Matt McDermott focuses on civil and criminal trials and appeals. He has represented companies and their management in virtually every industry including financial services, biotechnology, health care, agriculture, energy, real estate, and manufacturing. He handles a wide variety of litigation matters, including complex contract disputes, white-collar criminal defense, shareholder litigation, banking and lending litigation, estate and trust litigation, and professional liability and licensure actions. He regularly appears before state and federal courts and administrative tribunals.
Mr. McDermott has been recognized as a leading litigator in several practice areas by numerous professional publications. The attorney rating service The Best Lawyers in America has recognized Mr. McDermott in four litigation categories, including Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Banking & Finance Litigation, and Bankruptcy Litigation. He has been named “Lawyer of the Year” in Iowa by The Best Lawyers in America for Banking & Finance Litigation. He is also recognized as a commercial litigator by Chambers & Partners USA, which described him as “highly regarded by clients” and “a skilled litigator and a great communicator.”
Mr. McDermott’s recent representations include:
• Representing Centene Corporation as lead counsel in litigation protesting the award of a contract to a competing bidder in the largest procurement in the history of the State of Iowa through which private insurers began management of Iowa’s $4.2 billion Medicaid program. In December 2015, the Iowa Department of Human Services ruled in favor of Centene, finding the Department had improperly awarded a contract to the competing bidder. The ruling was affirmed on appeal.
• Representing Two Rivers Bank & Trust as lead counsel in a complicated action brought by a large group of condominium owners following the Bank’s foreclosure, management, and later sale of a large condominium development. Mr. McDermott successfully argued a motion for summary judgment in the Bank’s favor dismissing the lawsuit, and successfully argued the appeal before the Iowa Court of Appeals. Certain of the plaintiffs’ claims were separately tried in arbitration in which Mr. McDermott served as lead counsel. The arbitrator ruled in the Bank’s favor and dismissed the plaintiffs’ claims in their entirety.
• Representing MS Technologies, a prominent biotechnology and soybean genetics company, in litigation in federal court against a major biotechnology company concerning alleged breach of a materials transfer agreement.
• Representing Iowa Student Loan Liquidity Corporation, Iowa’s largest student loan lender, as lead counsel in litigation in bankruptcy court against a former borrower involving novel bankruptcy law claims. Following the trial, and immediately prior to re-start of the trial for the court’s consideration of new evidence, the case settled with the borrower dismissing all claims.
• Representing a business owner in a federal white-collar criminal prosecution charged with conspiracy to commit securities fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and nine counts of mail fraud. Mr. McDermott as lead counsel negotiated a plea agreement through which the business owner pleaded guilty to a technical violation of selling unregistered securities, with a dismissal of all other charges.
• Representing MetaBank in a high-profile and complicated trial and appeal involving disputed rights to a multi-million dollar commercial property following the death of a large real estate developer. Following trial, the district court ruled in favor of MetaBank. The Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling.
• Representing an attorney in defense of an ethics complaint before the Iowa Supreme Court Attorney Disciplinary Board and hearing before the Grievance Commission concerning allegations of making a false statement to the court, failing to communicate with a client, and failing to comply with fee and trust account requirements.
• Representing a large accounting firm as lead counsel in litigation in federal court involving ERISA claims and the accounting firm’s handling of an Employee Stock Ownership Plan.
• Representing Lamoni Livestock Sales Co. and its majority shareholder in defending a judicial dissolution lawsuit by a minority shareholder alleging shareholder oppression.
• Representing the MAIN Coalition (or “Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now”), a consortium of Iowa businesses, trade associations, and individuals seeking approval of a construction permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline in Iowa in litigation before the Iowa Utilities Board. The Board ultimately approved the construction permit.
• Representing Clarke County State Bank in a complicated breach of contract action involving several interrelated participation loans in excess of $1 million. The matter was settled after the oral argument on Mr. McDermott’s motion for summary judgment.
• Representing a social worker in defense of charges before the Iowa Board of Social Work concerning allegations of engaging in an impermissible professional conflict of interest and various professional incompetency claims.
• Representing Championship Productions, Inc., a creator and distributor of high-end sports instructional videos, in a copyright infringement action. The matter was settled after Mr. McDermott’s client filed a motion for summary judgment.
• Representing West Bank in defense of claims associated with discovery of a large embezzlement scheme perpetrated by a former customer’s bookkeeper causing alleged damages of nearly $600,000. During the jury trial, Mr. McDermott successfully argued a motion for directed verdict in the Bank’s favor on all claims.
• Representing a large accounting and investment services firm in a multi-faceted negligence and breach of contract action concerning advice in the period preceding the 2008 stock market crash. The matter was settled after Mr. McDermott successfully resisted a motion to amend the petition by the plaintiff.
• Representing City State Bank as lead trial counsel in a complicated action brought by a competing bank concerning disputed rights to real estate collateral following the collapse of a major real estate development company. Following trial, the district court ruled in favor of City State Bank holding that City State Bank’s rights in the real estate prevailed over the plaintiff’s.
In addition to his professional practice, Mr. McDermott is a former member of the Iowa State Bar Association’s Board of Governors and chairs its Judicial Administration Committee. He is past-president of the Iowa State Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division, and received its highest honor, the “Award of Merit,” in 2013. He received the Polk County Volunteer Lawyers Project’s Outstanding Volunteer Award in 2009, and previously served on the board of the HOLA Center (Hispanic Outreach and Legal Assistance) where he also volunteered at the Volunteer Lawyers Project’s Latino Outreach Clinic. Mr. McDermott previously worked in homeless legal clinics through the East Bay Community Law Center in Berkeley, California. He is currently vice-chair of the Polk County Homeless Continuum of Care Board, a body tasked with developing the overarching strategies and funding allocations to solve homelessness in central Iowa, and for which he also chairs the governance committee. He is past-president of the board of directors at Central Iowa Shelter & Services, the largest homeless shelter in Iowa.
He currently serves on the United Way of Central Iowa’s Chair’s Cabinet, and previously chaired its Tocqueville Society, which targets leaders for contributions of $10,000 or more to United Way and raised $6 million in the 2015 campaign. He is a longtime volunteer for Iowa Legal Aid, and now serves as Treasurer on the Iowa Legal Aid Board of Directors, for which he also chairs the Development, Audit, and Finance Committee. Mr. McDermott was appointed by Governor Terry Branstad and confirmed by the Iowa Senate to serve on the board of directors for the Iowa Lottery Authority, serving as its president in 2015.
Mr. McDermott received his B.A. with distinction and with honors from the University of Iowa. He earned his law degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, where he served as editor of the California Law Review. During law school, Mr. McDermott was an instructor in the political science department at the University of California, Berkeley.