Zuckerman Spaeder Partner Marcos Hasbun Honored by The American Lawyer as a “Trailblazer”

Zuckerman Spaeder LLP is pleased to announce that The American Lawyer has named partner Marcos E. Hasbun as a South Trailblazer for 2022. The award recognizes professionals who have been an agent of change in their region.

Mr. Hasbun is a skilled and versatile litigator who focuses his practice on white collar criminal defense and commercial litigation. He represents both individuals and organizations, including in matters related to health care fraud, public corruption, criminal environmental activity, the False Claims Act (FCA), and the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The American Lawyer recognition centers on Mr. Hasbun’s innovative and high-profile work protecting vulnerable and endangered animals living at roadside zoos, along with his expeditious wins for health systems facing allegations of FCA violations.

Before Netflix’s Tiger King spotlighted the dark underside of roadside zoos, Mr. Hasbun was working with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to hold these facilities accountable for the improper treatment of endangered animals. His trailblazing work firmly established PETA’s standing to bring action under the ESA’s citizen suit provision.

In one case, Mr. Hasbun defeated Dade City's Wild Things (DCWT), which profited from tiger cub photo-ops and then relegated the animals to dismal conditions after they outgrew the cub phase. He secured a district court ruling that sent the tigers to reputable sanctuaries and barred DCWT and the named defendants from ever owning endangered tigers again. Mr. Hasbun also prevailed at trial against Tri-State Zoological Park (Tri-State) in Maryland. Finding its conditions “fetid and dystopic,” the district court ordered the transfer of the surviving federally protected species and permanently enjoined Tri-State from possessing ESA-protected animals. Subsequently, Mr. Hasbun defeated Tri-State’s appeals – before both the Fourth Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court – affirming PETA’s significant victory and further strengthening its ability to protect vulnerable, endangered species

Asked about the impact of his work, Mr. Hasbun told The American Lawyer, “Our work with PETA has resulted in dozens of endangered animals being removed from dreadful situations. But perhaps more importantly, it has delivered a powerful message about the major consequences roadside zoos can face for failing to care adequately for vulnerable species. This is significant, as neglectful facilities have historically received just a slap on the wrist.”

In his health care practice, Mr. Hasbun recently defended two health systems, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Florida non-profit health system Health First, both operating in competitive environments during a public health crisis. He obtained dismissals of the cases in under 18 months, which allowed these facilities to remain focused on serving their communities and demonstrated his extraordinary understanding of health care law and the FCA. 

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Katie Munroe
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