Joel D. Smith is a partner with Bursor & Fisher, P.A.  He is a trial and appellate attorney who has practiced in state and federal courts across the country.

A no-nonsense, hardworking, and well-organized litigator, Joel has served as lead counsel in numerous class actions and is skilled at managing exceptionally complex, multi-party cases.  Before joining Bursor & Fisher, Joel was a litigator at Folger, Levin, & Kahn and later 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.  Joel has both represented, and litigated against, some of the largest companies in the United States.

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

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 Bars of California and Massachusetts, as well as numerous district and circuit courts across the country.  He is a member of the Massachusetts Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, the American Association for Justice, and the Public Justice Foundation.

Selected Published Decisions

  • In re Nissan North Am., Inc. Litig., 2023 WL 2749161 (M.D. Tenn. Mar. 31, 2023), granting certification of consumer protection claims brought by purchasers of Nissan Rogue vehicles in ten states.
  • 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.