Joel P. Laitman is Of Counsel at Cohen Milstein and a member of the Securities Litigation & Investor Protection Practice Group. Mr. Laitman has served as lead counsel in five of the firm’s major mortgage-backed securities class actions brought on behalf of pension funds and other institutional investors against major investment banks. These cases alleged that the underlying mortgages failed to comply with the underwriting standards described in the Offering Documents.
Besides initiating these cases and directing and leading discovery with his colleague Chris Lometti, Mr. Laitman argued all motions and conducted all hearings both before the District Court and the Second Circuit. In just three of these cases that have settled to date, recoveries totaling $720 million were achieved for the benefit of injured investors: $335 million in the RALI MBS case brought against Goldman Sachs, UBS and Citigroup; $275 million in the Harborview MBS case brought against RBS; and $110 million in the HEMT MBS case brought against Credit Suisse.
The settlements achieved in these cases have been commended by Courts and by legal publications. Commenting on the Harborview litigation, Judge Loretta A. Preska, of the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, noted that the case brought on behalf of the plaintiffs was “interesting and different” and that settlement on their behalf “was a job well done.” Judge Fallia, in approving the RALI Settlement, commended the firm for prosecuting the case for seven years and “never giving up” despite substantial obstacles.
The litigations and settlements have garnered awards from the leading legal publications. In 2014 and 2015, the National Law Journal cited the Harborview and RALI MBS in designating the firm an Elite Trial Law Firm and placing the firm on the Hot List; Law360 cited the RALI and Harborview cases in designating the firm one of “The Most Feared Plaintiffs Firms” in 2015, the third year in a row that Cohen Milstein received the designation; and in 2015, Law360 selected Cohen Milstein as the sole plaintiff firm to be chosen in two “Practice Groups of the Year” categories and one of only five class action law firms to be recognized, singling out the RALI and Harborview cases in the award.
In addition, Mr. Laitman has argued a number of seminal cases before the Second Circuit in the securities field including: Teamsters Local 445 Freight Div. Pension Fund v. Dynex Capital, Inc., 531 F.3d 190 (2d Cir. 2008) (addressing corporate scienter under Section 10 (b)); Teamsters Local 445 Freight Div. Pension Fund v. Bombardier, Inc., 546 F.3d 196 (2d Cir. 2008) (addressing standard for establishing market efficiency in certification of Section 10(b) claims); N.J. Carpenters Health Fund v. Royal Bank of Scotland Group, PLC, 709 F.3d 109 (2d Cir. 2013) (“NovaStar”) (reversing dismissal of Securities Act claims); Wyo. State Treasurer v. Moody's Investors Serv. (In re Lehman Bros. Mortgage-Backed Sec. Litig.) (“Lehman”), 650 F.3d 167 (2d Cir. 2011) (addressing rating agency liability under the Securities Act); and N.J. Carpenters Health Fund v. RALI Series 2006-QO1, 477 Fed. Appx. 809 (2d Cir. 2012) (“Harborview/RALI”, addressing class member knowledge as grounds for denial of class certification).
A member of Phi Beta Kappa, Mr. Laitman is a graduate of Columbia University, with a B.A., magna cum laude, and earned his law degree at Georgetown University Law Center.