Bernice C. Lee

Bernice C. Lee

Bernice Lee is a Partner at Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton, and focuses her practice on bankruptcy, receiverships, and complex commercial litigation. She has extensive experience in all aspects of reorganizations, liquidations, receiverships, and fraudulent and preference transfer litigation. She regularly represents creditors, investors, receivers, trustees and business debtors, and has served as a court-appointed fiduciary in federal and state cases.

As reflected in Chambers USA, Bernice has notable experience in both Bankruptcy Litigation and Bankruptcy Restructuring. She is a top-rated bankruptcy lawyer by Super Lawyers (2019-2023) and was a Rising Star (2015-2018). Bernice’s dedication to the community has been recognized by the Daily Business Review as a 2023 Unsung Hero awardee for her work on the MJ Capital Funding receivership, and by various voluntary bar associations as an honoree at the 2022 Women’s History Month Event.

Most recently, Bernice was appointed receiver by the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida over MJ Capital Funding, LLC and three related companies used to operate a $200 million Ponzi scheme that defrauded thousands of investors. She has recovered millions in receivership funds from third parties, worked with investor class representatives to obtain a $26.625 million settlement with Wells Fargo Bank, and testified in a criminal trial in which the jury returned a guilty verdict on all counts.

She serves as Vice Chair of the Florida Bar’s Federal Court Practice Committee, and was Co-Chair of the Education Subcommittee (2022-23) and the Judicial Roundtable Subcommittee (2021-22). In 2022, the Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Florida appointed Bernice as the non-judicial Co-Chair of its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee.

Bernice is a past president of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of South Florida, and director of the Kozyak Minority Mentoring Foundation. 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 received her Juris Doctor from Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, and Bachelor of Arts in Communications and minor in Business Administration from California State University Fullerton. In 2008 to 2009, Bernice was 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.


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.


  • Moderator, Federal Court Settlement Conferences, Florida Bar’s Federal Court Practice Committee (May 19, 2023)
  • Panelist, AAPI Heritage Event, Bankruptcy Bar Association of South Florida (May 12, 2023)
  • 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 (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)
Jorge L. Piedra

Jorge L. Piedra

Jorge L. Piedra is the Managing Partner at Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton and concentrates his practice on complex commercial and construction litigation.

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

Jorge is a member of the Florida Bar Board of Governors representing the 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida. Jorge was elected by his peers in 2019 and re-elected in 2021. The 52-member Board of Governors has exclusive authority to formulate and adopt matters of policy concerning the activities of the Bar and regulates the practice of law in Florida. In his role as Governor, Jorge has served on the Judicial Nominating Commission Screening Committee, Judicial Qualifications Commission Screening Committee, Public Member Screening Committee, Disciplinary Review Committee, Technology Committee, Covid-19 Recovery Task Force and Chair of the Annual Convention Committee among many other assignments. In 2021 he received the President’s Award for his service on the Technology Committee and the Covid 19 Recovery Task Force.

Jorge is a highly decorated and respected trial lawyer. He was recently selected to Florida Trend’s Florida 500, which highlights the 500 most influential executives in different economic sectors throughout the state. For more than 15 consecutive years, Jorge has been awarded the prized AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell and has been listed in Florida Super Lawyers magazine as one of the top 5 percent of attorneys in the state. Florida Trend Magazine also named him to Florida’s “Legal Elite” and “The State’s Legal Leaders.” He is also consistently recognized as one of the “Best Attorneys in Florida” in business litigation by Best Lawyers, as selected by peer recognition. Jorge was selected as one of the state’s “Notable Managing Partners” in Florida Trend Magazine.

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 in 1996. In law school, Jorge 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.

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 served on the board of directors for 9 years and recently served as President. CABA also named him its Outstanding Young Lawyer in 2003, and he served as Chairman of CABA Pro Bono in 2017. Jorge is also a member of the Latin Builders Association (LBA) where he previously served on the Board of Directors and its Executive Committee and as the organization’s Secretary, General Counsel, and Legislative and Community Affairs Committees Chairman. In 2002 and 2005, he was selected as the LBA’s Attorney of the Year. He is a member of the Kiwanis Club of Little Havana, organizers of the world famous “Carnival Miami” and “Calle Ocho” festivals and served on that organization’s Board of Directors from 2003 until 2009.

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. for 18 years.


High stakes litigation is an art not a science.  I approach most of my cases the same way.  First, I obtain an understanding of my client’s goals.  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 resources available to me at KTT to create a win.

Javier Lopez

Javier A. Lopez

Javier Lopez is a partner, and co-chair of complex and commercial litigation.  He served as Managing Partner of the firm throughout 2020 and 2021.  Javier has particular expertise in both  U.S. federal and state courts.  He has represented many high-profile corporations and individuals in contract and business disputes, commercial transactions, and intellectual property matters.  He has handled trials and appeals on both the state and federal levels.  His recent verdict in a “bet the company” litigation that resulted in a six week jury trial ended with one of the top ten largest jury verdicts in the State of Florida and one of the top 100 verdicts in the United States which was for almost $37 million.

Javier handles some of the firm’s largest and most complex litigation matters. He has particular expertise in filing and defending claims involving businesses, financial institutions, accounting firms, individuals and others for participation in fraudulent schemes, breaches of contract, breach of fiduciary duties, defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, individual and class actions involving deception and false advertising, and representing individuals and large companies in contract and shareholder disputes.  Javier frequently serves as an attorneys fee expert as he is certified by the National Association of Legal Fee Analysis ( He has a passion for civil rights and is frequently appointed by courts to represent the interests of the less fortunate against government entities and law enforcement.

Javier is also humbled to have been appointed as Co-Lead Counsel to the Economic Loss and Property Damage Track in the Champlain Towers South Collapse Litigation, in Miami-Dade County state court before the Honorable Michael Hanzman. This complex litigation, in the aftermath of the devastating Champlain Towers collapse tragedy claiming 98 souls and 136 property units, has been one of the most important and impactful cases of Javier’s career and garnered worldwide importance. The resolution of this matter with over $1.3 billion going to the victims was one of the highest settlements in the country in 2022.

Chambers USA has ranked Javier since 2021 for Litigation: General Commercial and described him as “a highly effective oral advocate” and “an experienced litigator who leads an excellent team.”  As featured in The Miami Herald, he was selected by peers as one of South Florida’s 2024 Top Lawyers.  Florida Super Lawyers magazine named him a “Rising Star” from 2010-2020, and as a “Super Lawyer” from 2022 forward.  He was recognized as a “Rising Star” by the Daily Business Review and a “Top 40 Under 40” by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. He was elected to the Cuban American Bar Association’s Board of Directors in 2009, and served as its President in 2017. Javier was honored as a Golden Angel for his support of the Jackson Memorial Foundation through JUNTOS, the philanthropic foundation he co-founded. Since 2005, he has been a member of the Harvard Alumni Association’s Interviewing Committee.  He is also a Miami Art Studio (MAS) advisory Board Member.

Prior to joining Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton, Javier was a legal clerk in the White House Counsel’s Office where he was very involved in the vetting process for the replacement of then Chief Justice William Renquist.  Javier also worked at the United States House of Representatives as part of the legal review team for new policy and legislation.


Complex Litigation

Javier successfully represented a real estate developer against a manufactured gas plant operator in a complicated environmental contamination case with damages estimated at over $140 million.  The parties reached an amicable settlement after a five week bench trial.  Javier also successfully represented a major sugar company defeating claims brought by 1700 individual sugar cane cutters that were former employees.  He had to live in Jamaica for eight months where he took over 450 depositions during that span.

Javier recently obtained a favorable monetary settlement for a client who was victimized by law enforcement and was critical in major compliance changes within the municipality’s police training on excessive force and police brutality.

Javier recently tried to verdict a jury trial in where he successfully pierced the corporate veil to hold a shareholder liable, winning a US $15 million jury verdict for a Venezuelan businessman.  The verdict, which also involved fraudulent transfer of assets issues, was affirmed by the Third District Court of Appeal in Quercia, et al. v. Curbelo, et al., Case Nos. 3D15-2392 and 3D16-1181 (Fla. 3d DCA Nov. 29, 2017).

Javier was appointed as Co-Lead counsel in the tragic Champlain Tower collapse class action.  In just one year, the victims entered into a $1.3 billion settlement with over 30 targets including real estate developers, security companies, law firms and a host of others.

Javier successfully tried a three week Federal jury trial involving a major music festival and its international franchisee out of Croatia.  The case involved trademark infringement issues along with breaches of contract, partnership disputes, and co-mingling of assets.

Javier successfully tried a six week jury trial case involving an entire private Bahamian island.  The case included claims for defamation, breach of contract, conspiracy to breach the contract, breach of fiduciary duties, unjust enrichment, and conspiracy to commit nuisance.  This trial resulted in a $37 million jury verdict, the largest tort verdict in the State of Florida that year and one of the top 100 jury verdicts in the nation for that year.

Javier has represented several internationally known recording artists with a variety a legal issues ranging from copyright infringement to breach of a royalty contract.  His ability to be fluent in Spanish gives his clients a level of comfort when discussing their personal matters.

Javier also served as a mediator for the 800 MHz Transition Administrator in connection with the movement of a major telecom to new frequency bands to eliminate interference to public safety and other licensees, the largest such realignment of radio spectrum in the history of the FCC.


  • Ascencion Seminar: Avoiding Getting to Burnout – Addressing Attorney Anxiety and Overwhelm , 3/29/2023.
  • FIU College of Law: Mindfulness and the Law, 2/15/2023.
  • LMASE Virtual Managing Partner Roundtable, 9/28/2022.
  • Bench & Bar Panel on Mental Health & Mindfulness, 2/18/2022 (Hyatt Regency Downtown Miami).
  • University of Miami Zoom Webinar: More than Feeling Good: How Mental Health and Well-Being Will Help You Succeed on Exams and In Life, 10/13/2020.
  • Webinar: Ethics and Professionalism for Local Government Attorneys, 8/20/2020.
  • ILS Global Forum on International Law, February 2020


  • Co-Author, To Close or Not to Close … and How to Make It Hurt if Your Buyer Walks, Daily Business Review (7/05/2017)
  • Co-Author, Bilingual Trials, The Corporate Counselor, Law Journal Newsletter (Volume 31, Number 5, August 2016)
  • Co-Author, Most Valuable Tool: The Art of the Mock Trial, Daily Business Review (1/20/2016)


  • Chambers USA, ranked yearly since 2021 for Litigation: General Commercial
  • Best Lawyers, recognized yearly since 2016
  • Super Lawyers, recognized yearly since 2010
  • South Florida Legal Guide, Top up And Comers, The Next Generation of Leaders , January 2018
  • Florida Trend’s Florida Legal Elite, 2014 & 2020
  • American Registry, Florida’s Outstanding Young Lawyers, Business Litigation, 2011 & 2012
  • The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division, 2017 Diversity Award
  • Top Up and Comers, The Next Generation of Leaders (South Florida Legal Guide, January 2018)
  • “Top 40 Under 40” by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
  • Honored as a Golden Angel for his support of the Jackson Memorial Foundation through JUNTOS


I became a lawyer because my parents came from a country where there was no rule of law.  My great uncle was the longest held political prisoner in the world (sentenced to 30 years after a 30 minute trial).  Being able to practice law in a society that respects law and the rule of law and help those through that process has been one of the biggest blessings of my life.


Tal J. Lifshitz

Tal J. Lifshitz

Tal J. Lifshitz is a partner in Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton’s complex litigation department.  An experienced litigator and former federal judicial law clerk with federal jury trial experience, Tal is part of a team at KTT that handles “bet the company” cases and class actions. He has represented a wide range of sophisticated corporate and individual clients, including investors in high-stakes business disputes, investment and securities frauds, and Ponzi scheme litigation.

Some of the cases Tal has worked on include representing 70% of victims of the $1.2 billion Scott Rothstein South Florida Ponzi scheme, leading to a nearly 100% recovery of these victims’ hundreds of millions of dollars in losses. More recently, Tal also had a leading role in securing a $150 million settlement against Raymond James on behalf of EB-5 immigrant investors in the Jay Peak scheme that misappropriated more than $350 million in investor funds, and in managing the litigation stemming from the tragic Champlain Towers South building collapse in Surfside, Fla., as part of KTT’s court appointment as Co-Chair Lead Counsel in the In re: Champlain Towers South Collapse Litigation.  In less than 15 months, the KTT-led plaintiffs secured over $1.1 billion dollars in relief for the Surfside victims.

Most recently, Tal served as lead defense trial counsel on behalf of a globally respected expert on risk management and restructuring in a film financing dispute over the 2015 Natalie Portman film “Jane Got a Gun,” brought by the Boies Schiller Film Group. After a three-week trial, Tal and his team successfully secured a full defense verdict in their client’s favor.

Tal received his Bachelor of Arts, magna cum laude, from the University of Central Florida and his Juris Doctor from the University of Miami Law School, summa cum laude. While in law school, he was a member of the Charles C. Papy Jr. Moot Court Board and served as the Eleventh Circuit Editor of the University of Miami Law Review. During law school, Tal received the Soia Mentschikoff Award for Excellence in Scholarly Writing for his publication, “Arguable Probable Cause:” An Unwarranted Approach to Qualified Immunity, 65 U. Miami. L. Rev. 1159 (2011).  After law school, Tal served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Kenneth A. Marra, Southern District of Florida, from September 2012 to September 2013.

Since 2019, Tal has been recognized by Super Lawyers in the area of Class Actions/Mass Torts, and was included in the 2023 Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch. He has served as a Faculty Member for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA), teaching multi-day trial and deposition technique programs using NITA’s hands-on, “learn-by-doing” method, and recently concluded his term as President for the South Florida Chapter of the Federal Bar Association. In December 2023, he was featured in a Daily Business Review profile for his impact and influence at a young age. And this year Tal was recognized by the Daily Business Review’s 2024 Florida Legal Awards as “On The Rise.”



Benjamin J. Widlanski

Benjamin J. Widlanski

Benjamin Widlanski is a partner at Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton, and focuses his practice on complex commercial litigation and class actions.

He received his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Religion at Columbia University. He then earned his Juris Doctor from Columbia University School of Law, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. After graduating law school, he served for almost five years in the United States Army as a Captain in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, where he advised various commanders on military justice matters and other legal issues, litigated in federal court and military courts martial, and received numerous medals and distinctions, including a Bronze Star.

Ben brings extensive courtroom and trial experience, as he spent five years as an Assistant United States Attorney at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida. During that time, he prosecuted and investigated hundreds of federal crimes, including labor trafficking, sex trafficking, sex tourism, narcotics trafficking, violent organized gangs, aggravated identity theft, money laundering, wire and mail fraud, cyber crimes and crimes involving the Dark Web and cryptocurrencies, armed robbery, international kidnapping, and murder. He also briefed and argued multiple matters before the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and managed large investigative teams from virtually every federal law enforcement agency.

Ben represents the victims of Ponzi schemes and other large-scale fraud cases in class action lawsuits around the country. He also represents consumer classes in lawsuits against large corporations for selling mislabeled products, deceptive trade practices, and data breaches. Ben’s practice areas also include professional malpractice claims, business disputes, antitrust litigation, and internal investigations.

Ben is an adjunct professor at the University of Miami Law School, where he teaches Litigation Skills, and he devotes time to various Veterans-focused non-profit organizations.

Admitted to practice in Florida and New York.


The law exists to protect people and redress wrongs.  I have always loved using the law to stand up for victims – from when I was a prosecutor, fighting for victims of violent crimes or human trafficking, through today, fighting for the victims of fraud, corporate malfeasance, and commercial greed – it feels good to speak out against injustice and on behalf of the ill-used and forgotten.  I take great pride in representing my clients to the best of my ability, and I’ve never had to compromise my morals to do so.

Dwayne A. Robinson

Dwayne A. Robinson

Dwayne Robinson is a partner 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.

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 past chairman of The Florida Bar’s Media & Communications Law Committee.


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.

Maria D. Garcia

Maria D. Garcia

Maria D. Garcia is a Partner and leads the Healthcare Practice at Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton. She focuses her practice on health care law and commercial litigation. She has extensive experience in managed care litigation and advising healthcare providers regarding Medicare, Medicaid, and commercial health plan issues. Maria has led multiple multi-million-dollar managed care litigation matters in arbitration and state and federal courts. Maria also provides guidance to health care providers on various transactional legal issues, such as business expansion, federal and state regulatory compliance, practice formation, joint ventures, managed care contracting, and non-compete agreements.  She received her B.A., magna cum laude, from Florida International University (FIU), and earned her Juris Doctor from the FIU College of Law.

Maria’s work as a health care attorney has been recognized by Chambers USA, which has ranked her in the area of healthcare law, and by Super Lawyers Magazine and the South Florida Legal Guide, who has named her a “Top Lawyer” in healthcare. Florida Trend Magazine also has named her as one of the 500 Most Influential Business Leaders in the State of Florida. Maria has taught as an adjunct professor at the Florida International University College of Law focusing on health care law and Medicare and Medicaid compliance and reimbursement issues.

Maria is also devoted to the community and is currently a member of the Florida Commission on the Status of Women and the CABA Pro Bono Legal Services Board of Directors. She has also served as President of the Cuban American Bar Association and President of the FIU Alumni Association. Currently, Maria is Vice Chair of the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce.


It is extremely rewarding to be an attorney, and I have the opportunity to counsel my clients and guide them through issues in the healthcare industry every day – from litigation to how to grow their businesses and serve patients. It is also a great honor to give back to our community through my involvement in various organizations at the local and statewide level.

Detra Shaw-Wilder

Detra Shaw-Wilder

Detra Shaw-Wilder is a litigation partner at Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton. She concentrates her practice in complex commercial litigation, business law matters, corporate shareholder disputes and high-level contract and commercial financing disputes.  Detra regularly litigates in state and federal court.  Having been involved in significant litigation, she has a broad range of trial experience in commercial cases.

Detra frequently participates in panel discussions on complex litigation matters and trial skills programs.  She is currently Chairperson of the Business Litigation Committee of the Florida Bar Business Law Section and Vice President of the University of Miami Law Alumni Association.  Detra is a past Board Member and Region XI Director for the National Bar Association. She is also a member of the Federal Grievance Committee for the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida and previously served on the Florida Bar Grievance Committee for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida.

Detra is passionate about community involvement and is involved in several charitable organizations and is a co-founder of the Kozyak Minority Mentoring Foundation. Outside of the practice of law, Detra is a dedicated sports mom and enjoys spending time on the soccer pitch or track field watching her two teenage kids participate in sports.



Detra had a lead role in the team that 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.  Her team obtained a favorable multi-million arbitration award for the client and defeated all claims brought by the opposing party.


Detra has represented numerous shareholders in corporate disputes including successful representations of clients in buy-out disputes involving closely held corporations.


Detra served as lead counsel representing a major lender in litigation related to a prominent South Beach hotel.  She also represented a private lender in litigation related to a landmark restaurant in West Palm Beach in which she achieved a favorable settlement on the lender’s behalf.

Harley S. Tropin

Harley S. Tropin

Harley Tropin is Founding Partner of Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton and concentrates his practice on high stakes business litigation.

Harley is co-chair of the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in the matter of In Re: Champlain Towers South Collapse Litigation, where he directed a team of lawyers responsible for recovering over $1 billion dollars in settlements arising from the tragic collapse of the Champlain Towers South condominium project. He has been at the forefront of most complex financial fraud matters in the Southern District of Florida for the last three decades.

He was recognized by the University of Miami Law School as their most outstanding alumnus, and is a three time winner of the “Most Effective Lawyer” award given by the Daily Business Review. The American Jewish Committee recognized Harley for his outstanding legal work and community contributions with the 2016 Learned Hand award. Best Lawyers in America has selected Harley for the top-tier litigation category, “Bet-the-Company Litigators.” He has been awarded “Lawyer of the Year” for Miami Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions (2014-2020); and “Lawyer of the Year” for Miami Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions for Plaintiffs and Defendants (2023). Chambers USA has ranked him one of two Florida lawyers to receive its “Star” rating. Prior to that, it placed him in its top “Tier 1” ranking and describes Harley as “one of the deans of the Florida Bar” and “a tremendous oral advocate – he’s a very savvy and smart lawyer who knows which buttons to push and when.” He is also listed in Florida Super Lawyers, Florida Trend’s “Legal Elite,” and one of fifty Florida Lawyers named to the Legal Elite Hall of Fame. He is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates, a Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, and a member of its Board of Directors. Harley has also served as a member of the Federal and State Judicial Nominating Commission.

While the majority of Harley’s practice now focuses on representing plaintiffs, he regularly represents businesses and law firms in their most serious and challenging cases.

Harley lectures on a variety of issues in commercial litigation, including the management of complex litigation, the presentation of damages in commercial litigation, trial advocacy techniques, and fraud prosecution. He has chaired the NITA/Federal Court Program on trial advocacy, and lectures at the annual University of Miami Class Action Forum which he co-chairs.

Harley authored Florida Business Torts, a Lexis Nexis book published in March 2006, and the injunction chapter for Florida Civil Practice Before Trial, a standard Florida litigation text. He teaches trial advocacy and negotiation techniques at the University of Miami School of Law, and has served on the boards of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, Temple Beth Am and the American Jewish Committee.

Harley is a passionate advocate for greater access to mental health services. He chaired the University of Miami Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Advisory Board from 2014-2018, has helped raise funds for a Day Treatment Medical Center for mental health patients, and represents the department on a pro bono basis on legal issues involving mental health concerns.

Harley also has served on the Florida Supreme Court Committee on Gender Bias and Diversity and is an integral part of the KTT commitment to diversity in the workplace and community.


Fraud and Ponzi Schemes

Harley represented more than seventy investors, who collectively lost $190 million investing with Ft. Lauderdale lawyer Scott Rothstein, who ran a Ponzi scheme, based on selling fictitious structured settlements. Typical recoveries in these cases range from 10 -30%. Harley and his team recovered over 95% of losses, and their attorney’s fees.

Corporate Disputes

Harley successfully represented a New York investor, and his closely held corporation, in a $2.5 billion dispute with his CEO (and nephew) over entitlement to the proceeds of the sale of his oil and gas venture. After the sale, the CEO sued in multiple courts, arguing entitlement to half the proceeds, on the theory that he was a general partner of the venture. Harley and his team defeated the claims entirely, while obtaining sanctions against the CEO for discovery abuses, and recovering a favorable monetary settlement of the counterclaim.

Legal Malpractice Defense

Harley successfully represented a large Florida law firm, which was sued for malpractice relating to a resort development. He successfully argued that the claim was legally defective, resulting in a resolution of the claim, which included a public statement by the plaintiff admitting the law firm had done nothing wrong and affirming that the legal services rendered by the law firm were excellent.

Class Actions

On behalf of 700,000 physicians, and their medical societies, including Texas Medical Association, the California Medical Association and others, Harley acted as co-lead counsel in a national class action against the major HMOs including Aetna, Cigna, Humana and others for systematically denying doctors reimbursement for services provided to patients by down coding medical services through the use of their computerized reimbursement procedure. The case resulted in the recovery of billions of dollars both in actual cash payments to the doctors, and improved reimbursement procedures and dispute resolution methods.

David A. Samole

David A. Samole

David Samole, a partner at Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton, focuses his practice on corporate bankruptcy and insolvency-related litigation matters. He represents parties in corporate reorganization, liquidation, workouts and financially distressed transactions, and also serves as a fiduciary Assignee in state court liquidation proceedings. David also has represented healthcare providers in disputes with managed care companies and government payers.

David’s insolvency-related litigation experience includes representing corporate debtors, creditors, committees, trustees and related parties in contested Chapter 11 proceedings, including principals, guarantors and Section 363 asset purchasers in the healthcare, real estate, hospitality, retail, aviation, banking, maritime, and construction industries, as well as in cross-border insolvencies.

David also handles many of the firm’s more complex trustee matters, including in the bank holding and Ponzi scheme litigation contexts, in addition to the firm’s clients facing potential exposure for avoidable transfers under the Bankruptcy Code or under applicable state law. He frequently represents commercial landlords and other corporate entities and counterparties in bankruptcy proceedings and insolvency-related litigation throughout the country. His practice also includes bankruptcy appeals, assignments for the benefit of creditors, receiverships, and serving as a fiduciary or fiduciary counsel in federal bankruptcy and state court liquidation proceedings.

David’s healthcare litigation matters focused on reimbursement litigation on behalf of providers, including a portfolio of managed care litigation matters for one of the largest hospital/health systems in the Southeast United States.

David is a Past-President of the Bankruptcy Bar Association of the Southern District of Florida, and he also served as the President of the University of Chicago Alumni Club of South Florida.

When he is not working at the firm, David enjoys running, attending Miami Heat home games, and spending time with his family. He lives in Miami with his wife, Brigid, who is an attorney, and their two children.


I love providing forward-thinking advice to clients. The best part of practicing law is interacting with others towards the goal of achieving success as defined by the client.  I listen more than I speak, as I consistently try to see things through the eyes of others and their perspective.  My personal motto is “why do tomorrow what can be done today,” and that includes running daily, spending time with my family and affecting real change for others through inclusiveness, leadership and understanding.



David focuses much of his case work on representing primary creditors and groups of creditors in contentious Chapter 11 cases. David currently serves as co-counsel for PepsiCo. as the second largest unsecured creditor in the Chapter 11 proceedings involving Bang Energy drinks, which involves nearly $1.7 billion in debt. David assists Pepsi’s role serving on the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors toward a contemplated 9-figure sale of substantially all assets and pursuit of third-party litigation claims for creditors.

David previously represented a group of 184 pension claimants in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings of the Archdiocese of San Juan as part of the Catholic Church of Puerto Rico. He represented the pension claimants in all aspects of the Chapter 11 and related proceedings, and won a bankruptcy trial to secure the desired dismissal of the Chapter 11 proceeding and successfully defended against the Church’s appeal. David then helped secured a multi million-dollar recovery in a negotiated workout with the Church, which was paid in full.

David represents a pair of hotel developers in a pair of bankruptcy proceedings of AltosGroups FL/NC, which are construction financing lenders which failed to fund loans and misappropriated millions of dollars to the hotel developers. David’s ongoing efforts have helped with a partial recovery of funds into the estates and the Chapter 11 operators being dispossessed with the appointment of a Trustee.

David led a group of equity interest holders in the Chapter 11 case of TLFO, LLC in successful litigation and ultimate settlement to re-characterize approximately $23 million of a secured lender’s claim as equity, improving the equity holder distribution by millions of dollars.

David represents Nueterra Capital, which provides equity investment and advisory services to a bevy of healthcare companies, hospitals and other providers, as well as NueHealth, a national system of integrated provider networks aligning physicians and healthcare consumers to deliver value-based healthcare, in the Chapter 11 hospital bankruptcy proceedings of The Miami Medical Center.

David has also served as bankruptcy counsel to DHL and its affiliates in the Chapter 11 filings and other insolvency proceedings of their corporate customers around the Country. He previously represented DHL as bankruptcy counsel in over 35 creditor/committee bankruptcy matters maximizing DHL’s recovery and/or protecting their interests as an international global shipping and logistics company.


David spends a meaningful amount of time on cases outside of court, as he advises parties on all sides who are subject to troubled loans, pending litigation, post-judgment recovery and other financially-distressed transactions to explore and address workout solutions to maximize a recovery for the creditor or minimize financial disruption to the debtor, borrower, guarantor, etc.

David currently represents a handful of high net-worth individuals and closely-held companies in workouts of troubled commercial debts, guarantees and post-judgment collection/resolution matters, while David also represents commercial and private lenders as well as commercial landlords in bankruptcy cases to address troubled loans, commercial tenant issues and re-possession of premises and collateral, and recovery of debts.

David also frequently represents the firm’s clients to prosecute, defend or otherwise help resolve insolvency-related litigation, avoidable transfers and other financially distressed transactions, litigation and disputes.


David handles many of the Firm’s larger Trusteeships and leads many of the Firm’s ABC matters. He currently serves as Bankruptcy Counsel to the Chapter 11 Trustee administering the 9 jointly administered estates of American Resource Management Group, LLC and affiliated entities d/b/a Resort Release, a group of timeshare exit companies. David is overseeing a court-supervised dismissal process, after addressing thousands of timeshare files and obtaining millions of dollars in litigation recoveries.

David represents the Trustee of Leonidas Ortega Trujillo, a debtor subject to a $600 million judgment arising from fraud in connection with the failure of Banco Continental, Ecuador’s fourth largest bank. A bankruptcy trial determined the debtor was the true owner of entities including some cross-border that distributed millions of dollars in assets and discharge was denied.

David previously served as counsel to the Chapter 11 Trustee and then Plan Administrator in NNN Doral Court, LLC et al, which were real estate based bankruptcy proceedings filed by 29 Tenants-in-Common entities as to a commercial office building and other acres of land, effectuating a $25.9 million purchase and sale as part of a jointly administered Chapter 11 confirmation plan, and also pursued and recovered a favorable insurance settlement on behalf of the estates relating to asserted damages for business interruption and lost rent.

David also has represented bankruptcy trustees, receivers, investor groups and ad hoc creditor groups to recover proceeds on claims against financial institutions and other third parties emanating from S.E.C. fraud, Ponzi schemes and other misconduct, such as the bankruptcy proceedings involving National Century Financial Enterprises, Royal West Properties, MP Diagnostic, Commodities Online and Private Commercial Offices.

David also represents statutory trustees and official creditor committees in bank holding bankruptcy cases recovering millions of dollars in First State Bancorporation, BankUnited Financial Corporation and MetroBank Financial Services, in litigation over tax refunds, capital maintenance obligations and director & officer claims.

David periodically serves as the fiduciary assignee in selected ABC cases. His Assignee experience includes winding down an international specialty food distributor, as well as a duty-free and travel retailer, and also a separate licensor for the use of a restaurant franchise concept, and fully liquidated each estate with a return to all creditors within approximately 180 days in such state court liquidation proceedings. David also has represented as counsel assignees, asset purchasers, assignors, guarantors and creditors in ABC cases and workouts.


David was part of the bankruptcy team that represented victims of the billion-dollar Scott Rothstein Ponzi Scheme, one of the largest Ponzi schemes in history and the largest in Florida history. He was part of the lead counsel team of lawyers in this complex case, which involved simultaneous litigation in bankruptcy court, state court, and U.S. District Court. The case involved litigating numerous complex issues, some of which threatened the ability of victims to bring lawsuits to recover their losses, and the ultimate negotiation of a favorable treatment for the investors in a confirmed consensual Chapter 11 plan. David also frequently represents the firm’s clients to prosecute, defend or otherwise help resolve insolvency-related litigation, avoidable transfers and other financially distressed transactions, litigation and disputes.


  • Bankruptcy Webinar – Strategies of Lenders, Landlords and Logistics Companies Dealing with Chapter 11 Bankruptcies (2020)
  • Bankruptcy Webinar – The Ten Commandments of Landlords and Commercial Tenants – COVID-19 Edition (2020)
  • Panelist, 26th Annual CFBLA Seminar & State of the District, Tangled In a Preference: Strategies for All Stages of Preference Actions (2018)
  • Bankruptcy Seminar Client Series, Dealing with Financially Distressed Customers: Protecting Rights & Maximizing Recovery (2017 – Update to 2013 Lecture Series)
  • Panelist – Intersection of Healthcare and Bankruptcy – BBA Brown Bag Courtroom Series (2017)
  • Guest Lecturer – FIU Law School – Prosecution, Defense & Resolution of Avoidance Actions in Bankruptcy Court (February 2017)
  • Seminar Presenter — Chapter 11 Challenges – Going Beyond the Basics: Pre-Confirmation Middle Stage of Chapter 11s – “In the Trenches . . . “ (2016)
  • Bankruptcy Committee Seminar – Extraordinary Remedies: Proceedings Supplementary and Involuntary Bankruptcy (2015)
  • Bankruptcy Seminar Client Series, Dealing with Financially Distressed Customers: Protecting Rights & Maximizing Recovery (2013)
  • Association of Corporate Counsel, Annual Conference – Handicapping the Playing Field: Addressing Frequent Issues in Bankruptcy Litigation (2013)
  • Bankruptcy Seminar – The Ten Commandments of Commercial Landlords and Tenants in Bankruptcy (2012)
  • Bankruptcy Seminar – Secured Creditor Strategies — Maintaining Triple Threat Position: Push, Posture & Maximize Value (2010)
  • American Association of Matrimonial Lawyers, 32nd Annual Institute, Keep Your Client From Drowning: How To Deal With Bankruptcies and Foreclosures (2010)
  • Bankruptcy Seminar – Divorce Wars: When the DSO Creditor Strikes Back — The Recent Empowerment of a DSO Creditor in Bankruptcy (2010)


  • Recognized in Best Lawyers in America, Chambers and Partners, Florida Trend, Legal Elite and Super Lawyers publications.
  • Finalist for Leaders in Law award by South Florida Business & Wealth Publication (2015)
  • “Top 40 Under 40” attorneys in Miami by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (2014).