McMillen, Joe S.
Joe S. McMillen

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Practice Areas:

  • Disability Insurance
  • Life Insurance
  • Property & Casualty
  • Liability Insurance
  • ERISA Claims
  • General Business Litigation


Joe S. McMillen is a senior attorney in the Newport Beach office of McKennon Law Group PC. He is a UCLA-educated, summa cum laude graduate. Mr. McMillen has two decades of experience litigating ERISA and insurance coverage and bad faith claims. He also specializes in litigating complex insurance disputes, which he has done throughout his 25 year career. Mr. McMillen has taken hundreds of depositions, participated in numerous mediations, arbitrations and trials, and has significant experience in every aspect of the litigation process. He is admitted to all federal and state courts in California, and has been admitted pro hac vice in many federal courts throughout the country.

Prior to joining the firm, Mr. McMillen was a partner at Hines Carder, an insurance coverage and business litigation firm with a national practice. He spent eight years there where he defended insurance companies against claims brought by their policyholders under commercial general liability, homeowners, commercial property, disability, automobile and other types of insurance policies. That gives him a unique, inside perspective on insurance company strategy, and thus how to win a policyholder's lawsuit. 

For another six years, Mr. McMillen practiced at a boutique IP insurance law firm with a national reputation and practice. There he represented Fortune 500 policyholders in state and federal courts throughout the nation in insurance coverage and extra-contractual disputes involving underlying intellectual property, antitrust, business tort, and employment claims. He also litigated life insurance claims, as well as trademark, trade dress, trade secret, copyright, false advertising, unfair competition, and general business matters.

Mr. McMillen has represented numerous publicly traded companies and prominent people in a broad range of industries in insurance coverage matters. For example, he has represented Hewlett Packard, Michael Bolton, Novell, ASICS, Garmin, Live Nation, Nationwide Insurance and Masco Corporation. He was on a team of lawyers which recovered a $51.6 million judgment for a Fortune 100 company in relation to an underlying antitrust, patent and trademark dispute.

He has successfully drafted, argued and won numerous dispositive motions ending multi-million dollar insurance coverage and bad faith lawsuits. He was the lead attorney in published cases where he prevailed on summary judgment that clarified novel issues of insurance contract law, for example, Ohio Cas. Ins. Co. v. Biotech Pharmacy, Inc., 547 F. Supp. 2d 1158 (D. Nev. 2008) and JACO Environmental, Inc. v. AISLIC, 2009 WL 1591340 (W.D. Wash. May 19, 2009). He helped reverse a $5 million judgment in an insurance contract dispute at the second trial, after he took the case over from a different law firm post-appeal.

Presently, Mr. McMillen represents policyholders in insurance coverage litigation, primarily on disability insurance, life insurance, accidental death, long-term care, property & casualty, liability insurance and ERISA claims. He represents insureds, claimants, beneficiaries, businesses and other consumers who believe that an insurance company improperly denied their claim for insurance benefits. He also continues to practice in the area of general business litigation. 



  • University of San Diego School of Law, San Diego, California
    • J.D. - 1994
  • University of California, Los Angeles
    • B.A. - 1991
    • Honors: summa cum laude
    • Honors: Top 1% class rank
    • Major: Business/Economics

Bar Admissions

  • State Bar of California, 1994
  • U.S. Federal Courts: Central District of California, Northern District of California, Eastern District of California, Southern District of California
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit
  • Admitted Pro Hac Vice in numerous courts in the United States

Published Works

  • Decision Marks the End of an Era for Employee Benefit Plans, Los Angeles Daily Journal, May 25, 2017
  • When is Insurer’s Delay a Breach?, Los Angeles Daily Journal, November 27, 2015
  • Supreme Court Ramps Up Interest in ERISA, Los Angeles Daily Journal, November 6, 2015
  • Examine the “Reasonable Expectations of the Insured,” Los Angeles Daily Journal, September 22, 2015
  • When Insurers Rescind, They Must Act Fast, Los Angeles Daily Journal, April 1, 2015

Representative Cases

  • Ohio Cas. Ins. Co. v. Biotech Pharmacy, Inc., 547 F. Supp. 2d 1158 (D. Nev. 2008)
  • JACO Environmental, Inc. v. AISLIC, 2009 WL 1591340 (W.D. Wash. May 19, 2009)

Past Positions

  • Hines Carder, Partner

Professional Associations

  • State Bar of California, 1994

Current Employment Position

  • Senior Attorney