Joseph D. Magri
Joseph D. Magri is a founding shareholder of Merkle & Magri, P.A. He began practicing law in 1977. Mr. Magri is an AV-rated attorney by Martindale Hubbell and a member of their preeminent lawyer group. He is a dedicated trial attorney, having tried many complex civil and criminal cases, in Federal and State court, before a jury, judge, and on appeal. He has also represented clients in hearings before administrative courts and arbitrators.
Mr. Magri has represented clients in a wide range of legal areas, including complex commercial and regulatory litigation on behalf of major corporations in his larger law firm days. After a period as a federal prosecutor, he represented smaller clients in federal tort claims, insurance coverage, personal injury, products liability, mold, toxic substances, medical malpractice, employment law, discrimination, whistleblowing, civil rights, health and medicine, mobile homes, business and commercial, lender liability, and fraud. In the course of his legal career, Mr. Magri has obtained significant results for major corporations as well as multiple recoveries for smaller clients of more than one million dollars. He had also assisted mobile homeowners in enforcing their Florida constitutional rights when developers attempted to evict them. Since 2007 Federal Employment law has been a predominant practice area.
Mr. Magri started his career working as an associate for Cummings & Lockwood, LLC in its Stamford, Connecticut office, where his practice focused on commercial and administrative litigation for Fortune 500 companies and other large institutions. He was primarily responsible for handling Texaco's upstream crude oil production work under the Department of Energy's Entitlement Program. Mr. Magri's other accomplishments include developing the legal theories and approach that: saved a client $120 million in a dispute with the Department of Energy; obtained a $70 million settlement of an insurance coverage dispute; and resulted in a declaration that New York and Connecticut statutes that attempted to regulate energy matters were preempted by the absence of Federal law. Prior to leaving this firm, Mr. Magri helped to establish a branch of the firm in Washington, D.C.
Cummings & Lockwood was founded by Homer Cummings, the Attorney General under Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and many attorneys joined the Department of Justice for periods of time. Mr. Magri joined the Department of Justice in the United States Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida. He initially worked as an Assistant United States Attorney, ultimately becoming the First Assistant U. S. Attorney, supervising the Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville, and Fort Myers offices. At one point, Mr. Magri served as the Acting U.S. Attorney. While in the U.S. Attorney's Office, Mr. Magri prosecuted criminal cases involving corruption, fraud, narcotics, and Medicare fraud. He also prosecuted a rare mutiny murder case that occurred in the Atlantic Ocean in the Orlando Courthouse. In the absence of the U.S. Attorney or at his request, he often served as the office's media liaison, providing information to local and national media.
During his time, the United States Attorney, Robert W. Merkle, sought and obtained the extradition papers on Carlos Lehder, the Medellin Cartel’s boss over product delivery into the United States. Lehder was later arrested, and Mr. Merkle tried and convicted him in Jacksonville, Fla., after roughly 9 months of continued investigation and trial. Mr. Magri dealt with the DOJ and various agencies in Mr. Merkle’s absence during that time. The office also indicted General Manuel Noriega and the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI). Mr. Magri and the First Assistant of the United States Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of Florida, which also had indicted General Noriega on charges stemming from its cases, walked these indictments through Main Justice together. Mr. Magri also dealt with Main Justice on several inter-agency conflicts which arose during the BCCI money laundering investigation. These and many other cases received national attention and generated books and movies about the agents and defendants. Mr. Magri has also been involved in a number of reported appellate cases.
Mr. Magri earned a Juris Doctorate from the University of California, Hastings College of Law in San Francisco. He received a Bachelor of Arts from Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut. Mr. Magri has been admitted to practice law in the State of Florida (1989), the District of Columbia (1981), and the State of Connecticut (1977). He has been licensed to practice in the United States District Courts of the Middle and Southern Districts of Florida, the Districts of Columbia, Connecticut, and Colorado; the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York; and pro hac vice in several other District Courts. He has also been admitted to practice in the Second, Fifth, Eleventh, District of Columbia, and Federal Circuit Courts of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court. He was part of a team that briefed and argued Babb v. Wilkie on January 15, 2020. A decision, in that case, may well affect burdens of proof in Federal ADEA and Title VII cases.
In addition to his work for Merkle & Magri, P.A., Mr. Magri has donated his time to local groups regarding issues such as choice in education, low and moderate-income housing, the provision of free medical services, and cooperation between high crime communities and law enforcement in working to protect those communities and address issues such as reducing recidivism. He has also been involved in numerous boards and committees involving his Church on a parish, diocesan, and state level. Mr. Magri has also handled selected pro bono cases.
Besides his legal work, Mr. Magri has given presentations and seminars regarding several legal topics.