Picture of James L. Griffith Jr.

James L. Griffith, Jr.

Partner
jgriffith@regerlaw.com
Download VCard

T: 215.495.6510
F: 215.495.6600

Cira Centre, 13th Floor
2929 Arch St
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104

James L. Griffith, Partner in the Firm’s Philadelphia Office, possess more than a decade of experience in the life and health insurance fields, and brings strategic leadership, industry knowledge, passionate advocacy and efficiency to his clients’ most important litigation battles. He frequently defends against class actions, and is one of the few attorneys in the U.S. to have successfully tried a collective action to a jury, a distinction recognized in The National Law Journal’s 2006 Defense Hot List. Mr. Griffith is well-versed in the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), two federal statutes frequently wielded by plaintiffs against insurance companies.

Among his accomplishments for the industry, Mr. Griffith secured the early dismissal of a putative nationwide class action brought by health care providers who claimed that members of the insurance industry caused them more than $5 billion in damages through a fraudulent conspiracy in violation of RICO. Mr. Griffith successfully argued the subsequent appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, a victory reported in The National Law Journal in 2010. More recently, Mr. Griffith persuaded the U.S. Court of Appeals to affirm dismissal of another putative nationwide class action brought on behalf of all salaried retirees of General Motors Corp., who claimed that ERISA obligated their group life insurer to pay life insurance benefits allegedly and irrevocably promised to them for their lifetimes.

Mr. Griffith has defended life and health insurance companies in other class actions brought by beneficiaries and/or providers who alleged, for example, that the companies misused their market and/or economic power, misrepresented coverage or benefits, made incorrect coverage determinations, did not properly calculate benefits and interest, used undisclosed guidelines or criteria in making benefit determinations, misused automated claims processing platforms and software, did not comply with state insurance laws and failed to honor assignments of benefits.

Mr. Griffith also maintains a complex commercial litigation practice, which focuses on professional liability and fiduciary matters. Mr. Griffith represents private equity firms, corporations, directors, officers, attorneys and accounting professionals in matters involving RICO, securities fraud, corporate and ERISA fiduciary duties, lender liability, professional negligence, intellectual property and defamation. He has conducted several internal investigations for boards of directors.

Mr. Griffith also has experience defending employers in wage & hour class and collective actions.

Education

J.D., Widener University School of Law (1994)
cum laude

B.A., University of Michigan (1991)

Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice Pennsylvania
New Jersey
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania
U.S. District Court, Middle District of Pennsylvania
U.S. District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania
U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey
U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals
U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals
U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals
Representative Matters
Life Insurance
  • Defending a global life insurance company in a nationwide class action brought by group life insurance beneficiaries claiming the company did not properly calculate delayed settlement interest, in alleged violation of federal law
  • Defending a global life insurance company in a putative nationwide class action brought by ERISA plan participants claiming the company breached an alleged promise to provide group life insurance benefits for the rest of their lives, in alleged violation of ERISA and state law
  • Defending a global life insurance company in a putative class action brought by disability plan beneficiaries claiming the company failed to honor an alleged cost of living adjustment provision in the group disability policy, in alleged violation of ERISA
Medical/Dental Insurance
  • Defending a health insurer in a putative nationwide class action alleging the health insurer conspired with other health insurers to deny or delay payment to healthcare providers, in alleged violation of civil RICO
  • Defending a dental insurer in a putative nationwide class action alleging the dental insurer conspired with other dental insurers to deny or delay payment to dentists, in alleged violation of civil RICO. Currently defending related litigation involving a smaller alleged class of dentists
  • Defending a health insurer in a putative class action alleging the health insurer conspired with other health insurers to extort ambulance companies, in alleged violation of civil RICO
  • Defending a dental insurer in an action brought by a dental association alleging the dental insurer’s provider agreements unlawfully capped the amounts in-network dentists could charge for non-covered services
  • Defending a health insurer in a class action alleging the health insurer imposed coverage limitations for treatment of mental health conditions, in alleged violation of parity and other laws
  • Defending a health insurer in a putative class action brought by subscribers claiming health insurer’s failure to disclose payments of incentives to doctors to ration care violated ERISA
Professional, Fiduciary and Other Commercial Litigation
  • Defending a corporate officer serving on the administrative committee of a financial institution’s 401(k) plan in a “stock drop” case alleging breach of ERISA fiduciary duties representing entities asserting claims for withdrawal liability under the Multi-Employer Pension Plan Act
  • Defending a Big 4 accounting firm in lawsuits arising out of the bankruptcy of a specialty finance company and involving allegations about its accounting for securitizations and allowance for losses on receivables
  • Defending a private equity firm and individuals in actions brought by the former CEO of a portfolio company, who alleged that private equity firm terminated him and took his stock in the portfolio company, in alleged violation of civil RICO and other laws
  • Defending a Big 4 accounting firm and an individual defendant in a defamation action arising out of investigative services provided to accounting firm’s client 
  • Representing a global beverage company seeking an injunction against its supplier
  • Defending a registered investment advisor in a FINRA arbitration.
Wage & Hour
  • Defending a Fortune 100/Global 500 food processing company in an action alleging the defendant did not properly pay for alleged donning and doffing time
  • Defending a restaurant franchisee in an action alleging the franchisor as “joint-employer” and the franchisees did not properly pay for alleged non-tipped work.
Publications & Press Mentions
  • Quoted, Do You REALLY Know What’s In Your Contract? The Huffington Post. (August 17, 2016)
  • Mr. Griffith frequently authors short articles for a national audience of in-house and outside counsel who are members of the Life, Health, Disabilities and ERISA Committee of the Defense Research Institute. He analyzes developments that are important to the industry and provides insights and practical advice for his readers. Among other topics, his recent articles address ERISA, the Affordable Care Act, the Class Action Fairness Act, and ethics.
  • Author, Can an Employer’s Silence in an ERISA Plan Vest Welfare Benefits? The Defense Research Institute’s Publication, For The Defense, Vol. 56, No. 12. (December 2014)
Speaking Engagements & Presentations
Professional & Bar Association Memberships
Vice Chair of Marketing and Vice Chair of Online Community, The Defense Research Institute’s Life, Health, Disability & ERISA Committee