Christian G.Vergonis (Chris)

Partner

Washington + 1.202.879.3914

Chris Vergonis has more than 25 years of experience as a trial and appellate lawyer focusing on the representation of businesses and trade associations in constitutional, statutory, and regulatory litigation against the United States and other governmental entities. He has argued cases in the United States Supreme Court, the U.S. Courts of Appeals, and the federal district courts.

Chris frequently represents clients seeking to set aside federal, state, and local laws and regulations on constitutional and statutory grounds. Significant undertakings include challenges to rules promulgated by the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) and the CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau); challenging state and local product standards, labor laws, and environmental regulations as pre-empted by federal law; litigating a successful separation-of-powers challenge to the authority of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board; assisting a foreign bank in a regulatory dispute with the U.S. Treasury Department; challenging commercial advertising restrictions under the First Amendment; and representing plaintiffs (including biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies) in lawsuits against the United States and its agencies under the APA (Administrative Procedure Act), the FTCA (Federal Torts Claims Act), and the U.S. Constitution.

Chris has written or coauthored several articles and white papers on constitutional law and statutory interpretation and previously served as the publications chair of the Administrative Law & Regulation Section of the Federalist Society.

Experience

  • R.J. Reynolds successfully challenges constitutionality of FDA's graphic warnings ruleOn December 7, 2022, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas ruled--in favor of Jones Day clients that include R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company--that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's regulation requiring graphic cigarette warning labels is unconstitutional.
  • Trade associations successfully challenge CFPB's unique funding scheme as unconstitutionalOn behalf of two trade associations of consumer lenders, Jones Day successfully challenged the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's funding mechanism before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which held that Congress's delegation of its appropriations power to the Bureau violates the Constitution's structural separation of powers and, accordingly, vacated the Bureau's 2017 Payday Lending Rule.
  • R.J. Reynolds wins complete defense verdict in Jones wrongful death lawsuitAfter a trial lasting three weeks, a state court jury in Vero Beach, Florida returned a complete defense verdict in favor of Jones Day client R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company in a wrongful death case.
  • Community Financial Services Association of America wins dismissal of lawsuit challenging repeal of CFPB restrictions on payday lendingOn behalf of Community Financial Services Association of America (CFSA), Jones Day successfully intervened in litigation filed by an advocacy group challenging the repeal of certain provisions of a 2017 Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) rule concerning payday, vehicle title, and certain high-cost installment loans.
  • R.J. Reynolds successfully enforces patents in ITC trial against Philip Morris in dispute over cigarette alternativeJones Day's client Reynolds achieved a precedent-setting victory before the International Trade Commission (ITC) against its main competitors Philip Morris Products S.A. ("Philip Morris") and Altria Client Services LLC ("Altria") in a patent infringement dispute involving tobacco heating and vaping products.
  • Banco Delta Asia secures withdrawal of Section 311 designationJones Day represented Banco Delta Asia, a small family-owned Macau bank, and its owner in a lawsuit challenging the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network's (FinCEN) 2007 designation of the bank as an institution "of primary money laundering concern" under Section 311 of the USA PATRIOT Act.
  • Tobacco manufacturers challenge City of Edina's ban on flavored tobacco productsJones Day recently filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and other clients that challenges a City of Edina, Minnesota ordinance banning flavored tobacco products.
  • Tobacco manufacturers challenge LA County's ban on flavored tobacco productsJones Day recently filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and other affiliated clients challenging a County of Los Angeles ordinance that bans flavored tobacco products.
  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce achieves victory in antitrust challenge to Seattle for-hire driver collective-bargaining ordinanceJones Day represented the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in a lawsuit challenging a collective-bargaining ordinance enacted by the City of Seattle.
  • CEO testifies before Congressional subcommitteeJones Day prepared the CEO of a Fortune 500 company for testimony before a subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • Biotechnology company persuades FDA to lift clinical hold on experimental gene therapyJones Day represented a biotechnology company in a lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for placing a clinical hold on the company’s experimental gene therapy.
  • Buckeye Institute submits brief in support of certiorari in challenge to CFPB structureOn behalf of the Buckeye Institute for Public Policy, Jones Day submitted an amicus curiae brief in support of Supreme Court review in a case presenting the question whether the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is unconstitutionally structured, in light of the director's broad regulatory powers and significant independence from oversight by either the President or Congress.
  • Human trafficking victim prevails on claims under TVPAOn July 31, 2017, a jury in the Eastern District of Virginia found in favor of Jones Day pro bono client Sarah Roe (a pseudonym) and awarded her $3 million dollars in compensatory and punitive damages on her claims under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act ("TVPA").
  • Federal inmate obtains U.S. Supreme Court decision unanimously rejecting application of FTCA "judgment bar" to Eighth Amendment Bivens suitOn June 6, 2016, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled unanimously in favor of Jones Day's client, a federal inmate named Walter Himmelreich, in a case involving the "judgment bar" of the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA).
  • Free Enterprise Institute wins challenge of constitutionality of Public Company Accounting Oversight BoardOn June 28, 2010, the United States Supreme Court invalidated a key provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, ruling in favor of Jones Day clients Free Enterprise Fund and Beckstead and Watts, LLP.
  • Alaskan legislator obtains favorable ruling from U.S. Supreme Court, narrows reach of honest services fraud statuteOn June 24, 2010, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of Jones Day client Bruce Weyhrauch, a former Alaska state representative who was accused of committing a federal fraud because he did not disclose that he was seeking employment from a company with an interest in a tax law bill pending before the state legislature.
  • Onyx prevails in ICC arbitrations claiming breach of representations and warranties for waste facility purchased in MexicoJones Day represented Onyx S.A., a French subsidiary of Veolia Environnement involved in international waste management, with regard to a dispute that arose after it acquired a hazardous waste landfill in Mexico in 2000.
  • Individual plaintiffs prevail in landmark U.S. Supreme Court case interpreting supplemental jurisdiction statuteJones Day represented individual plaintiffs in this personal injury action raising the jurisdictional question whether the requirement that every plaintiff in a diversity case must separately satisfy the jurisdictional amount-in-controversy requirement survives the enactment of the supplemental jurisdiction statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1367.