Matthew Pierce helps clients achieve their goals. Matt has been a trial lawyer for over 19 years. 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 complex property insurance claims and large-scale coverage litigation on behalf of Fortune 500 policyholders to advising lawyers, physicians, architects, engineers, and other individual professionals under their errors and omissions insurance. His experience includes a broad range of coverage lines, including property insurance, business income loss, food and crop spoilage, stock throughput, commercial general liability, professional liability, directors and officers, errors and omissions, employment, cyber, maritime, financial institution bonds, and homeowners.
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 both state and federal court. He has also been responsible for high-stakes arbitrations and insurance appraisal proceedings in multiple jurisdictions.
Matt has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America® for Insurance Law since 2021. He has also been selected to the Super Lawyers list by Washington Super Lawyers Magazine since 2019. He was previously recognized as a “Rising Star” in Washington Super Lawyers Magazine for 2010-2012 and 2014-2017. Matt is a member of the Young Lawyers Committee of the National Center for State Courts. He is also the co-author of “Insurance Issues for the Insured,” Chapter 16 in the Washington Real Property Deskbook Series, Volume 7: Environmental Regulation, published by the Washington State Bar Association.
Matt attended the University of California Los Angeles, where he graduated magna cum laude and with College Honors, which is the highest academic recognition UCLA’s College of Letters and Sciences confers on undergraduate students. Prior to law school, Matt clerked at the law firm of Shook, Hardy & Bacon, LLP in Kansas City, Missouri. While attending the University of North Carolina School of Law, he served as a staff member at the Law School Attorney General’s Office as well as a student liaison for the North Carolina Commission on Domestic Violence.
- Tunnel boring machine breaks down, insurers refusing to pay – The $3.1 billion Seattle tunnel was designed to replace the downtown Alaskan Way Viaduct after it was damaged in a 2001 earthquake. The “Bertha” tunnel-boring machine sustained physical damage far beneath the surface, and a recovery shaft was drilled so that it could be repaired. A consortium of insurance companies denied coverage to Seattle Tunnel Partners’ (STP) claims under a Builder’s Risk Policy. STP, the contractor building the SR 99 Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Project in Seattle, is seeking coverage from its property insurers for damage to the project and the tunnel-boring machine.
In 2015, STP filed a lawsuit seeking recovery of policy proceeds. Along with co-counsel, GTTC lawyers Dale Kingman, Matthew Pierce, and Greg Pendleton represent STP in this ongoing massive insurance recovery case. Dale represented STP in a vigorous court battle over where the insurance dispute was to be decided. Over months of litigation, he helped STP’s litigation team defeat the insurers’ numerous attempts – at both the Superior Court and appellate levels – to move the dispute to New York. Following three years of litigation, the case is now on appeal.
- $5.2 million jury verdict in commercial lease dispute – 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. 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. Matthew Pierce secured defense costs throughout the litigation for the organization as well as all its directors and officers.
PUBLICATIONS & PRESENTATIONS
- Co-author, “Insurance Issues for the Insured,” Washington Real Property Deskbook Series, Volume 7: Environmental Regulation (4th ed. 2013)
- Duty to Defend-Selection of defense counsel and the role of personal counsel, GTTC Insurance Recovery Seminar, 2020
- Insuring a Pandemic–Coverage for COVID-19, GTTC Insurance Recovery Seminar, 2020
- Update: Seattle Tunnel Coverage Litigation, GTTC Insurance Recovery Seminar, 2019
- Insurance Bad Faith Claims in Washington, Lorman Education Services, 2011
Outside the office, my wife and I enjoy spending time updating our 1924 home. We are also avid travelers and love taking our son and daughter on adventures abroad. I enjoy biking with my family and participating in my son’s and daughter’s varied activities, including their softball and baseball teams. Whenever I have the opportunity, I like to play golf. For the past 15 years, I have been making my own red wine. Each year, I look forward to traveling 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.