Skip to main content
Download VCard
Christopher Keele, Esq.

Christopher Keele, Esq.

General Biography
Practice Areas
Business & Commercial
Health Care
Personal Injury/Tort
Product Liability
Professional Liability
Real Estate & Real Property
Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities
Background and Education
Christopher Keele, Esq., serves as an arbitrator, mediator, referee/special master, and neutral evaluator in a variety of matters, including health care and health system disputes as well as business and commercial, environmental, real estate, and product liability cases. While based in California, Mr. Keele conducts arbitrations and mediations across the country, both in-person and virtually. 

Prior to becoming a neutral, Mr. Keele enjoyed various roles in an expansive legal career, including trial lawyer, law firm founder and managing partner, and manager of complex litigation. He gained deep experience in a broad range of commercial and complex litigation, with emphasis on health care and business disputes.

As a practitioner, Mr. Keele served as lead counsel on dozens of cases of various types, including professional liability, breach of fiduciary duty, real estate, premises liability, environmental, land use, product liability, and contracts of all shapes and sizes. He supervised, tried and settled hundreds of cases in a diverse litigation practice spanning nearly 37 years.

In the health care field, Mr. Keele immersed himself in complex case management and dispute assessment and valuation, adapting seamlessly to ever-changing business and litigation integration strategies as well as to the industry’s dynamic and competitive landscape.

After more than a quarter century in the courtroom and over a decade of managing complex litigation, Mr. Keele brings extensive experience and sound judgment to mediations and arbitrations. Through his close collaboration with industry executives and client decision-makers, he developed a keen understanding of the interplay among law, risk and business. This experience gave him the tools and temperament for creative problem-solving to reach practical solutions.

Mr. Keele has been lauded by clients and peers—including opposing counsel and adverse parties—for his professionalism, integrity and patience. These qualities complement his thoughtful and informed decisions and his clear and straightforward communication style. He is also known for his tenacity to move matters forward and get things done.

In mediations and arbitrations, Mr. Keele is devoted to listening intently and understanding each party's interests, positions, and arguments.  His sense of humor and steady hand bring calm to hotly contested matters.   And his unconditional commitment to impartiality and objectivity ensures fairness and efficiency in the ADR process.

Representative Matters

  • Business & Commercial
      • Mediated dispute over contract performance and termination arising from alleged failures to produce and distribute cannabis products under a license agreement
      • Served on arbitration panel in case involving alleged breach of a cannabis marketing consulting agreement 
      • Mediated contract dispute over performance and payment under a "point-of-sale" service agreement with an entertainment theme park
      • Arbitrator in an employment dispute arising from alleged violation of the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act
      • Lead trial counsel in complex litigation over the termination of wind energy contracts and land leases with State
      • Arbitrated breach of contract for geothermal power plant operations and electricity generation
      • Managed dispute over ownership of data under technology services agreement
      • Lead trial counsel in litigation against State for breach of special education services contract
      • Managed and settled dispute over distribution of profits under film production contract
      • Managed litigation and handled additional disputes arising from board of director and parent company terminations of CEOs and other senior executives, including issues pertaining to performance, "cause" determinations, and compensation
  • Environmental
      • Defended numerous government actions for cost-recovery, clean-up, and corrective action and monitoring of hazardous waste sites by federal and state agencies (U.S. DOJ, EPA, Cal. DTSC, SWRCB, RWQCB), including claims for natural resources damage, under various environmental laws (e.g., federal Superfund (CERCLA), Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Clean Water Act, California HSAA, Cal. Porter-Cologne Act)
      • Defended and prosecuted private party cost-recovery and contribution actions for hazardous substance contamination
      • Managed matters involving diverse types of sites and many varieties of hazardous substances, including oil reclamation facility; solvent waste discharges from silicon wafer and semiconductor production facilities; disposal of paint, oil and solvent wastes in landfills; discharge of heavy metals waste from explosives manufacturing; oil and heavy metals wastes from train trucks storage and repair; PCBs, solvents and pesticides disposal in landfills; and drum recycling center.  Cases involved discharges to a variety of media, including surface waters, groundwater, soils, air and interior vapors, and municipal water supplies
      • Represented and advised purchasers/developers of Brownfield sites, including developer of extensive landfills with solid municipal wastes and toxic chemical discharges
      • Managed litigation and handled disputes over CEQA compliance, adequacy of environmental impacts and deliverables, and land use restrictions, including litigation and negotiation allowing development of low-income, multi-family residential projects
  • Health Care
      • Mediated and arbitrated multiple payor-provider disputes across the United States where provider systems, including hospitals, sought reimbursement from health plans and delegated payors for professional services allegedly provided to plan members 
      • Mediated healthcare dispute arising from claims for reimbursement for ambulatory surgical services provided to health plan members
      • Mediated contract dispute over alleged violations of various healthcare contracts, including billing services agreement, account management agreement, and laboratory services agreement
      • Arbitrated healthcare dispute where provider of air ambulance services sought payment for emergency air transport services to hundreds of patients
      • Arbitrated payor-provider dispute arising from alleged breach of contract for (i) failure to pay contracted rates for professional services provided to plan members, and (ii) soliciting and hiring provider professionals
      • Served on arbitration panels in multiple AAA arbitrations involving breach of contract and payor-provider reimbursement disputes
      • As a practitioner, supervised numerous disputes over provider reimbursement for medical services
      • Managed health care provider claims for reimbursement from payors (per written and implied contracts and “reasonable and customary” valuations)
      • Handled contract disputes between health insurance plans and payors, including authorization for services and division of financial responsibility
      • Managed claims for reimbursement by ancillary services providers (home care and diagnosis, infant audiology, interpretive services) under various medical services agreements
      • Counseled client and participated in litigation  involving federal department and state agency payments for dialysis services
      • Managed asset purchase and practice acquisition cases; issues included pre-transaction reps and warranties, enterprise performance and valuation, post-acquisition “earn-out” payments, shareholder physician buyouts, indemnities, alter ego liability and piercing corporate veil
      • Managed and coordinated resolution of specialty practice performance and revenue/compensation/bonus disputes
      • Supervised numerous matters involving termination of provider service agreements, including disputes about outstanding payments, solicitation of patient-members and continuity of care
      • Handled disputes over terms, timing and logistics of termination of specialty services agreements
      • Managed physician employment contract disputes: terminations, noncompete agreements; compensation and bonus determinations
      • Supervised disputes involving shared-risk agreements between plans and providers-payors; issues include responsibility for institutional services vs. professional services, claims reimbursement, payments for medications and calculation of capitation payments
      • Managed claims and litigation for underpaid capitation payments and shared-risk surpluses under physician group services agreements
      • Supervised claims and litigation for trade secret violations and tortious interference with contractual relations, network interference, patient-member and physician solicitations
      • Served as counsel in provider partnership and joint venture disputes and litigation
      • Managed antitrust litigation involving network of dialysis clinics
      • Served as counsel in case involving alleged operation of health care service plan without Knox-Keene license, as well as capitated relationships between plans and risk-bearing organizations
      • Supervised cases involving third-party administrator scope and performance, claims administration class action
      • Participated in disputes concerning Medicare and ERISA preemption of provider state law claims
                            • Personal Injury/Tort
                                • Defended lawsuits involving negligent hiring and supervision of community center staff, resulting in alleged injury to minors
                                • Handled cases for injuries arising from slip and fall at commercial and retail locations
                                • Defended litigation over bodily injuries due to defective exercise equipment
                                • Participated in defense of numerous medical malpractice lawsuits
                            • Product Liability
                                • Lead trial counsel in numerous cases arising from asbestos exposure, including lawsuits alleging personal injury and wrongful death
                                • Managed litigation involving exposure to toxic chemicals, including industrial cleaning solvents; served as national coordinating counsel for litigation against industrial cleaning solvent recycler and distributor
                                • Handled claims against fast-food chains for alleged foreign objects in food products
                                • Managed litigation and handled claims for compliance with California’s Proposition 65
                            • Real Estate & Real Property
                                • Mediated contract dispute between landlord and tenant arising from alleged violations of commercial lease agreement
                                • Lead counsel in litigation arising from purchase and sale agreements, including duty to disclose, adequacy of disclosures and fraud
                                • Participated as counsel in disputes over water boundary determinations (sovereign lands per tide and submerged lands, navigable waters)
                                • As practitioner, handled matters involving commercial lease disputes and litigation
                                • Provided counsel in residential landlord-tenant disputes, including waste and habitability issues
                                • Defended and prosecuted unlawful detainer actions
                                • Served as counsel in litigation arising from ownership of and easements encumbering former rail system property as well as third-party damage to such property interests 
                                • Managed claims for damages to residential properties from fire and water intrusion, including handled disputes over insurance coverage for same

                            Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

                            Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS.

                            Selected Memberships
                            • Member, Association of Business Trial Lawyers, Northern California
                            • Senior Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America
                            • Member, Health Law, Business Law and Dispute Resolution Sections, American Bar Association
                            • Member, American Health Law Association
                            • Member, California Lawyers Association
                            • Member, California Society for Healthcare Attorneys 
                            • Vice Chair, ADR & Conflict Management Task Force, Health Law Section, American Bar Association

                            Speaking Engagements

                            • Speaker & Moderator, "Environmental Impacts and Sustainable Operations of Health Care Systems," ABA Emerging Issues in Healthcare Law Conference, San Diego, March 2023
                            • Speaker & Moderator, "Impacts of a Pandemic on the Hearts, Minds and Health of Medical Professionals," ABA Physicians Legal Issues: Healthcare Delivery & Innovation Conference, Chicago, September 2022
                            • Speaker, "Behavioral Healthcare Access & Payment: COVID- 19's Impact and Where We Go From Here," ABA Emerging Issues in Healthcare Law Conference, Miami, April 2022

                            Selected Publications

                            • Your Healthcare ADR Toolbox: A Primer on Mediating Provider Reimbursement Disputes, ABA Health eSource, October 2021

                            ADR Trainings

                            • Mediation Certificate Training, Bar Association of San Francisco, 2021
                            • Advanced Arbitration Institute, American Bar Association, 2021 
                            • Health Care Arbitration, American Health Law Association, 2021 
                            • Mediating the Litigated Case, Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, Pepperdine University School of Law, 2021
                            • Arbitration Certificate Training, Bar Association of San Francisco, 2021

                            Background and Education

                            • The Keele Group, 2011–2021
                            • Thomas, Whitelaw & Tyler, 2007–2011
                              • Managing Partner, San Francisco Office
                            • Stoel Rives, 2001–2007
                              • Managing Partner, California Offices, 2006–2007
                            • Washburn, Briscoe & McCarthy, 1993–2001
                            • Morrison Foerster, 1991–1993
                            • Wildman, Harrold, Allen & Dixon, 1984–1991
                            • J.D., Indiana University School of Law, 1984
                              • Executive Editor, Indiana Law Journal
                            • A.B., cum laude, Wabash College, 1981


                            This page is for general information purposes.  JAMS makes no representations or warranties regarding its accuracy or completeness.  Interested persons should conduct their own research regarding information on this website before deciding to use JAMS, including investigation and research of JAMS neutrals. See More

                            Search our global directory of mediators, arbitrators and ADR professionals.

                            FIND A NEUTRAL
                            Scroll to top