Matt helps his clients evaluate risk rationally and systematically to create aggressive and innovative litigation strategies that balance business risk and opportunity. He has experience in class actions, data privacy, commercial litigation and insurance coverage disputes, representing both plaintiffs and defendants. He has litigated numerous matters to conclusion, both by dispositive motions and through trial or arbitration. He also has an active appellate practice in state and federal courts. He is the chair of Shook’s Biometric Privacy Practice.
Class Actions and Commercial Litigation. Matt’s work spans a large range of claims, including biometric privacy, data privacy, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, consumer fraud, professional negligence and post-closing disputes.
- Represents numerous defendants, including employers, technology providers, and consumer-facing companies, in class action litigation alleging violations of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). Matt has argued before the Illinois Supreme Court and Illinois Appellate Court in BIPA matters and led briefing in over a dozen BIPA appeals. He also has obtained important groundbreaking victories in the trial courts, and has extensive experience developing and presenting arguments based on the facts of how biometric technology actually works.
- Represented a class consisting of approximately 1,500 medical providers and their practices in litigation against a large hospital system for breach of contract and other claims. After certification of the class was affirmed on appeal (which Matt argued), a jury awarded Matt’s clients $58 million in damages. That verdict was affirmed on appeal, after which the matter settled for $82.7 million, plus significant non-monetary relief. Matt’s experience representing both plaintiffs and defendants gives him unique insights into class action strategy.
- Successfully defended class actions relating to data-privacy, false-labeling, and other types of claims.
- Represented public and private companies in numerous post-closing disputes and arbitrations, including winning a week-long FINRA arbitration concerning the wind-up of an options trading firm.
- Served as pro bono counsel to the Chicago nonprofit Housing Choice Partners in two cases alleging racial discrimination in the lease of downtown office space. After Matt’s client defeated multiple motions for summary judgment by the defendants, the cases were resolved. Matt maintains an active pro bono practice that also has included prison-conditions litigation and work on immigration issues, including obtaining asylum for two unaccompanied minor children from El Salvador.
Insurance Coverage. Matt has represented major insurers in litigation disputing coverage issues for intellectual property, data privacy, construction defect, mass tort, product liability and other claims. He has also counseled insurers on a variety of issues and advised policyholders on their coverage needs. As part of his insurance coverage work, Matt has:
- Represented Liberty Mutual affiliates in numerous appeals.
- Obtained several precedent-setting victories in coverage litigation relating to the "personal and advertising injury" coverage.
- Defended an insurer in multi-venue litigation involving insurance coverage for liability relating to the consumption of alcoholic beverage “Four Loko.” After Matt's client won an appeal to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals by Four Loko’s manufacturers and moved to enjoin further litigation, the case was favorably resolved.
- Represented several major insurers in cases involving coverage for asbestos litigation, opioid litigation, and other mass torts, as well as related bankruptcy issues and contribution claims.
- Provided coverage advice on numerous issues, including coverage for privacy claims; additional insured issues; commercial general liability, directors and officers, and errors and omissions coverage; and coverage for data breach liability. In addition to the cases above, Matt has litigated many coverage cases relating to those issues.
Publications and Presentations
Private client presentations on biometric privacy issues (multiple occasions since 2019).
Biometric Privacy Regulations and Litigation, Information Systems Audit and Control Association, Bloomington, Illinois, March 21, 2019.
Panelist, “Litigation-Related Contractual Clauses: How Contract Drafting Plays Out in Litigation,” Association of Corporate Counsel, Chicago, Illinois, March 6, 2019 (with Amy Cho and Riley Mendoza).
Panelist, "Money for Nothing: Preventing and Defending Class Actions Seeking Statutory Damages for Technical Violations of the Law," Association of Corporate Counsel, Chicago, Illinois, January 24, 2018.
Panelist, "Protecting Your Company's Brand: How to Minimize the Risk of a Consumer Class Action Lawsuit and Maximize the Chances of Winning if One is Filed," Association of Corporate Counsel, San Francisco, California, December 4, 2017 (with Tammy Webb, Amir Nassihi, Andrew Chang and Joan Camagong).
Panelist, “Updates in Ethics: Class Actions and Social Media,” Private Client Presentation, August 28, 2017 (with Matt Sitzer and Tammy Webb).
Panelist, "Data Discovery, and Decisions: Extending Discovery from Collection to Creation," Chicago Masters Conference, Chicago, Illinois, May 23, 2017.
Data Security: Insurance & Litigation, Midwest Corporate Counsel & Compliance Forum, November 16, 2016.
Does the First Amendment Protect Testimony by Public Employees?, 77 U. Chi. L. Rev. 1473 (2010).
‘Astronomical Damages:’ IL High Court Ponders How Many Fingerprints Should Be Worth up to $5K Each Under IL Biometrics Law, Cook County Record, May 18, 2022.
Federal Judge: ‘Bodily Consumption Exception’ to Bacteria Exclusion Does Not Apply, Mealey’s Insurance, March 3, 2022.
How Defense Firm Shook, Hardy & Bacon Pursued a Class Action—and Won, Law.com, October 4, 2021.