Chris is a Partner with Harper Grey and has over 25 years’ experience with all aspects of civil litigation. The focus of Chris’ practice is complex, multi-party disputes. He is counsel in some of Canada’s largest and most technically challenging cases in the fields of product liability, environmental contamination and construction.
Contactcrusnak@harpergrey.com 604.895.2838 Christopher Rusnak Law Corporation
AssistantLori Reisig firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris’ education and background in the field of chemical engineering makes him particularly adept at dealing with complex issues and evidence such as hydrocarbon migration in soils, large scale landslides, covalent bond failure analysis, and econometric modeling. Chris’ case experience includes acting as counsel in the Mount Polley mining disaster litigation, the Canadian tobacco healthcare cost-recovery lawsuits and a number of significant class action proceedings including British Columbia’s proposed national class action for opioid-related health care costs. Relying on his abilities to effectively analyze complex scientific evidence, Chris’ clients also seek his advice on climate change-related matters.
During his practice, Chris has worked on a number of inter-jurisdictional matters with counsel throughout Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. Chris also works with a number of First Nations to support their efforts to achieve reconciliation through recognition of their Aboriginal title and rights.
Chris has represented his clients in courts across Canada, including the Supreme Court of Canada, the courts of appeal in British Columbia, Ontario and New Brunswick and the trial courts of British Columbia, Ontario, New Brunswick, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Newfoundland, and the Yukon.
In 2020, Chris was appointed King’s Counsel for distinctive merit as legal counsel and exceptional contributions to the legal profession. Chris is an adjunct professor at the University of British Columbia Faulty of Law where he teaches Ethics and Professionalism. Chris has also lectured at the University of British Columbia Faculty of Engineering. Chris is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and a Fellow of the Canadian College of Construction Lawyers. Additionally, Chris regularly volunteers to teach and lead seminars for the British Columbia Law Society’s Continuing Legal Education program and the Chief Justice’s Inns of Court program.
Chris was one of two lawyers from British Columbia nominated for the title of the country’s Litigator of the Year in the 2020 Canadian Law Awards. More details of Chris’ case work, contributions and recognitions are found below.
Chris is Harper Grey’s Innovation Partner, Co-Chair of the Construction & Engineering Law Practice Group and has served on the firm’s executive committee.
Recognized as a “Leader in His Field” in the area of General Commercial Litigation (British Columbia) by Chambers Canada®, 2017 - 2023
Recognized as a "Leading Lawyer" in the areas of Insurance Law and Construction Law by Best Lawyers® in Canada, 2015-2023
Recognized as a “Future Star” in British Columbia by Benchmark Canada®, 2012
Recognized as a “Local Litigation Star” in British Columbia in the areas of Construction, Environmental and Product Liability by Benchmark Canada®, 2013-2023
Rated as a "Repeatedly Recommended Leading Practitioner" in the area of Litigation – Commercial Insurance by Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory®, 2018-2023
Rated as a "Consistently Recommended Leading Practitioner" in the area of Construction Law by Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory®, 2022 - 2023
Inducted as Fellow
Rated as "Recommended" in the area of Construction, Engineering & Infrastructure by Doyles Leading Lawyers Guide, 2020
“He has a calm and reassuring manner.”
"Christopher Rusnak leverages his technical background in chemical engineering to advocate for mining and tobacco clients in class action and litigation proceedings. He has an analytical mind and really good experience in complex litigation cases."
Chris Rusnak is well versed in “quickly grasping the technical complexities and providing not only legal advice, but timely and helpful strategic advice for members of our organization in addressing various matters including ongoing relations with the potential defendants.”
"Cameron Elder and Chris Rusnak are excellent lawyers and honorable people. We found them to be very personable and responsive to change."
"[He is an] excellent lawyer and honorable person. [He is] Very personable and responsive to change."
"The engineering practice is an area in which Chris Rusnak is particularly well versed."
‘Garners praise from peers for his ‘very reasoned and logical approach’.”
“Chris Rusnak is very strong, especially in dealing with engineering and environmental cases.”
"Christopher Rusnak is noted for his expertise in product liability and construction litigation. He also advised on class action disputes. One interviewer said 'He is a very thoughtful, methodical, careful, analytical lawyer'."
"Christopher Rusnak is an emerging presence in the BC litigation area. He is well regarded for his abilities in significant class action disputes, with additional expertise in construction and product liability litigation. Sources say: 'He is a very smart and capable guy.'”
"Chris Rusnak delivers exceptional service on all matters he is involved with on my behalf."
"Chris Rusnak is well respected by his peers in the Vancouver bar, and often takes a leadership role in multi-party litigation."
"I'm working with Chris Rusnak right now on a big case, and I've been very impressed with his skills and approach."
"Chris Rusnak is a very smart and capable guy."
"Chris Rusnak has a fascinating practice. You can't exactly call it just 'product liability' could you? Although that's a field he's tailor-made for."
“Chris Rusnak approaches everything like an engineer, everything is done very thoroughly.”
"Peers call Chris Rusnak 'bright counsel' in his work for architect engineers and professional liability defense, which includes a substantial amount of work on the 'leaky condo' litigation that plagued Vancouver in the wake of the city's real estate boom.
- Counsel to British American Tobacco companies based in the United Kingdom in respect of claims advanced against them by each of the ten provincial governments. The governments are seeking recovery of billions of dollars health care costs expended on the treatment of tobacco related disease. The claims are unprecedented in scope as the enabling legislation renders inapplicable provisions of provincial limitation acts, allowing claims to be advanced that date back to the 1950s.
- Counsel for parties involved in a proposed national class action advanced by the province of British Columbia on behalf of all provinces and the federal government. The legal proceedings are based on legislation modeled after the Tobacco cost recoupment legislation. The Canadian governments are seeking billions of dollars in health care and related costs expended to address opioid addiction and treatment.
- Counsel for clients in class action proceedings relating to the manufacture and sale of alleged defective products.
- Counsel to an international engineering firm in respect of claims arising from the failure of the Mount Polley Mine tailings storage facility. The failure has been described as the largest environmental disaster in the history of Canada.
- Counsel to a national bank in significant arbitration proceedings arising within the context of bankruptcy proceedings. Through the receiver, the bank pursued claims against an international mining company for damages and monies owed to the bankrupt entity.
- Counsel to a national geotechnical engineering firm in a number of actions arising from two large landslides. In total, more than 20 separate actions were commenced.
- Counsel to a joint venture of three international engineering firms sued over their involvement in large-scale expansion of a waste water treatment plant. The case related to alleged design and construction defects associated with the projects waste water digesters.
- Counsel on behalf of a port authority in proceedings relating to historic hydrocarbon contamination of a large industrial site. Approximately 20 parties were involved in six concurrent actions seeking recovery of environmental clean-up costs.
Historical Sexual Assault
- Counsel in a series of matters involving claims by dozens of plaintiffs who alleged damages suffered due to sexual assaults allegedly committed while they were students of a former school teacher criminally convicted of sexual assault offences and designated a dangerous offender.
- Counsel to clients with respect to matters before WorkSafeBC, the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC, the Association of Professional Engineers of Yukon, the Architectural Institute of BC, the BC Environmental Appeal Board, the Institute of Chartered Accounts of BC, College of Registered Nurses of BC and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC.
- Chartered Arbitrator, Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, 2021
- University of Victoria, LL.B., 1992
- Queen’s University, B.A.Sc. in Chemical Engineering (Hons.), 1989
- Appointed King’s Counsel, 2020
- Yukon Territory, 2001
- British Columbia, 1994
- Continuing education seminars held by architects, engineers and industry organizations regarding professional liability and environmental risk management issues, Presenter
- Continuing Legal Education Society of BC courses and Professional Legal Training (Bar Admission) course, Lecturer
- Faculty of Engineering, University of British Columbia, Lecturer
- Harper Grey Construction & Engineering Law Group, Assistant Chair
- Harper Grey Construction & Engineering Law Group, Past Chair
- Harper Grey Mentoring Program, Mentor
- Harper Grey Pro Bono Committee, Member
- Inns of Court, Counsel’s Role in Document Discovery, Seminar Leader
- UBC Allard School of Law, Adjunct Professor (2019)
- British Columbia Construction Roundtable, Past Member
- Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch Subsections, Member:
- Construction Law
- The Law Society of British Columbia, Member