JOE R. WHATLEY, JR.
Joe Whatley grew up in Monroeville, Alabama, the setting for To Kill A Mockingbird. Mr. Whatley is one of the few lawyers in the country to have argued before the United States Supreme Court as well as tried class actions to jury verdict for plaintiffs and defendants. He has a wide-ranging, national practice. He has argued cases before a majority of the Circuit Courts of Appeals in the country and tried cases in a number of different State and District Courts, before Judges and juries. For the past several decades, his practice has concentrated in the representation of healthcare providers including healthcare systems to redress abuses by managed care companies.
He is a graduate of Harvard College (A.B., cum laude, 1975), and the University of Alabama School of Law (J.D., 1978). Mr. Whatley is a member of the Bar in the States of Alabama, Texas, Colorado and New York, and is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, the United States District Court for the Middle, Southern and Northern Districts of Alabama, the Southern, Eastern and Northern Districts of New York, the Northern, Southern, Eastern and Western Districts of Texas, the Eastern and Western Districts of Michigan, the Eastern District of Wisconsin, the Northern District of Florida, the Northern District of Illinois, and the District of Colorado, as well as the United States Court of Appeals for the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, and District of Columbia Circuits. After graduating from the University of Alabama School of Law, Mr. Whatley served as a law clerk to the Honorable Frank H. McFadden, who was then Chief United States District Judge for the Northern District of Alabama (1978-1979). Mr. Whatley is a member of the American Bar Association (Member, Sections on: Labor and Employment Law; Litigation; Antitrust Law; Health Law), a member and past President (1990-1991) of the Birmingham Federal Bar Association, and a member and past President (1990-1991) of the Labor and Employment Law Section of the Alabama State Bar.
For more than a decade Mr. Whatley has focused his practice on healthcare and antitrust cases. His healthcare cases have primarily been against health insurance companies. Mr. Whatley was appointed Co-Lead Counsel for the Provider Plaintiffs in In re Blue Cross Blue Shield Antitrust Litigation, MDL No. 2406. He was one of the most active lawyers in Court proceedings in In re Managed Care Litigation and in Thomas/Love v. Blue Cross, and was one of the principal negotiators of the path-breaking settlements in both of those proceedings that resulted in billions of dollars in value, consisting of monetary relief and significant practice changes in the managed care industry. He represents providers of healthcare of all types in disputes with health insurance companies.
He is also an experienced trial lawyer, having tried numerous cases, including class actions, to verdict. For example, Mr. Whatley won a $1.28 billion jury verdict on behalf of a class of cattle ranchers against Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc. in Pickett v. Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc., No. 96-A-1103-N (M.D. Ala.), and won what was at the time the largest wrongful death verdict in Louisiana history in Dunn v. Consolidated Rail Corp., 890 F. Supp. 1262 (M.D. La. 1995). In addition, he has tried other class action cases to successful jury verdicts for plaintiffs and defendants.
Mr. Whatley has been recognized by his peers as one of the top lawyers in the country. He has been admitted as a Fellow to the American College of Trial Lawyers as well as a member of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers. In 2011, he was selected as one of the top 100 lawyers in the New York Metropolitan Area. He has been selected each year for decades as one of the Best Lawyers in Alabama.