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Matt Fitzsimmons practices in the areas of general civil and complex/commercial trial and appellate litigation. His practice includes business and commercial litigation, class actions and employment, product liability, Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), real estate tax (ad valorem) and health care litigation.

Matt’s work in real estate tax cases has resulted in numerous significant reductions in the fair market value of commercial and industrial properties, including several seven-figure tax refunds for clients.

Since 2010, Matt has been selected annually to the Ohio Super Lawyers lists in business and commercial litigation. He receives many referrals from Cleveland’s largest law firms and frequently serves as local counsel for major out-of-state firms.

Matt has substantial experience in both state and federal appellate courts.

Principal practice areas

  • Complex litigation/class actions
  • Business and commercial litigation
  • Employment litigation
  • Products liability litigation
  • Health care law
  • Ad valorem property tax litigation
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Sports law

Representative experience

  • General commercial and business/complex litigation and disputes, including contract litigation, class actions and litigation involving noncompete agreements, trade secrets, shareholder disputes and dealer terminations
  • Employment litigation and counseling (wrongful discharge claims, state and federal sexual harassment and discrimination claims and preparation of employee handbooks)
  • Real estate tax litigation before the county boards of revision, the Ohio Board of Tax Appeals and the Ohio Supreme Court on behalf of property owners seeking reductions in property taxes or avoidance of property tax increases sought by school boards
  • Representation of a major steel company in a number of adversary proceedings and prosecution of more than 600 preference actions in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Ohio, yielding significant recoveries for the bankruptcy estate
  • Representation in product liability litigation of numerous pharmaceutical and consumer product manufacturers, including Merck & Co. Inc., Pharmacia & Upjohn, Carter Wallace, Johnson & Johnson, Scott Fetzer Co. and Hamilton Beach/Proctor-Silex Inc.
  • Representation in numerous employment and commercial/UCC cases for major corporations and financial institutions, including Wells Fargo Bank N.A., JPMorgan Chase, IBM, LTV Steel, L’Oreal USA Inc., Huntsman Corp., Premier Farnell Corp. and Bridgestone/Firestone
  • Representation of professional athletes and agents in player-agent contract disputes and related litigation

Representative cases

  • Loyd v. Huntington Nat’l Bank, 649 F.3d 492 (6th Cir. 2011) and 2009 WL 1767585 (N.D. Ohio) (representing Wells Fargo Bank N.A. in class action brought by Ponzi scheme victims seeking to create a discovery rule to toll the statute of limitations applicable to UCC’s properly payable rule)
  • Victory Sports Management Ltd. v. Leandro Barbosa, Case No. CV-09-689732, Court of Common Pleas, Cuyahoga County, Ohio (representing NBA player in contract dispute with former agent)
  • Bikkani v. Lee, 2008 Ohio 3130 (Ct. App. 2008) (Ohio R. Civ. P. 11 and R.C. 2323.51, Ohio’s frivolous conduct statute)
  • IMG v. Stuart Appleby, Case No. 1:06-CV-1231, U.S.D.C., Northern District of Ohio (representing PGA touring pro in contract dispute with agent)
  • Evergreen Sports, Inc. v. Bill A. Duffy, et al., Case No. 1:03-CV-787, U.S.D.C., Northern District of Ohio (representing NBA agent in dispute over representation rights for NBA player)
  • Miller v. Premier Industrial Corp., 136 Ohio App.3d 662 (8th Dist. 2000) (affirming summary judgment in age/disability discrimination claim)
  • Soberay Machine & Equipment Co. v. MRF Ltd., Inc., 181 F.3d 759 (6th Cir. 1999) (Fed. R. Civ. P. 19, international contract dispute)
  • Sutkowski v. Eli Lilly & Co., 82 Ohio St.3d 347 (1998) (representing Merck & Co. Inc. in case rejecting pharmaceutical market share liability)
  • Bd. of Ed. of the Worthington City School District v. Bd. of Revision of Franklin County, 85 Ohio St.3d (1999) (real estate tax litigation)
  • Kurczi v. Eli Lilly & Co., 160 F.R.D. 667 (N.D. Ohio 1995) (representing Merck & Co. Inc. in defeating motion for class certification in pharmaceutical product liability claim)
  • Gries Sports Enterprises, Inc. v. Modell, 15 Ohio St. 2d 284 (1984) (conflict of laws/shareholder voting agreement)
  • Columbus Bd. of Ed. v. JC Penney Properties, Inc., 11 Ohio St. 3d 203 (1984) (real estate tax litigation)
  • OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc. v. Kinney, 11 Ohio St. 3d 198 (1984) (real estate tax litigation)
  • Columbus Bd. of Ed. v. Fountain Square Associates, Ltd., 9 Ohio St.3d 218 (1984) (real estate tax litigation)
  • Wauseon v. Badenhop, 9 Ohio St.3d 152 (1984) (criminal law; appointed appellate counsel by Ohio Supreme Court)
  • Perotti v. Ferguson, 7 Ohio St.3d 1 (1983) (Ohio R. Civ. P. 41)
  • St. Clair Builders v. Aetna Cas. & Sur. Co., 81 Ohio App.3d 675 (8th Dist. 1992) (construction litigation)
  • Total Health Care Plan, Inc. v. Tracy, BTA Case No. 94-J-38 (February 24, 1995) (obtained a real estate tax exemption for an HMO’s headquarters)

Bar admissions

Career and educational background

Professional and civic activities

Publications and interviews