People: Christopher J. Harney, Associate

Photo of Christopher J. Harney, Associate

Christopher J. Harney

Associate

Chicago
Direct: (312) 460-5246
Fax: (312) 460-7246
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Mr. Harney is a senior associate in the Litigation Department of Seyfarth Shaw LLP.  He concentrates his practice on bankruptcy litigation, white collar matters, internal investigations (including sensitive legal and misconduct investigations involving senior executives and employees), health care and pension plan fraud, and complex commercial disputes in both federal and state courts.  In his bankruptcy practice, Mr. Harney serves as counsel for debtors, secured lenders, unsecured creditors, insurers, and chapter 7 and chapter 11 bankruptcy trustees.   His commercial and general litigation practice includes the following sectors and practice areas: securities and financial services, breach of contract, shareholder derivative claims, breach of fiduciary duty, commercial foreclosures, antitrust, fraudulent transfers, requests for injunctive relief, real estate, construction law, forcible entry and detainer actions, premises-liability, intellectual property, and collection matters.

Mr. Harney has been selected as a "Rising Star" by Illinois Super Lawyers in 2014-2017 and as an “Emerging Lawyer” by Leading Lawyers in 2017.  He serves as on the President’s Council for the Museum of Science and Industry.  He was also the recipient of Award of Excellence in Pro Bono Service issued by the United States District Court of the Northern District of Illinois in conjunction with the Chicago Chapter of the Federal Bar Association.  He is an active board member of the Young Professionals Board of the Chicago Bar Foundation, the charitable arm of the Chicago Bar Association and is one of the wrestling team representatives for the Graduate “Order of the C,” an alumni association of the University of Chicago.  He was the chair of Seyfarth Shaw’s Associates Committee for the Investing In Justice Campaign in 2014 and has been an active member of the Associates Committee from 2013 to present.  He also served as a co-chair for the Bankruptcy Committee of the Young Lawyers Section of the Chicago Bar Association from 2011 to 2014.

Mr. Harney is a senior associate in the Litigation Department of Seyfarth Shaw LLP.  He concentrates his practice on bankruptcy litigation, white collar matters, internal investigations (including sensitive legal and misconduct investigations involving senior executives and employees), health care and pension plan fraud, and complex commercial disputes in both federal and state courts.  In his bankruptcy practice, Mr. Harney serves as counsel for debtors, secured lenders, unsecured creditors, insurers, and chapter 7 and chapter 11 bankruptcy trustees.   His commercial and general litigation practice includes the following sectors and practice areas: securities and financial services, breach of contract, shareholder derivative claims, breach of fiduciary duty, commercial foreclosures, antitrust, fraudulent transfers, requests for injunctive relief, real estate, construction law, forcible entry and detainer actions, premises-liability, intellectual property, and collection matters.

Mr. Harney has been selected as a "Rising Star" by Illinois Super Lawyers in 2014-2017 and as an “Emerging Lawyer” by Leading Lawyers in 2017.  He serves as on the President’s Council for the Museum of Science and Industry.  He was also the recipient of Award of Excellence in Pro Bono Service issued by the United States District Court of the Northern District of Illinois in conjunction with the Chicago Chapter of the Federal Bar Association.  He is an active board member of the Young Professionals Board of the Chicago Bar Foundation, the charitable arm of the Chicago Bar Association and is one of the wrestling team representatives for the Graduate “Order of the C,” an alumni association of the University of Chicago.  He was the chair of Seyfarth Shaw’s Associates Committee for the Investing In Justice Campaign in 2014 and has been an active member of the Associates Committee from 2013 to present.  He also served as a co-chair for the Bankruptcy Committee of the Young Lawyers Section of the Chicago Bar Association from 2011 to 2014.

Education

  • J.D., University of Mississippi (2008)
    cum laude
    Member, Moot Court Team and Moot Court Membership Committee
    Moss Scholarship Recipient, 2006-2007
    Semifinalist in State of Mississippi Appellate Advocacy Competition
  • B.A., University of Chicago (2004)
    Chicago Police/Fire Full-Tuition Merit Scholarship, 2000-2004
    Dean's List, 2000-2003

Admissions

  • Illinois

Courts

  • Illinois Supreme Court
  • U.S. District Courts for the Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

Affiliations

  • Chicago Bar Association (Co-Chair, Young Lawyers Section Bankruptcy Committee (2011-2014))
  • Chicago Bar Foundation (Member, Young Professionals Board (2011-present))
  • University of Chicago’s Order of the C (Wrestling Team Representative (2011-present))
  • American Bankruptcy Institute

Representative Engagements

Featured Bankruptcy Matters

Trials and Settlements

  • Obtained a favorable judgment in the amount of the demand in an adversary proceeding seeking to avoid a fraudulent transfer under 11 U.S.C. §§ 544 and 548.
  • Represented secured lender in a two-day trial and successfully defeated an Emergency Motion for Temporary Restraining Order filed by eight-jointly administered Debtors to enjoin secured lender’s pending actions against Debtors’ principals. 
  • Represented secured lender in a three-day joint trial on Motions for Relief from Stay filed by secured lender client in two related Debtors’ cases.
  • Represented secured lender during trial on Motion to Convert Case to Chapter 7 or, alternatively, to Appoint a Chapter 11 Trustee.
  • Represented secured lender in single asset debtor case under 11 U.S.C. §101(51B), negotiated favorable pre-judgment settlement with debtor.

Representative Engagements

  • Representing chapter 7 trustee in wind-down of Ponzi scheme involving technology company with more than $100 million in claims.  Assisted in prosecution of fraudulent transfers, breaches of fiduciary duty, and other claims with recoveries totaling over $86 million.
  • Representing former shareholder in fraudulent transfer action stemming from prior leveraged buyout transaction and obtained a dismissal of claims with prejudice, which judgment is on appeal before the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
  • Representation of chapter 11 trustee with respect to operation and reorganization of commercial real estate holding company with ownership interests in more than 50 non-debtor entities and land trusts holding title to more than 70 parcels of real property. 
  • Representation of large, commercial bank in individual chapter 11 bankruptcy case involving over $100 million in real estate related claims. Successfully obtained appointment of chapter 11 trustee and favorable settlement involving multi-millions in disputed state and federal income tax refunds.
  • Representation of petitioning creditors in involuntary chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding against defunct regional grocery store chain which resulted in entry of order for relief and commencement of chapter 7 bankruptcy case.
  • Representation of chapter 7 trustee in wind-down of operating logistics and warehouse company with two facilities totaling over 615,000 sq. ft. in space, liquidation of inventory and personal property, and sale of real property.

Featured White Collar Matters, Internal Investigations and Commercial Litigation Matters

Trials and Settlements

  • Representation of property owner of two large industrial  complexes during multi-day evidentiary hearing related to cross-motions for injunctive relief and assisted in negotiating satisfactory resolution to disputes.
  • Representation of complainant during preliminary injunction hearing concerning allegations of trademark infringement and participated in settlement negotiations of same.
  • Obtained favorable judgment on behalf of mortgagee regarding priority of interests in funds held in receivership between judgment creditor and mortgagee.

Representative Engagements

  • Representing private company and owners in connection with ongoing criminal investigation conducted by the United States Department of Justice.
  • Representing former controller of publicly traded company in SEC and Special Litigation Committee investigations relating to revenue recognition issues and earnings restatements.
  • Representing Chief Executive Officer in criminal antitrust investigation, including through DOJ Antitrust Division’s Leniency Program
  • Representing former Chief Executive Officer and President of defunct nonprofit organization relating to claims of breach of duty of care and breach of duty of loyalty.
  • Representing Chief Executive Officer and other officers and directors in a shareholder’s derivative lawsuit involving breaches of fiduciary duty and related claims.   
  • Representation of large commercial bank as successor in interest to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in numerous related commercial foreclosure actions and bankruptcy cases.
  • Representation of Illinois Housing Development Authority in a complex foreclosure proceeding involving over $22 million in indebtedness.

Presentations

  • Moderator, “What Every Bankruptcy Practitioner Should Know About Exceptions to Discharge (§ 523) and Denial of Discharge (§ 727) (June 2012)
  • Co-presenter, “Practice Pointers in Preference Litigation," Chicago Bar Association (April 2011)
  • Presenter, "Underwater Stock Options," Legal Seminar sponsored by the Illinois Paralegal Association, Chicago, IL (May 2009)
     

Publications

  • "Austin, Texas Paves the Way to Expansion of Green Building," Green Space Today (April 2009)