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Darrell Payne is a Shareholder in the Litigation Department and a member of the Firm’s Board of Directors. His practice covers a wide range of complex commercial litigation and business torts. He regularly represents clients in contract disputes, intellectual property litigation & lawsuits involving banking, real estate and construction. Darrell also has experience with claims involving title to real property, title insurance disputes, tax assessment challenges, eminent domain and land use claims, cargo loss claims, distributorship issues, and accounting negligence. He handles all phases of litigation in state and federal courts throughout Florida, including mediation, arbitration and appeals. Darrell served as a law clerk to United States District Judge Kenneth L. Ryskamp, in the District Court for the Southern District of Florida, from 1988-1989.

Darrell has been a leader of professional and community organizations, including Legal Services of Greater Miami, which provides free civil legal services for the economically disadvantaged.  He is passionate about expanding pro bono opportunities and has made many presentations on lawyer professionalism for The Florida Bar and The Dade County Bar.

Representative Experience

  • Successfully defended one of the world’s largest non-vessel operating common carriers in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, in an action brought by one of its main competitors, seeking more than $10 million dollars, and alleging misappropriation of trade secrets, unfair trade practices, and tortious interference with contract and business relationship. After a multi-day bench trial, Defendant prevailed on all claims.
  • Secured $2.4 million non-jury verdict in trademark/distributorship dispute involving organic food manufacturer.
  • Successfully challenged land-use/zoning change for multi-million dollar condominium project near national historic landmark.
  • Obtained $1.7 million non-jury verdict in a partnership buyout dispute.
  • Successfully litigated complex commercial and multi-unit residential development foreclosures for lenders and loan-holders, including bankruptcy and workout issues.
  • Successfully prosecuted corporate valuation/appraisal rights proceeding involving master-planned communities and other significant real estate assets.
  • Successfully litigated trade secret theft / employee non-compete dispute involving international distillery / alcoholic beverage company.
  • Successfully challenged tax assessments in administrative proceedings and circuit court lawsuits for a range of commercial properties and businesses, including a major shopping mall, a high-rise rental development, an apartment complex, gaming facilities, and funeral homes/cemeteries.
  • Defended multi-million dollar business tort jury trial involving international commodities trading.
  • Defended chemical company in multi-million dollar jury trial involving alleged damage to aquaculture concern in Ecuador.
  • Successfully handled distributorship litigation for various companies, including international chemical company, international electronics company and Latin American distributor of medical products.
  • Represented international fast-service food franchisor in trademark/trade dress/franchisee litigation.
  • Successfully represented pro bono client in quit claim action, recovering clear title and allowing client to remain in his home of more than 30 years.

Judicial Clerkships

  • Law Clerk, Honorable Kenneth L. Ryskamp, United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida

Professional & Community Involvement

  • The Florida Bar
    • Rules of Judicial Administration Committee
    • Standing Committee on Professionalism
    • Eminent Domain Committee
    • Young Lawyers Division - Board of Governors
  • Dade County Bar Association
    • Board of Directors
    • Professionalism Committee
    • Federal Courts Committee
    • Schools Committee
  • American Bar Association, Litigation Section
  • Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc.
    • Board President
    • Board Treasurer
    • Executive Committee
    • Campaign Committee
    • Audit & Finance Committee
  • United Way Miami
    • Executive Committee
    • Board of Directors
    • Community Impact Committee, Co-Chair
    • School Age Education Impact Council, Past Co-Chair
    • Public Policy Committee
  • WLRN Public Television and Radio, Community Advisory Board Chair
  • University of Florida College of Law
    • Law Center Association
    • Alumni Council
    • Law & Technology Conference Steering Committee
  • Coral Gables War Memorial Youth Center Association, Inc.,
    Board Member
  • Friends of Gables High, Board Chair
  • Miami Pro Bono Round Table
  • Drug Free Youth in Town (DFYIT)
  • South Dade Family YMCA, Adventure Guides Program, Volunteer
  • Coral Reef Yacht Club
    • Youth Sailing Committee
    • Audit & Finance Committee
  • Dade County Children First Program, Guardian Ad Litem Attorney
  • Florida Law Related Education Association, Inc.
    • Florida High School Mock Trial Program, Advisory Committee
  • Cities in Schools/Corporate Academy, Mentor
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters, Bigs at Work
  • Florida Baptist Children’s Home, Big Brother
  • Volunteer Youth Sports Coach, various sports
  • The Education Fund, Teacher Champion/Volunteer


  • LSGMI Julie Azuaje Volunteer Leadership Award, 2021
  • Pro Bono Honoree, Legal Services of Greater Miami, 2019
  • Florida Super Lawyers, 2006-2019
  • The Education Fund, The Sapoznik Insurance Public School Alumni Achievement Award, 2017
  • President's Distinguished Leadership Recognition – Pro Bono, Dade County Bar Association, March 2017
  • Florida Trend's Florida Legal Elite, 2016
  • Legal Services of Greater Miami, 50 Voices Honoree, 2015
  • ALM/ South Florida’s Top Rated Lawyers, 2012
  • Super Lawyers, Corporate Counsel Edition, Business Litigation, 2010
  • South Florida Legal Guide - “Top Lawyers in South Florida,” 2006-2007 
  • Miami Metro Magazine Legal Guide, Top Lawyer, 2001
  • Put Something Back Joint Pro Bono Project of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit, Pro Bono Award, 1992, 1994, 1999, 2002
  • AV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell

Publications & Presentations

Publications: Environmental Concerns Chapter, Florida Eminent Domain Practice and Procedure
The Florida Bar (5th ed. (2006) through 12th ed. (2021))|January 2021

Ad Valorem Tax News Update, Land Development News Update, Publications: Should You Challenge Your Property Tax Assessment?
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update |August 2017

Events: Miami Pro Bono Roundtable's Pro Bono Fair and Poverty Simulation
Miami-Dade College Wolfson Campus|March 2016

Publications: Commentary: A Report Card on Check 21
Bank & Lender Liability Litigation Reporter|September 2007

Publications: Juris Federal Law Clerk Training Handbook
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida|January 1994

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