Matthew A. Fitzgerald Partner

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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 argued complex cases in the First, Second, Fourth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Eleventh, and D.C. Circuits as well as the Supreme Court of Virginia and the Georgia Supreme Court (pro hac vice).

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 that has received excellent reviews. He is also an adjunct law professor at the University of Richmond, where he has taught legal writing for future law clerks.

Matt graduated magna cum laude from the University of Virginia School of Law. At Virginia, he served as a Dillard Fellow and worked on the editorial and managing boards of the Virginia Law Review.


Federal Courts of Appeals

  • Remy v. Fisher Auto Parts, 90 F.4th 217 (4th Cir. 2024) (defeated a $7 million damages claim and obtained a $2 million counterclaim judgment for our client in a sophisticated contract and tort appeal between major auto parts companies)
  • 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.

Virginia Supreme Court

  • Barnes v. Berry, 300 Va. 188 (2021) (represented adoptive parents in
    a contested adoption case; obtained a grant of review and a dissent that led the
    General Assembly to revise the Code to more clearly embrace our position).
  • 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.

U.S. Supreme Court

  • 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.

Pro Bono Cases Handled or Supervised

  • Hall v. United States, __ F.4th __, 2022 WL 3221302 (4th Cir. 2022)
    (represented a prisoner on issues about the scope of the “imminent danger”
    exception to the three strikes rule in the Prison Litigation Reform Act)
  • Payne v. Taslimi, 998 F.3d 648 (4th Cir. 2021) (represented a prisoner bringing a privacy claim based on exposure of private medical information in jail)
  • Ham v. Breckon, 994 F.3d 682 (4th Cir. 2021) (represented the defense of the district court’s judgment that it lacked jurisdiction over a habeas corpus petition despite disagreement of both the prisoner and the government)
  • Martin v. Duffy, 977 F.3d 294 (4th Cir. 2020) (represented a prisoner with a First Amendment retaliation claim after he was placed into segregation in alleged retaliation for filing a grievance)
  • United States v. Salas, 807 Fed. Appx. 218 (4th Cir. 2020) (represented a prisoner seeking habeas corpus based on Apprendi error)
  • G. v. Railroad Retirement Board, 15-2500 (4th Cir. 2017) (represented a claimant for retirement benefits; settled after oral argument for the entire amount in controversy)
  • Richey v. Cartledge, 653 Fed. Appx. 178 (4th Cir. 2016) (represented a prisoner seeking to exclude evidence of confessions)