Washington, DC and Baltimore Partner
Christine Dunn is a Partner at Sanford Heisler Sharp and Co-Chair of the firm’s Sexual Violence, Title IX and Victims’ Rights Practice Group.
Since joining Sanford Heisler Sharp, Christine has been recognized in the legal community as a Lawyer of Distinction and as one of Lawdragon’s 500 Leading Plaintiff Employment & Civil Rights Lawyers. Profiles in Diversity Journal has named Christine among its Women Worth Watching in Leadership (2022) and as a Latino Leader (2023). The National Law Journal named Christine a 2023 Plaintiffs’ Attorney Trailblazer.
At Sanford Heisler Sharp, Christine’s practice has focused on sexual violence, title IX, and victims’ rights, whistleblower/qui tam matters, and employment discrimination actions, representing individuals and classes. Christine’s representations have included:
- Litigating and resolving lawsuits against a major shipping company on behalf of two female United States Merchant Marine Academy cadets who were sexually assaulted and sexually harassed while working aboard a commercial ship as part of their “Sea Year” requirement.
- Reaching a settlement with boarding school Phillips Exeter Academy on behalf of a former student who was groomed and sexually abused by a longtime math teacher at the school, while also serving as the victim’s advocate during the criminal proceeding against the teacher.
- Litigating on behalf of a certified class of approximately ten thousand African American current, former, and prospective Deputy U.S. Marshals who experienced race discrimination
- Negotiating settlement of more than a million dollars on behalf of a female general counsel of a financial services company who was discriminated against on the basis of her gender
- Negotiating settlement on behalf of a young woman who was sexually assaulted in a residential treatment facility
- Negotiating settlement on behalf of a male client who was sexually assaulted as a child by a teacher at an elite private school
- Litigating on behalf of a female medical student who was sexually assaulted in her apartment building as a result of her landlord’s negligence in failing to repair a known security risk
- Negotiating robust programmatic relief from an elite high school on behalf of a sexual assault survivor
- Protecting the interests and rights of a crime victim during the criminal prosecution of the perpetrator
- Assisting a former employee of a construction and engineering company to obtain a recovery for blowing the whistle on fraud and allowing the government to achieve a $5.65 million settlement under the False Claims Act
Christine received her law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law and her Bachelor of Arts from Yale University.
A member of the Maryland and District of Columbia bars, Christine has conducted presentations on a range of issues related to victim advocacy. Christine is also a member of the National Crime Victims’ Bar Association and the National Hispanic Bar Association.
Before joining Sanford Heisler Sharp, Christine completed a clerkship for the Honorable Michael Farrell of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. After her clerkship, Christine joined Williams & Connolly LLP as an Associate where she litigated matters involving class action, sexual abuse, accounting fraud, defamation, medical malpractice, contract dispute, and white-collar criminal defense. Christine then worked at the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division. At the Department of Justice, Christine prosecuted federal civil rights crimes involving official and police misconduct, racially motivated violence, and human trafficking, including sex trafficking. She also conducted extensive grand jury investigations and jury trials throughout the U.S. and made numerous presentations to law enforcement agencies on civil rights issues. Many of Christine’s official and police misconduct prosecutions involved allegations of sexual violence. Christine also completed a detail as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia where she appeared in court on a daily basis to handle a variety of criminal matters.
When Christine is not lawyering, she enjoys reading, paddle boarding, hiking, yoga, and spending time with her daughter.
- J.D., University of Virginia School of Law
- B.A., Yale University
- Honorable Michael Farrell, District of Columbia Court of Appeals
- District of Columbia
- U.S. Court of Federal Claims
- U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
- Member, Hispanic Bar Association of the District of Columbia
- Member, National Crime Victim’s Bar Association
- 2023 National Trial Lawyers Civil Plaintiff Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Washington, DC
- The 2023 Lawdragon 500 Leading Civil Rights & Plaintiff Employment Lawyers
- 2023 National Law Journal Plaintiffs’ Attorney Trailblazer
- 2023 Profiles in Diversity Journal Latino Leadership Award
- 2022 Profiles in Diversity Journal Women Worth Watching
- 2022 Lawyers of Distinction
- 2021-22 Lawdragon 500 Plaintiff Employment Lawyer
Dedication, Years of Experience, and Extensive Knowledge
“Before we contacted Sanford Heisler Sharp, our family was on the verge of quitting our pursuit of justice. Thankfully, we met Christine Dunn and Kelsey Tamakloe, who immediately treated us with respect and empathy. They listened carefully to our traumatic experience, decided to take on our case, and fought passionately to acquire compensation for the wrongs committed against our family. Throughout the process, Christine and Kelsey communicated frequently, providing us with updates as soon as they were received. Their team never made us feel like a burden when we emailed or called with questions. Through their dedication, years of experience, and extensive knowledge of the law, they acquired a substantial settlement to help our family begin the road to recovery. We would recommend Sanford Heisler Sharp to anyone seeking a law firm committed to justice for their clients.”
– Former Client
They really showed the level of empathy that is necessary in a case like mine.
“Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP helped me take a horrible injustice and use it for good. … This law firm’s attention to detail is indispensable. The team’s attitude throughout the whole case made me empowered and encouraged, and they really showed the level of empathy that is necessary in a case like mine. Christine’s keenness to lead a case that had to deal with an industry with such niche knowledge was incredible. This team was ready to fight till the very end. They have allowed me to let go of a traumatic experience and encourage others that went through something similar. I could not be more grateful to everyone, especially Christine, at Sanford Heisler. Thank you.”
– Hope Hicks
Patient and compassionate
“Christine Dunn provided me the information and sound advice that I needed to navigate one of the most difficult periods of my professional career. In addition to her legal acumen, she is generous with her time, patient, and compassionate. I could not recommend her more highly.”
– Former Client, In-House Counsel
You continued to fight for me and I respect you unconditionally.
“Christine Dunn—you continued to fight for me and I respect you unconditionally and can’t thank you enough. I could write an essay about how smart, powerful, intelligent of an attorney you are, but I would not be able to finish without missing something. James Hannaway—I thank you for coming on to the case at the right time. You were so comforting during a challenging mediation and worked effortlessly on closing out this case from early morning to late night emails. Again, I thank all of you from the bottom of my heart!”
– A Former Sexual Assault Victim
They have given me some closure for the first time in over five years.
“I was fighting on my own before I began working with Christine and her team [Steve Kelly, Nicole Wiitala, and Shaun Rosenthal]. When she took on my case, I was able to graduate college and eventually go on to graduate school. Words can’t describe how validating it was for someone to believe me and to go above and beyond in advocating for me. Christine was always attentive, patient, and reliable, making sure I was confident and comfortable in my decisions. I will be forever grateful to Christine and her team. They have given me some closure for the first time in over five years.”
– Former Client
Courageous, relentless, empathetic.
“Christine Dunn and the Sanford Heisler Sharp team guided me through the most complex and challenging legal process of my career when I was wrongfully terminated. Christine and her team showed that their firm is unafraid to confront powerful people with compelling arguments and hold them strictly to account. She simply will not be intimidated. Christine and her team relentlessly applied the facts and the law to achieve an equitable settlement that far exceeded my expectations. From the day I contacted the firm until the day the matter concluded, Christine Dunn showed that she was in control of the process. I always understood the plan, every question was answered in detail and every interaction with the opposite party was a model of skillful professional advocacy and legal scholarship. At the same time, Christine worked hard to help me articulate every relevant aspect of the matter, and I always felt that she was really listening to what I had to say. She always told me the truth, explained the options, and shared her best advice. If a close friend or family member ever faced a tough legal challenge in the workplace, I would refer him or her directly to Christine Dunn. No one could have done more, and no firm could have displayed more courage under pressure. I will always be grateful to Christine and to Sanford Heisler for their superb representation.”
– Former Client
Words don’t really express my deep gratitude.
“Thank you! Words don’t really express my deep gratitude. I can finally move on with my life and be done with this burden.”
– Former Client
Dedicated and knowledgeable team.
“Navigating a sexual abuse case against a well-endowed private school, I was fortunate to have Christine Dunn and David Sanford in my corner to determine the facts of my case, discuss possible strategies, and gather all the facts. If you are a survivor, you know this an emotional and brave journey that requires a great deal of support, time and resolve. Throughout my intense 10-month journey during the COVID-19 pandemic, the team at Sanford Heisler was available to guide me along the way, and was supportive of my experience. In the end, we came to a resolution. I was blind to the law, but my dedicated and knowledgeable team at this amazing law firm showed me the light and gave me power. Without hesitation I recommend Christine Dunn, Sophie Tohl and David Sanford, who will vigorously represent you as they fight for justice. In my experience, the team at Sanford Heisler Sharp know how to solve for the best possible outcomes.”
– Former Client
Sanford Heisler Sharp is seeking to hold the Army responsible for failing to protect John Doe 1 and John Doe 2 from sexual abuse at the hands of an Army doctor who now stands accused of sexually assaulting dozens of victims. Further, the administrative complaints allege that the Army was negligent in its hiring, supervision, and retention of Dr. Stockin.
The complaint alleges wrongful death on the basis of negligence, gross negligence and fraudulent concealment against the defendants for harboring a sexual predator and failing to provide a safe working environment at the time that Mr. Gallagher was employed as a minor at St. Mary’s.
The complaints allege that, despite being aware of the history of sexual assault and harassment aboard their ships, commercial cargo vessel owner-operator Maersk Line failed to adequately protect two female students from sexual assault and sexual harassment while they worked aboard the Maersk M/V Alliance Fairfax as part of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy’s “Sea Year” program.
The complaint alleges the elite private school refused to implement safeguards to protect the female student’s safety at the institution, including ignoring bullying and shunning by other students, tolerating consistent mistreatment by faculty and turning a blind eye to a traumatic rape by a male classmate with a known history of sexual harassment and physical violence.
CDM Smith, Inc./CDM Federal Programs Corporation False Claims Act Lawsuit – $5.65 Million Settlement
Relator Vincent Bevilacqua, a former employee of CDM Smith, alleged that CDM Smith and CDM Federal Programs Corporation engaged in a scheme to submit inaccurate cost and labor hour estimates and related certifications in a contract with the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Atlantic.
Attorneys at Sanford Heisler Sharp filed a lawsuit against a Baltimore apartment complex and property management company in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, Maryland on behalf of Emily Doe, a former University of Maryland Medical School student, who was raped by a stranger after he gained access to her apartment through the faulty door of the building.
In a class action race discrimination case, Sanford Heisler Sharp is counsel for the class, which includes over 700 current and former African American Deputy U.S. Marshals and Detention Enforcement Officers who have experienced racism in hiring, promotions, and headquarters assignments from 1994 to the present. The class also includes all African American candidates who applied for Deputy U.S. Marshal positions since 1994 but were never hired.
- US Navy Sued After Alleged Rape Of Senior US Merchant Marine Officer, gCaptain, November 29, 2023
- Big Names Sued Under Adult Survivors Act As Window Closes, Law360, November 23, 2023
- Troops Take First Step in Filing Suit over Alleged Abuse by Army Doctor, Military.com, November 17, 2023
- Former patients file complaints against Army amid sexual assault investigation of military doctor, CBS News, November 16, 2023
- US Marshals Ink $15M Deal In Decades-Long Race Bias Fight, Law360, September 26, 2023
- 2 patients of JBLM doctor charged with sexual assault start civil action against the Army, Stars and Stripes, September 19, 2023
- Alleged victims of military doctor’s sexual assault seek financial accountability from U.S. Army, Fox13 Seattle, September 14, 2023 (video)
- What The Unsolicited World Cup Kiss Can Teach Employers, Law360, August 29, 2023
- Gallagher family lawsuit against Baltimore archdiocese aims to shift burden from abuse onto Catholic Church, The Baltimore Sun, July 5, 2023
- Family of deceased victim of Baltimore Archdiocese sues church for wrongful death, WYPR-FM, June 27, 2023
- Grandkids of Baltimore Atty Sue Church Over Dad’s Death, Law360, June 27, 2023
- Storied Baltimore Catholic family sues archdiocese, claims sex abuse led to death, The Washington Post, June 27, 2023
- Fight Over Invitation Homes’ City Permitting Is Powered By AI, Law360, May 12, 2023
- The US Merchant Marine Academy Grapples with Gender-Based Violence, Hakai Magazine, May 1, 2023
- New report reveals multiple cases of sexual harassment at prestigious school for naval cadets, ShippingWatch, March 7, 2023
- Phillips Exeter Victim: “You Used Up Every Last Ounce Of My Innocence”, Union Leader, January 13, 2023
- US lawmakers pass seafarer safety protections to combat sexual violence at sea, Lloyd’s List, December 22, 2023
- Ex-Phillips Exeter Academy teacher agrees — again — to plead guilty to student sex assault, Seacoastonline, January 05, 2023
- Maersk to seek settlement in harassment cases – could lead to million-dollar compensation for two women, ShippingWatch, September 05, 2022
- Lawsuits filed against shipping giant Maersk for sexual assault of US Merchant Marine cadets, EL PAÍS, August 23, 2022
- At Invitation Homes, unpermitted work leaves leaky plumbing, faulty repairs, renters say, The Washington Post, July 12, 2022
- USMMA cadet suits: Women assaulted, abused on training ships during year at sea, Newsday, June 15, 2022
- U.S. cadets suing shipping company, alleging rape and harassment at sea, The Washington Post, June 15, 2022
- A merchant navy cadet is suing Maersk, saying the company failed to protect her from rape and sexual harassment on board one of its ships, Business Insider India, June 15, 2022
- Ex-phillips Exeter Academy Teacher Faces New Charges In Student Sex Abuse Case, Seacoastonline, May 24, 2022
- Ex-teacher backs out of plea deal in sex abuse case, Ap, February 12, 2022
- Ex-Phillips Exeter Academy teacher withdraws guilty plea in student sex assault case, Seacoastonline, February 11, 2022
- “Ex-Phillips Exeter Academy teacher Kaminski withdraws guilty plea in student sex assault case,”, Portsmouth Herald, February 11, 2022
- How I Made Partner: ‘My Path Was Nontraditional. I Was Co-Chairman of the Firm’s Practice Group Before I Made Partner,’ Says Christine Dunn of Sanford Heisler Sharp, Law.com, May 10, 2021
- Sanford Heisler Sharp Files Suit Against Baltimore Apartment Complex and Property Management Company, Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP, February 23rd, 2021
- Sanford Heisler Sharp Announces Ten Promotions For 2021, Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP, December 16th, 2020
- CDM Smith, Inc. and CDM Federal Programs Corporation Settle False Claims Act Suit with Federal Government (Globe Newswire), GlobeNewswire, August 27, 2020
- Disabled student sues school for ‘mishandling sexual assault’, MailOnline, August 05, 2020
- Lawsuit: School mishandled disabled student’s rape report, The Washington Post, August 05, 2020
- Sanford Heisler Sharp Files $10 Million Lawsuit Against The Waterford School for Failure to Protect Female Student With Disabilities Raped by Male Classmate, Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP, August 03, 2020
- Tenet Settles FCA Suit Over Needless Pacemakers For $1.4M, Law360, February 11, 2020
- Tenet Healthcare and Desert Regional Medical Center Settle False Claims Act Suit with Federal Government, Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP, February 10, 2020
- Sanford Heisler Sharp Promotes Felicia Gilbert to San Francisco Managing Partner, Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP, January 08, 2020
- Sanford Heisler Sharp Announces Promotions & New Leadership Roles, Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP, January 04, 2018
- Sanford Heisler on the Move: Firm Elevates Charles Field to Partner, Adds Cleveland Lawrence III to Qui Tam Practice, Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP, June 06, 2016
- What Rights Do Student Athletes Have Under Title IX?
- Legal Options for Victims of Crime
- Is it Too Late to Bring a Claim of Childhood Sexual Abuse?
- The Impact of the New Title IX Regulations on K-12 Schools
- The False Claims Act Protects Whistleblowers from Retaliation
- Can You Be Fired For Your Political Beliefs?
- Severance Agreements and Waiving Your Rights to Bring Suit Under the False Claims Act
- Survivors Of Sexual Abuse In New York Now Have More Options