Matt is an experienced trial attorney who has tried many jury cases. He has successfully represented individuals, small businesses and multinational companies, as plaintiffs and defendants, in product liability and the gamut of business disputes. 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, non-disclosure breaches, non-competes and trade secret actions. Matt handles cases in both state and federal court in Florida and nationally. He drafts complaints and motions, coordinates discovery, prepares company witnesses for testimony, conducts and defends depositions and prepares and defends his clients for trial. Matt advocates for clients in a range of industries including pharmaceutical, medical devices, ride-sharing, tobacco, commercial real estate, insurance, oil and gas, engineering and construction, alarm services and automotive.
On the advisory side, Matt provides clients practical advice targeted to meet their business goals and has provided post-litigation-lessons-learned training to clients’ business units. In addition to his litigation practice, Matt has also represented clients on issues related to grand jury proceedings and negotiated terms with the Department of Justice, the Internal Revenue Service and the Florida Bureau of Insurance Fraud.
Matt maintains an active pro bono practice through the Florida Governor’s Initiative on Lawyers Assisting Warriors (GI LAW). He provides pro bono services to active duty service members in a variety of civil matters across the state and is detailed as a special assistant public defender by the Miami-Dade Public Defender’s Office.
Representative MattersGovernment Investigations and Litigation
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. Matt worked hand-in-hand with law enforcement on countless occasions on developing case facts and providing strategic counseling for case resolution.
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. Matt was the legal advisor on over 50 internal investigations and was the co-investigator on a toxic work environment investigation into the most senior leader of his organization. Matt was also responsible for leading a review of military contractor misconduct and reimbursement for military equipment that was stolen in transit from military operations during shipping. During his deployment to Afghanistan, Matt provided legal advice and guidance on the targeting on insurgents and the use of classified intelligence.
During Matt’s military career, he served a combat tour in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, holds an active a top-secret/sensitive compartmented information security clearance and was recognized with numerous decorations, including the Bronze Star and two Meritorious Service Medals. Matt is currently a major in the U.S. Army Reserve in the 16th Legal Operations Detachment serving as senior defense counsel representing soldiers under criminal investigation, administrative internal investigations and before hearings boards seeking to separate his clients from the Army.
Sunoptic Technologies, LLC v. Linvatec Corporation d/b/a ConMed Linvatec | In a complex commercial case involving breaches of contract and non-disclosure agreements, trade secret misappropriation and violation of Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, a favorable settlement was negotiated on the heels of trial. Duval County, Florida (2022).
Jones Lang LaSalle Americas, Inc. v. Vessel Operating Holdco LLC and Reef Technology, Inc. | In a breach of contract action, a favorable settlement was negotiated less than two months after filing the action. Southern District of Florida (2022).
Flyhopco, LLC v. International Paint, LLC. | In a breach of contract action, obtained dismissal with prejudice at the pleading stage. Southern District of Florida (2022).
Jones Lang LaSalle Americas, Inc. v. 3480 Main Highway, LP. | In a breach of contract action, a favorable settlement was negotiated less than one month after filing the action. Miami-Dade County, Florida (2023).
NerdWallet, Inc. v. LenderFi, Inc. | In a breach of contract action, a favorable settlement was negotiated at the pleading stage. Palm Beach County, Florida (2023).
Jones Lang LaSalle Americas, Inc. | Responded to third-party subpoenas in multiple cases involving the client’s expert services provided to the Department of Justice and Internal Revenue Service.
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. | 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).
Mercury Insurance Company v. Mercedes-Benz USA | In a breach of warranty case, obtained a favorable settlement. Palm Beach County, Florida (2021).
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. Southern District of Florida (2020).
Villanueva v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company | Part of trial team in the defense of a wrongful death in a three-week jury trial resulting in a full defense verdict. Miami-Dade County, Florida (2022).
Hoffman v. Philip Morris USA | Part of trial team in the defense of a wrongful death in a three-week jury trial. Miami-Dade County, Florida (2022).
Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Company v. Mercedes-Benz USA | In a breach of warranty case, obtained a favorable settlement. Broward County, Florida (2022).
Milstead v. HNTB Corporation | In a wrongful death case, obtained a remand for a grant of summary judgment (upon a writ of certiorari) based on the client’s sovereign immunity. Miami-Dade County, Florida (2023).
Roberts v. Indiana Mills & Manufacturing Inc. | In a serious personal injury case involving automotive manufacturers and suppliers, a favorable settlement was negotiated quickly. Miami-Dade County, Florida (2023).
Bergdahl v. United States | In a collateral attack in federal court of Sergeant Bergdahl’s court-martial, obtained reversal of five years of rulings by the trial judge based on an undisclosed potential bias. District of the District of Columbia (2023).
Affie v. Denis McDonough, Secretary of Veteran Affairs | Represented a veteran challenging the Department of Veterans Affairs decision to deny disability benefits for multiple cancers resulting in a remand for a new review of claims. United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (2023).
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).
Florida Tort Reform Law Brings Significant Changes, JD Supra, April 3, 2023.
After the JAG Corps: Navigating Your Career Progression, Podcast, July 2023.