Matthew Ploeger


Matthew has a wide range of experience in state and federal appeals and trials. His experience includes commercial, intellectual property, antitrust, and health care litigation. In addition to handling a full range of civil appellate matters in state and federal courts in a variety of industries and types of suits, he has extensive experience in dispositive motion practice, error preservation, jury charge practice, and post-trial motions. Matthew has been recognized for his accomplishments in Super Lawyers (a Thomson Reuters Service) as a “Texas Rising Star.”

Matthew began his legal career by serving as a judicial clerk to the Honorable Nathan L. Hecht, current Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court.  From there, Matthew practiced big law at Vinson & Elkins, where he sharpened his appellate skills in the Appellate Practice Group. Although an appellate lawyer, Matthew knows that his role in any matter is important from the very beginning of the case.  Any issue can end up on appeal.  Thus, an appeal doesn’t start when the notice of appeal is due.  It starts the moment the client walks in the door.

Litigation Consulting

Matthew offers a wide array of consulting services.  Because an appeal starts the moment a client walks in the door, Matthew can offer the appellate perspective to assist trial counsel in developing strategy and preserving error during the pre-trial and trial process, increasing the likelihood of a favorable outcome on appeal.  As a result, Matthew’s consulting services offer a vital addition to any trial team.

Trial, the Jury Charge, and Post-Trial Briefing

Many aspects of the trial can affect the outcome on appeal.  Importantly, the formulation of the jury charge-and the particular language used-can easily affect the outcome on appeal.  Likewise, the decision of whether to file post-trial briefing can also affect the outcome on appeal and even determine which issues may be raised on appeal.  As a result, adding the expertise of an appellate lawyer to the trial team for drafting the jury charge and post-trial briefing is instrumental.  Matthew has significant experience drafting jury charges, trial briefing, and post-trial briefing, and can assist a trial team prepare these documents to place the client in the best possible position for a favorable outcome on appeal.

Appeals

Matthew has experience in all aspects of an appellate practice, from filing original proceedings in courts of appeals to filing and defending against appeals after trial court proceedings.  Matthew works with his clients to carefully assess the likelihood of success on appeal, considering the procedural and substantive issues presented at the trial court. Matthew reviews the record from the trial court, conducts legal research to determine the best arguments on appeal, and drafts appellate briefing for the court. Then, if oral argument is appropriate in the case, Matthew utilizes his oral advocacy skills to present favorable arguments before the court and answer any questions it might have.  Matthew’s familiarity with the appellate process and practice makes him an invaluable asset to a case on appeal.

Representative Matters

Appeals

  • Led the briefing and development of arguments in the Texas Supreme Court and obtained a reversal of an $84 million jury verdict in a personal injury case
  • Key member of appellate team that obtained reversal of a multi-million dollar judgment against a national magazine publishing company in a dispute between the company and one of its licensees; handled jury charge phase of retrial, which resulted in a take-nothing verdict against licensee and substantive damages and attorneys’ fee awards on client’s counterclaims
  • Represented charitable organization in estate dispute; took lead in briefing and orally argued appeal involving novel issues of estate and tort law
  • Represented bank in dispute with land developer; briefed and argued appeal involving novel issues of statutory construction
  • Represented oil and gas distributor in dispute with retailer; successfully defended take-nothing judgment on appeal
  • Key member of appellate team that obtained complete dismissal of a landmark suit filed against a social networking website; successfully defended the trial court’s dismissal in the Fifth Circuit and United States Supreme Court

Trial Support

  • Lead appellate attorney on team that obtained complete defense verdict on behalf of television writer, actor, and screenwriter in copyright infringement case; successfully defended judgment on appeal to the Fifth Circuit
  • Primary appellate attorney on team that successfully defended one of the country’s largest hospital group purchasing organizations in a $600 million antitrust action in the Eastern District of Texas; plaintiffs dropped their claims on the eve of trial for no cash payment
  • Lead appellate attorney on team that obtained complete defense award for Goldman Sachs & Co. in a three-day NASD arbitration in which the claimant sought in excess of $18 million in actual damages
  • Obtained summary judgment in Dallas state court for a major international restaurant company at the conclusion of discovery on most claims brought by a 50 percent partner in more than 60 restaurant franchises, leading to a quick settlement
  • Represented hospital in trial involving novel issues of tort law in federal district court; attended trial as appellate counsel, drafted jury charge and handled charge conference and objections
  • Key member of team that represented the former chairman of a public company in a number of securities fraud class actions, shareholder derivative cases, and an SEC investigation; working with California counsel, obtained the dismissal of securities fraud claims brought in federal court seeking billions of dollars in damages
  • Key member of team that obtained judgment that the buyer in a $10 billion merger breached its obligations to use its reasonable best efforts to secure its financing and consummate the merger with the client

Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.