Joe’s broad-ranging litigation and restructuring practice draws on his significant experience with complex creditor rights litigation, bankruptcy and corporate reorganization, and transactional work outside of insolvency. He has a long track record of successfully representing bankruptcy trustees and other fiduciaries, chapter 11 debtors, purchasers of distressed assets, franchisors, and equity holders. He is highly skilled at asset recovery, judgment enforcement, and litigation in the insolvency arena. Joe employs a holistic and economical approach to litigating matters in courts around the country. Institutional investors, hedge funds, boards of directors, business owners, and other creditors value his counsel.
In addition to his legal work, Joe is active in the community. He has served various leadership roles in local and statewide bankruptcy organizations and has served on the Selection Committee for the Ninth Circuit’s Lawyer Representative Program. Joe serves on the board of a non-profit organization, actively mentors junior attorneys in the firm, and organizes an annual golf tournament to benefit victims of domestic violence and their children.
Joe founded the Finance Association at California State University, Chico. While in law school, he was a member of Virginia Capital Case Clearinghouse (VC3), where he assisted in representing capital murder defendants and was published in the Capital Defense Journal. When not working, Joe can be found surfing, golfing, hiking, biking or otherwise enjoying San Diego with his wife, three daughters and son.
- Washington and Lee University (JD)
- California State University, Chico (BS, Finance, magna cum laude)
- Represents indenture trustee in connection with receivership and bankruptcy proceedings in Indiana and Texas to recover approximately $100 million from operator of continuing care retirement community.
- Advises various publically-traded and private company Boards of Directors and executive management teams regarding insolvency issues, including distressed dispositions/acquisitions of assets, fiduciary duties, and creditor rights.
- Successfully defended CrossFit, Inc., its Founder and certain high-level employees against defamation claims, resulting in plaintiff’s voluntary dismissal of all claims. Obtained award of over $400,000 in discovery-related sanctions against plaintiff and appointment of a neutral forensic evaluator to evaluate plaintiff’s discovery misconduct.
- Successfully prosecuted complex civil RICO case against 34 foreign and domestic defendants on behalf of Taiwanese manufacturer. Successfully defeated over 30 motions to dismiss, managed millions of pages of written discovery, over 40 depositions on two continents and hundreds of discovery disputes before two court-appointed Special Masters. Defeated summary judgment and in limine motions before favorably settling case at commencement of trial.
- Represented creditor in obtaining $27+ million non-dischargeable judgment against the CEO of a consumer electronics company, and successfully defended the judgment through multiple appeals in Federal court.
- Represented major league baseball team in litigation to recover damages for breach of contract and breaches of fiduciary duty.
- Represented purchaser of bankrupt paper mill employing a large portion of a Midwest community.
- Represented various Chapter 7 trustees in obtaining millions of dollars in judgments and settlements in numerous pieces of complex fraud-based litigation.
- Represented Chapter 11 trustee in successfully prosecuting and securing millions of dollars in judgments and settlements arising out of real estate-based Ponzi scheme in Orange County, California.
- Successfully prosecuted alter-ego arbitration, navigating complex array of obstructive discovery tactics to recover documents from offshore shell companies. Obtained order from US Bankruptcy Court lifting stay on arbitration and remanding case to tribunal following defendant's bankruptcy filing. Obtained finding of alter-ego liability against CEO of defendant corporation and judgment of over $26,000,000.
- Represented environmentally-focused medical waste processor in bankruptcy court and on appeal in confirming its highly-contested Chapter 11 reorganization plan.
- Advised nonprofit organizations on workout, bankruptcy, and dissolution matters.
Recognition & Awards
- Best Lawyers in America: Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law, Litigation - Bankruptcy (2018 - 2022)
- San Diego Super Lawyers: Civil Litigation: Defense (2018 - 2020), Business Litigation (2021)
- Best Lawyers in America: San Diego Litigation - Bankruptcy Lawyer of the Year (2020)
- The Recorder: California Trailblazer (2020)
- The Daily Transcript: Top 40 Under 40 (2017)
- San Diego Super Lawyers Rising Star: Litigation (2015 - 2017)
- San Diego Business Journal: "Best of the Bar" (2015)
- Member, Board of Directors, Association of Business Trial Lawyers San Diego
- Member/Vice President, Board of Directors, Center for Community Solutions (2016-2019)
- Member, Board of Directors, California Bankruptcy Forum (2012-2015)
- Member, Board of Directors, San Diego Bankruptcy Forum (2009 – 2011)
- President, San Diego Bankruptcy Forum (2011)
- Member, J. Clifford Wallace Inn of Court (2010-2012)
- Member, American Bankruptcy Institute