Joseph H. Meltzer


  • University of Maryland
    B.A. 1993, with honors
  • Temple University Beasley School of Law
    J.D. 1997, with honors
  • 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

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.

Representative Outcomes
  • Kessler Topaz served as a lead counsel on behalf of a class of direct purchaser plaintiffs in an antitrust action brought pursuant to Section 4 of the Clayton Act, 15 U.S.C. § 15, alleging, among other things, that defendant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) violated Section 2 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 2, by engaging in “sham” petitioning of a government agency. 

    Specifically, the Direct Purchasers alleged that GSK unlawfully abused the citizen petition process contained in Section 505(j) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and thus delayed the introduction of less expensive generic versions of Flonase, a highly popular allergy drug, causing injury to the Direct Purchaser Class.  Throughout the course of the four year litigation, Plaintiffs defeated two motions for summary judgment, succeeded in having a class certified and conducted extensive discovery.  After lengthy negotiations and shortly before trial, the action settled for $150 million.

  • Kessler Topaz was co-lead counsel in a lawsuit which alleged that defendant AstraZeneca  prevented generic versions of Toprol-XL from entering the market by, among other things, improperly manipulating patent filings and filing baseless patent infringement lawsuits. 

    As a result, AstraZeneca unlawfully monopolized the domestic market for Toprol-XL and its generic bio-equivalents.  After seven years of litigation, extensive discovery and motion practice, the case settled for $11 million.

  • Kessler Topaz was a lead counsel in an action which alleged, among other things, that defendant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) violated the antitrust, consumer fraud, and consumer protection laws of various states. 

    Specifically, Plaintiffs and the class of Third-Party Payors alleged that GSK manipulated patent filings and commenced baseless infringement lawsuits in connection wrongfully delaying generic versions of Wellbutrin SR and Zyban from entering the market, and that Plaintiffs and the Class of Third-Party Payors suffered antitrust injury and calculable damages as a result.  After more than eight years of litigation, the action settled for $21.5 million.

  • 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.


Benchmark Litigation Stars, 2020

Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Financial Lawyer, 2019-2021


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