Joel M. Wertman


Joel M. Wertman



Philadelphia, PA | Jersey City, NJ


Philadelphia, PA
F (215) 433-1501
Jersey City, NJ
F (973) 221-8201


Joel M. Wertman is a partner in the firm’s Philadelphia office. His practice focuses on disputes in the securities, insurance and real estate industries. He has represented clients in a wide range of litigation matters that include public customer disputes in state court, federal court and arbitration, as well as employment disputes seeking monetary and injunctive relief in state and federal courts. He also represents clients in regulatory enforcement matters initiated by the SEC, FINRA and state regulatory bodies.  He also has extensive experience representing institutional clients in bankruptcy court adversary proceedings.

Joel has litigated claims involving a wide spectrum of investments including REITS, Tenants in Common, private placements, variable annuities, limited partnerships, mutual funds, individual equities and debt. He has handled litigation involving complex benefit plans such as 419 welfare benefit plans and 412(i) pension plans. Joel has defended claims involving allegations of defamation, discrimination, and wrongful termination brought by former employees.

In addition to Joel’s focus on securities litigation, he is also experienced in cyber liability, cyber security and data breaches, with a particular focus on such issues for investment advisers and broker dealers.  Mr. Wertman has counselled and represented financial services companies, insurance agents, accountants, healthcare providers, IT companies, technology consulting firms, consulting firms, and employers regarding cybersecurity, data breach incidents, privacy and technology-related claims and issues. As well as his involvement in data security issues, Joel has presented at seminars on the topics of emerging trends in cyber security and he has written articles on the topic of best online security practices for financial advisors. While attending law school, Joel worked as a summer clerk for the Honorable Charles Smith, federal judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Representative Decisions

  • Bujdos v. Whalen, et al., Westmoreland County (PA) Court of Common Pleas, docket no. 3302-2018, obtained dismissal of RICO action and appeal as well as litigation bar against Plaintiff.  At the trial court level, Plaintiff argued that WSS’s clients, along with over twenty other persons and entities, engaged in a far ranging conspiracy with her ex-husband to hide assets in a high net worth divorce.  At the trial court level, it was successfully argued that the Plaintiff was improperly attempting to re-litigate the previously adjudicated distribution of assets from her divorce proceeding.  Ordinarily, only parties, or those similarly situated, to a prior case would be entitled to the preclusive effect of a judgment.  However, it was successfully cited to an arcane provision of the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure that allows dismissal of an action even without the strict, technical requirements of res judicata.  The trial court further agreed with argument a litigation bar should be imposed against the Plaintiff which precludes her from asserting any further litigation against any of the litigants, their attorneys, and anyone tangentially involved in the matter, without leave of court.
  • Original Apostolic Faith Church v. American Casualty, Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, docket no. 190404027, secured summary judgment on behalf of their client, a wholesale insurance broker, in matter seeking several million dollars in damages related to insurance coverage for a March 2018 fire loss in Philadelphia.  In dismissing the claim for negligence, the Court agreed that the wholesale insurance broker did not owe a duty to maintain insurance coverage or to assist in obtaining new coverage as the record developed in discovery did not suggest the existence of a heightened, confidential relationship.   The Court also dismissed the breach of contract claim as a matter of law in concluding that the developed record evidenced no enforceable contract.  In particular, the Court rejected Plaintiff’s argument to the contrary and concluded that mere puffery language in an email tagline does not constitute a promise or commitment.
  • Moore v. Highpoint, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94213 (D. NJ, June 5, 2018).  Moore declined to find standing for an intangible harm occasioned by an alleged statutory violation. The Court noted that, “Plaintiff has not pled a violation of the FCRA or another statute that may be read to create standing by its mere violation…”  Moore, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94213, at *14.  In particular, the Court found that alleged statutory violations under the New Jersey Computer Related Offenses Act were insufficient to confer standing
  • Hamdani v Rock Solid Home Inspections, et al., Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, docket no. 200701265, successfully secured summary judgment in favor of a home inspector operating in Philadelphia County.   Critical to the viability of potential claims against home inspectors in Pennsylvania, sought summary judgment was granted based on the one-year statute of limitations under the Pennsylvania Home Inspection Law applicable from “the date the [home inspection] report is delivered.”  68 Pa.C.S. § 7512.  It was conclusively established that the subject report had been delivered to the home buyer in April 2019, but that the Complaint was not filed until July 2020.
  • Obtained dismissal of FINRA arbitration in favor of independent broker dealer in an arbitration brought by a former customer seeking damages in connection with the purchase of annuities as well as the consequences of a potential IRS audit of the customer.  Despite FINRA Rule 12504’s general guidance that “motions to dismiss a claim prior to the conclusion of a party’s case in chief are discouraged in arbitration,” Respondent’s pre-hearing motion was unanimously granted as the Panel determined that there was no legal responsibility or liability to Claimants who “offered no viable, enforceable, non-speculative or provable claim or theory of damages.”
  • Dubroja Trust v. Northwestern Mutual, et al., FINRA arbitration no. 21-02359, obtained favorable award directing expungement wherein Panel stated, “The claim alleged that investments created a taxable event that injured the Claimant. The trustees, however, when they signed a fiduciary agreement, stated that the primary objective was to generate income. A secondary objective was to be aware of the tax consequences. [The advisor] invested in a portfolio for the purpose of generating income. The portfolio achieved that objective. He testified that tax impacts could be analyzed and addressed throughout the year. In addition, [the advisor] testified that he informed Claimant that he was not a tax expert and they should seek tax assistance from an expert. Claimant removed [the advisor]  from managing the account after a few weeks so he had no opportunity to review and remedy any tax issues. The investments were suitable for the Claimant’s investment objective. It is in the public interest to expunge this claim from Barnes’s CRD.
  • Heinel v. The Investment Center, FINRA arbitration no. 17-01866, Obtained favorable arbitration award directing expungement of six customer complaints dating back to 1990s from client’s CRD records after convincing Panel that relief was warranted as client was not involved in alleged sales practice violation involving defective proprietary products.
  • Cassidy v TIC, FINRA case number 16-03694. Obtained favorable decision in which the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey granted Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss pursuant to FRCP 12(b)(1) for lack of standing as Plaintiff failed to plead a sufficiently concrete injury.
  • Romashko v. Ameriprise, et al., FINRA case number 18-02061.  Obtained favorable arbitration award directing expungement of customer complaint disclosures from CRD records under FINRA rules 12805 and 2080.
  • Tranquilli v. TIC, FINRA case number 17-02059. Obtained favorable arbitration award directing expungement of customer complaint from client’s CRD records after convincing Panel that relief was warranted as principal protected and market linked notes at issue was determined to be suitable and client otherwise was not involved in alleged sales practice violations.
  • Kampf v. Merrill Lynch, FINRA case number 19-01052.  Obtained favorable arbitration award directing expungement of three (3) customer complaint disclosures from CRD records under FINRA rules 13805 and 2080.
  • Johnson v Gorter, U.S.D.C. for W.D. KY, docket number 05-cv-00817.  Obtained Order and judgment dismissing Plaintiff’s motion to vacate FINRA arbitration award.   Arbitration panel granted motion to dismiss based on repeated discovery violations of Claimants addressed during ongoing motion practice.



  • Digital Currency and its Evolving Future of Litigation, Celesq AttorneysEd Center, December 18, 2019
  • Digital Currency and its Future of Litigation, Claims Xchange, August 6, 2020.


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