Matt is an experienced litigator and represents companies in all phases of litigation. He has experience litigating a wide range of matters, including complex product liability cases involving wrongful death and significant personal injury, and complex commercial disputes including contract breaches, deceptive and unfair trade practices and trade secret actions. Matt litigates in both state and federal court in Florida and nationally. He drafts motions, coordinates discovery and prepares and defends his clients for trial. Matt advocates for clients in a range of industries including pharmaceutical, medical devices, tobacco, oil and gas, engineering and construction, alarm services and automotive.

Before joining Shook, Matt served six years on active duty in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps, focusing on both trial and appellate litigation, internal investigations and client counseling.
Matt represented the United States as lead counsel in 12 criminal trials, and has substantial experience in trial strategy, jury selection, opening statements and closing arguments, evidentiary disputes and expert witness examination. His pretrial experience includes conducting investigations, discovery, motion practice, settlement negotiations and witness preparation.

As an appellate counsel, Matt represented more than 100 clients appealing their criminal convictions. He researched and drafted briefs and presented oral arguments on constitutional, evidentiary and procedural grounds. Matt argued five appeals before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces and the Army Court of Criminal Appeals, including successfully arguing the high-profile interlocutory appeal in United States v. Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

In addition, Matt has acted as general counsel to senior military leadership, providing advice and counsel on internal investigations, ethics and fiscal issues, as well as criminal and administrative law matters.

During Matt’s military career, he served a combat tour in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, was awarded a top secret security clearance and was recognized with numerous decorations, including the Bronze Star and two Meritorious Service Medals. Matt is a major in the U.S. Army Reserve in the 13th Legal Operations Detachment−Expert serving as an appellate attorney.

Matt maintains an active pro bono practice through Florida’s Governor’s Initiative on Lawyers Assisting Warriors (GI LAW) providing pro bono services to active duty service members in a variety of civil matters across the state.

Representative Matters

Cavanaugh vs. Stryker Corp. Part of trial team that obtained defense verdict in a four-week trial related to the design of a surgical suction device that was recalled by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and was alleged to cause the decedent’s death. The plaintiff sought more than $40 million in damages. Jury found for client on all counts. St. Lucie County, Florida (2018). 

Miller v. Stryker Corp., et al., successful resolution on the heels of trial in a product liability case related to the design of a surgical suction device that was recalled by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and was alleged to cause significant personal injury. Kenosha County, Wisconsin (2019).

Olsen v. Philip Morris USA Inc. Part of trial team that after two-and-a-half weeks of trial, the court granted the defense’s motion for mistrial. Miami-Dade County, Florida (2019).

Alvarez del Real v. Philip Morris USA Inc. Part of trial team in the defense of a personal injury in a two-week jury trial. Miami-Dade County, Florida (2019).

Martinez v. BP America Production Company & BP Exploration & Production, Inc. In a toxic tort case alleging that a Deepwater Horizon oil spill response worker sustained medical injuries following his response work, successfully obtained summary judgment on the plaintiff’s claims given the plaintiff’s lack of expert testimony. No. 19-21089 (S.D. Fla., July 1, 2020).

Publications

Looking to the Future—Florida’s Emergency Edible Rules Provide an Opportunity for Profits—and Perils, Cannabis Business Executive, January 6, 2021 (with Edd Gaus).

Are Your Company’s Drug Testing Policies About to Go Up In Smoke? FOCUS, ACC South Florida Chapter, Q1, 2021 (with Mihai Vrasmasu and Antar Vaughan).