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John J. Stoia, Jr.

Of Counsel
John J. Stoia, Jr.

Overview

John Stoia is Of Counsel in Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP’s San Diego office. He focuses his practice on insurance fraud, consumer fraud and securities fraud class actions. Stoia has been responsible for over $10 billion in recoveries on behalf of victims of insurance fraud due to deceptive sales practices such as “vanishing premiums” and “churning.” 

He was lead counsel or co-lead counsel in over 40 nationwide class actions brought by policyholders against United States and Canadian life insurance companies seeking redress for deceptive sales practices during the 1980s and 1990s. Stoia was lead or co-lead counsel and actively involved in nationwide cases against, among others, Prudential ($4+ billion), Manufacturer’s Life ($1.19 billion), New York Life ($600+ million), Transamerica Life Insurance Company ($250+ million), General American Life Insurance Company ($85+ million), Metropolitan Life ($2 billion), American General and subsidiaries ($500+ million), Allianz ($55+ million), Principal Mutual Life ($380+ million) and Pacific Life Insurance Company ($200+ million).

Stoia was lead counsel in numerous cases brought against life insurance companies for racial discrimination involving the sale of burial or “industrial life” insurance policies during the early 20th century. He was lead counsel in McNeil v. Am. Gen. Life Ins. Accident Ins. Co., the first major settlement involving discrimination claims, which resulted in a $234 million recovery for class members. Stoia resolved other race-based insurance cases, including Brown v. United Life Ins. Co. ($40 million), Morris v. Life Ins. Co. of Ga. ($55 million), and Thompson v. Metropolitan Life ($145 million).

He initiated the first cases against the property and casualty insurance brokerage industry and insurers exposing undisclosed kickbacks known as “contingent commissions” and illegal bid-rigging activities. Stoia is one of the lead plaintiffs’ counsel in the consolidated MDL proceedings pending in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey (In re Employee-Benefit Ins. Brokerage Antitrust Litig., No. 2:05-cv-1079(FSH), and In re Ins. Brokerage Antitrust Litig., No. 2:04-cv-5184(FSH), MDL No. 1663). He was also the lead trial counsel representing the California Department of Insurance against five of the largest employee benefit insurance companies (MetLife, Prudential, Hartford, Cigna and UnumProvident) for violating California insurance regulations for failing to disclose payments of contingent commissions to brokers in California and other improper activities. The People of the State of California v. Universal Life Res., No. GIC838913 (Cal. Super. Ct., San Diego Cty.). All five defendants have agreed to sweeping changes in their disclosure practices within California as a result of that action.

He was court-appointed co-lead counsel in eight nationwide class actions against sellers of deferred annuities to senior citizens.

Stoia was also co-lead counsel on behalf of purchasers of and those exposed to hazardous toys (lead paint and magnets) manufactured and/or distributed by Mattel, Fisher Price and retailers such as Target, Wal-Mart and Toys R Us. That case ultimately settled for in excess of $50 million and provided full relief to class members, donations to children’s charities and injunctive relief against Mattel that provides sweeping changes to Mattel’s toy manufacturing processes worldwide.

Stoia has worked on dozens of nationwide complex securities class actions, including In re Am. Cont’l Corp./Lincoln Sav. & Loan Sec. Litig., MDL No. 834 (D. Ariz.), which arose out of the collapse of Lincoln Savings & Loan and Charles Keating’s empire. He was a member of plaintiffs’ trial team that obtained verdicts against Keating and his co-defendants in excess of $3 billion and settlements of over $240 million.

Stoia represented numerous large institutional investors who suffered hundreds of millions of dollars in losses as a result of major financial scandals, including AOL/Time Warner and WorldCom.

Currently, Stoia is lead counsel in numerous cases against online discount voucher companies for violations of both federal and state laws including violation of state gift card statutes. He was lead counsel in the In re Groupon Mktg. & Sales Practices Litig., No. 11-md-2238-DMS-RBB (S.D. Cal.), and In re Living Social Mktg. & Sales Practices Litig., No. 11-mc-0472 (ESH) (D.D.C) cases.

Stoia has received the AV Preeminent certification by Martindale-Hubbell (the highest rating available). He has been selected as Litigator of the Month by The National Law Journal, a Top Lawyer in San Diego by San Diego Magazine for the last 5 consecutive years and a Super Lawyer for the last 11 consecutive years. He was also a member of ALI-ABA’s Commercial Law Advisory Panel and the Public Justice Class Action Preservation Project Committee. 

Prior to joining the Firm, Stoia served as an enforcement attorney with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission before going into private practice. He is one of the founding partners and former managing partner of the Firm.

Stoia received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Tulsa. While working on his degree, he was elected President of the National Political Science Honor Society and graduated with highest honors. Stoia received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Tulsa and graduated in the top of his class. He also graduated in the top of his class from the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C., receiving his Masters of Law in Securities Regulation. 

Stoia has been a frequent lecturer on numerous legal topics:

  • Speaker, New York City: ABA Meeting: Deferred Annuity Sales Practices (August 8, 2008);
  • Speaker, San Francisco: Consumer Attorneys of California College of Trial Arts San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association – Class Action Hurdles From the Plaintiff’s Perspective (March 5, 2008);
  • Speaker, New York City: PLI Annual Conference on Class Action Litigation (July 12, 2007);
  • Speaker, Bermuda: 2007 International Reinsurance Summit (June 6-8, 2007);
  • Speaker, Chicago: Insurance Industry and Financial Services Litigation (May 10-11, 2007);
  • Speaker, San Diego, CA: Association of Life Insurance Counsel (May 7, 2007);
  • Co-Chair and Speaker, 12th Annual ALI-ABA Conference on Life Insurance and Financial Services Industry Litigation (2007);
  • Speaker, Washington, DC: The Federalist Society’s Corporations, Securities & Antitrust Practice Group – Class Action Fairness Act: Two Years Later (February 14, 2007);
  • Speaker, Conference on Insurance Industry Litigation 2007 (ALI-ABA);
  • Speaker, New York City: PLI Class Action Litigation Prosecution and Defense Strategies (July 27-28, 2006);
  • Speaker, Kona, Hawaii: IBA West Blue Ribbon Conference on Contingent Commissions (May 1, 2006);
  • Co-Chair and Speaker, Washington, DC: Co-Chair; ALI-ABA Conference on Life Insurance and Financial Services Industry Litigation (March 30-31, 2006);
  • Speaker, ATLA Annual Convention – Insurance Law Section, Broker/Dealer Liability (2006);
  • Speaker, ATLA Winter Convention – Securities Fraud: Rights and Remedies of Shareholders (2006);
  • Co-Chair and Speaker, ALI-ABA Program 11th Annual: Financial Services and Insurance Industry Litigation (2006);
  • Speaker, Quebec, Canada: Barreau du Quebec Class Action Seminar – Class Action Fairness Act (October 21, 2005);
  • Speaker, New York City: ACI Consumer Finance Class Actions Conference (September 26, 2005);
  • Speaker, Toronto, Canada: ATLA Annual Convention – Insurance Law Section, Broker/Dealer Liability (July 24, 2005);
  • Speaker, New York City: ALI-ABA Program: Financial Services and Insurance Industry Litigation (March 18, 2005); and
  • Speaker, ALI-ABA, Practicing Law Institute and American Trial Lawyers Association seminars and conferences: ALI-ABA Program: Life and Health Insurance Litigation (2004).

Honors

  • Rated AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Top Lawyer in San Diego, San Diego Magazine, 2013-2017
  • Super Lawyer, 2007-2017
  • Litigator of the Month, The National Law Journal, July 2000

Practice Areas

Education

Georgetown University Law Center, LL.M, 1987

University of Tulsa, J.D., 1986

University of Tulsa, B.S., 1983, with Highest Honors

  • President of the National Political Science Honor Society

Admissions

  • California
  • Texas
  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States Courts of Appeals for the First, Third, Fifth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth and Eleventh Circuits
  • United States District Courts for the Northern, Eastern, Central and Southern Districts of California
  • United States District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of Illinois
  • United States District Courts for the Northern, Western and Southern Districts of Texas

Notable Cases

News

Professional Affiliations

  • ALI-ABA’s Commercial Law Advisory Panel, Member
  • Public Justice Class Action Preservation Project Committee, Member
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