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Honorable Judge Avern Cohn, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, 2007 – 2008


University of Detroit Mercy School of Law
Detroit, Michigan
J.D., cum laude, 2008

Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan
B.A., 2004

Bar Admissions


Court Admissions

All Michigan state courts

United States District Court of the Eastern District of Michigan

Litigation Attorney and Business Advisor

Ziyad is a member of Varnum’s Litigation and Trial Practice Team. He concentrates his practice in the area of business and commercial litigation.

He has significant experience in handling trade secret and non-compete disputes, shareholder/member disputes, arbitrations, franchise litigation, civil RICO, real estate litigation and other business matters in state and federal courts in Michigan and throughout the country.

In addition to being a litigator, he also has substantial experience serving as outside general counsel for clients, assisting and advising them with respect to day-to-day corporate and legal issues.

Ziyad graduated cum laude from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law where he was the executive editor of the University of Detroit Mercy Law Review and received the Dean’s Scholarship for Academic Excellence. He was also inducted into the Justice Frank Murphy Honor Society, honoring graduates with outstanding academic achievement. He completed his undergraduate business studies at Michigan State University where he graduated with honors and was the recipient of the Phillip and Viola May Scholarship.

Prior to entering private practice, Ziyad interned for the Honorable Judge Avern Cohn for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Ziyad is a member of the State Bar of Michigan and the American Bar Association and previously served as vice president of the Chaldean American Bar Association.


Fifth Third Bank v. Desert in Alaska Corp., et al. (Wayne County Circuit Court, Case No. 11-005520-CK)(represented bank in action for breach of loan agreement and piercing the corporate veil)

Dura Automotive Systems, Inc., et al. v Denzil Abney, et al. (Oakland County Circuit Court, Case No. 08-096013-CK)(represented plaintiff in multimillion dollar action against former employees in trade secret theft action)

Dura Global Technologies, Inc., et al. v. Magna Donnelly Corporation (E.D. Mich. 07-cv-10945. Cox, J.)(represented plaintiff in multimillion dollar action patent infringement, trade secret theft and unfair competition action)

Ordos City Hawtai Autobody Company, Ltd., et al. v. Dimond Rigging Company, LLC (E.D. Mich. 13-cv-14909. Cox, J.)(obtained preliminary injunction, order for possession of equipment pending final judgment, and trial verdict and final judgment in the amount of $1.2 million in breach of contract action)

L.A. Insurance Agency Franchising, LLC, v. Claudia Montes, et al. (E.D. Mich. 14-cv-14432)(obtained permanent injunction against former franchisee in breach of franchise agreement and unlawful competition action)

Represented corporate investors, including a Panamanian bank, sued by the foreign representatives overseeing the liquidation of one of the main feeder funds to the Ponzi scheme associated with Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, LLC

Edrich Products, Inc. v. Extended Enterprise Group, et al. (Oakland County Circuit Court, Case No. 13-135025-CK)(obtained $2.4 million judgment in action for breach of consulting agreement, breach of fiduciary duty, tortious interference and civil conspiracy)

Perry T. Christy v. Bridgestone Retail Operations, LLC, d/b/a Firestone Complete Auto Care(Wayne County Circuit Court, Case No. 14-014321-AV) (obtained dismissal of claim alleging violation of Motor Vehicle Service and Repair Act and conversion; affirmed on appeal)

Thomas Halama v. Firestone Complete Auto Care (24th District Court, Case No. 15-44482) (obtained dismissal of claim alleging violation of Michigan Consumer Protection Act)

Saginaw Prop., LLC v. Value City Dep’t Stores, LLC, and Retail Ventures Inc. (Case No. 08-13782-BC, 2009 WL 3536616 (E.D. Mich. Oct. 30, 2009)) (obtained summary judgment and dismissal of action against defendant department store holding company for alleged successor liability)

Allstate Insurance Company, et al, v. Silver Pine Imaging, LLC (E.D. Mich. 14-cv-10356. Hood, J.)(represented medical provider in action related to reasonableness of charges pursuant to the Michigan No-Fault Act)

Allstate Insurance Company, et al, v. Universal Health Group, Inc., et al. (E.D. Mich. 13-cv-15108. Parker, J.) and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company v. Universal Health Group, Inc. et al (14-cv-10266. Levy, J.)(represented medical providers and doctors in alleged civil RICO and fraud action)

American Petroleum Institute v. U.S. Energy Resources, LLC, et al. (E.D. Mich. 11-cv-14869. Friedman, J.)(represented a distributor and marketer of engine oils against a multimillion dollar trademark lawsuit brought by a prominent petroleum and natural gas industry trade association; successfully negotiated dismissal of client from lawsuit)

The Boyd Group (U.S.) Inc., et al. v. Richard Gagliano, et al. (Macomb County Circuit Court, Case No. 16-502-CB)(represented plaintiff in action for breach of noncompete agreement)

Etter Amalgamated, Inc v. Bearclaw Coffee Company, et al. (Washtenaw County Circuit Court, Case No. 15-201-CK) (obtained consent judgment against defendants in breach of loan agreement action)

Superior Electric Company of Greater Detroit, Inc. v. Aaron Melitz, et al. (Oakland County Circuit Court, Case No. 14-143896-CK)(represented defendant in action by former employer for alleged breach of noncompete agreement)

Lori F. McCarthy v. AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company, et al. (Oakland County Circuit Court, Case No.: 13-137100-CZ)(obtained preliminary injunction enjoining defendant from transferring IRA funds)

Gunnell, Inc. v. Chenica, Inc. (Tuscola County Circuit Court, Case No. 11-26612-CK)(represented defendant and counter-plaintiff in breach of contract and misrepresentation action related to sale of wheelchair company)

Susan P. Davis v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. (E.D. Mich. 13-cv-10578. Cox, J)(represented plaintiff in action to quiet title)

Timothy Runion v. Lotus Cars USA, Inc. (Ohio Common Pleas Court, Case No. 16-CV-003435)(represented sports car manufacturer in action by buyer for alleged lemon law violations)

Australia Mining Export v. Midwest Engine Inc. (Genesee County Circuit Court, Case No. 13-101252-CK)(represented Australian engine distributor in action for breach of contract and unjust enrichment)

Citizens Bank v. Seven Harbors, et al. (Oakland County Circuit Court, Case No. 12-126941-CK)(represented bank in action for breach of loan agreement; obtained summary judgment in amount over $680,000)

Citizens Bank v. Tamark Properties, et al. (Jackson County Circuit Court, Case No. 11-003436-CK)(represented bank in action for breach of loan agreement; obtained receiver over property and summary judgment in amount over $433,000)

Honors and Recognitions

DBusiness© Top Lawyers, Metro Detroit, Commercial Litigation, 2018, 2020 and Franchise, 2020

Eastern District of Michigan Pro Bono Honoree, 2010 – 2012

Legal Aid and Defender Associations “Pangborn Pin” Award, 2011

Michigan Super Lawyers®, Rising Star, Business Litigation, 2012 – 2019, 2021

Professional Affiliations

American Bar Association

Chaldean American Bar Association, former vice president

Leadership Oakland, Cornerstone Program Graduate, Class XXIV

State Bar of Michigan


Contributing author to The Developing Labor Law’s (BNA Books) Chapter on RICO – 2008 – present

Webinar Presenter on “Patents v. Trade Secrets: Knowing and Protecting Your IP!” – Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MERA), October 29, 2019

Co-author of “Mich. Bill Adds To States’ Trend Of Limiting Noncompetes” – Law360 Newsletter and Expert Analysis section, Sept. 16, 2019

Presenter on “Anatomy of a Deposition” – Leadership Oakland’s Justice Day Session at Oakland County Circuit Court, February 10, 2016

Presenter/Panelist on Civil RICO claims – M1 Imaging presentation in Birmingham, MI, December 3, 2015

Moderator for Panel Discussion – Detroit Business Symposium for Startups and Growing Companies in Detroit, MI, January 8, 2015

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