Bernice C. Lee

Bernice Lee focuses her practice on bankruptcy and insolvency-related matters, fiduciary representation, and commercial litigation. She has extensive experience helping clients navigate complex issues in reorganizations, liquidations, receiverships, appeals, and fraudulent and preference transfer claims. She regularly represents creditors, investors, corporate debtors, receivers and trustees, and has guided numerous companies through successful chapter 11 bankruptcies.

Chambers USA (2022) ranked Bernice as Up and Coming in Bankruptcy Litigation and Bankruptcy Restructuring in Florida, and says “she is able to come up with strategies and solutions to very complicated bankruptcy matters” and “her intelligence and knowledge of law is impressive.” Super Lawyers recognized Bernice as a top-rated bankruptcy lawyer in 2019-2022, and a Super Lawyers Rising Star in 2015-2018.

Since her appointment in 2021, Bernice has served on the Florida Bar’s Federal Court Practice Committee, and as co-chair of its Federal Judicial Roundtable Subcommittee.  In 2022, the Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Florida appointed Bernice to serve as the non-judicial Co-Chair of its newly formed Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, and she was an honoree at the Women’s History Month Luncheon hosted by the Bankruptcy Bar Association and other voluntary bar associations.

She is a fellow of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association’s 2019 Leadership Advancement Program, the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges’ 2016 NextGen Class, and the Florida Bar Wm. Reece Smith, Jr. Leadership Academy, Class IV.  Bernice is a past president of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of South Florida, and director of the Kozyak Minority Mentoring Foundation. She also served as a director of the South Palm Beach County Florida Association of Women Lawyers, and board member of the City of Fort Lauderdale’s Economic Development Advisory Board.

Bernice received her Juris Doctor from Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, and B.A. from California State University Fullerton. During law school, she was a judicial intern for U.S. District Court Judge William G. Young for the District of Massachusetts. In 2008 to 2009, Bernice served as a law clerk for U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Paul G. Hyman for the Southern District of Florida. Prior to joining Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton, Bernice was a partner at a Boca Raton law firm.

PERSONAL STATEMENT

I am passionate about solving problems. I focus on understanding the client’s objectives and executing strategies to deliver desired results. Bankruptcy is a dynamic combination of litigation, negotiation, and consensus building. My dedication to community is reflected in my years of service on the board of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of South Florida.

SPEAKING ENGAGEMENT

  • Co-Chair, 2022 Federal Judicial Roundtable, Florida Bar’s Federal Court Practice Committee (June 23, 2022)
  • Panelist, Effective and Persuasive Legal Writing for Bankruptcy Lawyers, 32nd Annual Bankruptcy Skills Workshop at the University of Miami School of Law (June 3, 2022)
  • Panelist, No Releases for You! Purdue Pharma, the ‘Texas Two-Step’ and Other Recent Developments in Bankruptcy and Mass Tort Liabilities, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association Webinar (March 9, 2022)
  • Moderator, Receiver and Trustee Appointments, American Inns of Court’s Bench & Bar Conference Miami (February 18, 2022)
  • Panelist, Virtual Conversation about Practicing Bankruptcy Law, Kozyak Minority Mentoring Foundation (April 6, 2022 and February 25, 2021)
  • Panelist, Notable Recent Supreme Court Bankruptcy Cases, Bankruptcy Bar Association of South Florida, Brown Bag Series Fort Lauderdale (June 27, 2018)
  • Co-Author, Pssst, Can you Keep a Secret? Unperfected “Secret” Liens as a Preference Defense Vol. XXXVI, American Bankruptcy Institute Journal No. 6 (June 2017)

Kenneth R. Hartmann

Kenneth R. Hartmann leads the firm’s healthcare practice group. He represents healthcare providers such as hospitals, clinics and physician groups in disputes with private and government payers. He also counsels such providers on contract negotiations and regulatory compliance issues.

Ken has extensive trial and appellate experience in both federal and state court and has represented corporations, business entities, and individuals in a wide variety of complex commercial disputes, including healthcare and hospitality matters, fraud, unfair competition and deceptive trade practices, and contract disputes.

Ken has particular expertise in intellectual property matters and has extensive experience in trademark, copyright and patent litigation, as well as counterfeiting and theft of trade secret claims. Because of his in depth knowledge of intellectual property matters, Mr. Hartmann often counsels clients on developing and protecting intellectual property rights.

Ken has organized and spoken at numerous professional and business seminars on topics within his practice areas, and he uses his extensive trial experience to teach litigation skills to law students at the University of Miami, where he is an adjunct professor.

Ken enjoys collecting wine and organizes the firm’s monthly wine tasting events.  Prior to becoming a lawyer, Ken lived in Key West, Florida and worked as a commercial diver and fisherman, and sailed on numerous voyages to the Caribbean.  Ken remains an avid boater.

RESULTS

HEALTHCARE MATTERS

Ken represents many health care providers in recovering payment for services from managed care companies.  He represents physician groups, large hospital systems, outpatient medical facilities and treatment centers.  Ken has litigated against almost every major managed care company in Florida, and recovered in excess of $300 million on behalf of his clients.   In addition, settlements achieved in many cases result in favorable contract terms for business going forward.

Ken also represented a system of diabetes treatment centers in multiple actions against Medicare to recover payment for services provided which Medicare claimed were investigational.  Ken successfully obtained a ruling that the patient services are covered under Medicare and a judgment for reimbursement of the services.

HOSPITALITY MATTERS

Ken and his team have developed an expertise in the hospitality industry through their representation of hotel management companies.  Ken brought and successfully settled federal and state court actions on behalf of the former owner and manager of the Gansevoort Hotel, recovering significant damages for breach of its management agreement and intellectual property rights.

Ken and his team successfully litigated an action on behalf of General Hotel Management, manager of The Setai Hotel.  The action involved cases in state and federal court and proceedings in international arbitration.  Ken obtained a favorable arbitration award for the client and defeated all claims brought by the opposing party.

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

Ken regularly litigates complex cases involving patents, trademarks and copyrights.  Recent cases include the defense of Pandora, the manufacturer of fine jewelry and charms, in a trademark infringement action; the defense of a software copyright infringement action against a company operating rehabilitation centers, and several patent infringement actions on behalf of an electrical engineering invention company.

Robert Neary

Robert Neary

Robert Neary is Of Counsel in Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton’s complex litigation and class action practice groups.  Robert’s practice includes various areas of complex commercial litigation as well as class actions and multi-district litigation, representing plaintiffs in fraud and deceptive trade practices, tort, and product liability claims. Robert has litigated actions in both Federal and State courts and has also litigated matters before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

Robert works on the firm’s largest and most complex class actions, including a leading role on over twenty nationwide class actions against major mortgage servicers and lenders involving their force-placed insurance practices that have resulted in settlements making available over $1 billion dollars in relief and compensation for class members.

Robert has worked on various other complex matters including a class action representing physicians who in a dispute over an electronic health records software product, various product liability class actions, represented a former NFL player in an action against various broker-dealers before the FINRA arbitration panel, represented a prominent surgeon in an employment contract dispute with a hospital, and has represented plaintiffs and defendants in intellectual property litigation matters.

Rachel Sullivan

Rachel Sullivan

Rachel Sullivan is an attorney and Of Counsel to Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton’s complex litigation department.  Rachel has extensive experience with commercial litigation matters including consumer class actions, contractual disputes, common law fraud, securities fraud, violations of RICO, and corporate governance disputes.

Rachel was part of the firm’s team that represented more than seventy investors, who collectively lost $190 million investing with Fort Lauderdale lawyer Scott Rothstein, who ran a Ponzi scheme based on selling investments into structured settlements. The team recovered over 95% of all losses suffered by the investors, interest, and attorney fees, an unprecedented result. We did this by suing Rothstein’s co-conspirators, including multiple banks, accounting firms, and a host of others who had aided and abetted the fraud.

Rachel is also part of the firm’s class action practice, litigating some of the largest class actions in Florida and across the nation.  Recently, she was part of the team that challenged major mortgage lenders’  force-placed insurance programs and practices, resulting to date in eight settlements that have made more than $1 billion in relief available to class members nationwide.

Prior to joining the firm, Rachel was a litigation associate in the New York office of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP and in the Miami office of White & Case LLP, where she handled a variety of complex commercial litigation matters.  Rachel also served as Articles Editor of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review and a legal writing instructor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

PERSONAL STATEMENT

Our task as litigators is to advocate for our clients by crafting persuasive arguments.  In order to do so effectively, we must understand our audience, use language effectively, and craft a compelling story. We tell our clients’ stories for the first time on the page; our legal briefs are often our first opportunity to present their cases and persuade the court. I am a lawyer because I love the process of crafting an argument—taking the time to consider both sides, researching the law on all issues, and finding a creative approach to articulating our best case.

John W. Kozyak

John W. Kozyak

John Kozyak is a Fellow in both the American College of Bankruptcy and the American College of Trial Lawyers, and recognized as a “Bet The Company” litigator. He has played a major role in bankruptcy cases across the nation, representing business owners, lenders, creditors’ committees, trustees and major creditors.  He has also been appointed a trustee and receiver.  John has frequently written and lectured on bankruptcy and workout issues in many states.  He enjoys strategizing about all aspects of bankruptcies and litigation.  He is eager to help clients and younger lawyers achieve the best possible outcome.

John was lead bankruptcy lawyer representing the Asbestos Property Damage Claimants Committee in Celotex for the past 20 years. He and the firm have considerable experience in other product liability bankruptcy cases.

John has a particular expertise in real estate.  He has represented special servicers of mortgage-backed securitizations in bankruptcies across the country.  He has represented Marriott International and Ritz-Carlton, as well as other franchisors, owners, and lenders in hospitality-related bankruptcies.

John served as Trustee and Criminal Restitution Receiver in a viatical-based Ponzi scheme case, which was one of South Florida’s biggest frauds, Financial Federated and has experience in several criminal forfeitures and bankruptcy issues.

John is very active in the community and has received numerous awards for his work on diversity, inclusion and mentoring.  He co-founded the Kozyak Minority Mentoring Foundation and helped thousands of minority students with judges and lawyers.  He is the Immediate Past Chair of the Parkinson’s Foundation, and has been a active member of its board for 15 years.  He recently joined the board of the Fresco Parkinson Institute in Florence, Italy.

Results

John was appointed Receiver for the Signature Entities, in a matter where one 50% equity holder killed his partner and then himself. He sold the operating business and successfully managed several highly contentious litigation matters.

Financial Federated Title & Trust, Inc., was a large Ponzi scheme and John was Chapter 11 Trustee and criminal restitution receiver. There were more then 3500 creditors, the losses exceeded $130 million and the recovery was in excess of 30%.

Charles Bray was the majority equity holder in Bray & Gillespie Holdings, which owned and 26 operating hotels and more than 50 other development sites in the Daytona Beach area.  John had a major role in developing a plan which was approved by all secured creditors and provided broad releases for Mr. Bray.

John represented the Flight Attendants Medical Research Institute (“FAMRI”), a non-profit foundation formed as part of class action settlement between former, non-smoking, flight attendants and tobacco companies, when a few flight attendants and a large number of lawyers sought to dissolve FAMRI.  The petitioning lawyers were all disqualified due to conflicts and the petition and subsequent class action were dismissed with prejudice.

Charles W. Throckmorton

Charles W. Throckmorton

Chuck Throckmorton is a founding member of Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton, and is now of counsel to the firm.  Chuck’s practice has focused on bankruptcy, creditors’ rights and complex commercial litigation matters. He has successfully represented numerous companies in Chapter 11 reorganizations. He also has substantial experience representing lenders, secured and unsecured creditors, creditors’ committees, and trustees in bankruptcy matters.

Chuck is a Fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy, which is “an honorary public service association of bankruptcy and insolvency professionals who are invited to join as Fellows based on a proven record of the highest standards of professionalism plus service to the profession and their communities.”

In both 2014 and 2017, Chuck was named Miami’s “Lawyer of the Year” in the field of Bankruptcy Law by Best Lawyers in America. The Miami Daily Business Review named him Miami’s “Most Effective Lawyer” in the field of bankruptcy in 2013. Chuck has been rated “AV” by Martindale-Hubbell since 1985, and is now rated “AV Preeminent” by that publication. Out of more than 72,000 Florida lawyers, Chuck is one of 119 members of Florida Trend Magazine’s Legal Elite Hall of Fame.

Chuck has extensive experience in debt restructurings and workouts, bankruptcy sales, pre-bankruptcy planning, fraudulent conveyance and preferential transfer litigation, and all forms of commercial disputes that arise from secured transactions, lending agreements, and business contracts.

Chuck is also an experienced trial and appellate attorney who has litigated many jury and non-jury matters in federal and state trial and appellate courts in Florida and elsewhere around the country. He handles many of the firm’s appellate cases for both bankruptcy and litigation matters. He regularly lectures and writes on bankruptcy and commercial law.

Chuck is a music enthusiast and plays both the electric and acoustic guitar. He is an avid reader and traveler. Chuck and his wife, Karen, are active in various children’s advocacy groups. They have two sons, Charles, an attorney with the Miami firm of Carlton Fields, and Michael, who works at a private hedge fund in Dallas.

PERSONAL STATEMENT

Two of my favorite things about being a lawyer are (i) the gratifying feeling of seeing a weight lifted from a client’s shoulders after I’ve been able to solve a problem for them; and (ii) the intellectual and creative challenge of analyzing a legal problem and crafting a persuasive legal brief.  After more than forty years of practice, I now enjoy focusing my efforts on pro bono representation and on working with my wonderful KTT colleagues as a “utility player” on their cases.