Bernice C. Lee

Bernice Lee is Of Counsel at Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton, and focuses her practice on bankruptcy, creditors’ rights and commercial matters.  Since entering private practice in 2009, she has successfully addressed numerous complex legal issues stemming from business and individual insolvencies, including chapter 11 reorganizations, debtor-in-possession financing, bankruptcy sales, bankruptcy appeals, and fraudulent and preference transfers.  Bernice has extensive experience as lead counsel for evidentiary hearings and second chair for trials, as well as arguing contested motions before bankruptcy and district courts.  She also has considerable experience drafting substantive motions, memoranda and proposed opinion memoranda for bankruptcy cases.

Bernice received a B.A. in Communications with a minor in Business Administration from California State University Fullerton.  She earned her Juris Doctor from Northeastern University School of Law in Boston.  While in law school, she was a teaching and research assistant, and held internships with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts under Judge William G. Young, National Public Radio’s Office of the General Counsel, and a Boston law firm.

Before entering private practice, she also clerked for Chief Judge Paul G. Hyman of West Palm Beach serving the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Bernice has held key memberships in professional, legal and civic organizations including serving as President and Director for the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of South Florida, Director of the South Palm Beach County Florida Association of Women Lawyers, and a Board Member of the Economic Development Advisory Board for the City of Fort Lauderdale.  She is also a member of the 2016 NextGeneration Class of the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, Class IV of the Florida Bar, Wm. Reece Smith, Jr. Leadership Academy, and the Bankruptcy Bar Association of South Florida.  She was recognized by Super Lawyers in 2019 as a Super Lawyers Rising Star from 2015 through 2018.

PERSONAL STATEMENT

I am passionate about the law.  I love applying my experience, training, and energy to develop strategies to put my clients in the best situation.  The practice of bankruptcy law is a dynamic combination of litigation, collaboration and negotiation, and involves many other substantive fields. My commitment to growth extends to my many years of service on the board of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of South Florida, and a decade-long yoga practice.

Jorge L. Piedra

Jorge L. Piedra is Of Counsel at Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton and concentrates his practice on complex commercial and construction litigation.

As a commercial and construction trial lawyer, he has decades of experience having distinguished himself in over 75 jury and non-jury trials and numerous arbitrations. He has also over 70 cases before various courts of appeal.

Jorge was recently selected to Florida Trend’s Florida 500. The Florida 500 highlights the 500 most influential executives in different economic sectors throughout the state. Jorge was awarded the prized AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell and was also selected and listed in Florida Super Lawyers magazine as one of the top 5 percent attorneys in the state. Florida Trend Magazine also named him to Florida’s “Legal Elite” and “The State’s Legal Leaders.” He has also been named as one of the “Best Attorneys in Florida” by Best Lawyers, as selected by peer recognition.

Jorge attended Florida State University (FSU) for his undergraduate studies, obtaining a B.S. in Political Science in 1992. He subsequently enrolled at FSU’s College of Law, graduating with honors. He was a member of the university’s Journal of Transnational Law and Policy and an Articles and Notes Editor for FSU’s Journal of Land Use and Environmental Law.

In 2019, Jorge was elected to the Florida Bar Board of Governors. His membership in and commitment to legal, community, business and civic organizations include a longstanding association with the Cuban American Bar Association (CABA), where he recently served as President. CABA also named him its Outstanding Young Lawyer in 2003, and he also served as Chairman of CABA Pro Bono. He is also a member of the Latin Builders Association (LBA) where he served on the Board of Directors and its Executive Committee and as the organization’s Secretary, General Counsel, and its Legislative and Community Affairs Committees Chairman. In 2002 and 2005, he was selected as the LBA’s Attorney of the Year. Jorge is also a member of the Kiwanis Club of Little Havana, organizers of the world famous “Carnival Miami” and “Calle Ocho” festivals and has served as that organization’s Board of Directors since 2003, having chaired its golf tournament and voter registration drives.

Jorge was admitted to practice law in the State of Florida in 1996. He is also admitted to practice in the United States District Courts for the Southern, Middle and Northern Districts of Florida as well as the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

Prior to joining Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton, Jorge was Managing Partner at Piedra & Associates, P.A.

PERSONAL STATEMENT

I handle most of my cases the same way.  First, I obtain an understanding of my client’s goals which is the most important piece of information to have before the case begins.  I then apply my experience in the courtroom, both at the trial and appellate level, to determine the feasibility, the strategy and the cost to achieve those goals.  Finally, I truly enjoy deploying all tools available to me to create a win. High stakes litigation is an art not a science.

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.

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.

Dwayne A. Robinson

Dwayne A. Robinson

Dwayne Robinson is Of Counsel at Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton, and focuses his practice on complex litigation.

Dwayne is a trial-tested lawyer who has represented clients in dozens of appeals in federal and state court, including at oral argument before the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal.  Dwayne brings a practical and thoughtful approach in his representative matters.  He has represented clients who have matters simultaneously pending in trial court and appellate court in the same or related cases, assisting them with advancing their litigation goals on multiple fronts.  He interacts with clients daily, timely, and plainly.  He proudly served as part of a litigation and appellate team that secured a victory before the United States Supreme Court.

Dwayne is a member of The Florida Bar; the Southern, Middle, and Northern Districts of Florida, the United States Court of Appeal for the Eleventh Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court Bar. Prior to law school, he was editor-in-chief of The Independent Florida Alligator at the University of Florida, then the largest daily independent, student-run newspaper in the country. He later worked for The Palm Beach Post, covering local government, politics, and the Florida legislature.

Dwayne received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from University of Florida, where he also minored in Business Administration.  He later received his Juris Doctor, magna cum laude, from University of Florida Levin College of Law, earning the distinction of membership in the Order of the Coif.  There, Dwayne served as Editor-in-Chief of the Florida Law Review.  Thereafter, Dwayne clerked on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit with the Honorable Ed Carnes, presently the Chief Judge of that circuit.

Prior to joining Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton, Dwayne was a senior associate at a large local firm, where he focused on commercial litigation matters involving corporate governance disputes, foreign sovereign immunity, employment claims, and federal statutory causes of action.

Dwayne is a committed member of the community. He serves on the Board of Directors for The Lotus House women’s shelter in the Overtown district of Miami. He also served as governor on The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division Board of Governors, representing Miami’s Seat 3 and as Vice President for the Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr. Bar Association. He is currently the chair of The Florida Bar’s Media & Communications Law Committee.

PERSONAL STATEMENT

Lawyers are problem solvers. The best lawyers identify solutions—whether through the legal process or otherwise.  The one thing greater than designing those solutions is achieving them for my clients.

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. John has played a major role in bankruptcy cases across the nation, representing business owners, lenders, creditors’ committees, and major creditors, and he has been appointed a trustee and receiver.

John has frequently written and lectured on bankruptcy and workout issues and has participated in seminars in many states. He 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 regularly represented special servicers of mortgage-backed securitizations in bankruptcies across the country.  He has represented Marriott International and Ritz-Carlton, as well as other franchisers, 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 participated in several criminal forfeitures and bankruptcy issues.

John is very active in the community and proudly serves as the Chair of the National Parkinson Foundation.  He also founded the Kozyak Minority Mentoring Foundation which helps minority law students excel in law school by matching them with judges and lawyers as mentors (www.kmmfoundation.org). To see a video of the most recent annual picnic, click here.

Results

John was appointed Receiver by the Honorable Maria Korvick 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. The companies filled for Chapter 11 in September 2008 and had a plan confirmed in July 2009 pursuant to which he obtained a broad release.

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.

Dyanne E. Feinberg

Dyanne E. Feinberg

Dyanne E. Feinberg is Of Counsel at Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton.   Dyanne has extensive experience in complex commercial litigation and class action securities litigation, including the defense of hedge fund administrators and custodians in multi-billion dollar actions relating to fraud and Ponzi schemes in federal and state court.  She also has significant experience in class action cases representing plaintiffs and defendants in securities and consumer fraud actions.

Dyanne’s practice also focuses on complex contract disputes, professional malpractice defense and corporate malfeasance claims.  Dyanne litigates in federal and state court, and represents clients in all forms of alternate dispute resolution including arbitration proceedings.  Dyanne has handled many appeals including drafting appellate briefs and presenting oral argument in both state and federal courts of appeal.  She is also the past president of The Florida Association for Women Lawyers and the past president of The Kiwanis Club of Miami.

Dyanne is passionate about music and regularly attends live music performances, occasionally finding herself onstage singing or playing guitar.   She also is involved in many charity organizations and fund-raising events, and is currently on the board of directors’ of Miami Women Who Rock, a women’s network that promotes health and wellness causes and initiatives for women.

PERSONAL STATEMENT

I have been practicing law for over 36 years. But every day I still wake up excited to face new challenges. I combine my passion for the law and my drive to succeed to deliver successful results to my clients.

RESULTS

FRAUD AND PONZI SCHEMES

Dyanne represented a multi-national hedge fund custodian and administrator of offshore feeder funds in ongoing federal and state actions in the Southern District of New York and New York Supreme Court relating to Bernie Madoff.  She obtained dismissal of a $60 million claim by an investor in the Madoff scheme in the Southern District of New York.  She also obtained dismissal of claims against a fund administrator for lack of personal jurisdiction in Texas federal court, and successfully briefed and argued the appeal of that dismissal before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.  She attained highly favorable summary judgment rulings and rulings regarding spoliation of evidence in favor of her clients, in defending a group action brought by investors in offshore hedge funds.

SECURITIES LAW VIOLATIONS

Dyanne has obtained favorable jury verdicts as lead counsel in numerous jury trials representing investors in securities fraud cases against brokerage firms, banks, and other entities involving claims of unsuitability, churning, and other securities violations.  She has also arbitrated over a hundred securities fraud claims by investors against brokerage firms, banks, and other entities involving such claims.

CORPORATE DISPUTES

Dyanne also regularly handles cases involving corporate and shareholder disputes.  She has represented both plaintiffs and defendants in connection with such disputes.  She recently obtained a $9.5 million jury verdict in a case involving piercing the corporate veil and fraudulent transfer issues.

PROFESSIONAL SERVICES MALPRACTICE

Dyanne has successfully represented big four accounting firms in multi-million dollar auditor malpractice actions in state court and on the appellate level.  She has also successfully defended law firms in legal malpractice actions involving multi-million dollar claims.

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.