Known both as a gifted leader and a consummate team player, Joe Cancila is a highly regarded, experienced, and tenacious litigator who has dedicated his career to defending clients in complex commercial class actions. He is a creative strategist, thorough investigator, and effective communicator—all qualities that make him a worthy adversary in and out of the courtroom. And as the leader of many practice teams, he has mastered the art of working collaboratively with co-counsel to best advance client interests and analyze and successfully resolve challenging and complicated legal problems.
Joe has received national and state recognition for his defense practice, having brought several dozen class-action cases to successful resolution in jurisdictions widely dispersed throughout the country. He has successfully defended breach of contract, consumer fraud, complex commercial, antitrust, insurance bad faith, RICO, fair housing, trade secret, and environmental litigation, among others.
Joe is a voracious reader, loves Italian food (red sauce please!), and is a doting grandfather to a growing brood of grandkids.
- Joe’s current or very-recently concluded docket includes defending active or threatened class litigation in Illinois, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Nebraska, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee.
- Joe has successfully defeated class certification after both evidentiary hearings and arguments in state and federal courts throughout the country.
- Joe has obtained dismissals or summary judgments in many putative class actions asserting breach of contract, consumer fraud, and bad faith against major insurance companies.
- Joe successfully resolved environmental class litigation and related personal injury and wrongful death actions asserted against a manufacturing client under very favorable terms through a mediated class settlement.
- Joe represented a major consumer products company in a class action asserting that the company had made false claims about a children’s product, resulting in a nationwide class action settlement under terms favorable to the client.
- Joe has successfully defended and tried cases involving claims of price discrimination, antitrust, fair housing, and other asserted statutory violations.
- Joe accomplished dismissal of fair housing class litigation asserted against a major insurance company.
- Joe has represented clients in connection with administrative investigations of fair housing and other discrimination complaints.
- Employers have turned to Joe to represent them in claims involving trade secrets, non-compete provisions, and wage act claims.
- Joe has successfully argued appeals before the Illinois Appellate Courts and the United States Courts of Appeal for the Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Circuits.
EducationUniversity of Chicago Law School, J.D., 1986, with honors, Member, The University of Chicago Law Review
Syracuse University, M.P.A., 1976
University of Dayton, B.A., 1974, with high honors
U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Trial Bar)
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
American Bar Association
Chicago Bar Association
Illinois State Bar Association
International Association of Defense Counsel
Honors & Awards
The Best Lawyers in America
Best Lawyers® (Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions-Defendants, 2012-2020;
Product Liability Litigation-Defendants, 2012-2020)
The Best Lawyers in America
Best Lawyers® (2006-2010)
Illinois Leading Lawyer
Law Bulletin Media Leading Lawyers (2006-2009, 2012-2019)
Top 10 Class Action / Mass Tort Defense
Law Bulletin Media Leading Lawyers (2019)
Illinois Super Lawyers
Thomson Reuters (2008-2019)
Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America
Lawdragon Inc. (2019)
Litigation Counsel of America, Fellow (2018)
Chambers & Partners (2008)