Bar and Court Admissions
Joel Neckers has represented clients in hundreds of cases, taken 15 trials to verdict across the U.S., and served as lead counsel in 25 states. In 2020 he served on the trial team that won one of the first remote trials of the COVID era—in a case involving $1.25 billion for an electric distribution co-op. Joel also handles complex civil litigation including commercial disputes, professional liability claims, and catastrophic torts. The Best Lawyers in America recognizes Joel for commercial litigation and product liability defense, and Colorado Super Lawyers lists him for class actions and mass torts defense.
- Served as lead trial counsel in a certified class action arbitration involving an oil and gas royalty accounting dispute.
- Bd. of Cnty. Comm'rs of Boulder Cnty. v. Crestone Peak Res. Operating LLC, No. 19CA2040 (Colorado Ct. App. 2021) - Won a published opinion for Crestone Peak Resources, protecting strategically important aspects of the company's original $900M investment and affirming the trial court's summary judgment rulings for WTO's client after Boulder County sought to invalidate several of the company's oil and gas leases.
- United Power, Inc. et al. v. Tri-State Generation & Transmission Ass'n. Inc., No. 19F-0521E (Colo. Public Utilities Commission) - Won a $1.25 billion exit fee dispute for an electric distributor against its generation and transmission provider. The groundbreaking decision followed one of the first remote trials in the nation in the COVID-19 era.
- Won summary judgment for Crestone Peak Resources against Boulder County in a case involving an attempt to invalidate a key oil and gas lease that would have materially impacted Crestone's $900 million investment, thereby clearing a major hurdle to significant future development.
- Won an arbitration involving a $50 million claim brought by a joint venture partner against WTO's oil and gas company client.
- Served as first chair in a two-week arbitration for a wind turbine manufacturer in a commercial dispute with a supplier.
- Represented an automobile manufacturer and solar energy company in class actions involving consumer fraud and breach of warranty allegations.
- Vestas Blades v. Randall (Colo. 2011) - Won a $4.2 million judgment for a renewable energy client in a civil trial involving an executive's embezzlement from the company.
- Won arbitration, including an award of attorneys' fees, for a closely-held energy company based in Colorado in a case involving interpretation of a shareholder agreement and corporate governance issues.
- Served as an expert witness for oil and gas company in attorneys' fee dispute.
- Representing a global commercial real estate company in connection with various issues, including foreclosures and guaranty agreements, related to the COVID-19 economic downturn.
- Obtained a temporary restraining order for a national bank in a case involving a departing employee who stole trade secrets and breached fiduciary duty.
- Defeated a preliminary injunction brought by a former investment executive who sued to nullify a noncompete and launch a competing firm by taking 50 clients representing $200 million in investments. Collaborating with another law firm, WTO showed in a two-day, federal court hearing that the former executive did not meet the requirements for injunctive relief. The Court agreed and denied the motion.
- Obtained summary judgment for a commercial lender resulting in an award of more than $2.5 million, including interest and legal fees, relating to an LLC's default on a condominium development loan.
- Won a bench trial—including an award of attorneys' fees—for a national title insurance company in connection with a case involving the fraudulent sale of property.
- Old Republic National Title Insurance v. Kornegay, 292 P.3d 1111 (Colo. 2012) - Defended an appeal seeking to overturn district court prejudgment writs of attachment and motion dismissing counterclaims in fraud/civil theft case.
- Won multiple temporary restraining orders and motions for preliminary injunctions after evidentiary hearings in cases involving breach of fiduciary duties and breach of contract.
- Served as second-chair in several arbitrations for one of the world's largest automobile manufacturers following the passage of Section 747 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2010.
- Secured early dismissal of financial services company in securities lawsuit.
- Neale v. Volvo Cars of North America, LLC. (No. 10-4407, D. N.J. 2021) - Defeated a third class certification attempt brought by plaintiffs in four states against Volvo in an overly broad putative class action alleging defects in eight Volvo model sunroofs. The ruling is a significant setback to plaintiffs in the 11-year-old case that the court described as "tortured."
- In re Sears, Roebuck & Co. Front-Loading Washer Products Liability Litigation (7th. Cir. 2017) - Won unanimous Seventh Circuit victory in a fee dispute for Whirlpool and Sears arising out of a certified federal class action lawsuit that WTO favorably settled after winning a defense verdict in the bellwether trial of related claims.
- Glazer v. Whirlpool (N.D. Ohio 2014) - Won a complete defense jury verdict for Whirlpool as co-trial counsel in a $66 million certified class action trial in Ohio involving allegedly "moldy" washing machines.
- Brown v. Whirlpool (N.D. Ohio 2014) - Obtained dismissal of class action allegations and 15 of 17 claims against Whirlpool in an environmental toxic tort case. Plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed their remaining claims after the court's ruling.
- Tietsworth v. Sears (N.D. Cal. 2013) - Defeated a motion to certify a nationwide breach of warranty class in a case alleging that certain Kenmore washing machines contained defective electronic control boards that caused the machines to malfunction.
- Savett v. Whirlpool (N.D. Ohio 2012) - Secured dismissal with prejudice of a putative nationwide class action complaint alleging that certain Whirlpool washing machines were "mislabeled" with the Energy Star logo.
Catastrophic Injury / Wrongful Death
- Won a defense jury verdict in Ohio for two neonatologists facing claims of negligently handling the care of a newborn baby.
- Obtained a favorable jury verdict in South Carolina for a national healthcare company in an admitted liability wrongful death case involving punitive damages.
- Won a defense verdict for a Florida hospital in a three-week medical malpractice trial. The case involved a baby who suffered cerebral palsy after a rare delivery complication. The plaintiff sued the hospital for $7 million, claiming complications could have been avoided had a C-section been performed. The WTO team successfully argued the complication was unpredictable and unpreventable, and the doctors actually saved the mother and child.
- Won a defense verdict for a Washington D.C. hospital in a $40 million medical malpractice lawsuit that involved a baby born with severe brain damage.
- Served as second-chair in a bench trial in Washington State in a lawsuit brought against a corporation and an individual involving allegations related to an alleged traumatic brain injury and secured favorable judgment in an admitted liability case.
Other Representative Experience
- Won a directed verdict on a former senior bank executive's Colorado Wage Claim Act claim and voluntary dismissal of defamation and punitive damages claims for a large regional bank the night before closing arguments after four-plus years of litigation.
- Torberson v. BOKF NA (D. Colo. Aug. 5, 2021 ) - Won complete summary judgment of all seven claims brought against our client in an employment matter involving unsupported allegations of wrongful termination, retaliation, and age discrimination.
- Won three critical summary judgment and Daubert rulings for a major law firm and three lawyers in a legal malpractice case, precluding damages claims in excess of $10M from proceeding to trial and materially lowering the clients' risk going forward.
Publications & Speaking Engagements
"Navigating the New Normal in a Changed Oil & Gas Climate,"Co-Presenter, with Jamie Jost and Kelsey Wasylenky of Jost Energy Law, (January 21, 2021).
- "Breaking Bad, All the Time: White Collar Crime Problems for Business Lawyers," presented at the Network of Trial Law Firm's Litigation Management, Defend and Protect seminar, (November 2013).
"Not in That Backyard: A Practitioner's Guide to Venue Challenges and Enforcing Forum-Selection Clauses," presented to the International Association of Defense Counsel, (August 21, 2013).
- "Trial by Webcam: Tips From a Firsthand Experience," Law360, (May 28, 2020).
- "Defending Health-Care Decisions to Juries in a Post-Coronavirus World," DRI's The Voice, Vol. 19, No. 21, (May 27, 2020).
- "Hoping for the Best, While Preparing for the Worst: Addressing Resource Shortages During a Crisis," (March 2020).
- "Some (Minor) Relief In Sight: Secretary Issues 1135 Waiver of EMTALA's Medical Screening and Transfer Requirements," (March 2020).
- "PREP Act: Healthcare Providers, Labs, and Behavioral Facilities May Invoke Immunities Related to Testing and Treatment of Coronavirus Patients," (March 2020).
- "Coronavirus: Inevitable Future Litigation Involving the Healthcare Industry," (March 2020).
- "Your Options When The Coronavirus Impacts Contractual Performance,"(March 2020).
- "An Overview of Cy Pres Distributions of Class Action Settlement Funds," ABA podcast, (April 1, 2016).
- "Defending Rule 30(b)(6) Depositions In Professional Liability Cases," An ExecSense eBook, Digital Thought Leadership, (February 2013).
- Joel Neckers: Law Week Colorado Top Litigators 2021
- Lessons Learned From One of Nation's First Virtual Trials
- Coronavirus Prevention & Client Resources at WTO
- WTO Leads Top 100 in Colorado Super Lawyers
- 42 WTO Lawyers Named to the 2017 Colorado Super Lawyers List
- Law360, "Lawyers Weigh In on High Court's Class Action Ruling," January 20, 2016.
- Law360, "Volvo Seeks Toss of Suit Over Battery-Killing Radio Feature," October 19, 2015.
- Law360, "Sears, Whirlpool Ink Deal to End Some Washer Defect Suits," July 27, 2015.
- Law360, "Consumers Push Justice to Pass Up Whirlpool, Sears Cases," December 6, 2013.
- Law Week Colorado, "Wheeler Trigg O'Donnell Names Five Partners," November 22, 2011.
- Wheeler Trigg O'Donnell Names Five New Partners for 2012
Latham & Watkins LLP (2005-2008)
Legal Memberships, Activities, and Honors
The Best Lawyers in America
Commercial Litigation, 2021-2023
Product Liability Litigation - Defendants, 2021-2023
Colorado Super Lawyers
Class Action/Mass Torts Defense, 2021
Local Litigation Star, 2023
40 & Under National Star, 2019
40 & Under Hotlist, 2018
Colorado Rising Stars
Class Action/Mass Torts, 2014-2018
Civil Litigation Defense, 2012-2013
Business Litigation, 2011
American Society of Legal Advocates
40 Under 40 Litigation Lawyers in Colorado, 2013 and 2014
Law Week Colorado
Up and Coming Lawyers - Finalist, 2009
Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel
2016 Outstanding Subcommittee Chair, Class Action and Derivative Suits
Committee, ABA Section of Litigation
Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation
Denver Petroleum Club
Community Memberships, Activities, and Honors
Colorado Coalition for the Homeless
Chair of Board of Directors
Skiing, rock climbing, running, travel