Joel S. Feldman is a senior counsel at Sidley Austin’s Chicago office.
He has served as lead defense counsel in over 150 financial services class actions venued in over 30 federal and state courts throughout the U.S., covering ERISA benefit plans, annuities, life insurance, ERISA fee class actions, property and casualty insurance, and actuarial issues associated with financial services products.
Joel has won, through motion practice, a series of precedent setting class actions wherein many other similarly situated defendants had settled, often for large sums of money. Most recently he has won a series of dismissals with prejudice in ERISA fee cases. These include dismissals with prejudice of an ERISA stable value class action (Barchok v. Galliard et al, D. R.I.; on appeal), an excessive fee ERISA class action (McCaffree v. Principal Life Ins. Co., 8th Cir.) and an ERISA class action alleging that a plan’s 401(k) fund “menu” included too many actively managed funds with excessive fees (Rosen v. Prudential, D. Conn.).
Joel has also served as lead counsel in winning the only complete class certification denial (Rowe v. Bankers, N.D. Ill.) and only complete summary judgment victory (Kennedy v. Jackson National, N.D. Cal.) amid the myriad of senior citizen annuity class actions, wherein many other defendants had settled. He has also served as lead counsel in the only ERISA revenue sharing class actions where courts denied class certification (Ruppert v. Principal, S.D. Iowa) and granted summary judgment (Leimkuehler v. American United Life, S.D. Ind.). He served as lead counsel in the first summary judgment victory among the many retained asset class actions (Rabin v. MONY, S.D. N.Y.), and won the denial of class certification in a cost of insurance class action, wherein numerous other defendants in similar class actions had settled (Gregurek v. United of Omaha, C.D. Cal.). Joel also served as lead counsel in In re Industrial Life Insurance Litigation, MDL No. 1371 (E.D. La.), where in 2006 the court denied class certification after almost all other defendants had settled. In addition to motion practice victories, Joel successfully tried a securities fraud class action to a jury verdict, named by the National Law Journal as one of the top ten trials of the year.
Joel co-chaired for ten years the PLI National Class Action Conference in New York. He is the past chair of the Chicago Bar Association Federal Civil Procedure Committee, past chair of the American Bar Association Securities Litigation Subcommittee on Secondary Liability, and past editor-in-chief of Securities News, the official ABA publication for the Securities Law Committee.
In 2017, Joel was named a BTI “Client Service All-Star.” He is also recommended in Insurance: Advice to Insurers and ERISA litigation in The Legal 500 US 2014–2017, and has been recognized as a “Best Lawyer” in the 2014–2017 editions of The Best Lawyers in America in Insurance Law.