Joseph D. Lee

Joseph D. Lee

Joseph D. Lee is a litigation partner in the Los Angeles office of Munger, Tolles & Olson.

His practice focuses on complex commercial litigation including wage and hour class actions and lawsuits under the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA), antitrust litigation, and consumer class actions. Mr. Lee was recognized by the Daily Journal in one of its “Top Verdicts of the Year” for winning summary adjudication in putative class action lawsuits regarding wage-and-hour cases against secured transfer/armored car services company Gardaworld. He has also conducted numerous internal investigations, including FCPA investigations overseas, and has counseled companies on internal corporate controls and compliance issues.

Mr. Lee maintains an active pro bono practice. His most notable victories were securing a $400,000 judgment on behalf of a former student of Western University of Health Sciences who alleged the university failed to properly accommodate her learning disabilities, and helping secure a California Supreme Court ruling that allowed a wrongly deported veterans rights activist to return to his family in the U.S. nearly 20 years after his deportation.

Mr. Lee has handled complex litigation and counseling matters for a wide variety of leading national and California clients, including AmeriGas Propane, General Electric Corporation, Verizon, GardaWorld, and 99 Cents Only Stores. He has tried cases in both state and federal courts and has argued cases before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the Court of Appeal of California, and the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation.

Mr. Lee is deeply committed to the community and to the firm’s pro bono practice. He served for six years as the President of the Board of Directors of the Disability Rights Legal Center and served as a board member and chair of the Audit Committee for the Constitutional Rights Foundation. Mr. Lee has represented numerous pro bono clients seeking asylum and other immigration relief, and he serves on Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) Los Angeles Advisory Committee and Human Rights First’s Board of Advocates.


Key Representations

  • Represented AmeriGas Propane in:
    • a series of antitrust lawsuits consolidated in multi-district litigation in the Western District of Missouri (In re Propane Tank Litigation). 
    • in multiple consumer class actions and wage and hour class actions. 
  • Represented GE Aircraft Engines in U.S. litigation arising from an airplane crash in the People’s Republic of China; argued in California Court of Appeal and won dismissal based on forum non conveniens.

  • Represented a Fortune 500 company in a sensitive gender discrimination and Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower case.

  • Obtained first-of-its-kind summary judgment on behalf of a multinational private secured transportation firm, holding as a matter of law that it could use “on-duty” meal periods for armored car driver-messengers and that related rest period claims were preempted by federal law. This victory was recognized as a Top Defense Verdict of the Year by the Daily Journal.


Thought Leadership

  • President, Board of Directors, Disability Rights Legal Center
  • Member, Board of Advocates, Human Rights First
  • Judge Pro Tem, Los Angeles Superior Court
  • Member, Oxfam America Leadership Council
  • Past chair, State Bar of California, Committee on Administration of Justice
  • Past member, Board of Directors, Constitutional Rights Foundation; Chair, Audit Committee

Selected Speaking Engagements/

  • Co-author, Apple Bag Search Ruling Informs on California Pay Compliance, Law360, February 2020
  • Panelist, “Fourth Pacific Law Forum of International Conferences,” Far Eastern Federal University, Vladivostok City, Russia (October 2018)
  • Panelist, Sandpiper Partners LLC’s Innovations in E-Discovery (January 2015)
  • Visiting Professor, U.S. Commercial Law Seminar, Far Eastern Federal University, Vladivostok Russia (2018); University of Latvia, Riga Latvia (2014; 2016); University of Pardubice, Pardubice Czech Republic (2015); Károli Gáspár University of the Hungarian Reformed Church, Budapest, Hungary (2013); Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic (2011)