Joined Firm in 2019
More than 26 years of legal experience from both sides of the bench allow Chris to identify the "deep issue" in each appeal and effectively advance his clients' most persuasive arguments.
- Appellate Practice Group Co-Chair
- Former Assistant State's Attorney
Attorney in Rockford, IL
As a Partner in the firm's Rockford office and Co-Chair of the Appellate Practice Group, Chris regularly appears before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit as well as all five districts of the Illinois Appellate Court. Chris' goal in each case he handles is to maximize his clients' opportunity to obtain the outcome they desire on appeal. More than 26 years of legal experience from both sides of the bench allow Chris to identify the "deep issue" in each appeal and effectively advance his clients' most persuasive arguments.
After earning his J.D., cum laude, from Northern Illinois University College of Law, Chris served as an Assistant State's Attorney. In that capacity, Chris gained experience in traffic, misdemeanor, juvenile, and felony prosecution and tried numerous cases to verdict. From there, Chris was recruited by the Honorable John W. Rapp, Jr. of the Illinois Appellate Court, Second District, to serve as his law clerk. When the Honorable Frederick J. Kapala replaced Judge Rapp on the Illinois Appellate Court, Chris continued in that role. Later, Chris was promoted to serve as Judge Kapala's Senior Law Clerk when Judge Kapala was appointed to the federal bench. Before joining Heyl Royster, Chris worked closely with Judge Kapala in federal court for 12 years and gained extensive experience in all types of criminal and civil litigation, including Section 1983 civil rights claims, employment discrimination, ERISA, consumer protection, insurance coverage, patent, trademark, antitrust, habeas corpus, constitutional challenges to statutes, and breach of contract.
Chris has trained in basic and advanced trial advocacy with the Illinois State's Attorney's Appellate Prosecutor in Springfield, Illinois, and at the National District Attorney's Advocacy Center in Columbia, South Carolina.
J.D., Northern Illinois University College of Law, cum laude
B.S., Northern Illinois University, Political Science
Licensure(s) and Admission(s)
State Courts of Illinois
United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Trial Bar)
Illinois Appellate Lawyers Association
Winnebago County Bar Association
- Downs v. Peters, No. 4-23-0571, 2024 IL App (4th) 230571-U -The Illinois Appellate Court, Fourth District, affirmed the Circuit Court’s judgment enforcing a pre-lawsuit settlement agreement.
- Wilson v. OSF Healthcare System, et al., No. 4-22-0475, 2023 IL App (4th) 220475-U -The Illinois Appellate Court, Fourth District, affirmed the Circuit Court’s judgment dismissing a wrongful death case with prejudice and assessing sanctions based on false pleadings filed by the plaintiff and her counsel.
- Reardon v. Danley, No. 22-2404, __ F.4th __, 2023 WL 4677019 (7th Cir. 2023) – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed the District Court's order dismissing multiple civil rights claims brought against the Coles County State’s Attorney and other public officials filed by the attorney who lost to the State’s Attorney in the 2020 election.
- Quigliano v. Midwest Bucks, LLC, 2022 IL App (4th) 210275-U, appeal denied, 129073, 2023 WL 2749839 (Ill. Mar. 29, 2023)– The Illinois Appellate Court, Fourth District, affirmed the trial court's order granting Defendant summary judgment based on a liability waiver that barred Plaintiff's injury claim.
- Anderson v. Anderson, 2021 IL App (3d) 200497-U, appeal denied, 187 N.E.3d 723 (Ill. 2022) – The Illinois Appellate Court, Third District, affirmed the trial court's order holding that it lacked personal jurisdiction over the out-of-state defendant and dismissed the plaintiff's complaint with prejudice.
- Meinhart v. Hy-Vee, Inc., 2022 IL App (2d) 220042-U – The Illinois Appellate Court, Second District, affirmed a trial court's order granting defendants' motion to dismiss in a case where Plaintiff brought negligence and strict-product liability claims against the pharmacy which dispensed, and the pharmaceutical company that distributed, a generic anti-convulsive seizure medication. The Appellate Court found that Plaintiff's allegations were insufficient to state claims and that the strict-product liability claims were preempted by federal law.
- White v. Scott, 849 Fed. Appx. 606 (7th Cir. 2021), reh'g denied (July 29, 2021)– The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed the District Court's order granting summary judgment in favor of Defendants concluding that the Plaintiff-Detainee was not deprived of liberty without due process when required to wear black-box handcuffs when he left the detention facility.
- Gaetjens v. City of Loves Park, 4 F.4th 487 (7th Cir. 2021), reh'g denied (Aug. 12, 2021), cert. denied, 212 L. Ed. 2d 582, 142 S. Ct. 1675 (2022) – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed the District Court's order granting summary judgment in favor of Defendants, including the Winnebago County Animal Services' Officers who seized 37 cats from a condemned home pursuant to the exigent circumstances exception to the warrant requirement based on animals in imminent danger.
- Porter v. Cub Cadet LLC, 2020 IL App (2d) 190823, 166 N.E.3d 201 – The Illinois Appellate Court, Second District, affirmed a trial court's order granting the defendant's motion to dismiss in a case where Plaintiff claimed he suffered injuries due to the negligent design of a utility tractor manufactured by defendants. The Appellate Court found that Plaintiff's allegations that the Defendants deviated from the standard of care that other manufacturers in the industry followed at the time of manufacture were conclusory and unsupported by factual allegations. The court held that the trial court properly dismissed the Plaintiff's negligent product design claim and failure to warm the claim based on a voluntary-undertaking theory.
- Sims v. Illinois Workers Compensation Commission, 2019 IL App (1st) 190643WC-U – The Illinois Appellate Court, First District, Workers Compensation Division, affirmed the trial court's judgment confirming the Workers' Compensation Commission's decision finding that the claimant's condition of shoulder and spine ill-being was not causally related to her work injury and denied her request for an award of attorney fees and penalties.
- Country Mutual Insur. Co. v. Satter, Circuit Court, Winnebago County, Illinois – The court entered a declaratory judgment that the insurer had no duty to defend on behalf of or to indemnify its insured because the policy's injury-to-insured exception applied. The defendants did not take an appeal.
“Malecki v. IWCC: The Importance of Securing a Complete Causation Opinion,” Below the Red Line - Heyl Royster Workers' Compensation Newsletter (2022)
"Williamson v. Williamson: The Limitation of 'an Archaic Doctrine of Equity,'" ISBA, The Counselor (1996)
"Genender v. Erlich: Rescissionary Relief for Breach of the Implied Warranty of Habitability," ISBA, The Counselor (1995)
“Jackson v. Hammer: The Negative Implications of Failing to Define 'Customer List' in a Contract of Sale," ISBA, The Counselor (1994)
- Christopher Drinkwine Starts 2024 Successfully Defending Appeals and Arguing Before the Seventh Circuit
- Heyl Royster Team Prevails Again in St. Louis County
- Smith, Vayr, and Drinkwine Secure Judgment in Favor of Coles County Officials
- Flodstrom and Drinkwine Secure Summary Judgment for Hunting Outfitter
- Press Release: Heyl Royster Announces Five New Partners