2013 Legal Elite profile: Civil Litigation
Christopher M. Malone
Title: Attorney/managing director
Other legal specialties: Construction law, adoption law
Birthplace: Washington, D.C.
Education: College of William & Mary, bachelor’s degree; University of Virginia, law degree; St. Leo’s University, master’s in theology.
Children: Chad, Matthew, Cecelia, Ryan, Brandon
Hobbies or pastimes: Hiking, spending time with family and friends
First job as a lawyer: Law clerk at Supreme Court of Virginia
Fan of: New York Yankees
Favorite vacation spot: Lubec, Maine
Recently read book: “The Good Bishop: The Life of Walter F. Sullivan” by Phyllis Theroux
Career mentors: Justice Richard H. Poff, John B. Thompson, C. Grice McMullan Jr.
What has been your most memorable civil litigation case?
“In my first jury trial, I represented the mother of a decedent on a claim for accidental death benefits under her son’s life insurance policy. After a misbegotten family shopping trip in Williamsburg, a dispute arose, and the son was stabbed during an ongoing affray on the side of Route 60. The jury adopted our view that the stabbing was unforeseeable because the couple fought all the time, and no one had ever been stabbed before. The verdict came back in favor of our claim in 30 minutes, with prejudgment interest. Fortunately, an appeal was not pursued.”
Your practice includes construction litigation. What effect did the recession have on construction disputes?
“In the business of construction, trouble always follows when someone holds the dollar. In this recent recession, the cash flow on projects became slow and sometimes nonexistent. The results were seen in an initial increase in mechanics’ liens, contractor and subcontractor bankruptcies, bank and bonding company takeover of projects, and regrettably, the loss of contractors that had prospered for generations in Virginia. Predictably, litigation slowed down as the likelihood of collection became more uncertain. In the end, settlements at low amounts often were agreed to because of the cost of litigation and the financial circumstances of both plaintiff and defendant.”