors, 2010-present

 Travel Team and House League Coach, 2002-present

Edgewood South Elmwood Little League

Coach, 2002-present 


Personal:

Christopher was born and raised in Warwick, Rhode Island.  He, his wife Elizabeth and their children, Emma, Jackson and Calvin reside in the Edgewood section of Cranston, RI.  Christopher derives great satisfaction from working with young athletes as a hockey and baseball coach for local youth sports associations.  Away from the office, Christopher likes to fish, hunt and play ice hockey.  He is a social member at Quidnessett Country Club, where he enjoys playing golf.