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Matthew E. Lee

Senior Partner

Matt Lee is a nationally recognized and highly regarded trial lawyer. For over 15 years, Matt has focused his practice on fighting for people in consumer class actions, employment/civil rights litigation, and other complex plaintiff’s litigation. Matt also serves as Chair of Milberg’s Employment & Civil Rights group.

After winning a $14,000,000 judgment in a recent jury trial against IBM, the federal court judge found that “[t]his success reflects the quality of counsel who succeeded in proving claims of retaliation largely with circumstantial evidence.” The jury’s award was the largest ever in a retaliation, discrimination or wrongful termination case in the Western District of Washington (Seattle).

Matt has also served as lead counsel in class actions and other complex cases both in North Carolina and around the country, including:

  • Co-lead Interim Class Counsel in Edwards v. CSX Transportation, Inc., No. 7:18-cv-169-BO (E.D.N.C.), a case involving devastating flood damages after Hurricanes Matthew and Florence estimated damages in excess of $250,000,000.
  • Lead counsel in two class actions against IBM arising from its commission’s practices. Comin v. International Business Machines Corp., No. 19-cv-07261-JD (N.D. Cal.) and Engle v. International Business Machines, Corp., Index No. 654556/2020 (Supreme Court of New York).

In the few hours Matt is out of the office, you may find him hacking away on the golf course, hiking/biking in Raleigh’s Umstead Park, or traveling with his wife, Molly, and their three children, Evie, Audrey, and Arthur.

CASE RESULTS

  • April 2021: Won a $14 million judgment on behalf of an IBM sales manager who was fired after reporting racial discrimination and wage theft. After an 8-day trial in federal court in Seattle, Washington, the jury returned a verdict in our clients’ favor on all claims.
  • October 2019: Won the summary judgment battle with IBM in Swafford v. IBM in CA federal court. To the best of our knowledge, the resulting order denying summary judgment to IBM to the entire extent that the firm opposed it was the first of its kind around the country.
  • October 2019: Confidential settlement for $21 million in a defective condominium construction case.
  • August 2018: Won verdict and judgment we value at over $1 million, with hundreds of thousands more in punitive damages awarded by the jury, after a two-week jury trial in New Hanover County for an LLC member who’d been illegally ousted from the companies by his business partners.
  • February 2013: Won a $1.39 million verdict after a three-week jury trial in Madisonville, Kentucky on behalf of a church and a business against two coal companies for causing subsidence to their properties.
  • June 2012: Won a verdict and judgment of over $3 million after a three-week jury trial in Wilmington, North Carolina involving a contractor’s defective construction of marine bulkhead.
  • February 2011: Won a verdict and judgment in excess of $3.5 million after a two-week jury trial involving the developer’s deceptive advertising and shoddy construction of subdivision roads in the mountains of Western North Carolina.
  • Secured several confidential seven-figure settlements in commercial and residential construction defect disputes.

SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS

  • Speaker, “Uber Arbitration: Turning the Tables by Filing En Masse,” NCAJ Products Liability, Class Actions & Mass Torts Section, January 27, 2022
  • Speaker, “Circumstantial Evidence: Drawing Inferences to Prove Employer Motive,” WELA, November 4, 2021
  • Speaker, “Attention, Class: Ins and Outs of Class Action Cases,” NCAJ Products Liability, Class Actions & Mass Torts Section, February 25, 2021
  • Speaker, “Keeping the Lights on with Construction Litigation,” NCAJ, March 2019
  • Speaker, “12 Angry Men (and Women),” North Carolina Bar Association, New Bern, NC, September 30 – October 1, 2016
  • Co-speaker, “Nuts and Bolts of Trying a Construction Defect Case,” North Carolina Bar Association, 2013 NC/SC Construction Law Sections Annual Meeting, Asheville, NC, September 27-28, 2013

LEGAL PUBLICATIONS

  • Co-author, Constructing Class Cert Out of Defective Building Products, AAJ Products Liability Section, May, 2020
  • 12 Angry Men (and Women), NCBA Construction Law Section Annual Meeting, October 2016
  • Insurance: Covered v. Uncovered, National Business Institute, Construction Defect Litigation from A to Z CLE Seminar, Raleigh, NC, May 2015
  • Using Forensic Engineering Information in Litigation, HalfMoon Seminars, Structural Forensic Engineering Seminar, Chapel Hill, NC, October 2014
  • Nuts and Bolts of Trying a Construction Defect Case, North Carolina Bar Association, 2013 NC/SC Construction Law Sections Annual Meeting, Asheville, NC, September 2013

Education

  • J.D., Wake Forest University School of Law, 2006
  • B.A., The Catholic University of America, 2001

Bar Admissions

  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, 2006
  • U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, 2010
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, 2009
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, 2020
  • U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, 2014
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, 2021
  • Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, 2017
  • Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, 2021
  • North Carolina State Bar, 2006
  • Florida State Bar, 2013

Awards

  • Best Lawyers in America (Mass Torts / Class Actions – Plaintiffs), 2021-present
  • North Carolina Super Lawyers (Class Action & Mass Tort), 2020-present
  • North Carolina Super Lawyers Rising Stars, 2012-2018
  • Business North Carolina Legal Elite, 2014-2016

Professional Activities

  • American Association for Justice (AAJ)
  • AAJ Student Trial Advocacy Competition, Co-Coordinator (National – 2018 // Raleigh Regional, 2012 – 2020, 2022)
  • AAJ Law Schools Committee
  • Public Justice Foundation
  • Order of Barristers
  • North Carolina Association for Justice (NCAJ)
  • NCAJ Product Liability, Class Actions & Mass Torts Section, Chair (2020-2021), Vice Chair (2019-2020), Secretary (2017-2019)
  • NCAJ Legal Affairs Committee
  • CAM Raleigh (Contemporary Art Museum), Board of Directors, 2018 – present
  • Leadership Raleigh