Michael D. Katz is a founding member of Katz Barron. He began his practice in 1970 in Miami and Boca Raton, Florida, and from 1972 to 1974 was general counsel to Leonard L. Farber Company, a major developer of regional shopping centers across the United States. Michael represents major commercial, retail and multi-family developers, lending institutions and general contractors in all aspects of acquisition, development, leasing and litigation matters. In addition, Michael represents exclusive private clubs and serves as counsel to the Ocean Reef Club and the Fisher Island Club. Michael also has substantial experience in generational wealth transfer, administration of estates and trusts and business succession planning.
Areas of Practice
- Commercial Litigation
- Real Estate acquisition, financing, development, leasing and real estate related litigation
- Construction Litigation
- Business Organization and Litigation
- Lead counsel in case involving adverse parking rights claimed in shopping center property by adjacent church over course of conduct of 50+ years. Summary judgment for shopping center affirmed on appeal; opinion published. Church By The Sea, Inc. v. Bal Harbour Shops, Ltd., 841 So.2d 608 (Fla. 2003).
- Lead counsel in defense of major law firm on sanctions imposed by Federal District Court judgment for discovery abuses, including full trial before U.S. Magistrate and review report before District Court and Appeal to the 11th Circuit. Successful in reducing sanctions.
- Lead counsel in defense of national law firm on malpractice claim seeking damages in excess of $1,000,000, resolved at mediation for $30,000.
- Co-lead counsel in defense of fraud claims brought in Federal District Court by State pension fund against real estate developer in connection with sale of shopping center portfolio seeking damages in excess of $10,000,000. Resolved by settlement with summary judgment pending for $1,000,000.
- Lead counsel in defense of individuals sued by foreign nationals in Federal District Court for tortious interference with crop loan collateral seeking compensatory damages in excess of $4,000,000, settled for $300,000,. At trial, co-defendants suffered judgment for full amount claimed.
- Co-lead counsel in extrication of Board of Directors of a failed Savings and Loan Association from lender liability claims of FDIC as successor to FSLIC. Claim of FDIC exceeding $35,000,000 resolved with filing of a “Wells” type statement explaining why there was no liability and expiration of statute of limitations without filing of suit. Ultimate loss of FDIC exceeded $25,000,000. Representation included restructuring of loans and other assets of Association to minimize loss and liability over the 12 months preceding the seizure of the Association.
- Lead counsel in real estate valuation case establishing principle in Florida of leased fee valuation in purchase option under lease. Opinion published. Contos v. Lipsky, 433 So.2d 1242 (Fla. App. 3 Dist. 1983).
- Lead counsel in lender liability case involving defense of privilege against tortious interference claim of borrower. Summary judgment affirmed; opinion published. Nitzberg v. Zalesky, 370 So.2d 389 (Fla.App. 3 Dist. 1979).
- Summary Judgment granted in favor of owner of Palisades Park, New Jersey, on claim for brokerage commission on sale of park. Settled on appeal for $10,000.
- Lead counsel for major institutional lenders in numerous cases involving foreclosures and related defense of lender liability claims including failure to fund, usury and breach of duty claims.
- Lead counsel in structuring the acquisition and sale of numerous regional and specialty shopping centers, office complexes and apartment projects in Florida.
- Lead counsel for numerous sellers in structuring tax deferred exchanges of partnership interests in apartment projects for limited partnership units in an UP Reit.
- Personal representative and/or independent trustee or lead counsel for two estates exceeding $125,000,000.
- U.S. District Court Middle District of Florida
- U.S. District Court Southern District of Florida
- U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit
- University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, 1970, J.D. (with Honors).
- University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, 1968, B.A.
- Phi Kappa Phi; Blue Key; Order of the Coif,
- Member, Moot Court Team
Awards and Recognition
- Listed by South Florida Legal Guide as a Top Lawyer, 2001 – 2021
- Listed in “Best Lawyers in America”, 2009 – 2019
- Selected by Florida Trend as a Legal Elite, 2005, 2007 – 2009, 2011 – 2015
- Selected by Florida Super Lawyers, 2006 – 2018
- Recipient of 2015 Apogee Award for President, Miami-Dade County, by South Florida Business & Wealth
- AV rated by Martindale Hubbell
Professional Associations and Memberships
- The Florida Bar (Litigation and Real Property, Trust and Probate Sections)
- American Bar Association (Litigation, Real Property, Probate and Trust Sections)
- The Colorado Bar
- Real Property Practice II, Chapter 4, Shopping Center Development, 1975.
- Co-author: Chapter 2, Shopping Centers, Office Buildings, Showrooms and Industrial Properties, Florida Real Property Complex Transactions, The Florida Bar, 1994; 2nd Ed.1997; 3rd Ed., 2000; 4th Ed., 2004; 5th Ed., 2009: 6th Ed., 2011; 7th Ed., 2013; 8th Ed., 2015; 9th Ed., 2016.
- Co Trustee of the Joseph A. and Sherrie S. Garfield Charitable Foundation, Inc.
- International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)
- Urban Land Institute (ULI)
- Tocqueville Society, United Way of Miami-Dade