J.D. is a trial lawyer representing businesses and individuals in a wide variety of complex commercial litigation matters with a focus on contractual disputes, business torts, and administrative actions. His practice primarily includes the prosecution and defense of claims related to: breach of contract; non-compete and other restrictive covenants; trust, partnership, and member disputes; intellectual property matters; ordinary and professional negligence; and class action defense. He has litigated in state and federal courts all over Florida at the trial and appellate level.
J.D. has industry-specific experience in real estate, health care, SaaS, consumer packaged goods, finance and lending, and aesthetic and cosmetic services. J.D. also frequently advises clients during transactional matters to help assess and minimize future litigation risks.
J.D.’s recent representative successes include:
- Drafting and arguing a motion for summary judgment in a multimillion-dollar real estate and trust dispute, leading to dismissal of all claims against client, then successfully arguing for client’s entitlement to an award of attorneys’ fees
- Securing a permanent injunction in a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of client, a nationwide multi-channel broker of consumer packaged goods, alleging violations of restrictive covenants by a former independent contractor
- Negotiating a favorable settlement in an out-of-state action brought by client, a national commercial real estate developer, involving breach of contract claims worth over $5 million
- Drafting and arguing a motion for dismissal of restrictive covenant claims on jurisdictional grounds in an action brought against clients by a nationwide aesthetics company
- Using successful motion practice to prosecute claims in a trust and partnership dispute, helping negotiate a settlement for clients at mediation worth over $17 million
Prior to joining Johnson Pope, J.D. served the people of the State of Florida as an Assistant State Attorney in the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit of Florida for over three years. During that time, J.D. litigated thousands of cases ranging from misdemeanor offenses to punishable-by-life felony charges. He brought over fifteen jury trials to verdict, and he handled hundreds of bench trials, motion hearings, and depositions. After his time as an Assistant State Attorney, J.D. bolstered his civil litigation experience at a highly regarded local litigation firm, where he handled all phases of litigation in multiple practice areas including contractual disputes, products liability, and negligence, among others.
- University of Notre Dame Law School, J.D.
- National Health Law Moot Court Competition Team, Member
- University of Florida, B.S. & B.A
MEMBERSHIPS & DISTINCTIONS
- The Florida Bar
- Hillsborough County Bar Association
- Jesuit Bar Association
- The Best Lawyers in America® “Ones to Watch”
- Super Lawyers Rising Star 2023
- U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida
- U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida
WHEN HE’S NOT WORKING HARD FOR CLIENTS
J.D. likes spending time with his family and friends, especially at Tampa Bay Lightning games or new events and restaurants in his hometown of Tampa.
- Florida’s 2023 Super Lawyers and Rising Stars Recognizes 22 Johnson Pope Attorneys
- J.D. Zarate Named Partner at Johnson Pope
- 48 Lawyers from Johnson, Pope, Bokor, Ruppel & Burns, LLP Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® 2023—Four recognized as “Lawyer of the Year” In Their Respective Practice Area
- J.D. Zarate Joins Litigation Team at Johnson, Pope, Bokor, Ruppel & Burns, LLP