Joseph H. Meltzer

Partner

EDUCATION
  • University of Maryland
    B.A. 1993, with honors
  • Temple University Beasley School of Law
    J.D. 1997, with honors
ADMISSIONS
  • Pennsylvania
  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States Court of Federal Claims
  • USDC, Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • USDC, Southern District of New York
  • USDC, District of New Jersey
  • USDC, Eastern District of Michigan
  • USDC, Eastern District of Arkansas
  • USDC, Western District of Arkansas
  • USCA, First Circuit
  • USCA, Third Circuit
  • USCA, Fourth Circuit
  • USCA, Ninth Circuit
  • USCA, Eleventh Circuit
  • Special Assistant Attorney General for several states
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Joseph H. Meltzer leads the firm’s Fiduciary, Consumer Protection and Antitrust groups.

A pioneer in prosecuting breach of fiduciary duty cases, Joe has been lead or co-lead counsel in numerous nationwide class actions brought under fiduciary laws including ERISA.  Joe represents institutional investor clients in a variety of breach of fiduciary duty cases and has some of the largest settlements in fiduciary breach actions including several recoveries in the hundreds of millions of dollars. 

The firm also has a robust Consumer Protection department which represents individuals, businesses, and governmental entities that have sustained losses as a result of defective products or improper business practices.  We are highly selective in these matters – we litigate only complex cases that we deem suitable for judicial resolution.

In his antitrust work, Joe represents clients injured by anticompetitive and unlawful business practices, including overcharges related to prescription drugs, health care expenditures and commodities. Joe has also represented various states in pharmaceutical pricing litigation as a Special Assistant Attorney General.

Experience
Representative Outcomes
  • Represented direct purchasers in an antitrust action challenging GlaxoSmithKline’s efforts to unlawfully extend its monopoly on Flonase, the company’s blockbuster allergy medication.

    The lawsuit alleged that GlaxoSmithKline violated federal antitrust laws by filing a series of sham citizen petitions with the Food and Drug Administration. After several years of litigation, including depositions, expert reports and rebuttals, two rounds of Daubert hearings, and the submission of motions in limine, pre-trial memoranda, proposed trial exhibits, and proposed trial deposition testimony, the case settled for $150 million shortly before trial.

    This was a novel legal theory and may be the only successful effort to recover under this theory on antitrust liability.

  • On behalf of the Attorneys General of Alaska, Montana and Utah, successfully prosecuted lawsuits asserting various claims against Janssen Ortho arising out of the marketing, promotion and sale of certain antipsychotic drugs. 

    Millions of dollars were paid to those states in settlement of the actions.

  • Launched the first class action brought on behalf of Bank of New York Mellon Corp’s (BNY Mellon) Forex (FX) trading clients.

    On behalf of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) Pension Fund and a class of similarly situated domestic custodial clients of BNY Mellon, we alleged that BNY Mellon secretly assigned a spread to the FX rates at which it transacted FX transactions on behalf of its clients who participated in the BNY Mellon’s automated “Standing Instruction” FX service. BNY Mellon determining this spread by executing its clients’ transactions at one rate and then, typically, at the end of the trading day, assigned a rate to its clients which approximated the worst possible rates of the trading day, pocketing the difference as riskless profit.  This practice was undertaken by the bank despite BNY Mellon’s contractual promises that its Standing Instruction service was designed to provide “best execution,” was “free of charge” and provided the “best rates of the day.” The case asserted claims for breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty on behalf of BNY Mellon’s custodial clients and sought to recover the unlawful profits that BNY Mellon earned from its unfair and unlawful FX practices.  The case was litigated in collaboration with separate cases brought by state and federal agencies.  Kessler Topaz served as lead counsel and Mr. Meltzer was a member of three person executive committee overseeing the private litigation.

    After extensive discovery, including more than 100 depositions, over 25 million pages of fact discovery, and the submission of multiple expert reports, Plaintiffs reached a settlement with BNY Mellon of $335 million. Additionally, the settlement was administered with separate recoveries by state and federal agencies which brought the total recovery for BNY Mellon’s custodial customers to $504 million.  The settlement was finally approved on September 24, 2015.  In approving the settlement, Judge Lewis Kaplan praised counsel for a “wonderful job,” recognizing that they were “fought tooth and nail at every step of the road.”  In further recognition of the efforts of counsel, Judge Kaplan noted that “[t]his was an outrageous wrong by the Bank of New York Mellon, and plaintiffs’ counsel deserve a world of credit for taking it on, for running the risk, for financing it and doing a great job.”

  • Arbitrator’s award of $75 million for Transatlantic Holdings, Inc., and its subsidiaries (TRH) in a case alleging that American International Group, Inc. (AIG) breached its fiduciary and contractual duties and committed fraud in connection with its securities lending program.

    Until June 2009, AIG was TRH’s majority shareholder and administered TRH’s securities lending program.  We alleged that AIG breached its fiduciary obligations by imprudently investing the majority of the cash collateral obtained from TRH under its lending program in risky mortgage-backed securities, including Alt-A and subprime investments. We further alleged that AIG concealed the extent of TRH’s subprime exposure and that when the collateral pools began experiencing liquidity problems in 2007, AIG unilaterally carved TRH out of the pools so that it could provide funding to its wholly owned subsidiaries to the exclusion of TRH.

Speaking Engagements

Joe lectures on ERISA litigation, Fiduciary Litigation and Antitrust Litigation as well as on issues related to class certification.  He is a member of the ABA’s Section Committees on Employee Benefits and Antitrust Law and has been recognized by numerous courts for his ability and expertise in these complex areas of the law.

Membership

American Bar Association
New York State Bar Association
University of Maryland Alumni Association
Philadelphia Bar Association
Public Justice Foundation

Community Involvement

American Cancer Society—Supporter
Southern Poverty Law Center—Supporter