John is a member of the firm’s litigation practice group. John has over 23 years of experience in all aspects of litigation, including over 30 trials, as well as in bankruptcy matters and alternative dispute resolution. Prior to entering private practice, John served as a Judge Advocate in the United States Navy and as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney. In private practice, John has focused his practice on representing financial institutions and other corporate clients in complex litigation, insolvency matters, and government investigations throughout the United States.
John handles a wide range of litigation matters, including: prosecuting creditor’s rights claims; defending securities fraud and common law fraud claims; prosecuting fraud claims; and litigating claims arising out of mergers and acquisitions, construction and real estate development projects, and general business disputes.
John regularly represents institutional lenders and other creditors in insolvency and default scenarios, including: enforcing credit agreements, equipment finance leases, and guaranties; handling bankruptcy main cases and adversary proceedings; negotiating forbearance agreements and out-of-court workouts; coordinating the acquisition and disposition of distressed assets, including foreclosure actions and UCC sales; defending lender liability claims; defending preference claims; prosecuting and defending fraudulent transfer claims; and handling inter-creditor disputes.
John also has experience defending criminal matters and representing targets and witnesses in formal and informal government investigations.
John has received many accolades and awards, including being recognized as an Illinois Super Lawyer (2012–2021) and as an Illinois Leading Lawyer (2014–2016).
Prior to joining Gutnicki LLP, John was affiliated with Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, Reed Smith LLP, and Vedder Price, P.C.
John is admitted to practice in Illinois and the federal jurisdictions listed in the Court Admissions section of this page. In addition, he has been admitted pro hac vice and/or acted as lead counsel in matters pending in state and/or federal courts in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.
- Represented a financial institution in litigation involving claims under the Securities Act of 1933 and common law claims arising out of the issuance of more than $1 billion of residential mortgage-backed securities. In that action, the Securities Act claim against Mr. Zummo’s client was dismissed with prejudice and the state law claims were dismissed without prejudice. The opinion is reported at 938 F.Supp.2d 440. The state law claims were settled without Mr. Zummo’s client paying any portion of the settlement amount.
- Obtained summary judgment in favor of a financial institution on its claims for breach of contract, fraud, and conversion—including a punitive damages award—in litigation that was pending in the Circuit Court of Cook County.
- Represented the construction lender in mechanic’s litigation arising out of a $43.1 million hotel development.
- Represented an international manufacturer of automotive components in a multi-jurisdictional dispute arising out of its acquisition of a U.S. company, including litigation in the Southern District of New York and in the First Tier Tribunal (Tax) of the United Kingdom.
- Represented a senior secured creditor in a bankruptcy adversary proceeding to determine the allocation of over $22 million in proceeds from the 363 sale of the debtor’s assets. In that action, Mr. Zummo tried and defeated the claims of several mechanic’s lien claimants that asserted liens on the proceeds from the 363 sale of the debtor’s assets. The opinion is reported at 393 B.R. 372.
- Represented a member of the lending group in the workout of a $200 million syndicated revolving and term loan credit facility.
- Negotiated an out-of-court resolution to a dispute between a commercial lender and the administrative agent regarding allocations in a multi-million-dollar loan syndication.
- Represented an S&P 500 owner, operator, and developer of major retail real estate in a dispute with tenants.
- Represented a financial institution in a purported class action in which the lead plaintiff alleged violations of the Truth in Lending Act, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act. Mr. Zummo obtained the dismissal of all claims, with prejudice, on a motion to dismiss. The opinion is reported at 2003 WL 25765398.
- Represented a hedge fund and its manager in a series of matters arising out of the misappropriation of funds by an introducing broker.
- Represented an equipment finance lessor in a federal district court action in which a defaulting lessee asserted various lender-liability claims against the lessor. In that action, Mr. Zummo obtained the dismissal of all the lessee’s claims against the financial institution (the opinion is reported at 2008 WL 2114867), leaving only the lessor’s counterclaims for breach of the leases. Ultimately, all the lessee’s obligations were resolved amicably.
- Represented a corporate client in a successful claim against an insurer to recover the value of damaged and destroyed real and personal property.
- Represented an institutional lender in action against defaulting guarantors of a commercial borrower’s obligations under a multi-million-dollar asset-based revolving and term loan credit agreement. In that action, Mr. Zummo obtained the dismissal of defendants’ lender-liability counterclaims, persuaded the court to strike all affirmative defenses, and obtained summary judgment in favor of the lender on all claims. The opinions are reported at 2006 WL 6000465 and 2007 WL 5417734.
- Represented a financial institution in SEC and DOJ investigations of the CEO of its publically-traded borrower, including managing an extensive document production and preparing client representatives to be interviewed by the DOJ.
- Member of team that represented a publically-traded company in high-profile SEC and DOJ investigations, and related securities fraud (1934 Act) litigation.
- Represented an international producer and seller of coffee in litigation to enforce its rights under a distribution agreement.
- Represented a manufacturer of recreational products in an action to lift the stay in the chapter 11 bankruptcy of its customer. Mr. Zummo utilized targeted written discovery and a deposition of the borrower’s principal to convince the borrower to enter an agreed order terminating the automatic stay and permitting Mr. Zummo’s client to sell its collateral in-place. Mr. Zummo’s strategy and efforts saved the client the cost of a trial and facilitated an extremely cost-effective disposition of the collateral.
- Represented a financial institution and global medical equipment manufacturer in the receivership of a regional medical center.
- Represented the defendant in a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) class action matter in which potential damages exceeded $24 million. Mr. Zummo negotiated a settlement under which the putative (settlement) class agreed not to seek any damages from his client.
- Represented a financial institution in litigation in Texas state court against a personal guarantor of a multi-million-dollar commercial loan obligation. In that action, Mr. Zummo defeated two attempts by the guarantor to use the principal obligor’s bankruptcy to forestall the litigation and obtained summary judgment against the guarantor.
- Represented a bank (and senior secured creditor) in actions to enforce its rights against commercial borrowers and collateral located in two different states. This matter involved two state court litigation actions and two chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. Both bankruptcy cases were dismissed. Thereafter, Mr. Zummo obtained a replevin order, a multi-million-dollar monetary judgment and final order for possession of personal property collateral, and a judgment of foreclosure on the real property collateral. Mr. Zummo is currently coordinating efforts to sell the real property.
- Represented an insurance broker in ligation by a multi-national corporate insured against numerous brokers and an insurance company.
- Member of team that obtained summary judgment on behalf of an audit committee member and outside general counsel of a publicly-traded corporation on common law fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and Illinois Consumer Fraud Act claims arising out of a $74 million equipment lease securitization. The opinion is reported at 2004 WL 1977572.