Chris Kiger is an experienced trial lawyer and litigator who focuses his practice on product liability, environmental and toxic tort, and business disputes in matters often involving catastrophic injury, wrongful death, or property damage. In more than 18 years of managing and trying cases, Chris has successfully represented manufacturers, distributors, insurers, and other corporate clients in lawsuits, arbitrations, class actions, and multi-district litigation in a broad array of areas including automotive, asbestos, consumer, medical device/pharmaceutical, power tools, recreational products, toxic exposure, utilities, environmental contamination, and construction. Chris has tried numerous cases to jury verdict and has represented companies in North Carolina and around the country in his role as national trial counsel.
Chris is willing to take on cases regardless of their size or exposure from initial filing to verdict, or just on the eve of trial. His focused and detail-oriented approach combined with his emphasis on implementing creative and cost-effective strategies to each matter help achieve the results clients seek. To meet his clients’ needs, Chris also often provides advice regarding overall litigation strategy, corporate deposition strategies, the development of scientific and technical defenses, and risk avoidance measures including the development of written warranty materials, users’ manuals, warnings and disclaimers.
Professional & Community Affiliations
- Member, American Bar Association
- Member, Defense Research Institute
- Board of Directors, North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys
- Chair, Product Liability Practice Group
- Member, Legislative Committee
- Member, Amicus Committee
- Member, Ethics Committee
- Member, North Carolina Bar Association
- Member, Wake County Bar Association
- Board of Directors, Fuquay-Varina Athletic Association
Honors & Awards
- Best Lawyers®, Product Liability Litigation-Defendants (2016-2021)
- Benchmark Litigation, North Carolina Top Litigators Under 40 (2017)
- Benchmark Litigation, North Carolina Rising Star (2016)
- North Carolina Super Lawyers Rising Star (2010-2012, 2014-2015)
- Elon Sports Hall of Fame Inductee, 2009
- Articles and Notes Editor, North Carolina Journal of Law and Technology
- Elected to Order of the Coif
- Defense of major pharmaceutical manufacturer in Thimerosal vaccine litigation resulting in dismissal of claims following expert discovery.
- Defense of medical device manufacturer in products liability litigation involving alleged defects in orthopedic pain pumps.
- Defense of national manufacturers/retailers of asbestos-containing products in mesothelioma lawsuits brought in North Carolina and South Carolina.
- Defense of a major automotive manufacturer in a crashworthiness case involving paraplegia and allegations of defective seat belts. The jury deadlocked (10-2 for the defense) following a five-week trial.
- Defense of a major automotive manufacturer in an asbestos mesothelioma wrongful death lawsuit brought by a national plaintiffs’ asbestos firm in South Carolina alleging decedent’s exposure to automotive brake and gasket dust caused his disease. Defense verdict following four-week trial.
- Defense of gas regulator manufacturer in aggregated lawsuits involving four deaths and over forty workers injured in a catastrophic propane gas fire and explosion at the ConAgra Slim-Jim Plant in Garner, North Carolina.
- Defense of a major automotive manufacturer in triple fatality crash involving allegations of defective handling and stability and lack of electronic stability control in a sports utility vehicle and defective seat belt restraints in a pick-up truck. This unique two-vehicle accident involved the high speed rollover of the SUV onto the oncoming pick-up truck resulting in the deaths of all three occupants. Defense verdict obtained after a five-week trial.
- Defense of a major automotive manufacturer in child paraplegic injury alleging defective design of restraint systems and crashworthiness of mid-sized sedan. Six-week trial resulted in a defense verdict, which was appealed and ultimately affirmed by the North Carolina Supreme Court.
- Defense of a major power tool manufacturer in a lawsuit alleging defects in a pneumatic nail gun that allegedly caused severe eye injury. One-week trial resulted in defense verdict in favor of the manufacturer.
- Defense of a heating appliance manufacturer in a products liability lawsuit alleging design defects in an LP gas heater that purportedly failed causing carbon monoxide injuries. Summary judgment was entered in favor of the manufacturer and affirmed on appeal.
- Defense of a major automotive manufacturer in products liability lawsuits filed by Mexican residents arising out of single-vehicle catastrophic crashes that occurred in Mexico. Each case has been successfully dismissed based on the forum non convenience doctrine.
- Defense of a major automotive manufacturer in a class action alleging defects relating to door design across several vehicle platforms. Following extensive discovery and motions practice, summary judgment was entered in favor of the manufacturer.
- Defense of a global security defense firm in wrongful death lawsuit brought by families of four contractors who were murdered by insurgents in Iraq. Aggressive defense strategy resulted in a favorable resolution of the lawsuit.
- Defense of a global manufacturer of utility management products in 39-plaintiff personal injury/wrongful death lawsuit arising out of a large explosion at a manufacturing facility.
- Defense of automotive manufactures in warranty and consumer protection lawsuits.
News & Publications
- 2021 Best Lawyers® and The Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch Recognize Largest Group of Smith Anderson Lawyers in Firm’s History08.20.2020
- Smith Anderson Leads “Best Lawyers®” Rankings with 71 Recognized Lawyers and 11 “Lawyers of the Year” - Most of Any Raleigh Law FirmThe Best Lawyers in America©, 08.20.2019
- Smith Anderson Joins Client Ford Motor Company’s Legal Alliance for Women in a Global Day of Service09.26.2018
- 2017 The Best Lawyers in America© Guide Recognizes 62 Smith Anderson Lawyers – Most in the Firm’s History08.15.2016
- 2016 The Best Lawyers in America© Guide Lists 60 Smith Anderson Lawyers – Most in the Firm’s History08.17.2015
Bar & Court Admissions
- All North Carolina District and Superior Courts
- U.S. District Courts for the Eastern, Middle and Western Districts of North Carolina
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
University of North Carolina, J.D., with honors, 2002
Elon College, B.A., summa cum laude, 1998