Matthew T. Nelson

Partner | mnelson@wnj.com | V-Card | Profile PDF Grand RapidsT +1.616.752.2539F +1.616.222.2539 Grand Rapids appellate attorney Matt Nelson co-chairs Warner Norcross & Judd LLP’s appellate practice group.  Matt has successfully represented clients in the United States Supreme Court, the Michigan Supreme Court, several federal courts of appeals, and the Michigan Court of Appeals.  Matt successfully argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of an individual against the federal government in a case regarding whether the individual could... Read More
Grand Rapids appellate attorney Matt Nelson co-chairs Warner Norcross & Judd LLP’s appellate practice group.  Matt has successfully represented clients in the United States Supreme Court, the Michigan Supreme Court, several federal courts of appeals, and the Michigan Court of Appeals.  Matt successfully argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of an individual against the federal government in a case regarding whether the individual could challenge the government’s decision to take land into trust to be used for a tribal casino.  Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians v. Patchak, 132 S. Ct. 2199 (2012).

Matt’s appellate experience includes submitting amicus curiae briefs in the state and federal courts including briefs on behalf of the State of Michigan, the Defense Research Institute, the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, the Michigan Defense Trial Counsel, and the Michigan Health & Hospital Association.  Matt routinely works with trial litigators on dispositive motions, motions in limine, and preparing appellate strategy while a case is still in the trial court.

Matt also represents manufacturers, contractors, financial institutions, and other employers in employment disputes.  Matt’s trial experience includes obtaining and recovering treble damages plus attorneys fees in a case involving the theft of a corporate opportunity.

Matt’s legal accomplishments have not gone unnoticed.  He has been appointed to the Defense Research Institute’s national amicus committee, elected to the board of the Michigan Defense Trial Counsel, and twice been awarded a Distinguished Brief Award by a panel of jurists and professors for amicus briefs Matt has submitted to the Michigan Supreme Court.  Three times, Matt has been named one of Michigan’s best appellate attorneys under 40, as chosen by the Michigan Super Lawyers/Thomson Reuters legal division.
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Experience

  • Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians v. Patchak, 132 S. Ct. 2199 (2012):  Obtained 8-1 decision in favor of client, defeating claims of the federal government that sovereign immunity defeated client’s challenge to government’s agency action and that client did not have prudential standing.
  • Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., ___ S.Ct. ___ (2014):  Submitted amicus curiae brief on behalf of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities supporting the successful religious employer.
  • Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church & School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 132 S.Ct. 694 (2012):  Submitted amicus curiae briefs at the petition and merits stages on behalf of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities supporting the successful religious employer.
  • Priority Health v. Commissioner of Office of Financial & Insurance Services, 489 Mich. 67, 802 N.W.2d 132 (2011):  Persuaded the Michigan Supreme Court to overturn state agency ruling against a health maintenance organization.
  • Tomecek v. Bavas, 482 Mich. 484, 759 N.W.2d 178 (2008):  Obtained 4-3 ruling favorable to clients in an easement dispute involving the Land Division Act.
  • O’Boyle v. Borough of Longport, 218 N.J. 168, 94 A.3d 299 (N.J. 2014):  Submitted amicus curiae brief on behalf of DRI—The Voice of the Defense Bar successfully urging limited approach to waiver of work-product protection.
  • Oneida Charter Twp. v. City of Grand Ledge, 485 Mich 859, 771 N.W.2d 785 (2009):  Retained to obtain review by the Michigan Supreme Court of a published Michigan Court of Appeals decision regarding municipal water-rate dispute; persuaded Court to grant peremptory reversal.
  • Winterhalter v. Dykhuis Farms, 2012 WL 2989238 (6th. Cir. July 23, 2012):  Successfully argued for affirmance in an employment discrimination case.
  • Mallison v. Haworth, Inc., 2012 WL 2580609 (6th Cir. July 3, 2012):  Obtained decision affirming district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the employer in an Equal Pay Act case.
  • Keiper, LLC v. Intier Automotive Inc., 2012 WL 833652 (6th Cir. Mar. 13, 2012):  Successfully argued for reversal of summary judgment in a million-dollar automotive-supplier dispute.
  • Chen v. Dow Chemical Co., 580 F.3d 394 (6th Cir. 2009):  Persuaded the Sixth Circuit to affirm summary judgment in favor of The Dow Chemical Company in an employment dispute.
  • Sherrills v. Beison, 242 Fed. App’x 332 (6th Cir. 2007):  Defended summary judgment in favor of a hospital system on a former employee’s race discrimination and retaliation claims.
  • Canvasser Heritage, L.L.C. v. Fifth Third Bank, 2012 WL 5853896 (Mich. Ct. App. Nov. 15, 2012):  Defended summary disposition in mortgage foreclosure case.
  • Thomas E. Woods v. JLG Industries, Inc., et al, 2011 WL 2342719 (Mich. Ct. App. June 14, 2011):  Defended jury verdict in a commercial contract dispute.
  • Fifth Third Bank v. Canvasser, et al, 2011 WL 2347707 (Mich. Ct. App. June 14, 2011):  Defended summary judgment in favor of bank in a mortgage case.
  • Denney v. Dow Chemical Co., 2011 WL 92964 (Mich. Ct. App. Jan. 11, 2011):  Obtained summary disposition on former employee’s sex discrimination and retaliation claims and defended ruling on appeal.
  • Old Republic National Title Holding v. First Metropolitan Title, 2010 WL 1056609 (Mich. Ct. App. Mar. 23, 2010):  Persuaded Michigan Court of Appeals to reverse summary disposition against client in a commercial contract dispute.
  • Foote v. Dow Chemical Co., 2010 WL 173777 (Mich. Ct. App. Jan. 19, 2010):  Obtained summary disposition on former employee’s breach of contract and tortious interference claims and defended ruling on appeal.
  • Day v. HME Inc., 2007 WL 3120942 (Mich. Ct. App. Oct. 25, 2007):  Obtained dismissal of former employee’s race-discrimination claims and, on appeal, obtained reversal of order denying sanctions against former employee for asserting frivolous claims.
  • Multiband Co. v. Block, 2012 WL 1843261 (E.D. Mich. May 12, 2012):  Obtained order enforcing arbitration agreement in employment dispute and imposing Rule 11 sanctions.
  • Graham v. Access Business Group, LLC, 2011 WL 3758726 (W.D. Mich. Aug. 25, 2011):  Obtained summary judgment on behalf of employer in a case involving FMLA retaliation and disability discrimination claims.
  • El Camino Resources, LTD. v. Huntington National Bank, 722 F. Supp. 2d 875 (W.D. Mich. 2010):  Obtained summary judgment on behalf of bank in case arising from $100 million Ponzi scheme.

Industries

Practices

Education

  • University of Notre Dame J.D. 2002 magna cum laude
  • Dordt College B.A. 1999

Admitted

  • 2002, Michigan

Courts

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan

Honors and Awards

  • Named to Michigan Super Lawyers, 2013-2014
  • Recognized by Michigan Lawyers Weekly as one of its 20 Up & Coming Lawyers, 2012
  • Named as a Michigan Super Lawyer Rising Star, 2010-2012
  • Awarded Michigan Distinguished Brief Award, 2010 and 2012
  • Fellow, American Bar Foundation

Bar Associations

  • American Bar Association
  • Federal Bar Association
  • State Bar of Michigan

Professional Affiliations

  • American Bar Association
    Judicial Division; Council for Appellate Lawyers
  • AJEI Planning Committee
    Member
  • Defense Research Institute
    Member of National Amicus Committee
  • Michigan Defense Research Institute
    Board member; Co-chair of Appellate Committee
  • Michigan Appellate Bench Bar Conference Foundation
    Board Member

Community Affiliations

  • Harvest Orthodox Presbyterian Church
    President of Board of Trustees
  • Dordt College
    Member of National Advisory Committee
  • Kuyper College
    Trustee

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