William D. Christ

Partner, Governing Committee Buffalo, New York City

A successful and seasoned litigator with extensive experience in complex business litigation, state and federal class actions, and product liability.

A litigator with more than three decades of experience, Bill represents clients in complex business disputes in state and federal courts, including mass torts and class actions, product liability, chemical exposure and toxic torts, workplace accidents and wrongful death litigation, involving trials, arbitrations, mediation and a strong emphasis on litigation risk mitigation.

Bill is a sitting member of Phillips Lytle’s Governing Committee. Bill also previously served for five years as leader of the Litigation Practice Group, the firm’s largest practice group.


Honors & Awards

  • The Daily Record, Power 20 Personal Injury List, 2021-2023
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America®
    • Named the Best Lawyers® Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions – Defendants “Lawyer of the Year” in Buffalo, 2022, 2024
  • Selected for the Upstate New York Super Lawyers® list, 2009-2023
  • The Daily Record, Power 20 Litigation List, 2021
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of New York, Special Service Award for Pro Bono Service, September 2000
  • Honoree of the New York State Bar Association Empire State Counsel® Program for Pro Bono Work, 2011, 2013
  • March of Dimes Leo Jaffe Distinguished Volunteer Service Award

Education & Admissions

  • New York University School of Law, J.D., 1990
  • Boston College, B.A., magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, 1986
Admitted to Practice
  • New York
  • Massachusetts
  • District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern, Northern, Southern and Western Districts of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Western District of New York
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
Judicial Clerkship
  • Hon. David G. Larimer; U.S. District Court, Western District of New York, 1990-1992


Representative Matters
  • With a team of Phillips Lytle product liability litigators, defended a manufacturer of electric space heaters against alleged damages in excess of $60 million, that a heater had malfunctioned so as to induce heat stroke and cause catastrophic brain injuries to an infant plaintiff. The Phillips Lytle team developed compelling expert opinions on issues of general and specific causation that supported a favorable settlement for the client.
  • Represented a wind farm developer against dozens of tort claimants living in the vicinity of the wind farm who sought $20 million in punitive and other damages sounding in nuisance, trespass and negligence for various alleged health effects due to their proximity to wind turbines; secured voluntary dismissals of certain claims on the merits and a very favorable resolution disposing of all other claims.
  • Represented a leading manufacturer of snow-grooming equipment in a case involving catastrophic injuries to a ski area maintenance worker. Secured a voluntary discontinuance of the product liability claims against the manufacturer.
  • Represented a foreign subsidiary of a global electrical equipment manufacturer, successfully moved to dismiss state product liability claims based on lack of personal jurisdiction and improper service under the Hague Service Convention.
  • In a workplace accident case where the injured plaintiff sustained a fall after ignoring repeated safety instructions, briefed a motion for summary judgment on the plaintiff’s Labor Law 240(1) and 241(6) claims; while that motion was pending, resolved the case on favorable terms.
  • Successfully moved simultaneously in state court and in bankruptcy court to dismiss claims by a factoring company seeking to collect a vendor’s accounts receivable. The claims at issue were barred by prior orders of the bankruptcy court, and the aggressive dual-pronged approach by Phillips Lytle’s commercial litigators and bankruptcy team won a complete dismissal of all claims against the client.
  • Defended a client against efforts to certify a series of class actions brought in Michigan State Court.
  • Defended a class action in New York State (NYS) Court regarding alleged excessive and improper fees charged by a major utility.
  • Successfully defended a major utility in an action brought by a motorcyclist who claimed significant personal injuries, including loss of his leg, arising out of improper street cuts and underground conduits. The major utility was able to recoup nearly all of its defense costs from insurance carriers for the contractor.
  • Successfully defended a major utility in premises liability cases arising in New York, including dismissal of an action brought by a snowmobiler, with significant injuries, who alleged improper placement of the pole’s support wires.
  • Obtained dismissals for a major utility in numerous automobile, truck, bicycle and motorcycle accident cases.
  • Represented major chemical manufacturers in workplace accident cases, including obtaining outright dismissals of such cases and obtaining defense and indemnity instances where outright dismissal was not obtainable.
  • Obtained dismissal of NYS Labor Law claims against general contractors, owners and utilities on the basis of plaintiff’s sole negligence, the lack of an elevation-related differential and other defenses unique to NYS’s Labor Law.

Activities & Professional Associations

Present Activities

  • Boy Scouts of America, Greater Niagara Frontier Council, Advisory Council
  • National Federation for Just Communities of Western New York, Board Member
  • Phillips Lytle LLP Governing Committee, Member, 2011-2016, 2019-Present
  • Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo
  • Bishop’s Council of the Laity, Member
  • Suneel’s Light Foundation, Board of Directors

Past Activities

  • Boy Scouts of America, Eagle Scout, 1979
  • Canisius High School, Gambit Co-Chair, 2013
  • Leadership Buffalo, Member, Class of 2004
  • March of Dimes, New York State
    • Chair, New York State Chapter, 2011-2013
    • Vice-Chair, 2006-2010
    • Board Member, 2002-2010
    • Chair, Upstate Chapter, 2005-2006
    • Chair, Western New York Division, 2003-2005
  • Niagara USA Chamber, Board Member, 2004-2018
    • Chairman, 2015-2016
  • St. Gregory the Great Parish, Trustee
    • Finance Council, Chair, 2003-2004; Vice Chair, 2002-2003
    • Catholic Charities Drive, Co-Chair, 2000-2003; Chair, 2004

Professional Associations

  • American Bar Association
    • Litigation Section
    • Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section (TIPS)
  • Bar Association of Erie County
    • Appellate Practice Committee
    • Federal Practice Committee
    • Negligence Committee
  • Defense Research Institute
  • Leadership Buffalo
  • Litigation Counsel of America™, Fellow
  • New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers
  • New York State Bar Association
    • Commercial and Federal Litigation Section
    • Torts, Insurance and Compensation Law Section