Mr. Leitess is chair of the firm’s Business & Finance Practice Group. Mr. Leitess’ practice has a national scope, serving clients located around the country in litigation and transactional matters arising in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. His practice focuses on the areas of substantive law that businesses rely upon daily. 

Mr. Leitess’s daily professional activity is devoted entirely to business matters. He represents clients in a variety of transactions and disputes, including business aviation, equipment finance, and asset-based lending transactions, and business entity matters such as forming and governing corporations and limited liability companies. Mr. Leitess’s practice includes a substantial number of business litigation engagements in those and other business sectors and subject-matter areas. Mr. Leitess also provides “outside general counsel” services for the day-to-day operations of clients without an in-house legal department. 

Mr. Leitess has over 30 years of experience as first-chair attorney in numerous evidentiary and non-evidentiary hearings, court trials, jury trial, and appellate matters in state and federal courts around the country, including Maryland, Washington D.C., Virginia, Florida, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, and California. He has argued hundreds of motions and appeals, and participated in numerous mediations and arbitrations. He is a prolific legal writer and has drafted and filed a very large number of pleadings and motion papers in connection with those representations. 

Tara Haupt

  • University of Maryland Francis King Carey Law School - J.D. - 1988
  • University of Maryland - B.A. - 1985
Practice Areas
  • Contract Litigation
  • Product Liability
  • Asset-Based Lending & Commercial Finance, Equipment Lease Financing and Secured Transactions
  • Bankruptcy, Receivership and Creditors’ Rights
  • Business Litigation
  • Corporations and Unincorporated Business Entities
  • Commercial Real Estate Purchase, Sale, Development, and Foreclosure
  • Uniform Commercial Code
  • Employment, Trade Secret, and Non-Competition Agreements
Significant Cases
  • Represented commercial finance company in state and federal litigation to recover $2 million lost in a Ponzi scheme to an individual who impersonated a CIA agent in a wide-ranging fraud that involved the high-level officials of the US Department of Defense, the US Central Intelligence Agency, and other US government military, intelligence community organizations and private companies. The litigation team led by Mr. Leitess recovered 100% of the funds lost in the fraud scheme. No other victims, numbering approximately a dozen companies and individuals, recovered any money.
  • Represented a 4,700-member LLC in a lawsuit against investment brokers, agents and advisors for fraud and related causes of action arising out of a viatical/life settlement scam.
  • Represented joint venture parties in dispute with co-venturers to a $25 million real estate development project in Houston, TX. The dispute arose over breaches of internal agreements for governance that threatened the parties’ ability to execute on a contract for purchase and development of a large parcel of raw land.
  • Defended preference avoidance action against numerous textile industry factoring clients in U.S. Bankruptcy Court; reduced defendants’ potential litigation exposure from $15 million to approximately $75 million.
  • Represented general counsel of large family of healthcare companies in key fact witness role. The matter was an extremely contentious “David v. Goliath” dispute that resulted in several reported decisions concerning attorney-client privilege and confidential attorney work product, spoliation, and other issues.
  • Represented large equipment finance company in dispute that resulted in an order from U.S. District Court declaring unconstitutional a Maryland statute permitting certain third parties to seize and dispose of equipment collateral without giving prior notice to secured party.
  • Representing dozens of equipment finance companies in numerous matters involving the negotiation, workout and enforcement of equipment lease and finance transactions in high tech, transportation, construction, aviation, medical and other industries.
  • Represents patent owners in negotiating and implementing patent licensing agreements, royalty agreements and related matters.
  • Counsel to official committee of unsecured creditors, debtor-in-possession financing lenders and secured creditors in business bankruptcy cases. These matters include experience with plans of liquidation or reorganization, Sec. 363 sales, automatic stay litigation, voidable transactions claims, non-dischargeability litigation and numerous other kinds of adversary proceedings, contested matters and administrative matters that arise in business bankruptcy.
  • Negotiated and documented business loan transactions on behalf of lenders and borrowers, including asset-based financing such as floorplan financing transactions, accounts receivable financing transactions and equipment financing and leasing transactions.
Recent Contributions to Continuing Legal Education and Advancement of Business and Finance Law

2017 Maryland Commercial Law Legislative Initiative (December 20, 2016)

Program Chair, panel chair on the Uniform Voidable Transactions Act (formerly known as the Uniform FraudulentTransfers Act)

Description:This program was presented live in person and by webinar hosted by the Maryland State Bar Association's Business Law Section and Real Property Section, and the Maryland Bankruptcy Bar Association. The presenters provided attendees an opportunity to learn about and provide input on proposed laws affecting business in Maryland. The program informed and promoted a dialog among practitioners, judges, legislators and members of affected industries about proposed improvements in the law with the goal producing the best possible products for enactment.

Beyond the Promise to Pay: How Security Interests Help Ensure a Successful Lending Transaction (January 26, 2017)

Panelist addressing technical and policy points of UCC Article-Secured Transactions

Description: This program was presented nationally via live webinar hosted by the Business Law Section of the American Bar Association. Even a well-drafted loan agreement can spell losses for lenders if the borrower fails to pay or becomes insolvent. To help avert such problems, many lenders take a UCC Article 9 security interest in the borrower's personal property assets (including inventory, equipment, receivables and/or investment securities). This practical program discussed the fundamentals of UCC Article 9 and made clear the power of the statute's central provisions.

Panelist addressing issues arising in fiduciary litigation, pleading and proof in state court litigation and business valuation.

Pleading in State Court and the Burgeoning Fiduciary Litigation Practice (March 4, 2017)

Panelist discussing recent developments in fiduciary litigation; pleading and proof in state court litigation; business valuation in succession planning and "business divorce."

Description:This program was presented live in person to the Anne Arundel County Bar Association. Think you know the difference between pleading statutory versus common law accounting? What about a direct action versus a derivative action? The panel addressed common mistakes that create problems in litigation from the get-go. The panel also discussed the burgeoning fiduciary litigation practice. Boomers, one of the largest demographic groups, have on average the highest net worth of any generation. These facts portend an increase in fiduciary litigation over the next decade as children and grandchildren tussle for the family jewels. The panel discussed what lawyers can do to help clients ensure a peaceful transition of wealth or, if fights erupt, how best to handle them.

Presentations Addressing Deadlock in Limited Liability Companies (November 2016 - April 2018)

Panelist and co-author of comprehensive written materials discussing how to prevent and address deadlock in limited liability companies.

Description: These sophisticated business law programs were presented several times to different audiences including the American Bar Association's Limited Liability Company Institute (November 2016), the Pennsylvania Business Law Institute (November 2017), the Maryland State Bar Association's Advanced Business Law Institute (April 2918), and Strafford Publications, Inc. (webinar broadcasts in 2017-2018).

Deadlock in a LLC arises when members or managers fail to reach agreement or obtain the required voting for a particular course of action that prevents an LLC from performing the purpose for which it was formed. The failure to provide in advance methodologies for dealing with deadlock can result in significant cost, loss of time and other resources, and possible litigation and may result in judicial dissolution of the LLC or other judicially imposed (and frequently not very practical) remedies. The panel and its written materials discuss deadlock breaking mechanisms that might be included in LLC operating agreements, with a focus on the types and forms of such provisions, their effectiveness and limitations, and the issues involved in drafting and enforcing those provisions. The panel and materials also addressed statutory and case law developments as well as potential alternative dispute resolution options.

  • Maryland Super Lawyers, 2015-Present
  • Maryland Commission on Uniform State Laws, 2006-Present
    • Chairman. Appointed by Gov. Robert Ehrlich, reappointed by Gov. Larry Hogan
  • Uniform Law Commission, 2006-Present
  • Chairman of the Maryland Delegation, 2015-Present
  • Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating - "AV - Preeminent" 1995-Present

"Deadlock - Breaking Mechanisms in LLCs - Flipping a Coin is Not Good Enough But is Better Than Dissolution" Business Law Today, American Bar Association (March 2017)

Description:This article provides a framework for addressing the importance of adopting deadlock-breaking mechanisms in limited liability company operating agreements as an alternative to seeking judicial dissolution when a deadlock arises.

Professional & Bar Association Memberships
  • American Bar Association
    • Member Since: 1989
    • Intellectual Property Section
    • Litigation Section
    • Law Practice Management Section
    • Business Law Section
    • Uniform Commercial Code Committee-Programs Coordinator
    • Commercial Finance Committee
    • Limited Partnership and Unincorporated Entities Committee
    • ABA Advisor - Uniform Certificate of Title Act, 2003
    • Uniform Law Commission Coordinating Committee
  • American College of Commercial Finance Lawyers
    • Member Since: 2004
    • President, 2015-2016
    • Member, Executive Committee, 2010 - Present
    • Chair, Technology and Website Committee
    • Alternative Dispute Resolution Program
    • Past-Chair, ACCFL Official Observer Program
  • Uniform Law Commission
    • Member Since: 2004
    • ULC Division Chair, 2011- 2015
    • Maryland Delegation Chair, 2015 - Present
    • Maryland Delegation, Legislative Liaison to the Maryland General Assembly, 2004 - Present
    • ULC Committees include:
      • Management of funds raised through crowdfunding efforts - drafting committee
      • Uniform Series of Unincorporated Business Entities Act ("Series LLC") - drafting committee (act was adopted by ULC)
      • Uniform Voidable Transactions Act - drafting committee (act was adopted by ULC)
      • Uniform Asset Preservation Act - drafting and enactment committees (act was adopted by ULC)
      • Athlete Agents Act - drafting committee (act was adopted by ULC)
      • Uniform Custodial Interrogation Act - drafting committee (act was adopted by ULC)
      • Uniform Certificate of Title Act - drafting committee (act was adopted by ULC)
      • Permanent Editorial Board for Unincorporated Business Entities - standing committee
      • Enactment Committee for Revisions to UCC Article 9
      • Fundraising by Public Appeals
  • Maryland Commission on Uniform State Laws
    • Member Since: 2004
    • Chairman
    • Examples of uniform acts enacted in Maryland during Mr. Leitess' tenure as a commissioner and Legislative Liaison:
      • Revisions to UCC Article 9
      • Power of Attorney Act
      • Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act
      • Interstate Deposition and Discovery Act
      • Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Act
      • Anatomical Gift Act
      • Revisions to Maryland Trust Code
      • Commercial Receivership Act
  • Maryland State Bar Association
    • Member Since: 1989
    • Business Law Section
    • 2018 Advanced Business Law Institute, “Deadlock in Limited Liability Companies” (panel speaker and author of materials)
    • Litigation Section
    • Uniform Commercial Code Committee
    • MSBA Task Force for LLC Protected
  • Anne Arundel Bar Association
    • Member Since: 1990
    • Chair, Continuing Legal Education
    • Chair, AABA Annual Crab Feast Golf Tournament
  • District of Columbia Bar Association
    • Member Since: 1989
    • Litigation Section
    • Law Practice Section
  • Association of Commercial Finance Attorneys
    • Member Since: 1993
    • Board of Trustees, 2000 - Present
    • Chair, Continuing Legal Education Weekend, 2009 & 2013
  • Equipment Leasing and Finance Association
    • Member Since: 1995
    • Member of the Legal Committee, 2004 - 2006

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