Joel D. Smith is a partner with Bursor & Fisher, P.A. Joel is a trial attorney who has practiced in lower court and appeals courts across the country.

Prior to joining Bursor & Fisher, Joel was a litigator at Crowell & Moring, where he represented Fortune 500 companies, privately held businesses, and public entities in a wide variety of commercial, environmental, and class action matters. Among other matters, Joel served as defense counsel for AT&T, Enterprise-Rent-A-Car, Flowers Foods, and other major U.S. businesses in consumer class actions, including a class action seeking to hold U.S. energy companies accountable for global warming. Joel represented four major U.S. retailers in a case arising from a devastating arson fire and ensuing state of emergency in Roseville, California, which settled on the eve of a trial that was expected to last several months and involve several dozen witnesses.

More recently, Joel’s practice focuses on consumer class actions involving automotive and other product defects, financial misconduct, false advertising, and privacy violations.

Joel received both his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of California at Berkeley. While at Berkeley School of Law, he was a member of the California Law Review, received several academic honors, externed for the California Attorney General’s office and published an article on climate change policy and litigation.

Joel is admitted to the State Bar of California, as well as the United States Courts of Appeals for the Second, Third and Ninth Circuits, all California district courts, the Eastern District of Michigan, and the Northern District of Illinois.

Selected Published Decisions

  • Javier v. Assurance IQ, LLC, — Fed App’x –, 2022 WL 1744107 (9th Cir. May 31, 2022), reversing dismissal in a class action alleging the secret monitoring of internet communications.
  • Revitch v. DIRECTIV, LLC, 977 F.3d 713 (9th Cir. 2020), affirming denial of motion to compel arbitration in a putative class action alleging unlawful calls under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
  • Kaupelis v. Harbor Freight Tools USA, Inc., 2020 WL 5901116 (C.D. Cal. Sept. 23, 2020), granting class certification of consumer protection claims brought by purchasers of defective chainsaws.

Selected Class Settlements

  • Recinos et al. v. The Regents of the University of California, Superior Court for the State of California, County of Alameda, Case No. RG19038659 – final approval granted for a settlement providing debt relief and refunds to University of California students who were charged late fees.
  • Crandell et al. v. Volkswagen Group of America, Case No. 2:18-cv-13377-JSA (D.N.J.) – final approval granted for a settlement providing relief for Volkswagen Touareg owners to resolve allegations that defects in Touareg vehicles caused the engines to ingest water when driving in the rain.
  • Isley et al. v. BMW of N. America, LLC, Case No. 2:19-cv-12680-ESK (D.N.J.) – final approval granted for settlement providing BMW owners with reimbursements and credit vouchers to resolve allegations that defects in the BMW N63TU engine caused excessive oil consumption.
  • Kaupelis v. Harbor Freight Tools USA, Inc., Case No. 8:19-cv-01203-JVS-DFM (C.D. Cal.) – final approval granted for a settlement valued up to $40 million to resolve allegations that Harbor Freight sold defective chainsaws.