MATTHEW M. HOUSTON, a partner in the firm’s New York – Midtown 5th Avenue office, graduated from Boston University School of Law in 1988. Mr. Houston is an active member of the Bar of the State of New York and an inactive member of the bar for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Mr. Houston is also admitted to the United States District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York and the District of Massachusetts, and the Second, Seventh, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals of the United States. Mr. Houston repeatedly has been selected as a New York Metro Super Lawyer.
Mr. Houston has substantial courtroom experience involving complex actions in federal and state courts throughout the country. Mr. Houston was co-lead trial counsel in one the few ERISA class action cases taken to trial asserting breach of fiduciary duty claims against plan fiduciaries, Brieger et al. v. Tellabs, Inc., No. 06-CV-01882 (N.D. Ill.), and has successfully prosecuted many ERISA actions, including In re Royal Ahold N.V. Securities and ERISA Litigation, Civil Action No. 1:03-md-01539. Mr. Houston has been one of the principal attorneys litigating claims in multi-district litigation concerning employment classification of pickup and delivery drivers and primarily responsible for prosecuting ERISA class claims resulting in a $242,000,000 settlement; In re FedEx Ground Package Inc. Employment Practices Litigation, No. 3:05-MD-527 (MDL 1700). Mr. Houston recently presented argument before the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of a class of Florida pickup and delivery drivers obtaining a reversal of the lower court’s grant of summary judgment. Mr. Houston represented the interests of Nevada and Arkansas drivers employed by FedEx Ground obtaining significant recoveries on their behalf. Mr. Houston also served as lead counsel in multi-district class litigation seeking to modify insurance claims handling practices; In re UnumProvident Corp. ERISA Benefits Denial Actions, No. 1:03-cv-1000 (MDL 1552).
Mr. Houston has played a principal role in numerous derivative and class actions wherein substantial benefits were conferred upon plaintiffs: In re: Groupon Derivative Litigation, No. 12-cv-5300 (N.D. Ill. 2012) (settlement of consolidated derivative action resulting in sweeping corporate governance reform estimated at $159 million) Bangari v. Lesnik, et al., No. 11 CH 41973 (Illinois Circuit Court, County of Cook) (settlement of claim resulting in payment of $20 million to Career Education Corporation and implementation of extensive corporate governance reform); In re Diamond Foods, Inc. Shareholder Litigation, No. CGC-11-515895 (California Superior Court, County of San Francisco) ($10.4 million in monetary relief including a $5.4 million clawback of executive compensation and significant corporate governance reform); Pace American Shareholder Litigation, 94-92 TUC-RMB (securities fraud class action settlement resulting in a recovery of $3.75 million); In re Bay Financial Securities Litigation, Master File No. 89-2377-DPW, (D. Mass.) (J. Woodlock) (settlement of action based upon federal securities law claims resulting in class recovery in excess of $3.9 million); Goldsmith v. Technology Solutions Company, 92 C 4374 (N.D. Ill. 1992) (J. Manning) (recovery of $4.6 million as a result of action alleging false and misleading statements regarding revenue recognition).
In addition to numerous employment and derivative cases, Mr. Houston has litigated actions asserting breach of fiduciary duty in the context of mergers and acquisitions. Mr. Houston has been responsible for securing millions of dollars in additional compensation and structural benefits for shareholders of target companies: In re Instinet Group, Inc. Shareholders Litigation, C.A. No. 1289 (Delaware Court of Chancery); Jasinover v. The Rouse Company, Case No. 13-C-04-59594 (Maryland Circuit Court); McLaughlin v. Household International, Inc., Case No. 02 CH 20683 (Illinois Circuit Court); Sebesta v. The Quizno’s Corporation, Case No. 2001 CV 6281 (Colorado District Court); Crandon Capital Partners v. Sanford M. Kimmel, C.A. No. 14998 (Del. Ch.); and Crandon Capital Partners v. Kimmel, C.A. No. 14998 (Del. Ch. 1996) (J. Chandler) (settlement of an action on behalf of shareholders of Transnational Reinsurance Co. whereby acquiring company provided an additional $10.4 million in merger consideration).