• Ann Arbor
    201 S. Division Street
    Suite 400
    Ann Arbor, MI 48104
    T 734-761-3780
  • Cheboygan
    229 Court Street
    P.O. Box 405
    Cheboygan, MI 49721
    T 231-627-8000
  • Detroit
    1901 St. Antoine Street
    6th Floor at Ford Field
    Detroit, MI 48226
    T 313-259-7777
  • Grand Rapids
    99 Monroe Avenue NW
    Suite 300
    Grand Rapids, MI 49503
    T 616-205-4330
  • Troy
    201 W. Big Beaver Road
    Suite 500
    Troy, MI 48084
    T 248-743-6000
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competitive drive
 

Christopher J. Breay

Senior Attorney,Grand Rapids

T 616-205-4251616-205-4251

Education
  • Wayne State University Law School, J.D.
  • The University of Edinburgh, M.Sc.
  • Albion College, A.B., magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa
Admissions
  • Michigan
Court Admissions
  • U.S. Ct. of Appeals, 6th Cir.
  • U.S. District Ct., C.D. Ill.
  • U.S. District Ct., N.D. Ill.
  • U.S. District Ct., E.D. Mich.
  • U.S. District Ct., W.D. Mich.
Overview

Mr. Breay has over 25 years of trial and pre-trial experience in commercial, intellectual property, and banking litigation, including the defense of numerous financial institutions, many acting as servicers and trustees of securitized loans, against various claims of lender liability.

In addition to his litigation practice, Mr. Breay has assisted businesses in contract negotiation and drafting in several contexts, and has advised them on issues involving employment law, intellectual property, antitrust, conflicts of interest, securities law, and corporate governance.

Mr. Breay is a member of the State Bar of Michigan and American Bar Association.  While in law school he served as an Associate Editor of The Wayne Law Review.

Speaking Engagements
  • “Mortgage Loan Servicing—A Litigator’s Perspective,” Annual Conference, American Bar Association Business Law Section, Chicago, IL (September 11, 2014)
  • “The Current State of HAMP Litigation,” Mortgage Bankers Association, Litigation Subcommittee (April 15, 2014)
  • “A Practical Guide to Commercial Eviction in Michigan,” National Business Institute (2006)
  • “Emerging Trends in Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) Litigation,” American Bar Association (2014)
  • “A Practical Guide to Commercial Eviction in Michigan,” National Business Institute (2006)
Academic Appointments
  • Adjunct Professor (History), Aquinas College (August 2022-present)
  • Adjunct Professor (Constitutional Law), Aquinas College (2016)

 

 

 

Representative Matters

Representative Matters (before joining Bodman)

Banking

  • Defended financial institutions as trustee and servicer of securitized loan against lender-liability claims related to foreclosures of several commercial properties.  Dispute was litigated in bankruptcy court and related state-court action.  Both courts granted defendants’ motions to dismiss.
  • Defended financial institution against claim that redemption period was one year as opposed to regular six months due to borrower’s agricultural use of property, raising question of whether “agricultural use” exception to redemption statute applied.  Recognizing issue as one of first impression, and after performing analysis of comparative value of property and agricultural business, court rejected borrower’s argument and instead granted defendant’s motion for summary judgment. Hebeler v. Wells Fargo Bank, 380 F.Supp.3d 684 (W.D. Mich. 2019).
  • Defended financial institutions acting as trustee and servicer of securitized loan against publicized claims of fraud and violations of FDCPA and RICO based on allegations that mortgage was not properly conveyed into trust and of existence of unrecorded assignment of mortgage to different party.  Court granted defendants’ motions for summary judgment and dismissed all claims. Molotky v. Wells Fargo Banket al., 2018 U.S.Dist. LEXIS 62822 (W.D. Mich. 2018).
  • Defended financial institution against claim that foreclosure was invalid due to defendant’s alleged violation of Consent Decree with Department of Justice and “bifurcation” of note and mortgage. Court granted defendant’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed all claims. Wilkin v. Wells Fargo Home Mortg., Inc., 2014 WL 5474084 (W.D. Mich. 2014).
  • Defended financial institution against several claims, including breach of contract and violation of HAMP and MCPA, based on allegation that defendant wrongfully removed plaintiff from a loan modification arrangement.  Court granted defendant’s motion to dismiss all claims as a matter of law. Hickey-Niezgoda v. Wells Fargo Home Mortg., 2012 WL 1079581 (E.D. Mich. 2012).
  • Defended financial institutions acting as trustee and servicer of securitized loan against claims they violated RESPA, TILA, and additional state and federal laws based on allegations of unlawful “bifurcation” of note and mortgage and purported invalidity of assignments of same.  Court granted defendants’ motion to dismiss.  Affirmed on appeal. Lawrence v. Wells Fargo Bank, 2012 U.S.Dist. LEXIS 203951 (W.D. Mich. 2012).
  • Defended financial institution in post-foreclosure quiet-title action with competing lienholder in dispute involving interpretation of recording statutes.  Court granted defendant’s motion for summary judgment. BAC Home Loans Servicing, L.P. v. Paul, 2012 U.S.Dist. LEXIS 45207 (E.D. Mich. 2012).

Commercial

  • Tried case on behalf of automotive supplier against claim it wrongfully terminated contract with painting vendor whose electrostatic application of paint to hatchback handles had Faraday Cage effect, thus threatening interruption of assembly operations.  Court entered judgment denying, in any amount, lost profits claimed by painting vendor and halving amount of expenses it sought.
  • Co-chair of trial team defending California corporation against claim of Indy-car racing team for $2M in profits lost based on allegations that defendant breached sponsorship agreement that prevented plaintiff from entering additional car in Indianapolis 500 to be driven by driver who raced for different team and won substantial prize money.  Jury returned “no cause” verdict based on finding of no meeting of the minds on critical term of alleged contract.
  • Prosecuted claims of seller of automotive business against buyer who defaulted on purchase agreement and leases for facilities from which business operated.  Court rejected buyer’s claims of fraudulent inducement and instead entered judgment as a matter of law against buyer for over $1.5 million, constituting full amount sought by seller, including full amount of attorneys’ fees.
  • Represented Japanese supplier of robotic welding guns in international arbitration on breach-of-contract claims against Italian company acting as general contractor for construction of assembly plant in Shanghai.
  • Arbitrated case on behalf of buyer of hotels suing to recover escrowed funds and additional damages due to breach of contract and misrepresentation as to physical- and title condition of properties.  Judgment confirming arbitration award of full amount of escrowed funds and attorneys’ fees.
  • Represented beneficiary of letter of credit, prevailing on summary disposition on issue of whether fraud exception of Article 5 of UCC applied to prevent issuer from paying on credit.
  • Co-chair of trial team defending company against claims for sales commissions.  Jury returned verdict of “no cause of action.”
  • Whether debt guaranteed in connection with sale of business was subject to subordination agreement when guaranty had not been negotiated to lender in conformance with Article 3 of UCC.
  • Tried case on behalf of insurance company sued for breach of contract.  Court granted defendant’s motion for directed verdict.
  • Co-chair of trial team defending automotive supplier in adversary proceeding seeking unpaid attorneys’ fees and additional damages.  Court entered “no cause” verdict.
  • Represented commercial landlord in suit to recover unpaid rent from company related to tenant but that had no contract with landlord.  Court granted plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment which argued corporate veil of tenant should be pierced to allow full recovery against defendant, including attorney fees incurred in prosecuting piercing claim.  Affirmed on appeal. Grand Rapids Assocs. L.P. v. Coop Props., LLC, 2010 WL 3475661 (W.D. Mich. 2010), aff’d, 495 Fed.Appx. 598 (6th Cir. 2012)
  • Defended  developer and management company against claims brought by lender in wake of foreclosure of commercial property based on allegations that rents were converted in violation of assignment of rents and additional funds owing to lender were fraudulently transferred.  Settlement.
  • Represented steel supplier prevailing on issue of whether breach of warranties implied by UCC were defeated due to lack of privity of contract with defendants.
  • Represented life insurance company in foreclosure of $8 million mortgage covering three properties in three separate counties.
  • Represented owner of healthcare facilities in case involving healthcare provider’s claims of breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty.
  • Represented supplier of trim for luxury SUV against claims for wrongful termination of contract and lost profits.  Settlement.
  • Appeal involving various issues of contract formation in automotive context as analyzed under common law and Article 2 of UCC. Plastic Platers, Inc. v. MacDonald’s Indus. Prods., 2006 WL 932395 (Mich. Ct. Apps., April 11, 2006)
  • Whether Michigan Building Contract Fund Act applies for purposes of collecting on judgment registered from different state having no similar act. Condaire, Inc. v. Allied Piping, Inc. et al., 286 F.3d 353 (6th Cir. 2002).

Intellectual Property

  • Whether patents-in-suit covering roof truss assembly technology were invalid for reasons of, inter alia, obviousness.
  • Whether competitor of automotive supplier was passing off as competitor’s goods of quality interior to those of supplier’s, and whether competitor was infringing supplier’s trademarks and copyright by using images of goods at issue.  Settlement.
  • Represented medical equipment manufacturer in suit against former joint venture partner for violation of Trade Secrets Act and breach of confidentiality agreement protecting design information for innovative light-weight device capable of providing three different treatments for deep-vein thrombosis.  Settlement.
  • Defended company against claims of trademark infringement on defense that plaintiff manufactured internet and social media evidence to support claim that plaintiff began using mark prior to defendants.  Settlement.
  • Represented company against partner and competing company on claim that defendants misappropriated intellectual property to compete unlawfully in Medicaid planning business. Settlement after two-day evidentiary hearing on plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction.
  • Defended partners in computer programming enterprise against claims of violation of Trade Secrets Act and breach of non-compete agreements arising out of alleged misappropriation of computer software and source code.  Settlement.

 

Practices & Industries Education
  • Wayne State University Law School, J.D.
  • The University of Edinburgh, M.Sc.
  • Albion College, A.B., magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa
Admissions
  • Michigan