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Chris Scheithauer


Telephone   949.717.3000

FACSIMILE   949.717.3100


Chris Scheithauer


Chris C. Scheithauer represents clients on civil litigation matters, with a focus on employment class action litigation and advice, as well as employee benefit litigation and counseling under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).

Chris’ employment practice involves representing employers in defending individual and class action claims pertaining to wage and hour disputes, employment discrimination and harassment (under California and federal law), wrongful termination, breach of employment contract, unfair competition and misappropriation of trade secrets. He has litigated class actions involving wage and hour claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act, as well as California’s Wage Orders.

Chris’ ERISA practice involves representing employers, plan fiduciaries and trustees in litigation matters concerning employee benefit plans. He regularly represents companies and their ERISA plans in defending claims for wrongful denial of employee benefits, such as long-term disability benefits. Chris also defends companies, officers and directors, and other alleged ERISA plan fiduciaries against claims for breach of fiduciary duties in employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) and 401(k) class actions regarding company stock declines, claims for excessive investment and administrative fees, or changes to pension plans. Chris is a contributing author to the Employee Benefits Law treatise, published by the American Bar Association (ABA)’s Employee Benefits Subcommittee on ERISA.

Chris has represented clients such as Northrop Grumman Corporation, State Street Bank & Trust, CMS Energy, Bank of America 401(k) Plan, AECOM, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Cal Pacific Specialty Foods, Poured, Countrywide Financial Corporation 401(k) Plan, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, and Yahoo, among others.

Chris represents clients in litigation in state and federal courts, as well as in administrative proceedings and investigations before such agencies as the U.S. Department of Labor, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, and the California Department of Industrial Relations/Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. Chris has previously served on the Board of Directors of the Orange County Federal Bar Association.


        • Obtained judgment in favor of Northrop Grumman Corporation in a pension-benefits dispute with over a billion dollars at issue
        • Successfully represented Northrop Grumman Corporation in ERISA fiduciary duty case involving 401(k) plan fees and administrative expenses
        • Prevailed in ERISA fiduciary duty case brought involving the former Montana Power Company 401(K) plan and company “stock drop” case
        • Assisted institutional plan trustee obtain judgment defending an ERISA dispute involving the General Motors Corporation ERISA 401(k) Plan in “stock drop” case connected to bankruptcy of General Motors
        • Won multi-million dollar verdicts in favor of Northrop Grumman Corporation in various real estate lease disputes.


        • Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation v. Goldentop Road, LLC, 2016 WL 3568261 (June 23, 2016)
        • Jay v. Mahaffey, 218 Cal.App.4th 1522 (2013)
        • Skinner v. Northrop Grumman Ret. Plan B, 673 F.3d 1162 (9th Cir. 2012)
        • Pfeil v. State Street Bank & Trust Co., 671 F.3d 585 (6th Cir. 2012)
        • In re Touch America Holdings, Inc. ERISA Litigation, 563 F.3d 903 (9th Cir. 2009)
        • Young v. GM Inv. Mgmt. Corp., 325 Fed. Appx. 31 (2nd Cir. May 6, 2009)
        • Ryles v. Pitney Bowes, Inc., 2002 US Dist. LEXIS 13665 (E.D. Penn. July 23, 2002)
        • Corporate Express Office Products, Inc. v. Martinez, 2002 WL 31961458 (C.D. Cal. March 8, 2002)


        • The Best Lawyers in America 2019, Litigation – ERISA
        • Chambers USA 2009 noted that clients called out Chris Scheithauer “for his ‘methodical and precise’ defense of clients in ERISA and benefits cases.”
        • The Legal 500 USA pointed to Chris Scheithauer as a leader in the practice.
        • Los Angeles Magazine, Southern California Rising Star
        • Southern California Super Lawyer, Rising Star, ERISA and federal practices


        • More Paid Sick Leave – the New Trend Sweeping California, Westlaw Journal Employment, July 19, 2016
        • Contributing Author: Employee Benefits Law, Third Edition, 2015 Cumulative Supplement (BNA 2015)
        • Contributing Author: Employee Benefits Law, Third Edition, 2014 Cumulative Supplement (BNA 2014)
        • Employee Stock Option Plans, Benefits Law Journal, Aspen Publishers, Vol. 27, No. 3, Autumn 2014
        • Sponsors Should Update ERISA Plans after High Court Ruling, Law360, February 25, 2014
        • Contributing Author: Employee Benefits Law, Third Edition, Fall 2013 Cumulative Supplement (BNA 2013)
        • Contributing Author: Employee Benefits Law, Third Edition, (BNA 2012)
        • Contributing Author: Employee Benefits Law, Second Edition, 2011 Cumulative Supplement (BNA 2011)
        • No Seventh Circuit Rehearing in Kraft ERISA “Excessive Fees” Case, The National Law Review, June 10, 2011
        • Rewrite Author and Contributing Author: Employee Benefits Law, Second Edition, 2010 Cumulative Supplement (BNA 2010)
        • Contributing Author: Employee Benefits Law, Second Edition, 2009 Cumulative Supplement (BNA 2009)
        • Contribution and Indemnity by Co-Fiduciaries Under ERISA: An Examination of the Current State of the Law and an Appeal for Intervention, Benefits Law Journal, Aspen Publishers, Vol. 22. No. 2, Summer 2009
        • Fiduciary Breach Suits Against Companies, Officers, and Directors Under ERISA, Benefits Law Journal, Aspen Publishers, Vol. 20. No. 4, Winter 2007
        • How to Avoid Liability in ERISA Fiduciary Litigation, Midwest In-House, October 2007


        • American Bar Association, Employee Benefits Subcommittee on ERISA Reporting and Disclosure, as well as the Subcommittee on Liability Issues Unique to Welfare Plans
        • Orange County Federal Bar Association, past member of the board of directors
        • Orangewood Foundation, Audit Committee
        • The Samueli Academy, Board of Trustees and Governance Committee Chairman



        • University of Southern California – Gould School of Law, JD, 1996
        • University of Southern California, IR/POSC, 1993


        • California

Courts / Agencies

        • US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
        • US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
        • US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
        • US District Court for the Central District of California
        • US District Court for the Eastern District of California
        • US District Court for the Northern District of California
        • US District Court for the Southern District of California
        • California Supreme Court