Photo of Joanne L. Zimolzak

Joanne L. Zimolzak Member

Areas of Practice

Industries

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • Maryland

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland

Education

Georgetown University Law Center, J.D., Dean's List

University of Maryland, B.A., English, magna cum laude

Joanne Zimolzak is a solution-oriented litigator who works hard to deliver results for her clients.  With over 20 years of experience handling all aspects of complex business and regulatory litigation, Joanne knows that understanding the client’s business and risk tolerance is just as important as understanding the law. She is also skilled at identifying and highlighting issues before the client even knows there’s a problem. This can be particularly important for clients in the highly-regulated industries in which she has focused her practice, including insurance, government contracts, and healthcare.

One focus of Joanne’s practice is representing liability insurers in coverage disputes, including matters involving alleged professional negligence, bad faith allegations, and significant potential exposures. As monitoring counsel, Joanne assists in developing strategies to efficiently resolve claims and in preparing persuasive, high-quality pleadings and motions. Joanne also advises insurers on coverage and risk management issues, emerging liability risks, and regulatory compliance. A former chair of the ABA’s Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee, Joanne's expertise in this area is recognized by both clients and peers.

Joanne’s practice also extends to complex commercial and administrative litigation, with particular emphasis on contract disputes, business torts, and regulatory compliance. She has handled a wide range of complex civil litigation matters before state and federal courts throughout the country, both at the trial and appellate levels, in areas ranging from straight breach of contract claims, to misappropriation of trade secrets, to applying the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act to shield a client’s account from efforts to enforce an arbitral award.

Additionally, Joanne has significant experience assisting government contractors with compliance issues and handling government contracts-related litigation, including contract claims and disputes, procurement fraud matters, and reverse-FOIA defense. She spent the first several years of her career working out of a converted WWII bunker in the Midwest, where she helped build the strategy needed to defend a client against allegations of fraud and overbilling, and she’s since helped numerous clients navigate internal investigations, fraud claims, and day-to-day government contract claims and disputes. 

A client once told Joanne that she seemed “too nice” to be an attorney, but Joanne has built a career proving that the two are not mutually exclusive. She fights hard for her clients but firmly believes that getting along with opposing counsel (and others) is almost always the best way to go. She cares about her clients as well as her community, where she mentors many young lawyers and is active in pro bono matters.       

Experience

Business Litigation and Insurance

  • Defeated class certification and subsequently obtained summary judgment ruling in purported RICO class action against insurer and its counsel (S.D. Mississippi)
  • Obtained summary judgment ruling that major insurer had no duty to defend purported additional insured in a significant wrongful death action, thereby negating any possibility for claimant to recover defense expenses or pursue bad faith claims (Del. Super.)
  • Negotiated successful settlements of insurer liability (avoiding bad faith exposure) in multiple matters across the country, from Maryland to Washington state.

  • Obtained summary judgment for European client in action concerning breach of commercial contract, with judgment including full restitution and award of attorneys' fees (D.D.C.)
  • Obtained dismissal of major agriculture product distributor from Texas products liability matters for lack of personal jurisdiction (S.D. Tex.)
  • Negotiated successful settlement for Canadian manufacturer in commercial contract dispute (E.D. Va.)

Government Contracts/Investigations

  • Assisted Ability One Program government contractors with administrative law challenge to agency's decision to elevate Small Business contracting preference over statutory contracting mandate, including by obtaining a stay pending appeal of the Court of Federal Claims' decision upholding agency action (appeal pending in the US Court of Federal Claims) and in a parallel US District Court (DC) action challenging agency rulemaking
  • Assisted IT supplies/services government contractor in conducting internal investigation regarding alleged improper billing issues and responding to government subpoena concerning same, resulting in successful negotiated resolution
  • Represented small business government contractor against criminal procurement fraud allegations relating to GSA supplies and services contract, resulting in successful negotiated resolution.
  • Successful reverse-FOIA defense of multiple contractors seeking to prevent the release of confidential, proprietary/business-sensitive information from public release by DoD components, Treasury, and other executive agencies.
  • Negotiated successful settlement in prime/subcontractor teaming dispute.

Memberships & Involvement

  • American Bar Association, Tort Trial and Insurance Practice, Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee (Vice-Chair, 2009 to present; Chair, Aug. 2018 - August 2019)

  • American Bar Association, Public Contract Law Section
    Member, Advisory Board, Georgetown Corporate Counsel Institute, 2015 - present

  • Member, Executive Committee, Council for Court Excellence - 2018 - present

  • Member, Board of Directors, Children's Law Center, 2015 - present

  • Listed among The Best Lawyers in America® for Insurance Law, 2018 and 2019

  • Recognized by DC Super Lawyers in the area of Insurance Coverage, 2018 and 2019