Michael S. Zullo has been representing banks and other financial institutions in all manner of litigation for almost 20 years. He has appeared before federal and state courts nationwide and has a proven track record of success in the courtroom. He has also resolved hundreds of matters outside of the courtroom, employing a practical, problem-solving approach that puts client goals first. Mr. Zullo draws on his years of experience working closely with both the former general counsel and head of litigation of a large publicly traded bank to manage client risks and present pragmatic and business-minded solutions.
Mr. Zullo’s experience includes matters involving:
- Article 3, 4 and 4A of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC)
- Lender liability claims
- Internal investigations
- The Bank Secrecy Act and related regulations
- Asset recovery and loan defaults
- Levy, garnishment and execution
- Real estate/bank branches and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
Mr. Zullo, who is deaf, is a board member of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) where he chairs the Governance Committee. He is also a member of the firm’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee and serves as a mentor to associates with disabilities and/or from underrepresented backgrounds.
Mr. Zullo is a 2003 cum laude graduate of the George Washington University Law School, where he was the notes editor for the Public Contracts Journal, and a magna cum laude graduate of Boston College, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.
Mr. Zullo counsels clients in purported class action litigation concerning the accessibility features of their public facing websites. He partners with clients and their consultants to help them achieve compliance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). As an individual with a disability, Mr. Zullo has been able to resolve claims successfully by providing first-hand knowledge of the issues and an authentic voice in discussions.
Mr. Zullo also represents and counsels clients on similar claims concerning their public facing websites arising out of state and federal privacy laws such as the California Invasion of Privacy Act (CIPA) and the Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA). Law360’s “Ask the Experts” segment has highlighted his written analysis on this subject.
Represented a national bank in obtaining a dismissal of an aiding-and-abetting fraud claim filed against them, in a case involving a romance scam where the plaintiff alleged that co-defendants impersonated a well-known retired United States Army general, formed a relationship with her over Facebook and then convinced her to wire them $200,000 in connection with purported real estate investment opportunities that turned out to be fictional. Successfully argued that the client had no duty to monitor and investigate customer accounts and that the plaintiff failed to allege sufficient facts to establish that the bank had actual knowledge of, or that it had substantially assisted in, the fraud.
Represented a financial services firm in securing summary judgement in a matter before the USDC ED VA, in a case brought by the Estate of a Joint Account Holder which alleged client had improperly denied decedent’s request, made shortly before his death, to liquidate the account. Successfully argued that the Brokerage Account Agreement gave client the discretion to require joint authorization from the other account holder before executing on such a request.
Represented a multinational investment bank in obtaining a unanimous ruling from a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) arbitration panel, which granted the client’s motion to dismiss and declared that the churning and suitability claims against the client were ineligible for submission to arbitration.
Won motion to dismiss for one of the largest US national banks in Delaware State Court in a dispute brought by a depositor seeking to hold the bank liable for withdrawals improperly made by the depositor’s agent.
Won a motion on behalf of TD Auto Finance in New York State Court (Queens County) completely dismissing Plaintiff's claims, including breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, conversion, negligence, fraudulent inducement and concealment of contract terms, deceptive trade practices, unconscionable malicious actions in violation of public policy, and punitive damages. The Court also denied Plaintiff's request for leave to amend.
Won summary judgment for a major bank in the Superior Court of New Jersey, in an action in which plaintiff alleged multimillion-dollar claims for breach of contract, implied covenant, and promissory estoppel over the bank's termination of a commercial lease, where Court found both factual and legal bases warranted dismissal with prejudice of all claims.
Won motion to dismiss for a major bank in Florida State Court in a dispute brought by investors in a South Florida real estate company alleging violation of Florida's Racketeer Influenced and Corruption Organization Act.
Won motion to dismiss “with prejudice” for a major bank in the Supreme Court of New York in a dispute brought by a California based private equity firm concerning an $87.9 million transaction under a complex Stock Purchase Agreement with an Indemnity Escrow Fund Agreement
Won motion to dismiss "with prejudice" for a major bank in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Morris County, in a dispute brought by a landlord over the bank's termination of a bank branch's lease over environmental issues.
Won summary judgment in rem for a major bank in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas in contract and foreclosure action for two separately mortgaged properties totaling $1.3 million plus per diem interest.
Obtained complete dismissal on summary judgment of fraud and breach of various warranty claims asserted against a Global Tier 1 enterprise software provider in a case involving the license and implementation of a proprietary software program.
Obtained on behalf of a national bank in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, a dismissal of all lender liability claims with prejudice, setting a precedent for future lender liability claims in New York.
Counsel banks in responding to law enforcement inquiries/subpoenas concerning customer account activity.
Counseled a bank through OCC investigations and FINRA investigations.
Defended a bank in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York against lender liability claims arising out of commercial loan relationships.
Represent asset recovery departments on loan workouts/settlements and foreclosures to maximize recovery for the bank.
Won dismissal of putative class action for national bank in U.S. District Court for the Southern District charging violations of New York’s Exempt Income Protection Act (EIPA) and New York common law.
Obtained dismissal of class action suit against one of the 15 largest U.S. banks alleging it violated the federal Electronic Funds Transfer Act, which prohibits ATM transaction fees unless ATM operators post a notice of ATM fees on both the machine's screen and in a prominent and conspicuous location on or near the machine.
Defending large brokerage firm in multiple arbitrations before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).
Defending large international pharmaceutical company against failure to warn claims brought by multiple plaintiffs in state and federal courts.
Represented a wrongfully terminated distribution business in an international arbitration and obtained a multimillion-dollar award.
Obtained multimillion-dollar settlement for franchisee against international franchisor for breach of franchise agreement.
Part of a team that obtained seven-figure settlement on counterclaims for failed implementation of a software solution.
Successfully prosecuted multiple parties for infringement of design patents.
Defended the former owner of a professional sports franchise in a dispute with one of the largest concessions providers in the U.S.
- New Jersey
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
Civic and Charitable Activities
- Spark: Philadelphia Advisory Board
- Chair, 2015-present
- Member, 2012-2014
- American Association of People with Disabilities
- Board Member
- St. Peter's Church, Philadelphia
- Co-leader: St. Peter's Youth Group
- Vestry Member
- American Bar Association
- Section of Litigation
-- Co-Editor, ABA Section of Litigation Antitrust Litigation, The Antitrust Litigator Newsletter
- International Association of Defense Counsel
- Member, 2014-present
- Vice-Chair, Trial Techniques and Tactics Newsletter
Honors and Awards
- Part of the Duane Morris team awarded the first TD Bank "U.S. Legal Champion" Award
Listed in Pennsylvania Rising Stars, 2013-2018
- Named one of The Legal Intelligencer's Lawyers on the Fast Track, 2013
- Co-author, "U.S. Department of Justice Changes Focus on Its Assessment of Bank Mergers," The Banking Law Journal, October, 2023
- Co-author, "DOJ Changes Focus on Its Assessment of Bank Mergers," Duane Morris Alert, June 28, 2023
- Co-author, "Five More California Federal Court Decisions Rule Against Plaintiffs in Chat Wiretap Cases," Duane Morris Alert, April 27, 2023
- Co-author, "Back to the Future: How a 30-Year-Old Statute From a Time When Video Rentals Were a Thing Is Driving a New Wave of Class Action Lawsuits," Pratt's Privacy and Cybersecurity Law Report, April 2023
- Co-author, "Northern District of California Doubles Down on Dismissal of Wiretapping Claims Under State Privacy Law," Duane Morris Alert, February 27, 2023
- Co-author, "Federal District Court Denies Motion to Dismiss in Chat-Feature Wiretap Case," Duane Morris Alert, February 13, 2023
- Co-author, "Back to the Future: How a 30-Year-Old Statute From a Time When Video Rentals Were a Thing Is Driving a New Wave of Class Action Lawsuits," Duane Morris Alerts, January 20, 2023
- Co-author, "Website Tracking Brings Class Action Risks For Companies," Law360, October 27, 2022
- Co-author, "Swell of Class Action Suits Alleging Wiretapping Violations Target Companies That Track User Activity of Their Websites," Duane Morris Alert, October 10, 2022
- Co-author, "Consumer Bureau's Consent Order a Cause for Concern Over Bank Garnishment Practices," Duane Morris Alert, May 12, 2022
- Co-author, "Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Issues Disclosure-Focused Final Rule on Fair Debt Collection Practices Act," Duane Morris Alert, February 23, 2021
- Co-Author, "The Shifting Landscape of e-Discovery," e-Discovery Law and Strategy, July 2006
- Co-Author, "The Supreme Court's Review of Leegin Creative Leather Products, Inc. v. PSKS, Inc.: Time for Dr. Miles to 'Kick The Bucket'? or "I'm Not Dead Yet'," Distribution & Franchising Committee Newsletter
- Co-author, "High Court Gun Case Could Impact Proposed Philadelphia Regulations," The Legal Intelligencer, April 4, 2008
- Contributing author, ABA Franchise and Dealer Termination Handbook, 2nd Ed. (in process)
- Quoted, "Federal Courts in California Rule Against Wiretapping Claims Brought Under Privacy Invasion Law," Northern California Record, May 9, 2023
Selected Speaking Engagements
- Speaker, "Web Privacy and Accessibility Lawsuits 2.0," Duane Morris Institute (DMi), Webinar, February 15, 2023
- Speaker, "Trust, but Verify – Cybersecurity Threats and the Severe Consequences of “Authorized” Wires under the UCC," Association of Corporate Counsel, June 16, 2022
- Featured in "Giving Clients the Data They Need to Make Business Decisions," Legal Marketing Studio Podcast, November 14, 2016
- Presenter, "Know Your Customer Rules and Regulations," March 2016
- Presenter, "Preserving the Attorney-Client Privilege: Real-Life Examples and Practical Guidance," March 2016
- Co-presenter, "Early Case Assessment", October 30, 2014