Our Team

Michael D. “Matt” Matthews, Jr.

Partner

Phone: (713) 337-8879

Fax: (713) 337-8859

Email: matt.matthews@mhllp.com

Office Location: Houston


Matt Matthews represents clients in complex commercial litigation across the country. Matt has experience prosecuting and defending cases involving energy, contracts, construction, manufacturing, financial services, property rights, international trade, personal injury, products liability, employment law, and other business disputes. Matt has been lead counsel in state and federal cases filed in more than twenty-five different states and in arbitrations before AAA, JAMS, and ICDR panels. Matt also serves as McDowell Hetherington’s hiring partner.

A large part of Matt’s practice focuses on energy litigation. He is regional and national counsel for some of the country’s leading energy companies and has handled cases up and down the energy chain—including disputes involving oil and gas production, midstream pipeline operations, refining, power generation, solar energy services, energy trading, and retail electricity and natural gas sales. His energy clients have included Direct Energy, Sunnova, Encana, DNOW, Kinder Morgan, National Oilwell Varco, Calpine, and Valero.

Before Matt joined McDowell Hetherington, he gained valuable trial and courtroom knowledge serving as a law clerk to the Honorable Thad Heartfield, then-Chief United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Texas. Matt also worked as in-house corporate counsel for Trinity Industries, a publicly traded global manufacturer, representing the company in litigation and negotiating a variety of complex commercial contracts. He learned how in-house counsel at big companies approach litigation and brought that understanding with him to private practice to make his clients’ day-to-day lives easier.

Outside the office, Matt enjoys spending time with his wife and three sons. He is on the Houston Symphony’s Young Associates Council and enjoys traveling, reading, playing music, and going to concerts and sporting events. Matt is older than he looks.


HONORS

  • “Texas Super Lawyer” (Business Litigation), Thomson Reuters, 2017-2019
  • “Texas Rising Star” (Business Litigation), Thomson Reuters, 2015
  • Certificate, The Hague Academy of International Law, 2007
  • “Rookie of the Year” Finalist, Dallas Business Journal Best Corporate Counsel Awards, 2006
  • Phi Beta Kappa

REPRESENTATIVE MATTERS

CLASS ACTION


  • Won summary judgment for a retail energy company in a putative class action filed in Connecticut related to variable-rate electricity pricing then argued the appeal, which was affirmed by the Second Circuit in Richards v. Direct Energy Servs., LLC, 915 F.3d 88 (2d Cir. 2019).
  • Won dismissal of a variable-rate electricity class action filed in Illinois federal court and then argued the appeal, which was affirmed by the Seventh Circuit in Sevugan v. Direct Energy Servs., LLC, 931 F.3d 610 (7th Cir. 2019)
  • Won dismissal of two variable-rate electricity and natural gas class actions filed in federal court in New York.
  • Won dismissal of a class action in Texas that accused an energy provider of over-collecting sales tax for the state comptroller.
  • Convinced plaintiff’s counsel to dismiss – with prejudice – a class action in Ohio federal court related to an energy company’s marketing practices after arguing a motion to dismiss that showed the case to be meritless.
  • Lead counsel for a retail energy supplier in several putative class actions filed in New York state and federal court related to variable-rate electricity and natural gas sales in New York and New Jersey.
  • Lead counsel for an energy company in a putative consumer class action related to contract disclosures.
  • Represents the defendants in three putative class actions brought under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

ENERGY LITIGATION


  • Won a seven-day jury trial in Houston, Texas for an energy company and one of its employees, who were sued by a former contractor for nearly $10,000,000. The Jury returned a no-liability verdict on all five of the plaintiff’s causes of action.
  • Represented an energy company in a multimillion-dollar commission dispute with an energy broker. Settled on favorable terms after two days of trial in New Jersey. Represented a major pipeline company in a complex fraud action involving shell companies created by former employees and vendors, resulting in $2.8 million judgment against the defendants.
  • Won dismissal of a New Jersey lawsuit over the installation and performance of a large solar energy system.
  • Represents a leading oil and gas company in a dispute related to frac sand transloading services.
  • Defended an electricity company in a case involving alleged tortious interference with a commercial energy supply agreement. Filed a summary judgment that prompted the plaintiff to voluntarily dismiss all claims against the client.
  • Represented a British engineering company in an international trade dispute related to heat‑transfer technology.

BUSINESS & COMMERCIAL DISPUTES

  • Represents a software company in commercial disputes across the country.
  • Represented a global defense, security, and aerospace company in several complex commercial disputes in Texas.
  • Represented a leading pipeline company in a multimillion-dollar case filed against a valve manufacturer and supplier based on valve leaks.
  • Represented a litigation support services company in a theft of trade secrets dispute against a competitor.

ARBITRATION

  • Won arbitral award as lead counsel for a Mexican chemical company following a hearing on the merits in an international dispute based on a manufacturing agreement, then collected the award.
  • Represented a petrochemical company in an international arbitration related to hydrocracker reactors purchased in Italy for installation in refineries in Texas and Louisiana.
  • Represented international trading company through the final arbitration hearing in a dispute over a multimillion-dollar contract related to polymer sales in India.
  • Represented a leading home warranty company through the final arbitration hearing in a contract dispute that resulted in a take-nothing judgment for the plaintiff and an award of attorney’s fees for the client.
  • Represents a leading solar energy company in several commercial arbitrations.

CONSTRUCTION, PROPERTY, AND REAL ESTATE

  • Represented a concrete and materials supply company in a case involving alleged construction defects. Filed motion to dismiss within a week after being retained that resulted in the plaintiff dropping all claims.
  • Represented a country music legend in a property rights dispute with an electricity cooperative.
  • Represented a City of Houston agency in a multimillion-dollar eminent domain dispute that settled the day before jury selection.
  • Represented a real estate investment company in numerous property and real estate related disputes, including one in which the client obtained a substantial judgment for fraud in a real estate transaction against an investor.
  • Represents a home services company in construction defect disputes in Texas.
  • Represented a private land owner in a mineral rights dispute in East Texas.

PERSONAL INJURY/PRODUCTS LIABILITY

  • Represented a power generation company in a personal injury case; successfully argued the summary judgment motion, then authored the brief upheld on appeal.
  • Represented a commodity trading company in a products liability action involving refinery feedstock that allegedly caused millions in damage to a refinery.
  • Represented an energy infrastructure company in a personal injury case related to a pipeline explosion in Mississippi.
  • Represents an international oilfield parts distribution company in personal injury cases in Texas.
  • Represented a home services company in personal injury cases in Texas and Nevada.

ADMISSIONS

  • Texas
  • New York
  • U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Second, Fifth, and Seventh Circuits
  • U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Western Districts of Texas
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan

EDUCATION

  • The University of Texas School of Law, J.D., 2005
  • The University of Texas at Austin, B.A., English and History, with honors, 2000