Joe McLaughlin has represented clients in hundreds of class action and other aggregated proceedings in trial and appellate courts across the country, including the U.S. Supreme Court. Over the past 30 years, he has successfully represented clients in securities and complex commercial litigation and all types of government and internal investigations. Joe is widely regarded as one of the nation’s leading class action practitioners, and received the Burton Award for Legal Achievement for authoring the frequently cited McLaughlin on Class Actions: Law and Practice. The American Lawyer recently featured Joe as a “reliable winner” in naming him national Litigator of the Week, and referred to him as a “class action star.” Recent legal commentary in a high profile securities class action stated that Joe’s “tenacity” and defense strategies “changed the course of the case,” resulting in a “landmark ruling . . . worth recounting because future securities defendants will surely try to replicate arguments that worked so well for Simpson Thacher and its client.” Joe is consistently recognized as a leader in his field by Benchmark Litigation and The Legal 500. He is Co-Chair of the Firm’s Client Committee and serves on the Board of Mobilization for Justice, which facilitates equal access to justice for indigent New Yorkers.
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- B.A.T. Industries plc as lead counsel at federal court jury trial of a healthcare expense reimbursement action seeking multibillion-dollar damages, obtaining dismissal of all claims
- Countrywide Home Loans in a New York appellate win reversing a trial court decision in a closely-followed residential mortgage-backed securities case; and secured an appellate reversal in the Wisconsin Supreme Court in a related case
- Best Buy, Inc. in obtaining a reversal of class certification and summary judgment in securities litigation
- Virtus Investment Partners in obtaining a denial of certification in federal district court
- Stonepeak Partners LP in an appellate win reversing a trial court decision and securing a dismissal of the case
- Dillard's and its Board of Directors in dismissal of federal and state shareholder derivative lawsuits
- Independent directors of Clearwire in multiforum putative class actions arising out of Sprint’s acquisition of Clearwire
- J.P. Morgan Securities in the Initial Public Offering Securities Litigation, the largest securities litigation in history, and in the Initial Public Offering Antitrust Litigation, Simmonds Section 16(b) Litigation, and other IPO lawsuits, obtaining dismissals in the IPO Antitrust Litigation and Simmonds Section 16(b) Litigation, and reversal of class certification in the IPO Securities Litigation, leading to a favorable settlement of 310 class actions
- Smithfield Foods and its Board of Directors in shareholder litigation arising out of Shuanghui’s acquisition of Smithfield
- Petrohawk Energy Corporation and its Board of Directors in federal and state shareholder class action lawsuits arising from BHP Billiton acquisition
- Ducati North America, in purported nationwide consumer class action relating to allegedly defective plastic fuel tanks used in certain models of motorcycles
Burton Award for Legal Achievement
Euromoney’s Benchmark Litigation, “Litigation Star”
The Legal 500 United States
The Best Lawyers in America
Fordham University School of Law, 1988 J.D.
Fordham Law Review, Published Member
Fordham University, 1985 B.A.
magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa
- Mobilization for Justice, Board of Directors
- The Association of the Bar of the City of New York
- American Bar Association
- American Law Institute
- Hon. John F. Keenan, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
New York 1989
U.S. District Court Eastern District of New York 1990
U.S. District Court Southern District of New York 1990
U.S. Supreme Court 1995
Joe McLaughlin has represented clients in hundreds of class action, shareholder derivative and other aggregated proceedings in trial and appellate courts across the country, including the United States Supreme Court.
He successfully represented B.A.T. Industries plc as lead counsel at the federal court jury trial of a healthcare expense reimbursement action seeking multibillion-dollar damages. Joe also successfully represented 52 limited partners of LJM2 Co-Investment L.P. as lead counsel at a trial regarding the validity of the removal of the general partner, and was lead trial counsel in proceedings for the limited partners around the country. The American Lawyer recently featured Joe as a “reliable winner” in naming him national Litigator of the Week for his New York Court of Appeals win for Countrywide Home Loans in a closely-followed residential mortgage-backed securities case, and referred to Joe as a “class action star.” He recently obtained a rare reversal of class certification in 10b-5 litigation for Best Buy, Inc. in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, followed by another certification denial on remand and entry of summary judgment dismissing all claims. Legal commentary stated that Joe’s “tenacity” and defense strategies “changed the course of the case,” resulting in a “landmark ruling . . . worth recounting because future securities defendants will surely try to replicate arguments that worked so well for Simpson Thacher and its client.” Joe also obtained denial of certification for Virtus Investment Partners in federal district court, which received widespread media recognition. In 2017 he obtained appellate reversals in the Wisconsin Supreme Court and Florida Court of Appeals resulting in the dismissal of claims against Countrywide and Stonepeak Partners LP.
He has extensive experience representing clients in securities and complex commercial litigation and has represented clients in all types of government and internal investigations and related trial and appellate matters. He represented several underwriter defendants in the largest securities litigation in history, the Initial Public Offering Securities Litigation, in which he served as lead counsel for scores of defendants in obtaining an order striking the class allegations in numerous cases and subsequently negotiating a favorable settlement. He frequently advises corporate boards of directors and special committees in responding to shareholder demand letters and derivative claims.
His other recent successful engagements include:
- Representation of Lorillard, Inc. and its Board in numerous shareholder lawsuits arising from a $25 billion merger;
- Representation of Petrohawk Energy Corp. and its Board in tender offer litigation in three jurisdictions arising from a $15 billion merger, including defeating an attempt to enjoin the deal;
- Halcón Resources Corp. in obtaining dismissal in the Delaware Court of Chancery of shareholder litigation challenging corporate restructuring as a related party transaction;
- Representation of Bank of America’s Countrywide subsidiaries in residential mortgage-backed securities litigation brought by monoline insurers MBIA, FGIC and Ambac;
- Obtaining the dismissal of all claims against the independent directors of Tetragon Financial Group in federal securities litigation;
- Representation of J.P. Morgan Securities Inc. and Bear Stearns in 55 industry-wide cases alleging violations of Section 16(b) short swing profit regulations in connection with certain initial public offerings, including before the Supreme Court;
- Representation of the Special Transaction Committee of Clearwire Corp. in shareholder litigation arising from acquisition by Sprint Nextel;
- Obtaining summary judgment for Petrohawk Energy Corp. in a seminal bondholder action and before the Delaware Supreme Court in obtaining that ruling’s affirmance;
- Obtaining the dismissal with prejudice in Arkansas state and federal trial and appellate courts of shareholder derivative suits against the Board of Dillard’s;
- Representation of Smithfield Foods, Inc. and its Board in shareholder litigation arising from its acquisition by Shuanghui International, including obtaining denial of objections to settlement;
- Representation of GeoResources, Inc., in a lawsuit alleging breach of a warrant agreement; and
- Representation of private equity firms including Blackstone, Carlyle, Centerbridge, First Reserve, Lexington Partners, Hellman & Friedman and Silver Lake in numerous contested proceedings nationwide protecting confidentiality of investment information.
He is the author of the two-volume treatise, McLaughlin on Class Actions: Law and Practice (Thomson West 15th ed. 2018), which is one of the most frequently cited treatises in class action and shareholder derivative litigation in federal and state trial and appellate courts around the country, and for which he was awarded the Burton Award for Legal Achievement. He is a frequent lecturer across the country on class action, securities and corporate governance matters, and his commentary on these issues has been widely published, including in a regular column in the New York Law Journal.
Joe is listed in numerous publications, including being featured as The American Lawyer's national Litigator of the Week, a “Litigation Star” in Euromoney’s Benchmark Litigation survey, The Legal 500: Litigation’s preeminent product liability and mass tort defense lawyers, he was named to Irish America magazine’s 2011 Legal 100, The Best Lawyers in America and Super Lawyers, and the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory recognizes him as an AV-rated attorney. Joe joined Simpson Thacher in 1990 and was elected a Partner in 1997. Prior to joining the Firm, Joe served as a law clerk to the Hon. John F. Keenan in the Southern District of New York. Joe serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Mobilization for Justice.