Matt is an experienced trial and appellate attorney with deep experience on both sides of the aisle as plaintiff and defense counsel, which he uses to balance aggressive litigation with ADR to achieve cost-effective solutions in and out of court. He has litigated, published, and lectured on employment and administrative law, business torts, insurance, reinsurance, sub-prime mortgage fraud, employment discrimination and trade secrets.
Business Torts, Misc. Commercial Claims, and E&O/D&O Defense
- In Excess Line Association of New York v. Waldorf & Associates, 30 N.Y. 119 (2017) affirming 130 A.D.3d 563 (2d Dept 2015) affirming 40 Misc.3d 759 (Suff. Co. Sup. Ct. May 3, 2013), Matt developed the firm’s successful lack-of-capacity defense resulting in pre-answer dismissal of ELANY’s novel enforcement action asserting excess line fraud, Consumer Protection Act, and Anti-Trust claims against member-brokers, which was upheld by the Court of Appeals.
- In AmTrust North American, Inc. v. Safebuilt Insurance Services, Inc., No. 16-cv-6033, 2016 WL 6561548 (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 11, 2016), Matt’s strategy and co-counsel with the firm’s managing partner was instrumental in leveraging an early resolution of a complex alter ego litigation – one that spawned nationwide litigation in California, Colorado, Montana, and Utah – seeking to enforce multi-million-dollar reinsurance obligations against a private consortium that had stripped the captive reinsurer of assets to avoid payment. After two years of litigation in a myriad of proceedings across the country, Matt’s written analysis ultimately avoided years of litigation and appeals and won summary judgment in a special proceeding by relying on adversarial judicial admissions to break the back of the defense.
- In Newburgh Commercial Development Corp. v. Goldsand Agency, Matt successfully deployed a blend of aggressive litigation and ADR to obtain a favorable pre-trial settlement of a developer’s negligent title search claim against a small family-owned title agency following the rehabilitation of the title insurer.
- In FDIC-R AmTrust Bank, N.A. v. Malik, Matt again aggressively defended a small local title agency against an out-of-state bank’s failed effort to capitalize on New York’s sub-prime mortgage market in a buy-back action seeking in excess of $10,000,000 in fraud damages against the bank’s former attorneys, mortgage brokers, and parties to the underlying real estate transactions. Matt attacked the FDIC’s theory on the merits and aggressively pursued early settlement to avoid protracted and costly litigation.
- In Staack v. Coleman, 2078/2008, 2013 WL 237858 (Sur. Ct. N.Y. Co. Jan. 18, 2013), Matt successfully led the defense of a property manager and leveraged the withdrawal of a Surrogate’s Court petition by moving to dismiss the special proceeding to avoid protracted and costly litigation.
- In Abetta Boiler & Welding Services, Inc. v. American International Specialty Lines Insurance Co., 76 A.D.3d 412, 906 N.Y.S.2d 540 (1st Dep’t 2010), Matt successfully led the defense of a wholesale insurance broker against an insured’s late notice and loss of coverage claim for wrongful death and grave injuries and obtained a unanimous decision on appeal granting his summary judgment motion and dismissing the complaint.
- In Jagger v. Katz Park Ave. Corp., Matt successfully led a managing agent’s defense and obtained summary judgment dismissing Bianca Jagger’s Park Avenue toxic mold claims.
- In Bianco v. AXA Equitable Life Insurance Co., No. 001972/09, 2009 WL 3780684 (Sup. Ct. Nass. Co. Oct. 29, 2009), Matt led the joint defense of the insurer and agent and obtained a pre-answer dismissal of an annuity fraud complaint.
- In Manti’s Transportation, Inc. v. CitiCapital Commercial Corp., Inc., No. 06-CV-1699, 2008 WL 977192 (E.D.N.Y. Apr. 9, 2008), Matt developed the firm’s successful defense strategy for commercial lenders resulting in the pre-answer dismissal of a RICO complaint brought on behalf of a closely-held corporation when the plaintiff’s principal returned from federal witness protection and challenged a prior judgment.
Employment And Related Practices
- In Newby v. GVC II, et al., No. 17-CV-9742, 2018 WL 1989588 (Apr. 25, 2018 S.D.N.Y.), Matt the employer’s long-standing counsel engaged Matt when the plaintiff escalated his years’ long age discrimination complaint to federal court. Matt successfully and efficiently obtained dismissal of the federal claims based on collateral estoppel arising from the plaintiff’s unsuccessful State Court challenge to the New York City Commission on Human Right’s investigation.
- In Charles River Management v. Casiano, No. 153114/2015, 2018 WL 321664 (Jan. 8, 2018 N.Y. Co. Sup. Ct.), Matt turned the tables on his client’s former employee who had filed and withdrawn gender, sexual harassment, disability, and retaliation charges in the Division of Human Rights to pursue dangerous litigation in plaintiff-friendly Bronx Supreme Court. Matt preempted the strategy and proved the adage that the best defense is a good offense: he sued the employee in Manhattan seeking a declaration that the employment determinations were lawful and non-discriminatory. After discovery, the Court agreed with Matt, granted summary declaration, and dismissed the discrimination, retaliation, and common-law counterclaims without incident.
- In Bernardino v. Nicolia Concrete Products, Inc., while the firm is rarely engaged as plaintiff’s employment lawyers, we took Ms. Bernardino’s shocking case against her former employer when she was terminated immediately following her request for leave to attend chemotherapy treatment. Matt applied his skills as a commercial and business litigator to Ms. Bernardino’s ADA, FMLA, and HRL claims and successfully obtained a confidential pre-trial settlement.
- Matt has obtained several no-probable cause findings from local antidiscrimination agencies dismissing baseless charges brought against private employers, whom we prefer remain private. Matt attacks even pre-litigation charges creatively and thoroughly to compel the correct conclusion in the first instance and to discourage future litigation. For example, he analyzed an employer’s electronically stored information to disprove a claimant’s asserted timing of the alleged adverse employment decision to refute any inference of discriminatory or retaliatory intent and he has developed analyses of employers’ current and former workforces to demonstrate that no discriminatory inference could reasonably be drawn from the challenged practices.
- In AmTrust North America, Inc. v. Pacific Re, Inc., Matt was instrumental in developing the firm’s arbitration strategy employing the oft-overlooked Insurance Law § 1213(c) bonding requirement to prevent a foreign captive reinsurer from defending the merits of AmTrust’s demand for reinsurance payments culminating in awards of nearly $12,000,000 after a three-day arbitral inquest that successfully pierced the captive reinsurer’s segregated cell structure and imposed liability on the captive at-large.
- Matt’s coverage analysis of an adversarial consortium’s E&O policy and ensuing counterclaim while admitted pro hac vice in Allied Word Surplus Lines Insurance Company v. Pacific Re, Inc., DV-16-610 (13th D. Mont. 2016), was instrumental to early resolution by bringing insurance money to the table.
- In Sackman Enterprises, Inc. v. Chubb Custom Insurance Co., No. 11-CV-5411 (S.D.N.Y. 2014), Matt developed the firm’s coverage analysis and litigation strategy and successfully led a commercial building owner’s coverage claim for the complete loss of an old-law building that had been condemned during the Second Avenue Subway construction to favorable confidential pre-trial settlement during summary judgment motion practice.
- In Great American Assurance Co. v. 460-474 Spring St., LLC, Matt successfully led a managing general agent’s defense and obtained summary judgment of a mortgagee’s force-placed insurer while admitted pro hac vicein New Jersey.
- InPluralis, LLC v. Romaine, Matt successfully defended The Central Pine Barrens Joint Planning & Policy Commission and obtained a pre-answer dismissal of an Article 78 petition brought by the largest holder of Pine Barrens Credits challenging the Commission’s land management plan and Pine Barrens Credit Program.
- In Korean Joong Bu Presbyterian Church v. Incorporated Village of Old Westbury, Matt again forced an early settlement with aggressive litigation while moving to dismiss alleged SEQRA violations and disgorgement claims.
Matt graduated with honors from The George Washington University Law School where he interned for the Honorable United States District Court Judge Marvin J. Garbis in Baltimore, Maryland and worked as a law clerk at the Institute for Justice, a non-profit public interest law group in the District of Columbia. Matt grew up in Portland, Oregon and graduated cum laude from The University of Oregon after spending his senior year abroad at Saint-Petersburg State University in Russia. Before moving to Washington, D.C. to attend law school, Matt worked in the shipyard in Portland, Oregon as a labor specialist attaché to the machinist trade assembling and laying-off crews and translating for Russian employees.
Matt joined Ruskin Moscou Faltischek, PC from Ohrenstein & Brown where he had worked his way up from an associate in the Manhattan office to partner. He now lives on Long Island’s North Shore where he enjoys biking and fishing on his down time. He is a volunteer advisor for the George Washington University’s Career Advisor Network and is certified to serve as a court appointed guardian, court evaluator, and attorney for incapacitated persons. After volunteering as an arbitrator in the New York City, Civil Court, Matt has served as a solo Arbitrator for Nassau County District Court since 2011. He is a member of New York State Bar Association, Nassau County Bar Association, and the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers.
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