Matthew Hamermesh is a leader in the firm’s Appellate and Bankruptcy Practices. In both of these areas, Matt is able to quickly grasp the details of a client’s business and analyze relevant specialized areas of law in order to understand and achieve his clients’ goals. Matt’s bankruptcy and appellate clients are in a wide range of businesses, each with unique needs, who are affected by varied areas of the law. His talent for understanding these nuances enables him to provide efficient, yet thorough, service for his clients.
Within the firm’s Appellate Practice Group, Matt’s considerable experience includes appeals of a great variety of civil and bankruptcy cases. On several occasions, he and his colleagues have convinced the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to reinstate trial court decisions that the intermediate appellate courts — the Superior Court or Commonwealth Court — had reversed. He has also worked on numerous appeals of multimillion-dollar jury verdicts, representing both parties seeking relief from them and those trying to preserve them. Matt is an active member of a variety of professional groups focused on appellate practice, including the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Appellate Courts Committee and the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Appellate Advocacy Committee.
As co-chair of the Bankruptcy Practice, Matt represents a wide variety of clients in bankruptcy litigation. With extensive experience in bankruptcy, insolvency, and debtor-creditor litigation, he has successfully represented debtors, creditors, official committees, and other parties in interest in numerous business bankruptcy and commercial cases. He is often asked to represent clients in highly contentious bankruptcy cases, including disputed Chapter 11 filings and adversary proceedings. His thorough evaluation of each client’s situation results in creative solutions for clients – whether debtors, creditors, or otherwise – allowing them to get the most that they can out of a bankruptcy or non-bankruptcy proceeding while avoiding the decline in business value that can accompany any financial difficulties.
His devotion to the improvement of the practice of bankruptcy and insolvency law in and around Philadelphia is demonstrated by his active involvement in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Bankruptcy Conference, where he has served extensively on the Conference’s Education Committee and chaired its Young Lawyers Division for three years.
His commitment to his client’s causes is also distinguished by his pro bono work representing indigent clients, including prisoners’ civil rights, bankruptcy, uninsured personal injury defense, and death penalty defense, including a successful effort to demonstrate that a client was not subject to the death penalty because of mental retardation. In 2008, he was the honored recipient of the Juvenile Law Center’s First Annual Pro Bono Award.
Matt has been recognized by Chambers USA for his bankruptcy work and has earned repeated recognition by Pennsylvania and New Jersey Super Lawyers magazines for both bankruptcy and appellate work. He is a 1998 magna cum laude graduate of The University of Michigan Law School, where he served as Articles Editor for the Michigan Law Review and was elected to the Order of the Coif. He received a BS in mathematics from Yale University. Prior to joining Hangley Aronchick, Matt was a law clerk for Chief Judge Edward R. Becker of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
Representative Appellate Matters
- Briefed, argued and obtained reversal of denial of summary judgment on a key issue concerning the interplay of bankruptcy law and state law. The Superior Court held for our client that the fact that a prior case was litigated in bankruptcy court preempted any state law claim for wrongful use of civil proceedings, even though the case was initially filed in state court and later removed. Oberdick v. Trizechahn Gateway, LLC, 2017 PA Super 112 (Apr. 19, 2017).
- Successfully challenged, on appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, trial court’s grant of summary judgment against our client, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, concerning a state statute moving $800 million from a governmental fund for payment of medical malpractice claims to a state general fund, in a suit brought by medical providers who claimed to be beneficiaries of the original fund. Pennsylvania Medical Soc. v. Department of Public Welfare, 614 Pa. 574, 39 A.3d 267 (2012).
- Successfully defended on appeal the decision of a trial court finding that a local ordinance was preempted by state statute. Holt’s Cigar Co., Inc. v. City of Philadelphia, 10 A.3d 902 (Pa. 2011).
- Successfully sought discretionary review and obtained reversal in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court of a Superior Court decision, resulting in reinstatement of much of the relief that the client, a landlord, had obtained at trial. Trizechahn Gateway LLC v. Titus, 601 Pa. 637, 976 A.2d 474 (2009).
- Managed complex appellate litigation involving oversight of troubled school district. Appellate litigation involved multiple appeals, request for Supreme Court Kings’ Bench review, and extensive disputes over stays pending appeal. E.g., Commonwealth, Dept. of Educ. v. Empowerment Bd. of Control of Chester-Upland School Dist., 595 Pa. 426, 938 A.2d 1000 (2007).
- Successfully defended an eight-figure lender liability jury verdict and judgment on appeal to the Pennsylvania Superior and Supreme Courts against wide-ranging challenges by the defendant bank.
Representative Bankruptcy Matters
- Lead counsel for a non-profit corporation in a contested Chapter 11 bankruptcy case arising out of a dispute with its bank over real estate loans. Guided client through numerous evidentiary hearings on the use of cash collateral and the bank’s effort to appoint a trustee, as well as litigating lender liability and equitable subordination claims. Ultimately assisted the client in using mediation to negotiate a settlement that resolved the dispute with the bank and allowed the non-profit to return to focusing on its original mission.
- Lead counsel for a substantial vendor in one of the largest recent bankruptcy reorganization cases where the client was confronted with the bankruptcy of a substantial customer. Helped the client obtain a highly beneficial assumption of most of their contracts with the debtors, along with a favorable resolution of other outstanding claims.
- Lead counsel for a Fortune 500 Company as a party in interest in the bankruptcy case of a general partner and a fellow limited partner. Helped the client maneuver through the bankruptcy process, ensuring that the underlying business was preserved and that the client could buy the other partners out of the business without a substantial decline in business value.
- Lead counsel for a high-tech start-up company in a quick and successful Chapter 11 reorganization. Negotiated restructuring of privately held debt and equity that facilitated post-reorganization sale of the company at substantial profit.
Representative Business Litigation Matters
- Co-counsel with another firm in successful arbitration concerning valuation of a partnership business for purposes of compulsory buy-out.
- Lead counsel for a group of former officers of a large, bankrupt company in successful defense of securities class action, civil RICO, and related claims, in which summary judgment was granted in favor of clients. In re DVI, Inc. Securities Litigation, 919 F. Supp. 2d 498 (E.D. Pa. 2013); WM High Yield Fund v. O’Hanlon, 2013 WL 3230922 (E.D. Pa. June 27, 2013).
- Lead counsel for a client in New Zealand in recovering fraudulent funds that a defendant had transferred to the United States. Successfully traced the money to various American banks and obtained court orders freezing the accounts and ultimately recovering most of the funds.