Christopher has been a consistent thought leader, applying cognitive neuroscience techniques to trial advocacy for most of his 25-year career.
For more than 30 years, Chris Stombaugh has been devoted to his true passion, advancing the art and science of trial advocacy. Chris focuses on trial. He has successfully tried to verdict cases for people around the country injured by hospitals, aircraft manufacturers, insurance companies, agribusiness, construction companies, and truck companies and many other industries. His approach empowers people to tell their stories in a way that resonates with juries and has led to several record-setting, seven and eight figure jury verdicts.
Chris speaks regularly to state bar and trial lawyer associations nationwide on modern and effective trial advocacy and is a key member of DiCello Levitt’s Trial Practice Team. In addition to his own successful practice, Chris teaches trial lawyers cognitive neuroscience to benefit their clients.
Chris is the past president of the Wisconsin Association for Justice, having served as president of the WAJ 2014 term. He has been chosen as a Wisconsin Super Lawyer every year since 2010. He is an active member in a number of other trial lawyer associations. Chris is also fluent in Spanish.
- Frohne v. LeClaire Hotel Group et al.
Represented an Iowa business owner as Co-Lead Counsel in a construction fall case where worksite safety violations caused our client to fall more than 30 feet onto rebar, sustaining serious injuries and chronic, permanent pain. A jury awarded the client more than $7 million in damages for business losses and personal injuries, the largest verdict of its kind in Scott County’s history.
- Bollant Farms, Inc. et al v. Scenic Rivers Electrical Cooperative et.al.
Represented a Wisconsin family-owned dairy farm as Co-Lead Counsel against an electrical cooperative for economic and personal injuries the farm sustained from neutral to earth voltage that caused loss of milk production and tremendous personal losses, annoyance, and inconvenience to the family. The case resulted in a $5 million jury verdict, the largest of its kind in Wisconsin state history.
- Estate of Rhoni Reuter v. Yang,
Represented the Illinois heirs of a murder victim as Lead Counsel in the wrongful death action for damages that additionally sought to prevent the convicted murderer from profiting from her crimes by selling her story to tabloids, publishers or movie producers. The jury awarded a $40 million verdict.
- Bachrach v. Covenant Transportation, Inc. et al.
Represented a father from Arizona against a trucking company for the wrongful death of his adult son. As Co-Lead Counsel, and at trial specifically for the estranged father, Chris, along with co-counsel, won a $13,218,000 total verdict for the loss of society, companionship, and grief of both divorced parents, the second largest verdict in the State of Arizona. Given that the verdict only compensated for the emotional loss and grief of parents for their married son in his 30s, the verdict proves that parental bonds are greatly valued by jurors even for parents of married children with families of their own.
- Estate of Brushert et al. v. TDR, Inc., et al.
As Co-Lead Counsel against a nursing home for wrongful death when the resident was killed beneath a hospital bed he had fallen out of and then crushed when the bed compressed his chest. The defense claimed that, despite the fact that he was to be shortly discharged, died by suicide. Powerful testimony about the pain and suffering of the resident yielded an award for $50,000 per second of conscious pain and suffering. The jury assessed damages greater than $2 million. The case was resolved confidentially after post-trial motions.
- Guzman v. Boeing Co.
Represented a Massachusetts based international engineering consultant as Co-Lead Counsel against Boeing for negligently causing the client’s PTSD. Mid-flight, Boeing’s passenger jet suddenly developed a large hole in its surface with an explosive effect. The explosion caused a rapid drop in cabin pressure at high altitude on the cross-country flight. The crew’s emergency response caused passengers to believe they would not survive. Afterward, the client developed PTSD and was unable to travel by air, affecting her ability to function in her role as an international engineering consultant. With innovative trial methods and critical focus group data, Chris persuaded the federal jury to award a $2 million damages verdict.
- Estate of Phyllis Simons v. State of Iowa.
Represented, as Co-Lead Counsel, the Iowa heirs of Phyllis Simons, a woman in her mid-fifties, against The State of Iowa for medical negligence and wrongful death. Ms. Simons underwent a “minimally invasive” aortic valve replacement. The surgeon carelessly cut too deeply when opening the chest and severed her aorta, causing massive blood loss and loss of brain function. She died weeks later, leaving behind a devastated husband, children, and grandchildren. Chris won a $1.95 million resolution and apology letter for the family based on innovative focus group work and state of the art mediation techniques.
Plaintiffs’ Lawyers Trailblazer, The National Law Journal (2023)
Super Lawyers, Wisconsin (2010-present)
AVVO, 10/10 rated attorney
Teaching Faculty Gerry Spence’s Trial Lawyers College, (2013-2017)
President, Wisconsin Association for Justice (2014 term)
- “Medicolegal Sidebar: Blowback: The Unintended Consequences of Medical Liability Reform,” Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2016 Jan
- “Off the Record: A Candid View from the Other Side,” National Webinar for Orthopedic Surgeons, 2021
- “Rules that Work and How to Work Them,” Trial School, National Webinar, 2020
- “Voir Dire and Opening Statements Workshop,” Trial School, Phoenix, 2019
- “Power Deposition with Chris Stombaugh and Charles Allen,” 360 Advocacy, 2017, 2018 & 2019, Las Vegas, Huntington Beach, CA, Atlanta
- “Power Story with Chris Stombaugh and Bobby DiCello: Connect, Convince, Compel,” 360 Advocacy, 2016, 2017 & 2018, New Orleans, Las Vegas
- “Power Preparation: Suggestion, Imagination, and Belief,” 360 Advocacy Ski and CLE Conference, 2018, Jackson Hole, WY
- “Power Preparation,” 360 Advocacy Ski and CLE Conference, 2017, Jackson Hole, WY
- U.S. Supreme Court
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
- Wisconsin Association for Justice, including Association President in 2014
- Iowa Association for Justice
- American Association for Justice