Matthew A. Fitzgerald
800 East Canal Street
Richmond, VA 23219
Tel: +1 804 775 4716
Matt is a co-chair of the firm’s Appeals and Issues group. His practice focuses on appellate matters, constitutional issues, and major motions. Matt previously served as a law clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court of the United States and Judge Edward E. Carnes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Montgomery, Alabama.
In 2018, Matt presented argument in the U.S. Supreme Court in Collins v. Virginia, 138 S. Ct. 1663 (2018), and prevailed in an 8-1 decision. Collins has been widely noted as an important Fourth Amendment case in which the Court ruled that police generally must obtain a warrant before entering the curtilage of a home to search a parked vehicle.
Matt has also briefed and argued numerous cases in the Supreme Court of Virginia and nine different federal circuit courts. Recent topics of his appeals include class action certification, statutory and constitutional taxation issues, zoning disputes, adoption statutes, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
His practice also focuses on sharp and efficient legal writing. Matt has written dozens of appellate briefs, white papers, and important strategic motions such as those opposing class certification and attempting to quash subpoenas. Empirical SCOTUS announced that Matt drafted the best-written petition of the 2017 Supreme Court Term based on analysis by Ross Guberman’s BriefCatch software. On the topic of effective written advocacy, Matt designed and presents a CLE program called “Don’t Write Like You Went to College” that has received excellent reviews. He has also been an adjunct law professor at the University of Richmond, where he taught legal writing for future law clerks.
- University of Virginia School of Law, JD, Order of the Coif, Managing Board, Virginia Law Review, 2008
- Dartmouth College, AB, Government, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, 2004
- S.N.L. v. United States, 11 F.4th 548 (7th Cir. 2021) (after oral argument, won reversal of a ruling holding that the client owed $13 million in federal excise taxes on refurbished truck tractors)
- Howard et al v. Cook County Sheriff’s Office et al, 989 F.3d 587 (7th Cir. 2021) (prevailed in obtaining two grants of Rule 23(f) review, and after oral argument, won reversal of class certification in a Title VII class action alleging that male inmates uniformly harassed thousands of female jail employees)
- Elledge v. Lowe’s Home Centers, 979 F.3d 1004 (4th Cir. 2020) (represented Retail Litigation Center and U.S. Chamber of Commerce as amicus on the reasonable accommodation standard under the ADA and secured ruling favoring disability-neutral hiring policies)
- Bank v. Jones, 925 F.3d 534 (1st Cir. 2019) (after oral argument, the First Circuit ruled that federal evidentiary rules, including transferred business records, could be admissible in federal courts in Maine despite a contrary state evidentiary rule)
- Berrellez v. Pontoon Solutions, 775 Fed. Appx. 357 (9th Cir. 2019) (after oral argument, the Ninth Circuit affirmed that plaintiff lacked standing to bring a FCRA action)
- Landan v. Real Estate Business Trust, 775 Fed. Appx. 39 (3d Cir. 2019) (Third Circuit affirmed judgment that landowner and retailer did not have enforceable agreement for ground lease)
- Jones v. Transportation, Inc., 750 Fed. Appx. 965 (11th Cir. 2019) (Eleventh Circuit affirmed judgment against an employee bringing a wrongful termination action)
- Burrington v. Loan Servicing LLC, 736 Fed. Appx. 649 (9th Cir. 2018) (after oral argument, Ninth Circuit affirmed that bank owed no special duty of care to borrower beyond ordinary lender role under Montana law)
- MISO Transmission Owners v. FERC, 860 F.3d 837 (6th Cir. 2017)
Represented a utility seeking to avoid paying several billion dollars for transmission line improvements in its former regional transmission organization. Prevailed at the Sixth Circuit in defense of FERC’s favorable order.
- Bank v. J.B. Hanna, LLC, 866 F.3d 929 (8th Cir. 2017)
The Eighth Circuit secured a seven-figure judgment for our client by affirming dismissal of fraud-based counterclaims in a dispute over a high-dollar loan and swap transaction.
- Kinzel v. Bank, 850 F.3d 375 (6th Cir. 2017)
The Sixth Circuit affirmed a post-trial judgment for our client in a multi-million dollar breach of contract and bad faith case based on liquidation of collateral for a loan.
- United States ex rel. Ladas v. Contractor, 824 F.3d 16 (2d Cir. 2016)
The Second Circuit adopted, as a matter of first impression, a new test under which a potential relator can enforceably release his right to bring False Claims Act claims against his former employer. It also held that the relator had failed to plausibly plead fraud against our client in a suit arising out of a high-dollar Government contract.
- In re Credit Card Interest Rate Litigation (Barker), 622 F. Appx. 894 (11th Cir. 2015)
The Eleventh Circuit affirmed summary judgment in our client’s favor in multi-district litigation bringing claims under the Truth in Lending Act and Virginia law.
- In re A.L.C. and E.R.S.C., 783 F.3d 763 (9th Cir. 2015), op. at 607 F. Appx. 658 (9th Cir. 2015)
As appointed counsel, secured an order vacating in part the district court’s opinion as to the habitual residence of an infant under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.
- United States ex rel. Ahumada v. Corp., 756 F.3d 268 (4th Cir. 2014)
The Fourth Circuit affirmed dismissal of a False Claims Act case against our client and others based on the public disclosure bar and pleading rules.
- In re Grand Jury Subpoena (Under Seal), No. ___, (4th Cir. 2014)
In an expedited appeal of a case largely under seal, after full briefing the federal court of appeals preserved our client’s privacy interest by accepting our contention that appellate jurisdiction was lacking.
- Cruz v. Bank, 742 F.3d 520 (2d Cir. 2013) and Cruz v. Bank, 22 N.Y.3d 61 (N.Y. 2013)
The New York Court of Appeals ruled, on certified question, in our client’s favor that New York law governing freezing debtors’ bank accounts carried no implied private right of action against banks.
- Wolf v. Bank, 512 Fed. Appx. 336 (4th Cir. 2013)
The Fourth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a TILA claim brought against our client.
- Transparent GMU v. George Mason University, et al., 835 S.E.2d 544 (Va. 2019) (prevailed on a question of first impression about the scope of Virginia’s FOIA statute as applied to private foundations managing endowments for public universities).
- RECP IV WG Land Investors LLC v. Bank, 295 Va. 268 (2018). Secured a ruling that contract impossibility doctrine barred a nine-figure lawsuit against our client relating to the construction of a new office complex in northern Virginia.
- Dulles Duty Free v. County of Loudoun, 294 Va. 9 (2017), 138 S.Ct. 1440, cert denied (2018). Won reversal of a trial court ruling and a precedent-setting decision that a county business license tax violated the federal Constitution’s Import-Export Clause.
- S. v. Airbus Americas, Inc. 292 Va. 682 (2016)
The Supreme Court of Virginia ruled, in our client’s favor, that a $13 million verdict should be cut down to the escrow cap of $5 million after a merger.
- Dye v. Mining Co., 291 Va. 319 (2016)
The Supreme Court of Virginia ruled, in our client’s favor, that under Virginia law natural gas qualifies as a “mineral” under mineral severance deeds dating to the late 1800s.
- D. v. Cottman Transmission Systems, Inc., 287 Va. 207 (2014)
The Supreme Court of Virginia answered two certified questions about Virginia’s business tort conspiracy statute wholly in our client’s favor.
- Board of Supervisors of Fluvanna County v. D., 285 Va. 580 (2013)
The Supreme Court of Virginia ruled on a constitutional issue of first impression regarding the nature of immunity for members of local government bodies.
- Collins v. Virginia, 138 S. Ct. 1663 (2018)
In an 8-1 decision safeguarding residential privacy rights, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed that police generally must obtain a warrant before entering the curtilage of a home to search a parked vehicle.
- Missouri ex rel. KCP&L v. Missouri Pub. Serv. Comm’n, 13-787 (U.S., cert. denied, 2014)
(briefed at petition stage) Secured a call for the views of the Solicitor General (CVSG) on a certiorari petition from a decision of the intermediate Missouri appellate court. Petition of the Day on Scotusblog. Petition: 2013 WL 690477.
- Plumley v. Austin, 135 S.Ct. 828 (2015)
(dissent from the denial of certiorari) (briefed as amicus supporting certiorari) Represented retired federal judges urging the Court to grant certiorari of a Fourth Circuit decision expanding the presumption of judicial vindictiveness. The case was Petition of the Day on Scotusblog, November 18, 2014. The Court denied certiorari over a widely publicized dissent from Justices Thomas and Scalia, which embraced the amicus arguments. Amicus brief at 2014 WL 5077242.
- Brown v. Gas Co., 14-913 (cert. denied, 2015)
(briefed at petition stage) Drafted a brief in opposition after the Court called for a response, and secured a denial of certiorari. Brief in Opposition at 2015 WL 1478008.
- McCullen v. Coakley, 134 S.Ct. 2518 (2014)
(briefed as amicus) Represented 7 distinguished law professors addressing the freedom of speech in the abortion context, contending that the Massachusetts buffer zone violated the First Amendment. The Supreme Court found the law unconstitutional. Amicus brief at 2013 WL 5274831.
- Holt v. Hobbs, 135 S.Ct. 853 (2015)
(briefed as amicus) Represented 5 reformed prisoners informing the Court of the beneficial impact of religious freedom and practice in prison. Amicus brief at 2014 WL 2506631.
- Coleman v. Tollefson, 135 S.Ct. 1759 (2015)
(briefed as amicus) Represented 33 professors discussing the purposes and intended and unintended effects of the Prison Litigation Reform Act. Amicus brief at 2014 WL 7205509.
McGuireWoods’ select team of lawyers brief and argue dozens of appeals every year in federal and state courts nationwide. Clients recognize that our appellate team is familiar with the players, tactics and battleground unique to appeals. Our clients trust us to attack dangerous losses and defend multimillion-dollar wins.
Among its 1,100 lawyers, McGuireWoods maintains a hand-picked team of fewer than 40 attorneys with a special focus on appeals. These lawyers combine exceptional brief writing with the wisdom and voice of extensive experience. Team members include:
- National lead appellate counsel for a Fortune 100 company
- A former Assistant to the Solicitor General of the United States
- Two former associate White House counsel
- Ten former U.S. Supreme Court clerks
- Former law clerks from numerous state and federal courts of appeal
Appeals usually are won by implementing a case-long strategy and providing cogent and powerful briefing. Thus, our appellate lawyers often work with trial teams to advance our clients’ positions long before the appeal begins. In writing, we pride ourselves on clarity and simplicity. Translating voluminous records or complex administrative matters into briefs that can persuade generalist judges is a key element of what we do. We aim to control the narrative − to explain not only why our clients are technically correct as a legal matter, but also why they should win.
McGuireWoods is a full-service firm providing legal and public affairs solutions to corporate, individual and nonprofit clients worldwide for more than 200 years collectively. Our commitment to excellence in everything we do gives our clients a competitive edge in everything they do.
Our law firm, over its 187-year history, has earned the loyalty of our many longstanding clients with deep understanding of their businesses, and broad skills in corporate transactions, high-stakes disputes, and complex regulatory and compliance matters. Our wholly-owned affiliate, McGuireWoods Consulting, now in its 23rd year, provides a unique — and uniquely potent — combination of state and federal government relations prowess, buttressed by world-class infrastructure, economic development, and advocacy expertise.
Working together from 24 offices in the U.S., Europe and Asia, McGuireWoods and McGuireWoods Consulting share a dedication to diverse perspectives, impeccable service, and innovative delivery of practical, business-minded solutions.