About Zachary N. James
Zachary N. James, a partner with Meland Russin & Budwick, is a highly experienced business litigator. Zach has tried more than 30 jury trials and scores of bench trials to verdict. He is a skilled strategist, advising clients on complex business matters before, during, and after litigation. He knows how to make complex matters understandable, and he is known for his use of cutting-edge technology in preparation for and during trials.
Zach is a Certified E-Discovery Specialist. He has extensive experience in e-discovery, frequently advising clients and writing on electronic discovery topics. Zach also counsels businesses on document management practices, assisting them to develop document retention and destruction policies.
Prior to joining the firm, Zach was a federal prosecutor in the Southern District of California. And prior to his service as a federal prosecutor, he was a state prosecutor and a trial attorney for the Department of Homeland Security, focusing on prosecuting human rights violations as a designated attorney with the Human Rights Law Section. He has investigated and tried high-profile human rights violations cases, major felony crimes, and homicide extradition proceedings. Additionally, he has presented more than 100 cases for indictment to federal grand juries, authored numerous appellate briefs, and argued before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Zach is involved in various professional and charitable organizations. He is committed to pro bono work, focusing his volunteer efforts primarily on helping needy children in child advocacy cases. He has been widely recognized for his efforts, including being awarded Attorney of the Year for Outstanding Child Advocacy in 2016 by Dade County Bar Association / Dade Legal Aid. Zach is actively involved with Bet Shira Congregation, serving as Vice President of Membership and on its Board of Directors and legal committee. Zach is also a marathon runner and triathlon competitor.
- University of Miami School of Law, J.D., magna cum laude, 2004
- University of Miami Business Law Review
- Winner of First Year Moot Court Competition
- Honors Award in Litigation Skills Trial Course
- University of Texas at Austin, B.A., cum laude, 2001
- Member and Certified E-Discovery Specialist, Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists
- Board of Directors and Executive Committee, Dade County Bar Association
- Member, American Bar Association, Section of State and Local Government Law
- Founding Member, American Bar Association State Attorneys General and Department of Justice Issues Committee
- Member, Bankruptcy Bar Association
- Chair, Young Lawyers Section, Bankruptcy Bar Association, 2014-2015
- Chair, Brown Bag Committee, Bankruptcy Bar Association, 2013-2014
- Member, Business Law Section, Florida Bar
- Member, Federal Bar Association, Federal Litigation Section
- Member, Federal Bar Association, Bankruptcy Law Section
- United States District Court, Southern District of Florida
- United States District Court, Middle District of Florida
- United States Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Florida
- United States District Court, Southern District of California
- United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
|Bankruptcy and Restructuring, Financial Frauds, Commercial Litigation, Creditors' Rights
||Representation of bankruptcy trustee for two south florida based hedge funds that suffered $1.1 billion in losses in connection with the $3.5 billion Ponzi scheme perpetrated by Thomas J. Petters in Minneapolis, the third largest financial fraud in U.S. history. Prosecuted over 140 adversary proceedings including claims for accountant and attorney malpractice and clawback of fraudulent transfers as well as a $1.1 billion conspiracy claim against one of the nation's largest financial institutions. Representation of client as one of three members of the Petters Company, Inc. Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors in Minnesota.
|Corporate, Commercial Litigation
||Representation of Florida corporation to assist in winding down its affairs, dissolving the corporation, and settling all obligations with lending institutions, vendors and creditors.
||Representation of the assignee, pursuant to Chapter 727 of the Florida Statutes, of a company in the business of distributing recording devices throughout Central and South America.
|Commercial Litigation, Trade Secrets
||Representation of Crown Linen, LLC in a trade secrets, FDUTPA, and tortious interference claim against its former sales director, who started a competing company. Obtained a jury verdict in Crown Linen's favor.
||Representation of Florida corporation for claims of fraud and breach of contract against several parties in connection with the sale of the assets of several businesses.
||Representation of management company in connection with its unlawful termination.
|Commercial Litigation, Bankruptcy
||Represented judgment creditor against insurance company, and successfully defeated the insurance company's claims that actions could not be brought against it as a result of the insured debtor's discharge in bankruptcy.
||Represented bank against claims of usury brought by borrower in connection with various financing agreements.
||Represented guarantors and owners of commercial property in Broward County, Florida and negotiated a highly favorable settlement, including a discounted payoff, release of all liens, and release of the guarantors.
||Represented the owner of commercial property in Palm Beach County, Florida in a commercial foreclosure action that resulted in a highly favorable settlement.
||Representation of owner of commercial property in litigation against secured lender and special services in connection with a $27 million loan.
|Financial Fraud, Commercial Litigation, Bankruptcy and Restructuring
||Represented a group of major clawback defendants in the Nevin Shapiro ponzi bankruptcy case who were sued for more than $50 million. Obtained a very favorable ruling on a motion to dismiss which led to settlement of the case at less than 1.5% of the originally sought amount.
|Bankruptcy and Restructuring
||Represented Lexi Development Company, Inc., the owner of the Lexi condominium mixed use development, in its Chapter 11 bankruptcy, in which the Debtor successfully eliminated default interest, avoiding foreclosure and preserving equity for the benefit of the Debtor’s principals.
|Bankruptcy and Restructuring
||Represented Sagamore Partners, Ltd., the owner of Sagamore, The Art Hotel located on South Beach, Florida, in its chapter 11 reorganization from which the Debtor emerged with a confirmed plan and successfully reinstated its CMBS secured loan obligations, while avoiding the payment of more than $8 million in default interest and attorneys' fees over the objection of the special servicer, LNR Partners, LLC. Sucessfully avoided foreclosure and preserved equity for the benefit of the Debtor’s principals.
||Represent numerous Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustees in corporate and individual Ch. 7 cases. Routinely advise trustees in the connection with the sale of estate assets pursuant to Section 363, prosecution of avoidance claims and prosecution of Section 727 actions.
|Bankruptcy and Restructuring; Commercial Litigation
||Successfully reorganized a 147-unit condominium hotel in South Florida in a chapter 11 reorganization proceeding. Successfully negotiated with multiple levels of secured and unsecured creditors to obtain a highly favorable result.
|Bankruptcy, Financial Fraud
||Representation of insurance company in defense of fraudulent conveyance action brought by bankruptcy trustee. Following protracted litigation, obtained very favorable settlement.
||Representation as local counsel to handle proceedings in the U.S. District Court in relation to letters rogatory issued by a Mexican federal court.
|Bankruptcy, Financial Fraud
||Representation of group of defendants sued by bankruptcy trustee under various theories of fraudulent transfer in connection with transfers totaling approximately $14 million.
- Meland Russin & Budwick’s Zachary N. James Elected to Board of Directors of Dade County Bar Association June 1, 2017 Zachary N. James, a partner at Miami law firm Meland Russin & Budwick, has won a contested election to serve on the Board of Directors of the Dade County Bar Association. His term begins this Fall.
- Why Every Business Should Have a Document Retention-Destruction Policy February 23, 2017 We live in a digital age. Most corporate data is now electronic, and the volume of electronically stored information, or ESI, continues to grow exponentially.
- Zachary N. James Becomes Certified E-Discovery Specialist November 28, 2016
Zachary N. James, a partner with Meland Russin & Budwick, has passed the Certified E-Discovery Specialists certification examination and is a Certified E-Discovery Specialist. The certification requires a rigorous four-hour exam that provides a tough, objective measure of mastery of the challenging field of e-discovery. The certification program is administered by the Association of Certified ...
- Miami pro bono attorney works to reunite teen with his aunt October 24, 2016 Attorney Zach James of Meland, Russin & Budwick found Jake’s case through Dade Legal Aid’s Put Something Back program, which pairs low-income clients in need of legal representation or assistance in areas of civil law with lawyers willing to donate their services pro bono. After learning about the dispute between government agencies and the child ...
- Zachary N. James received Outstanding Child Advocacy Attorney of the Year Award August 23, 2016 Zachary N. James of Meland Russin & Budwick in Miami received the 2016 Dade County Bar Association/Dade Legal Aid Outstanding Child Advocacy Attorney of the Year Award.
- Miami-Dade PD’s Summer Scholars introduces kids to the justice system August 15, 2016 Enthusiastic support poured in from the legal community and the number of children grew from eight to 22, when the Miami-Dade Public Defender’s Summer Scholars program gathered again for the sixth year.
- Put Something Back Recognizes Distinguished Attorneys for Exceptional Pro Bono Service July 30, 2016 Zachary N. James, a partner with Meland Russin & Budwick, received the Child Advocacy Award for zealously handling dependency cases for youth. “James not only advocated on behalf of these children, but treats them like his own family members,” said Karen Ladis, Executive Director of Dade Legal Aid.
- Pro Bono Success Stories February 12, 2016 In December 2014, Zach James accepted a pro bono case through Dade Legal Aid’s Put Something Back program to serve as 15-year-old Jake’s Attorney ad Litem. Jake grew up in a home where he was witness to drug use and violence and subject to significant neglect. Following the termination of Jake’s parents’ parental rights, Jake ...
- MOVERS: Senior-level hires and promotions February 10, 2016 At Meland Russin & Budwick in Miami: Zachary James has been promoted to partner. He concentrates his practice on business litigation and complex commercial matters. James has a bachelor’s from the University of Texas at Austin and a law degree from UM. Eric Ostroff has been named administrative partner. Ostroff, a trial lawyer, focuses his ...
- Why Your Firm Should Worry About Doc Destruction August 18, 2015 Document destruction claims have dominated several high-profile cases in the past year, as highlighted by Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd.’s misadventures in the federal Actos litigation. Attorneys say the best way to fight such claims is to thoroughly catalog clients’ data — and ensure it’s preserved — at the first hint of litigation.
- Adidas Slammed With $14M Loan Fraud Lawsuit August 14, 2015 A suit brought by Veritas Financial Partners against Adidas AG accusing the apparel company of falsely verifying invoices from a vendor to whom VFP lent nearly $14 million, which turned out to be an elaborate fraud scheme, was removed to Florida federal court on Wednesday. VFP is being represented by James M. Miller and Erin ...
- BMO Harris To Pay $16M To End Petters Ponzi Row July 16, 2015 BMO Harris Bank NA agreed Thursday to pay $16 million to settle an adversary suit launched by the trustee for two bankrupt Florida investment firms, which alleged a BMO unit helped convicted Ponzi scammer Thomas Petters bilk investors out of $3.7 billion.
- How to Avoid 5 Common E-Discovery Mistakes July 15, 2015 New e-discovery rules approved by the U.S. Supreme Court in April will go into effect in less than six months, with changes designed to spur attorneys to narrow evidentiary requests to be “proportional to the needs of the case.” With the new rules in mind, here are five blunders you should avoid when tracking down ...
- Jury Selection: Time for Exposing Bias and Selling Your Case May 5, 2015 While most attorneys recognize the importance of selecting the right jurors, they often neglect to take full advantage of the jury selection process to gain a competitive advantage at trial. With the right approach during the jury selection process, attorneys can greatly increase their chance of success.
- BMO Harris Socked With $24B Suit Over Petters Ponzi Scheme September 18, 2014 A trustee for two bankrupt Florida investment firms on Thursday hit BMO Harris Bank NA with a $24 billion adversary suit, alleging its Marshall & Illsley Bank helped convicted Ponzi scammer Thomas Petters bilk investors out of $3.7 billion.