Matthew Pierce is a business litigator and trial lawyer. He focuses his practice on advising and litigating on behalf of policyholders engaged in insurance coverage disputes with their insurers. Matt’s insurance experience ranges from large-scale coverage litigation on behalf of Fortune 500 policyholders to advising lawyers, architects, engineers, and other individual professionals under their errors and omissions insurance. His experience includes a broad range of coverage lines, including commercial general liability, professional liability, directors and officers, property insurance, and financial institution bonds.
In an era that is seeing fewer and fewer business cases go to trial, Matt has bucked the trend: he has tried insurance and commercial cases to verdict in state and federal court. He has also been responsible for high-stakes arbitrations and insurance appraisal proceedings in multiple jurisdictions.
Matt is the author of “Insurance Issues for the Insured,” Chapter 16 in the Washington Real Property Deskbook, published by the Washington State Bar Association. Matt joined GTTC in 2008 and became a partner in 2012.
$5.2 million jury verdict in commercial lease dispute
In 2015, Jeff Tilden and Matthew Pierce successfully represented Lacey Marketplace Associates II, the owner and operator of a large commercial retail space in Lacey, Washington, in a week-long jury trial in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. Lacey Marketplace asserted claims for breach of contract, tortious interference with contract, and fraudulent transfer of assets. On March 9, 2015, the jury returned a verdict on all counts in favor of Lacey Marketplace – in the amount of $5.2 million.
After four months of litigation, insurer accepts coverage for business interruption claim
Following severe storm damage to one of its processing facilities, a large family-owned food company sought business interruption coverage under a commercial property policy. The company’s insurer claimed that, when the property was added to the policy as an insured location, no extra premium had been paid. In fact, the business interruption coverage was part of a blanket “sublimit” which was not changed with the addition of the new location.
With the assistance of Dale Kingman and Matthew Pierce, the company asserted claims against its insurer for breach of contract, declaratory relief, WAC violations, CPA violations and attorney fees. After four months of litigation in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, the insurer accepted coverage and agreed to adjust the loss.
Following hard-fought litigation, settlement allows site remediation and development
Historical dry-cleaning operations led to groundwater contamination at the site of American Linen Supply Co.’s former industrial laundry and dry-cleaning plant in Seattle – a site that occupies a full city block in the heart of the South Lake Union district. In environmental coverage litigation involving this site, Frank Cordell and Matthew Pierce represented American Linen and Frontier Redevelopment, a Denver-based brownfield redevelopment firm. On the eve of trial, and after more than two years of hard-fought litigation against its insurers, American Linen reached confidential settlements that will allow it to remediate and redevelop the site.
After initial denial, property insurer pays condo association in full
Sandpiper Condominiums is a 19-floor beachfront property located on Marco Island, Florida. The condominium suffered significant damage as a result of Hurricane Wilma. When the condominium association’s insurer failed to pay for the damage under a commercial property policy, Dale Kingman and Matthew Pierce carefully reviewed the policy on the association’s behalf and identified an avenue to coverage. After a week-long appraisal hearing with the insurance company, they recovered 100 percent of damages for the condominium association.
Reluctant insurer pays for defense of an international nonprofit organization
An international nonprofit organization, along with its directors and officers, sought coverage under its nonprofit insurance policy for defense costs incurred as a result of a high-profile litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. The organization’s insurer took the position that the claim was untimely and that a specific policy exclusion applied. In 2013, Matthew Pierce secured defense costs throughout the litigation for the organization as well as all its directors and officers.
Outside the office, my wife and I enjoy spending time updating our 1924 home. I also enjoy biking with my family on the trails around Seattle and playing with my two children at local parks. Whenever I have the opportunity, I like to play golf. I also enjoy travel abroad – especially to France, Spain, and England. For the past 13 years, I have been making my own red wine. Each year, I look forward to travelling to eastern Washington for the grape harvest.
I like all aspects of insurance recovery. I genuinely value client relationships and enjoy helping individuals and businesses solve problems and resolve disputes – whether through litigation or alternative dispute resolution.