Joseph G. Sauder handles complex cases on behalf of individuals, victims of sexual misconduct, consumers, small businesses, and employees. Mr. Sauder currently serves as court-appointed lead counsel in state and federal courts across the country. He has successfully litigated cases against some of the largest companies in the world. Mr. Sauder started his legal career as a prosecutor in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office where, from 1998 to 2003, he successfully tried hundreds of criminal cases to verdict, including sexual abuse cases. The National Law Journal named Mr. Sauder to the 2023 Plaintiffs’ Lawyers Trailblazers. The honor recognizes plaintiffs’ lawyers who “prove to be born leaders, and true agents of change.” The National Law Journal noted that all this year’s honorees, “continue to make their mark in various aspects of legal work on the plaintiffs’ side.” He is one of only 51 plaintiff attorneys nationwide and the only Pennsylvania attorney selected to the elite list. LawDragon recognized Mr. Sauder in its list of the "500 Leading Plaintiff Consumer Lawyers” for 2022. The Lawdragon consumer law guide offers the publication’s take on the best of the U.S. plaintiff bar specializing in representing consumers. The publication notes "these are the lawyers who stand on the front line in individual lawsuits and class actions seeking justice. They relish their role of underdog, taking on the toughest cases . . . ." The American Lawyer named Joe Sauder to its 2021 Northeast Trailblazers. The honor recognizes 60 lawyers who are “truly agents of change.” It "recognizes professionals in the Northeast who have moved the needle in the legal industry." The Northeast includes Maine, New York, New Jersey, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania. The Legal Intelligencer named Mr. Sauder in its 2020 Pennsylvania Trailblazers list recognizing 31 lawyers who “have taken extra measures to contribute to positive outcomes . . . and who are truly agents of change.” The Legal highlights Joe’s innovative work on advocacy as class counsel in large institutional sex abuse cover-ups, women's, and children's rights. Mr. Sauder has been repeatedly recognized by his peers. Since 2012, Mr. Sauder has been selected by the National Trial Lawyers Association as one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Pennsylvania. Since 2011, Mr. Sauder has been selected as a Pennsylvania SuperLawyer, a distinction held by the top 5% of attorneys in Pennsylvania, as chosen by their peers and through the independent research of Law & Politics. In 2020, Mr. Sauder was selected to America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators® in Pennsylvania, comprised of the nation’s most exceptional trial lawyers for high-stakes legal matters. The American Lawyer Media, publisher of The Legal Intelligencer and the Pennsylvania Law Weekly, named Mr. Sauder as one of the “Lawyers on the Fast Track” a distinction that recognized thirty-five Pennsylvania attorneys under the age of 40 who show outstanding promise in the legal profession and make a significant commitment to their community.
Mr. Sauder's highlighted cases include:
- Cole v. NIBCO, Inc., (D.N.J.) (co-lead counsel in a class action resulting in $43.5 million settlement on behalf of purchasers of defective plumbing components);
- Jackson v. Viking Group, Inc., (D. Md.) (lead counsel in a class action settlement on behalf of purchasers of defective fire sprinklers with benefits valued at between $30.45 million and $50.75 million);
- Graham v. University of Michigan et al (E.D. MI.)(co-lead counsel in class action settlement between students and the University of Michigan will lead to the creation and implementation of best-in-class, institutional reforms at UofM that address and prevent sexual misconduct, add transparency, and new voices into the University’s response to sexual misconduct, and help ensure a safer campus environment.)
- In re: USC Student Health Center Litig., (C.D. Cal) ($215 million class action settlement on behalf of female sex abuse survivors who were patients of a university gynecologist);
- Ajose v. Interline Brands, Inc., (D. Tenn.) (co-lead counsel in a class action resulting in a $16.5 million settlement on behalf of purchasers of defective toilet connectors);
- Rangel v. Cardell Cabinetry, LLC, (W.D. Tex.) (co-lead counsel in a $800,000 settlement on behalf of hundreds of former employees of a Texas cabinetry maker for Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) violations when they were fired without notice);
- In re: Outer Banks Power Outage Litigation, (E.D.N.C.) ($10.3 million settlement on behalf of businesses impacted by a massive power outage and evacuation caused by a bridge builder);
- Traxler v. PPG Industries, Inc., (N.D. Ohio) (co-lead counsel in a $6.5 million class action settlement on behalf of homeowners who purchased and used defective deck product);
- Bishop v. Behr Process Corp., (N.D. Ill.) (co-lead counsel in a class action settlement on behalf of homeowners who purchased and used defective deck product);
- In re Stericycle Inc., Sterisafe Contract Litigation, (N.D. Ill.) ($295 million class action settlement on behalf of medical waste disposal customers of Stericycle regarding alleged automated price increases in violation of contractual terms);
- Desio et al. v. Insinkerator et al., (E.D. WA) (co-lead counsel in a $3.8 million class action settlement on behalf of homeowners who purchased defective water filters);
- McCoy v. North State Aviation, (M.D.NC) (lead counsel in a $1.5 million settlement on behalf of hundreds of former employees for Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) violations when they were fired without notice);
- Klug v. Watts Regulatory Co., and Ponzo v. Watts Regulatory Co., (D. Neb.) (co-lead counsel in a $14 million settlement on behalf of homeowners with defective toilet connectors and water heater connectors manufactured by Watts);
- Lewis v. Green Dot Corp., (C.D. Cal.) (class action settlement on behalf of account holders who were unable to access funds during an extended service disruption);
- Tolmasoff v. General Motors, (E.D. MI.) (co-lead counsel in a $6 million nationwide class action settlement on behalf of purchasers and lessees alleging overstated MPG);
- In re Checking Account Overdraft Litig., (S.D. Fla.) (class action resulting in a $55 million settlement with US Bank; $14.5 million settlement with Comerica);
- Physicians of Winter Haven v Steris Corp (N.D. Ohio) (lead counsel in a $20 million nationwide class action settlement on behalf of surgical centers to recoup out of pocket expenses related to a recalled medical device);
- Cook et al. v. Rockwell International Corp. et al. (D.Co) ($375 million settlement where it was alleged that Rocky Flats, a former nuclear weapons facility formerly operated by Dow Chemical Co. and Rockwell International Corp., dispersed plutonium and contaminated thirty square miles of property near the facility.)
Mr. Sauder received his Bachelor of Science, magna cum laude in Finance from Temple University in 1995. He graduated from Temple University School of Law in 1998, where he was a member of the Temple Law Review. His publications include: How a Criminal Defendant’s Death Pending Direct Appeal Affects the Victim’s Right to Restitution Under the Abatement Ab Initio Doctrine, 71 TEMP. L. REV. 347 (1998); Enacting and Enforcing Felony Animal Cruelty Laws to Prevent Violence Against Humans Animal Law 6 (2000)
Mr. Sauder is admitted to practice before the Supreme Courts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, the United States District Courts for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the Middle District of Pennsylvania, the District of New Jersey, the Eastern District of Michigan, Northern District of Illinois and the District of Colorado.
Mr. Sauder’s public service activities have included teaching trial advocacy to a local Philadelphia high school team that competed in the State Mock Trial Competition. He is vice president of the Philadelphia District Attorneys’ Alumni Association and served on the Executive Committee of the Temple Law Alumni Association. His pro bono activities have included serving as a volunteer attorney with the Support Center for Child Advocates. This nonprofit organization provides legal and social services to abused and neglected children. He represented a survivor of clergy sex abuse in a diocese-established compensation fund and assisted local businesses impacted by COVID-19. Mr. Sauder and his wife fund a scholarship endowment at a local community college for first-generation college students.
Mr. Sauder enjoys spending time with his wife and three children. He continues to play ice hockey, a sport that he started when he was 4 years old and has taken him around the world. He has also coached several teams over the years.