Joel R. Hurt

Joel R. Hurt is a Partner in Feinstein Doyle Payne & Kravec, LLC. For more than twenty-one years, Joel has represented employees and retirees in more than 50 class action lawsuits throughout the United States for employee benefits under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (or ERISA).

Joel has successfully litigated claims challenging cuts to company-provided retiree health benefits; claims to remedy imprudent investments by 401(k) plan fiduciaries; and claims challenging the denial or underpayment of pension and healthcare benefits. Representative cases include:

  • Comer v. Gerdau Ameristeel US Inc., 2017 WL 5256871 (M.D. Fla. Nov. 13, 2017) (retiree healthcare action on behalf of United Steelworker retirees) (“The action required expertise in ERISA, the Labor Management Relations Act, and Rule 23, and class counsel’s performance evidences a skill rarely demonstrated by the typical class-action litigator in this district.”).
  • Amos v. PPG Industries, Inc., No. 2:05-cv-70 (S.D. Ohio)(co-lead counsel in retiree healthcare action recovering $7.65 million and benefits for more than 6,000 retirees from five unions.
  • Cottillion v. United Refining Co., 2013 WL 1419705 (W.D. Pa. April 8, 2013) (granting summary judgment to plaintiffs that reduction of pension benefits violated ERISA’s anti-cutback rule); 2013 WL 5936368 (W.D.Pa. Nov. 5, 2013) (extending summary judgment to class of pension recipients); 781 F.3d 47 (3d Cir. March 18, 2015) (affirming summary judgment for plaintiffs and class).
  • UAW v. General Motors Corp., No. 2:007-cv-14074 (E.D. Mich.), UAW v. Ford Motor Co., 2:07-cv-14845 (E.D. Mich.), UAW v. Chrysler, LLC, No. 2:07-cv-14310 (E.D. Mich.)(played significant role in class actions in which Feinstein Dole Payne & Kravec served as class counsel for 800,000 retired UAW members, pursuant to which a trust worth $60 billion (estimated present value in 2010) was established to provide lifetime benefits to class members).
  • Kling v. Fidelity Management Trust Co., Case 01-11939 (D. Mass.) ($10.85 million recovery for breach of fiduciary duty related to investment in employer stock in 401(k) plan).
  • Kennedy, et al. v. United Healthcare of Ohio, Inc., Case C2-98-128 (S.D. Ohio) ($1.95 million recovery for the miscalculation of benefits under group medical plans).

Joel is active in the American Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Section, serving as Co-Chair of subcommittees within the ABA’s Employee Benefits and Employment Rights & Responsibilities committees. He is also active in The Hay-Sell Pittsburgh American Inn of Court, where he has served in various leadership positions, including Co-President and serving on the Executive Board.  Additionally, Joel is a member of the Union Lawyers Alliance of the AFL-CIO, the Allegheny County Bar Association, and The National Trial Lawyers, and a fellow of the American Bar Foundation.

Joel frequently writes and speaks on employee benefits topics. He has been a contributing author to two leading ERISA treatises: Employee Benefits Law (4th edition) (Bloomberg BNA Books) and ERISA Litigation (5th and 6th editions) (Bloomberg BNA Books). His recent papers and presentations include:

  • What’s in a Name? Association Health Plans and Association Retirement Plans:  These Cousins Couldn’t Be More Different, panel presentation at the ABA Section of Taxation 2020 Midyear Tax Meeting (January 2020)
  • Demystifying ERISA for Employment Lawyers, panel presentation at the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law, Employment Rights & Responsibilities Committee 2019 Midwinter Meeting (March 2019)
  • The State of Employer-Sponsored Insurance: Guidance for Employers and Employees, panel presentation at the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law, Employment Rights & Responsibilities Committee 2018 Midwinter Meeting (March 2018)
  • The Constitutional Limitations of Public Employee Pension Legislation, Revisited, The Public Lawyer, Summer 2017 (with William T. Payne and Ruairi McDonnell)
  • The Fiduciary Rule:  What Employers, Employees, Plans and Service Providers Need to Know, panel presentation at the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law, Employment Rights & Responsibilities Committee 2017 Midwinter Meeting (March 2017)
  • Retiree Health Claims after Tackett, panel presentation at the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law, Employee Benefits Committee 2016 Midwinter Meeting (February 2016)
  • Response to Collectively Bargained Retiree Health and the  Demise of Yard Man – Perspectives from Counsel for Retirees, ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law, Employee Benefits Committee Newsletter, Spring 2015 (with Pamina Ewing).

Joel graduated from Westminster College magna cum laude and is a 2000 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.  Prior to joining Feinstein Doyle Payne & Kravec,LLC in 2007, he was a litigation associate in the plaintiffs’ class action firm Malakoff Doyle & Finberg.

Joel is admitted to practice before the courts of Pennsylvania; the United States Supreme Court; the United States Courts of Appeals for the Third, Sixth, Eighth, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuits; and the United States District Courts for the Western District of Pennsylvania, the Middle District of Pennsylvania, the Western District of Tennessee, the Northern District of Illinois, the Eastern District of Michigan, the Eastern District of Wisconsin, the Northern District of Ohio, the Western District of New York, and the Southern District of Texas.

Joel has been selected to the 2022 Super Lawyers® List issued by Thomson Reuters, a distinction awarded to only 5% of lawyers in the state. Bar associations and courts across the country have recognized the legitimacy of the Super Lawyers® selection process, which includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations based upon professional achievement and recognition. The Super Lawyer list is an exclusive annual list and not a lifetime achievement.