Joel C. ZwemerOf Counsel
Office: Fort Pierce
Mr. Zwemer is an attorney in the Fort Pierce office. He concentrates his practice in the areas of commercial business and real estate litigation, creditors’ rights and bankruptcy. He has successfully litigated a wide range of cases in federal and state courts and regularly represents financial institutions in business and bankruptcy cases and litigation in Fort Pierce and Port Saint Lucie.
Mr. Zwemer currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Economic Development Council of St. Lucie County. He has lectured on bankruptcy and litigation issues and has served on the Board of Directors of the Bankruptcy Bar Association for the Southern District of Florida. He has also served as president of the St. Lucie County Bar Association.
Additional Representative Experience
Below is a representative list of Mr. Zwemer’s experience:
- In 2013, Mr. Zwemer represented two companies accused of fraud in a lawsuit where the claimants asserted claims in excess of $3,500,000. After trial the Court ruled that no fraud had occurred and awarded attorneys’ fees to our clients.
- In 2012-13, Mr. Zwemer represented a regional bank with a mortgage loan in excess of $1,000,000 in connection with a borrower’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy. He negotiated plan provisions resulting in full payment of the loan.
- In 2012-13, Mr. Zwemer represented a regional bank in connection with the foreclosure of a mortgage loan involving in excess of $900,000 of debt secured by a packing house and agricultural land. He obtained stay relief to proceed with foreclosure and obtained deeds in lieu of foreclosure and judgments against the guarantors.
- In 2012-13, Mr. Zwemer represented a regional bank in connection with the bankruptcy of a fabrication company on a claim in excess of $500,000. He negotiated Chapter 11 Plan provisions requiring payment in full of the claim.
- Mr. Zwemer represented a South Florida bank in connection with the foreclosure of a mortgage loan involving indebtedness of in approximately $2,200,000. He obtained a foreclosure judgment and, after sale of the mortgaged property, a deficiency judgment for in excess of $1,500,000.
- Mr. Zwemer represented a company in a breach of contract lawsuit against a County Government and obtained a settlement for in excess of $1,500,000.
- In 2007-08, Mr. Zwemer obtained the removal of a disruptive and disgruntled co-trustee and beneficiaries from involvement with a long established trust and family business by obtaining court approval of a plan of reorganization and separation whereby some assets of the parent company were spun off to fund a new entity for the disgruntled co-trustee and beneficiaries and eliminated their interest in the trusts owning the family’s long established farming and commercial property business.
- Mr. Zwemer represented a decendent’s son from a first marriage in obtaining and defending his appointment as Successor Personal Representative for his father’s Estate, after the death of a original personal representative, who was decedent’s second spouse. Then the firm defended the Successor Personal Representative in a declaratory judgment action brought by the Personal Representatives of the Estate of the second spouse that sought a determination by the court that Generation-Skipping Trust for the benefit of certain issue of the decedent’s first marriage should be funded with only $1,000,000 and not $5,000,000 as deemed appropriate by the Successor Personal Representative. The firm was able to obtain an order dismissing the complaint filed by the Co-Personal Representatives of the second spouse’s estate.
- In addition, Mr. Zwemer and the firm represented the Personal Representative with respect to a claim in the estate of the second spouse, for misappropriation of assets and breach of fiduciary duty by the second spouse, while she was serving as the initial personal representative of the decedent’s Estate. A settlement agreement was reached by the parties whereby the Successor Personal Representative recovered $2,500,000 from the second spouse’s estate.
Mr. Zwemer’s representative clients include: Florida Community Bank, N.A., Seacoast National Bank, Gulfstream Business Bank, First American Title Insurance Company, and Old Republic Title Insurance Company. Currently, 95% of his practice is devoted to litigation. He is a Certified Circuit Civil Mediator and a Certified Bankruptcy Mediator in Florida.
Professional and Civic Activities
- Bankruptcy Bar Association for the Southern District of Florida
- Board of Directors, 2002 – 2005
- Meetings and Programs Committee, 2003
- The Florida Bar, 2002 - Present
- Bankruptcy/UCC Committee, Member
- Uniform Avoidable Transfer Act Study Group, 2015
- Business Law Section
- Trial Lawyers Sections
- Bankruptcy/UCC Committee, Member
- The Florida Bar Foundation, Inc. – Fellow, 2005 – Present
- Nineteenth Circuit Fee Arbitration Panel – Panel Member, 2002 – 2005
- NASD Regulation, Inc. Board of Arbitrators, 2003-2007
- Florida Academy of Professional Mediators, 2001 – Present
- Executive Board Member of Young Lawyer’s Section of the Louisville Bar Association, 1988
- St. Lucie County Bar Association
- President, 2005 - 2006
- Vice President, 2004 - 2005
- Secretary/Treasurer, 2003 - 2004
- Economic Development Council of St. Lucie County, Inc.
- Board of Directors, 2009 – Present
- By-Laws Committee 2015
- Tax Abatement Committee 2012
- St. Lucie County Chamber of Commerce
- SeaFest Committee – Co-Chair, 1997
- Infrastructure Committees – Chairman, 1996
- New Businesses Committee – Chairman, 1994
- Indian River Chamber of Commerce
- New Businesses Committee – Chairman, 1994 – 1995
- Council of 100 of Indian River County – Advisory Board
- The Treasure Coast Builders Association, Member
Charitable and Pro Bono Service
- Education Foundation of Indian River County, 1994 - Present
- Board of Directors, September 2015 - Present
- Rotary Service Club, 1991 – 1994
- Juris Doctorate Degree: University of Louisville School of Law, Louisville, Kentucky, cum laude, 1985
- Honors: Brandeis Honorary Society, Phi Kappa Phi Honorary Society
- Law Review: University of Louisville Law Review's Journal of Family Law, Manuscript Editor
- Bachelor of Science Degree, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, cum laude, 1981
- Honors: Alpha Zeta Honorary Society
- Board of College Councils – Representative
- Food and Resources Economics Club – President
- U.S. District Court Northern District of Florida
Recognition & Awards
- Martindale Hubbell: Preeminent AV® Rating
- Pro Bono Commendation Awards 2001, 2002, 2003 by the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee
- Mr. Zwemer gave a presentation to attendees at the Florida Land Title Association: 2011 Claims Prevention, Avoidance & Education Committee Roundtable, on April 13, 2011. His presentation addressed transfers of property after the filing of notices of lis pendens and instruments conveying interests in real property that will be construed to be mortgages.
- Adjunct Professor, Legal Issues in Agriculture and Agribusiness, University of Florida College of Agriculture, Gainesville, Florida, 2000
- The Ins and Outs of Bankruptcy Practice for Non-Bankruptcy Practitioners seminar sponsored by Lorman Business Center, Inc. February 21, 1991
- Florida Bankruptcy Case Law Update, Business Law Section of The Florida Bar, Eleventh Circuit Opinions, September 2014 Cases
- Fort Pierce Office Sponsors the 18th Annual Evening for Education Gala
- Joel Zwemer Re-Elected to St. Lucie County EDC Board
- Junior Lienholders and Banks Need to Take Care to Timely File Claims For Surplus Funds
- High Flying Farmers Prevail Against County on Alleged Zoning Code Violation
- Eleventh Circuit Rules Against the Kardashians
- Out of State Counsel Beware: Estate Claims Must Be E-Filed
- Landlords: During Lease Negotiations, Be Aware of Co-tenancy Provisions
- Incomplete Condo Docs Can Sink Your Sale. Here’s Why?
- St. Lucie County Education Foundation Awards $50,000 to School Board
- Joel Zwemer Quoted in Your Voice Weekly about Investing in Local Education
- Florida’s Fifth DCA Weighs In On The Scope of Easements For Ingress And Egress
- The Fourth District Court of Appeals Re-emphasizes Importance of Formal Notice in Certain Probate Proceedings
- Joel Zwemer authors Florida Bankruptcy Case Law Update