Joseph A. Oliva, the co-chair of the Construction practice group and a senior member of the Global Insurance Services practice group, is a resident of our Manhattan office and concentrates his practice on civil and commercial litigation, insurance coverage analysis, insurance coverage litigation, construction and contract litigation. Joe’s practice includes representing financial institutions in various commercial litigation matters and representing construction companies in catastrophic personal injury accidents.
He has significant experience in all areas of construction accident, construction defect, New York Labor Law matters, financial institution coverage investigations and litigation involving fraud, social engineering, employee dishonesty, directors’ and officers’ liability, safe-deposit box loss, embezzlement, Ponzi schemes, check kiting, ERISA fraud, and mortgage fraud matters. In addition, he handles subrogation work, particularly in the health care subrogation area. Joe has handled both state and federal litigation involving ERISA-based plans, Medicare Advantage and general health care plans’ subrogation, and reimbursement rights throughout the northeast. His practice also focuses on bad faith litigation, property damage litigation, and errors and omissions coverage investigation and litigation.
Joe has also handled litigation involving the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), loan participation agreements, foreclosures on loans and debts, and the mysterious disappearance of safe deposit box contents. In addition, he has counseled his clients on transactional matters and drafted confessions of judgment, loan agreements, safe deposit box contracts, risk transfer agreements and other documents. He also has class-action litigation experience, including cases involving diet drug and gun litigation, as well as multi-district litigation.
In addition, Joe represents broker-dealers in Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitrations involving securities-related claims, including those alleging breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, unsuitable investment recommendations, improper sales practices, churning, and negligent supervision. He attended the FINRA Institute at Wharton (University of Pennsylvania) Certified Regulatory and Compliance Professional Program (CRCP).
Joe began his career with a two-year judicial clerkship, working as a Senior Appellate Court Attorney for the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department where he had the privilege of working on over 150 appeals.
Joe then began his litigation career working in a midsize New York City law firm, where he assisted clients with all phases of litigation from inception through trial in numerous property damage and personal injury matters. As the attorney in charge of that firm’s appellate practice in the New York City office, he conducted jury trials and wrote over 75 appellate briefs.
He is also a former senior litigation associate for a large international law firm in their New York City office. At that firm, his practice concentrated on all aspects of commercial litigation and insurance coverage litigation from initial complaint to trial, verdict, appeal, and recovery.
Over the course of his career, Joe has obtained appellate argument experience in the First, Second and Third Judicial Departments of the New York Supreme Court and has over 70 reported decisions.
Joe’s extensive experience includes recording numerous summary judgment victories in New York State Labor Law matters, catastrophic personal injury cases, wrongful death cases and construction defect cases.
He has conducted and supervised the investigation and coverage analysis of catastrophic safe deposit box losses for underwriters of major financial institutions resulting from the following:
- A rash of burglaries in the New York City area and across the country;
- The destruction of the World Trade Center following the terrorist attack of September 11; and
- The devastation of Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy.
Joe developed a strategy and procedure for analysis and reimbursement of thousands of safe deposit box-holder claims affected by these tragedies and occurrences and has supervised a team of experts and handled all aspects of litigation resulting from these claims.
In addition, he has headed the insurance coverage investigation and litigation of a number of employee dishonesty, embezzlement, social engineering claims and fraud claims including, but not limited to:
- A $600 million Ponzi Scheme (which was eventually dismissed);
- A $61 million loss arising from an employee-embezzlement scheme in Argentina;
- A $15 million loss resulting from employee theft;
- Significant mortgage-fraud claims throughout the U.S.; and
- Numerous Employee-theft and embezzlement claims throughout the U.S., the Caribbean, South America, and the United Kingdom.
Joe also conducted an insurance-coverage investigation of a $23 million fraud by a bankrupt automobile-leasing corporation perpetrated against a major financial institution and handled all phases of the litigation on behalf of underwriters and the financial institution.
Honors & Awards
Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating: AV Preeminent
New York Metro Super Lawyers, 2016–19
Top Rated Lawyer in Litigation, American Lawyer Media and Martindale-Hubbell, 2014
Top Rated Lawyer in Insurance Law, American Lawyer Media and Martindale-Hubbell, 2013
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- New York
- New Jersey
- U.S. District Court for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York
- U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Second and Ninth Circuits
- St. John’s University School of Law, J.D., 1993
- Moot Court Honor Society: Board Member; American Jurisprudence Award in Criminal Law
- St. John’s University, B.A., summa cum laude, 1990
- New York State Bar Association
- Columbian Lawyers Association
- Defense Research Institute
- Professional Liability Underwriting Society
Training and Certifications
- Department of Labor OSHA-10 Construction Training
News & Knowledge
Publications & Events
- Speaker, “Appellate Advocacy — Demystifying the Process,” St. John’s University School of Law’s CLE Weekend, 2013; 2009; 2007
- Speaker, “Safe Deposit Boxes: The Contract, The Relationship, Compliance, and Risk Management,” Lorman Audio CLE, July 2012
- Speaker, “Tips For Settling Civil Lawsuits Ethically,” Medicare and Healthcare Subrogation, New York State Bar Association, June 2012
- “Risk Transfer, Employer Liability, and Grave Injuries: Who Is Going to Pay?” (Co-Presenter), GS Webinar Series, June 14, 2023
- “Cyber Crimes in Fidelity Claims: Social Engineering Case Law Updates,” (Co-Presenter), GS Webinar Series, February 8, 2022
- “Social Engineering: An Overview, Trends, and Caselaw Update,” (Co-Presenter), GS Webinar Series, March 9, 2021
- “Safe Deposit Box: Contracts, the Relationship, Compliance and Risk Management,” Presenter, Lorman Education Services webinar, May 16, 2019
- Contributor, “Third Thursday Throwback: Social Engineering Fraud Coverage,” Timely Notice, July 19, 2019
- Contributor, “Part 2: Recent Social Engineering Fraud Coverage Cases,” Timely Notice, June 14, 2018
- Contributor, “Part 1: Recent Social Engineering Fraud Coverage Cases,” Timely Notice, June 12, 2018
November 16, 2020
November 13, 2020
September 12, 2019
August 22, 2019