Mr. Fistel is one of the founding partners of Johnson Fistel and manages the firm’s Georgia office. For more than two decades, Mr. Fistel has dedicated his practice to protecting investor and consumer rights in complex class action and derivative litigation nationwide. In doing so, Mr. Fistel has been instrumental in obtaining millions of dollars for aggrieved shareholders, consumers, and businesses in class action litigation. Through his derivative practice, Mr. Fistel has secured significant cash recoveries and caused sweeping corporate governance reforms on behalf of numerous publicly traded companies, including at Southern Company, Twitter (n/k/a X), FirstEnergy Corp., and CoreCivic, Inc.
Mr. Fistel’s success in protecting investor rights in shareholder class action and derivative litigation is exemplified in Gendrich v. Anderson et al., Civil Action No. CV-2020-07-2107 (Ct. of Common Pleas, Summit Cnty., Ohio) (“FirstEnergy, Inc. Derivative Litig.”), where Johnson Fistel, serving as co-lead counsel and Mr. Fistel serving as primary negotiator on behalf of the state court plaintiffs, helped to secure a historic settlement for the benefit of FirstEnergy, a company whose fiduciaries led the Company into a political maelstrom described by the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio as “likely the largest bribery, money laundering scheme ever perpetrated against the people of the state of Ohio.” The settlement included a cash payment to the Company of $180 million (less court-approved attorneys’ fees) and substantial corporate reforms, including the agreement that six of the company’s then-directors who were on the board a minimum of five years would not stand for re-election, as well as additional reforms relating to the Company’s political spending and lobbying. In addition, in In re: Twitter, Inc. Shareholder Derivative Litigation (n/k/a X), C.A. No. 18-062 (D. Del.), Johnson Fistel serving as co-lead counsel and Mr. Fistel serving as one of the chief negotiators, secured a $38 million payment to Twitter and successfully negotiated robust corporate reforms tailored to address alleged disclosure deficiencies concerning the company’s user growth and user engagement prospects. Similarly, in Alex v. McCullough, et al., No. 1:12-cv-08834 (N.D. Ill.), Mr. Fistel helped to secure a $20 million recovery and sweeping management and board-level corporate governance reforms for Career Education Corporation. And finally, in In re Southern Company Shareholder Derivative Litigation, No. 1:17-cv-00725-MHC (N.D. Ga.), following more than five years of litigation, Mr. Fistel, as one of the chief negotiators, secured reforms valued by one expert as having the potential to contribute hundreds of millions of dollars in value to the Company. In approving the settlement, U.S. District Judge Mark H. Cohen praised Johnson Fistel for its diligence and efforts in the case and described the settlement as “the product of hard-fought, arm’s-length negotiations by prepared, skilled, and experienced counsel” who are “nationally recognized leaders in shareholder litigation.”
Mr. Fistel has had similar success in the securities class action arena. Specifically, in Benson v. D-Market Elektronik Hizmetler ve Ticaret Anonim Sirketi et al., Index No. 655701/2021 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. New York Cnty.), a securities class action lawsuit where Johnson Fistel served as co-lead counsel, Mr. Fistel helped to secure a $13.9 million class-wide settlement. Similarly, in Gerneth v. Chiasma, Inc., No. 1:16-cv-11082-DJC (D. Mass.), with Johnson Fistel serving as co-lead counsel, Mr. Fistel helped to secure an $18.75 million class-wide settlement on behalf of injured investors. Yet another example of where Mr. Fistel played an instrumental role in recovering money for a class of aggrieved shareholders is, and In Re Flowers Foods, Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 7:16-CV-00222-WLS (M.D. Ga.), where he helped secure a $21 million class settlement.
Areas of Practice
Mr. Fistel devotes his practice to representing individuals, institutions, and businesses in shareholder and other complex litigation. Specifically, a substantial portion of Mr. Fistel’s practice is focused on representing shareholders in securities fraud class action litigation and shareholder derivative litigation. In addition to shareholder litigation, Mr. Fistel also represents aggrieved consumers and businesses in other complex litigation arising out of financial and consumer fraud.
Mr. Fistel was admitted to the State Bar of Georgia in 2001, and is currently admitted in good standing with the following courts:
- All courts in the State of Georgia
- The Supreme Court of the United States of America
- The United States Courts of Appeals for the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Tenth, and Eleventh Circuits
- The United States District Courts for the Northern and Middle Districts of Georgia
- The United States District Court for the District of Colorado
- The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
- The United States District Court for the District of Maryland
Mr. Fistel has also been invited to speak at the Georgia State University School of Law in the area of corporate governance and shareholder rights and has served as an invited panelist for the Securities and Corporate Litigation Sub-Section of the Atlanta Bar Association.
Awards and Peer Recognition
In 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016, Mr. Fistel was recognized as a Georgia Super Lawyer—Rising Star by Atlanta Magazine, an honor bestowed on just 2.5% of the attorneys in the State of Georgia. Additionally, since 2017, Mr. Fistel has received an AV rating with Martindale-Hubbell, which indicates very high to preeminent legal ability and very high ethical standards as established by confidential opinions from members of the Bar.
Mr. Fistel attended New England Law in Boston, Massachusetts, earning his Juris Doctor degree in 2001. While at New England Law, Mr. Fistel was repeatedly named to the Dean’s List and received the CALI Award for Excellence in Trial Practice and Sports Law. Prior to attending New England Law, Mr. Fistel attended Florida State University as a Florida Undergraduate Scholar, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.
Community and Volunteer Activities
Mr. Fistel is an active member of his local Hickory Flat, Georgia community, having served as an Executive Board Member and as Secretary of the Board of Directors of East Cherokee Baseball, a total volunteer youth sports organization where approximately 500 boys and girls ages 3-17 are provided a safe, fun, and educational baseball experience. Mr. Fistel and his family are members of St. Peter Chanel Catholic Church in Roswell, Georgia.
Mr. Fistel has been recognized as one of Atlanta’s top lawyers by a number of third-party sources based upon peer reviews, including the following: