M. Derek Harris
Derek Harris handles commercial litigation matters in state and federal court, including all phases of discovery, motions practice, hearings, and bench and jury trials. He has served as lead counsel on cases in multiple areas of law, including bankruptcy, construction, government regulation, and real estate litigation.
Mr. Harris also provides legal assistance at mediation, conducts settlement negotiations, and provides advice on matters involving gaming laws, insurance, utilities, and zoning. His practice focuses on business torts, class actions, complex commercial litigation, healthcare litigation, product liability, and real estate litigation.
Mr. Harris has been named by the Atlanta Business Chronicle as a "40 Under 40 Up & Comer" and by Florida Trend’s as a 2014 “Up & Comer.” Derek is a past Fellow in the Leadership Council for Legal Diversity's Fellows Program, he served as an Associate Editor for ABA Litigation News, and has been actively involved in many Bar and Civic organizations. Much of his pro bono work has involved representing children with delinquency, early intervention, and educational neglect issues; helping them get on track to achieve academic and personal success.
Real Estate Litigation
- Represented financial institutions and lenders in litigation in Georgia state court cases seeking appointments of receivers to manage debtors’ businesses, including collecting rents and profits from business operations.
- Represented commercial leasing company in landlord and tenant dispute and settled case for the full principal amount of the indebtedness sought in the litigation.
- Participated in representation of a residential mortgage corporation in a loan repurchase dispute and prepared insurance claim resulting in full coverage for repurchase claims asserted against client up to policy limits.
- Defended a real estate development corporation and its owner in lawsuit to quiet title to property resulting in dismissal with prejudice of claims asserted against clients.
Officer & Director Litigation
- Represented a corporate director in a lawsuit filed by the director’s former employer asserting claims for breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, negligence, civil conspiracy, conversion, unjust enrichment, and disgorgement.
- Provided representation to corporate officer seeking to enforce an indemnity agreement requiring advancement of defense costs from his employer to defend against claims pertaining to his conduct as an officer of the corporation.
- Represented corporate officer in litigation to prevent insider sale and transfer of corporation’s assets.
Intellectual Property Litigation
- Participated in representation of a residential mortgage corporation in a trademark infringement lawsuit.
- Represented clients in matters before the United States Patent and Trademark Office regarding federal registration of trademarks.
- Participated in litigation in Georgia and Florida state courts concerning rights to exploit a federally registered patent, patent ownership, and patent authorship.
- Represented a former LLC member in a contract action seeking to enforce the operating agreements of two LLCs by requiring the LLCs to pay the member the fair market value of his interests upon the member’s withdrawal from the LLCs.
- Defended a real estate development corporation and its owner in lawsuit to quiet title to property.
- Participated in representation of numerous limited liability companies in lawsuits alleging claims for breach of contract and fraud pertaining to the purchase and sale of an apartment complex.
- Participated in defense of a mortgage company in a breach of contract suit seeking to require the mortgage company to repurchase residential mortgage loans.
- Defended owner and officer of corporation in guaranty and deficiency lawsuits.
- The Mitchell Company, et al., v. Joseph J. Campus, III, CA No. 08-342-KD-C (S.D. Ala. 2009) (district court granted motion to dismiss all of the plaintiffs’ claims; and granted client’s motion for partial summary judgment seeking to enforce the operating agreements of two LLCs).
- Stephen Cox v. South Cherokee Recreation Association, et al., Superior Court of Cherokee County, CA No. 06-CV-0034 (negligence and defamation case; court dismissed the case and barred plaintiff from filing any further pleadings without the court’s permission).
- Merhdad Moshtagh v. Charles Lange Clark, et al., Superior Court of Cobb County, CA No. 07-1-8062-42 (obtained preliminary injunction for client preventing insider sale of corporate assets and court appointed a receiver to dispose of the assets of the corporation as requested following full evidentiary hearing).
- The Mitchell Company, et al., v. Joseph J. Campus, III, CA No. 08-342-KD-C (S.D. Ala. 2009) (court granted motions for partial summary judgment and for preliminary injunction requiring corporation to advance its former officer’s defense costs until litigation concluded).
- John H. Jordan v. JSD Properties, et al., Superior Court of DeKalb County, CA No. 07CV9201-8 and CA 07CV9202-8 (suit to quiet title and seeking tort damages for aiding and abetting a breach of fiduciary duty; court granted summary judgment and dismissed plaintiff’s claims with prejudice)
- Mae Lawson v. Leroy Miller, Superior Court of DeKalb County, CA No. 08CV2051-6 (obtained temporary restraining order and writ of replevin preventing sale of plaintiff’s antique vehicles and requiring that vehicles be returned to their owner).
- Advocate and Mentor with the Truancy Intervention Project, which works in conjunction with the Fulton County Juvenile Court, Atlanta City and Fulton County Public School Systems to resolve truancy issues and get children on track to achieve academic and personal success.
- Since 2004, represented more than a dozen students between the ages of 6 and 16 years old in delinquency, early intervention, and educational neglect proceedings.
- Presenter, "Major Supreme Court Decisions Impacting Class Actions," Carlton Fields Class Action Symposium, New York, NY (June 2013)
- Panelist, “IP in the Digital Age,” the Young Professionals Division of Technology Associates of Georgia (TAG) Seminar (February 10, 2010)
- Listed as an “Up-and-Comer” in Florida Trend’s Florida Legal Elite (2014)
- Selected as one of the Top 40 Up and Comers Under the Age of 40 by the Atlanta Business Chronicle (2006)
- Recipient of a Certificate of Recognition from the Pro Bono Project of The Georgia Bar for outstanding public service to Georgia’s low income citizens (2006-2009)
- Atlanta Bar Association (2002-present)
- Georgetown Club of Georgia (2002-present)
- Class V of Connect Florida’s Statewide Leadership Institute (Class of 2015)
- State Bar of Georgia, Children & the Courts Committee, Advisor (2006-2008), Member (2006-Present)
- Boys Town of South Florida, Board of Directors (2013-Present)
- 40 Under 40 Alumni Group
- American Bar Association Section of Litigation
Commercial & Business Litigation Committee, Diversity Initiatives Subcommittee, Co-Chair (2011-2012)
Associate Editor, Litigation News, a publication of the ABA’s Section of Litigation
- The Law Pipeline Program, Inc., Board of Directors
- Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) Fellows Program (2011-2012)
- Jones Day (Atlanta, GA)