Christopher Wolek not only serves as the leader for all the firm’s legal research and writing, he also assists the litigation teams in every step of the trial process from pleading and discovery issues to preserving error at trial for appellate review. His skills include analyzing and researching very complex issues which establish a sound framework for targeted legal strategy, and extensive briefing and motion experience in areas of nursing home liability, railroad crossing accidents, railroad employee injuries, environmental litigation, preemption defenses, and insurance coverage. He also has significant experience representing its railroad clients in numerous state and federal court environmental matters involving the noted Tar Creek Superfund Site and the Blackwell Zinc Smelter Site.
Moreover, he has briefed numerous appellate issues in the Oklahoma Supreme Court, the Eight and Tenth Circuit Courts of Appeal, and has argued before the Oklahoma Supreme Court and the Tenth Circuit, among others. Some of the published opinions upon which he was counsel include:
- Cornwell v. Union Pacific R.R. Co., 453 Fed. Appx. 829 (10th Cir. 2012)
- Robinson v. BNSF Railway, 412 Fed. Appx. 113 (10th Cir. 2011)
- Union Pacific R.R. Co. v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 591 F.3d 1311 (10th Cir. 2010)
- Westville Nurs. Home, Inc. v. City of Westville, 239 P.3d 489 (Okla. Ct. App. 2010)
- Union Pacific R.R. Co. v. Army Corps of Engineers, 591 F.3d 1311 (10th Cir. 2010)
- Kennedy v. BNSF Ry. Co., 227 P.3d 1120 (Okla. Ct. App. 2009).
- Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma v. Blue Tee Corp., 653 F.Supp.2d 1166 (N.D. Okla. 2009)
- Clay v. Choctaw Nation Care Ctr., LLC, 210 P.3d 855 (Okla. Ct. App. 2008)
- Henning v. Union Pacific R.R. Co., 530 F.3d 1206 (10th Cir. 2008)
- Port City Properties v. Union Pacific R.R. Co., 518 F.3d 1186 (10th Cir. 2008)
- South Tulsa Citizens Coalition, LLC v. Arkansas River Bridge Auth., 176 P.3d 1217 (Okla. 2008)
- Varner v. Peterson Farms, et al., 371 F.3d 1011 (8th Cir. 2004)
- In re Ching, 32 S.W.3d 306 (Tex. Ct. App. 2000)
Wolek has been with GABMH since 2002. Prior to that, he practiced law with an Amarillo firm where he represented hospitals and other medical entities, as well as represented management in all types of labor and employment-related disputes involving Title VII, Americans with Disabilities Act and related federal and state civil rights statutes. He also participated in the litigation of violations of a broad range of state and federal laws prohibiting employment-related discrimination.
Representative Experience/Published Decisions
- Henning v. Union Pacific R.R. Co. â€“ after defense verdict for railroad in crossing accident wrongful death case, obtained first federal appellate ruling that inadequate signalization and negligent delay claims against railroad are not saved by the 2007 Clarification amendment to the Federal Railway Safety Act
- South Tulsa Citizens Coalition, LLC v. Arkansas River Bridge Auth. â€“ successfully challenged city and trustâ€™s authority to build, maintain, and operate a proposed toll bridge over the Arkansas River
- Port City Properties v. Union Pacific R.R. Co. – obtained federal appellate ruling that the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act (ICCTA) completely preempted state tort claims related to discontinuing rail service to an industrial spur track
- Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma v. Blue Tee Corp. – successfully defended railroad against tribal claims under CERCLA for Natural Resource Damages (â€œNRDâ€) to tribal lands
- Volner v. Union Pacific R.R. Co. – upheld summary judgment for railroad despite a relaxed causation standard under the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) which only required showing that railroad – negligence contributed even slightly to the injury
- Oklahoma Bar Association
- Texas Bar Association
- Tulsa County Bar Association
- Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
- Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals
- Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals
- U.S. District courts for Northern, Eastern and Western Districts of Oklahoma
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas
- U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas
- National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel Environmental Law Committee
Published Articles & Speaking Engagements
- Taking an Expert Witness Deposition, 79 Okla. Bar J. 537 (2008), Co-authored with Robert D. Hart.
- Attacking Opposing Expert Testimony – Defense Perspective; Evidence, Experts, and Hearsay in the Courtroom, National Business Institute, Co-authored with George Gibbs, (2006)
- Hippocrates Enters the New Millennium-Texas Medical Privileges in the Year 2000, 41 S. TEX. L. REV. 315 (2000), Co-authored with Thomas C. Riney.
- Practice and Procedure: The Safe Harbor Amendment to Rule 11, Any Port in a Storm? , 47 OKLA. L. REV. 319 (1994)
- Bachelor of Science, Chemistry, Tulane University, Cum Laude
- J.D., University of Oklahoma College of Law, with Honors