Matthew S. Conant, Esq.

Profile

MEDIATION AND SETTLEMENT EXPERIENCE

Since 2005, Mr. Conant has been mediating privately and in conjunction with court-sponsored ADR programs. Since 2016, he has been a full-time neutral, and has successfully mediated 300+ disputes, including cases arising from vehicular accidents, product liability, premises liability, landlord/tenant, construction defect, business and commercial contract, real property, medical/insurance liens, public entity liability, and professional malpractice. Mr. Conant is certified as a mediator, having completed extensive mediation training courses.

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

  • Personal Injury
  • Landlord/Tenant
  • Business & Commercial Contract
  • Real Property
  • Professional Liability

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

For over 36 years, Mr. Conant was a trial lawyer specializing in product liability, general liability and professional liability matters. He has litigated numerous personal injury and product liability cases involving claims for catastrophic injury and wrongful death. In addition, he has supervised litigation in the western United States for nationally recognized clients in the transportation and hospitality industries.

Mr. Conant has extensive jury trial experience throughout Northern California. He is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) and the American College of Trial Lawyers. Mr. Conant has successfully handled lawsuits involving regional and national clients as well as various Bay Area public entities. From 1985 until 1999, Mr. Conant was a partner with Hardin, Cook, Loper, Engel & Bergez. From 1999 until 2016, Mr. Conant was managing partner at Lombardi, Loper & Conant, LLP.

EDUCATION, BAR MEMBERSHIPS, AND PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS

  • University of California San Diego (B.S. 1976)
  • University of California Hastings College of the Law (J.D. 1980)
  • American Board of Trial Advocates (Associate 2003)
  • American College of Trial Lawyers (Fellow 2012)
  • State Bar of California (1980)
  • Association of Defense Counsel of Northern California and Nevada (1980)

Representative Cases

PERSONAL INJURY – PREMISES LIABILITY

  • Mediated wrongful death case brought by heirs of 21 year old who was shot and killed by service station security guard. Plaintiffs claimed that the security company was negligent in the hiring and retention of the guard, and that the service station owner was vicariously liable for the guard’s conduct. The case was complicated by insurance coverage issues and by virtue of defense challenges to the standing of certain heirs.
  • Mediated personal injury claim arising from incident that occurred in dormitory room at Northern California liberal arts college. Plaintiff, a college sophomore, sustained serious hand injury when untempered dormitory window broke. Plaintiff alleged the 60-year-old window should have been replaced with tempered glass; defendant asserted the accident was due to horseplay.
  • Handled dispute involving a private college in connection with sexual assault of 12-year-old female summer basketball camp participant by camp coach. Plaintiff claimed the school was negligent in the hiring and supervision of the coach.
  • Dispute involving a professional sports team in personal injury case alleging lack of security at stadium venue. Plaintiff was shot in parking lot by unknown assailants following event, and alleged that inadequate security and insufficient lighting allowed the assault to occur.
  • Handled dispute involving a professional sports team in personal injury case arising from unprovoked assault in stadium men’s room by members of “Nortenos” gang. Plaintiff asserted that the stadium was poorly designed, that there was inadequate law enforcement, insufficient private security, and negligent screening for fan intoxication.
  • Mediated claim against private elementary school arising from a playground accident. Plaintiff, a 74-year-old lunchtime volunteer, was jostled by third graders who were involved in an impromptu footrace. As a result, plaintiff sustained an intracranial hemorrhage, followed by a paralyzing stroke. Plaintiff alleged that the school was negligent in the supervision of lunchtime playground activities.
  • Mediated traumatic brain injury claim arising from 4-year-old’s fall from second floor balcony. Plaintiff alleged that the landlord had actual notice of the deteriorated condition of the balcony, and specifically, that there was a large gap between the horizontal deck and vertical wall/railing.
  • Mediated personal injury claim arising from dog bite incident. Plaintiff, age 45, was seriously injured while working as a “dog walker”. Defendant asserted that the claim was barred by the “veterinarian rule”. Plaintiff alleged that the defendant dog owner had actual knowledge of the dangerous propensity of the animal and concealed that information from the plaintiff.
  • Dispute involving national ambulance company arising from intersection collision which resulted in plaintiff’s quadriplegia. Ambulance was responding “Code 3” to medical emergency and contested issues included speed, distance, visibility, effectiveness of siren, and applicability of MICRA.

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PERSONAL INJURY – PUBLIC ENTITY

  • Handled wrongful death case involving a public university brought by family of student athlete who died during pre-season football workout. Plaintiffs claimed that the coaching staff was negligent in the design and supervision of the strenuous workout session and failed to account for the decedent’s sickle cell trait status.
  • Handled wrongful death dispute involving public university in case arising from vehicle/ pedestrian accident. University employee struck and killed decedent in crosswalk; plaintiffs were his spouse and teenage children. At the time of his death, decedent was mid-stage ALS, with significantly reduced life expectancy.
  • Personal injury case involving public university alleging student athlete sustained traumatic brain injury as a result of repetitive head trauma over his four-year college football career.
  • Handled personal injury case involving a student who overdosed on drugs in a “coop” apartment associated with a public university, leaving the plaintiff in a permanent vegetative state. Plaintiff alleged that the university failed to properly supervise and oversee the coop management, permitted a “drug culture” to exist, and neglected to implement emergency response protocols.
  • Mediated personal injury action against public entity alleging dangerous condition of roadway due to presence of large pothole. Plaintiff, age 55, sustained serious leg injury when he lost control of his motorcycle after encountering depression in asphalt.
  • Mediated wrongful death case arising from apparent suicide following Welfare & Institutions Code 5150 hold. Decedent was evaluated at county hospital and released to return home using a taxi “voucher” system. While en route, decedent jumped from the backseat of the taxi while traveling at freeway speed. Plaintiffs alleged negligence on the part of the hospital staff and the taxi company.
  • Mediated slip-and-fall case against utility company arising from injury that occurred when plaintiff fell through an allegedly unstable gas meter cover located in parking strip, sustaining serious lower extremity injury.
  • Mediated personal injury case arising from high-speed pursuit by police vehicle. Negligence-free motorist was injured when officer lost control of police vehicle, colliding with plaintiff’s vehicle stopped for red light.
  • Mediated wrongful death case against city alleging dangerous condition of sidewalk. Plaintiffs, the adult children of decedent, asserted that the broken sidewalk was situated immediately adjacent to city-owned park, and across the street from a senior center. Plaintiffs’ decedent sustained an intracranial hemorrhage, and died after a six-month hospitalization.
  • Mediated wrongful death case arising from single-vehicle off-road accident. Plaintiffs asserted a dangerous condition of the highway by virtue of a narrow shoulder, lack of guardrail, and adjacent steep downward embankment. Defendant contended the accident was due to excessive speed, wet roadway, and bald tires.
  • Mediated personal injury claim against city arising from playground accident which resulted in facial scar for five-year old female. Plaintiff alleged improper selection and location of slide and related playground equipment.
  • Mediated personal injury case arising from trip-and-fall on city pier. Plaintiff, age 60, alleged dangerous condition of public property resulting in fall and head injury (mTBI). City contended the claim was barred by recreational immunities.
  • Mediated claim against city and utility company arising from bicycle accident in dedicated bike lane. Plaintiff alleged dangerous condition of public property by virtue of utility cover located in the bike lane. Defendants asserted design immunities, lack of notice, and contributory negligence.

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PERSONAL INJURY – PRODUCTS LIABILITY

  • Handled personal injury dispute involving designer and manufacturer of asphalt compactor arising from roadway paving operation. Plaintiff was seriously injured when compactor overturned and rolled down steep embankment. Plaintiff alleged instability in design and lack of “roll-over” protection.
  • Handled personal injury case filed against designer and manufacturer of industrial food processing equipment wherein plaintiff sustained traumatic amputation of fingers. Plaintiff alleged inadequate warnings and instructions for use and lack of “interlock” feature.
  • Mediated personal injury action against manufacturer of motorized skateboard. Plaintiff alleged that the Bluetooth-enabled “regenerative” braking system suddenly failed, causing the plaintiff to lose control going down a steep hill, resulting in a disabling knee injury.
  • Handled wrongful death claim involving designer and manufacturer of lumber processing machinery. Decedent, age 40, was performing maintenance inside the large device when the system was mistakenly activated. Decedent’s spouse alleged inadequate warnings, lack of “interlock” feature, and absence of effective “lock-out/tag out” opportunity.
  • Handled wrongful death claim against designer and manufacturer of agricultural harvesting machine. Plaintiffs’ decedent was killed when he fell into an “auger” style crop transport device. Plaintiffs claimed the machine lacked guards, and that the instructions for use were inadequate and were not bilingual.
  • Handled personal injury dispute involving designer and manufacturer of an agricultural “mulching” machine arising from traumatic amputation of plaintiff’s arm. Plaintiff was attempting to remove a “jam”, when a co-employee activated the machine. Plaintiff alleged lack of a satisfactory guard, and inadequate instructions for use.
  • Mediated personal injury claim against designer and manufacturer of cargo trailer (car carrier). Plaintiff, the trailer owner, was injured when the 600-pound door fell upon him as he was attempting to back a vehicle out of the trailer; plaintiff alleged that the cable door control system failed. The defendant alleged misuse and intoxication on the part of the plaintiff.

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PERSONAL INJURY – VEHICLE ACCIDENTS

  • Mediated claim for traumatic brain injury arising from low speed freeway accident. Plaintiff, a 45 year old college professor, alleged mTBI, resulting in cognitive deficit, loss of executive function, and inability to secure tenured faculty position.
  • Mediated claim for non-surgical spinal injury resulting from low-speed rear-end accident. Female plaintiff, age 50, alleged chronic post-accident neck and back pain, requiring neuroablation and long-term medical monitoring.
  • Mediated wrongful death claim arising from single-vehicle freeway accident. Decedent, working on a roadside construction crew, was struck and killed by drunken driver. Plaintiffs claimed that the driver had attended a company-sponsored Halloween party where he had consumed large amounts of whiskey and beer. The defense asserted that the party, which was conducted at a private home, was not company affiliated. The case was complicated by insurance coverage and limits issues, worker’s compensation liens, and by the pendency of a related interpleader action.
  • Mediated personal injury action brought by California Highway Patrol officer injured when he was struck by motorist while standing on freeway shoulder for traffic stop. Plaintiff alleged serious orthopedic injuries, coupled with post-traumatic stress, threatening his ability to perform his job duties.
  • Dispute involving national ambulance company in case arising from intersection collision which resulted in plaintiff’s quadriplegia. Ambulance was responding “Code 3” to medical emergency and contested issues included speed, distance, visibility, effectiveness of siren, and applicability of MICRA.
  • Dispute involving national motor coach company arising from eleven deaths and multiple personal injuries when “casino” bus left roadway and overturned. Plaintiffs asserted claims of negligence and strict liability based upon the defendant’s historical ownership of vehicle and the failure to install or retrofit seat belts or other restraint systems.
  • Dispute involving national motor coach company in connection with overturn accident resulting in multiple serious passenger injuries. Accident was triggered by passenger assault upon motor coach driver. Plaintiffs alleged the defendant failed to adequately screen passengers for mental disorders, intoxication, and possession of weapons.
  • Dispute involving national motor coach company in case arising from sexual assault and imprisonment of developmentally disabled 20 year old female. Plaintiff’s mother had entrusted daughter to bus company under ADA regulations for unaccompanied cross-country trip, and alleged negligence in monitoring daughter, and in supervising transfers.
  • Wrongful death dispute involving national motor coach company arising from vehicle/pedestrian accident near downtown bus terminal. Decedent, who was grossly intoxicated, had been ejected from the bus station shortly before accident. Plaintiff alleged bus company was negligent in ejecting the decedent and failing to summon law enforcement.
  • Wrongful death dispute involving national public transit company arising from fall by senior citizen passenger when disembarking from “dial-a-ride” vehicle. Plaintiffs alleged negligent failure to monitor and assist mobility-impaired decedent.
  • Case involving national school bus company in wrongful death case. Bus driver failed post-accident drug test. Plaintiffs alleged negligent administration of drug testing program and company knowledge regarding widespread switching and falsification of urine testing.
  • Dispute involving national school bus company wherein catastrophic injuries were sustained by 7-year-old struck by underinsured motorist in early morning darkness while waiting at school bus stop. Plaintiff alleged accident was caused by negligent selection of school bus stop location and failure to adhere to pre-determined pick-up schedule.
  • Handled personal injury claim brought by severely developmentally disabled student against school bus company, alleging long-term physical and verbal abuse by school bus driver. Conduct was captured on bus video system. Plaintiffs alleged negligent hiring and retention of school bus driver.
  • Wrongful death dispute brought by family of 70-year-old patriarch who was killed when defendant delivery driver made abrupt left turn into the decedent’s path of travel. Defendant driver was prosecuted for vehicular manslaughter.
  • Handled claim for wrongful death of husband and 6-year-old daughter (with associated Dillon v. Legg action) arising from head-on collision with delivery van operated by defendant auto dealership. Employee driver failed drug/alcohol test and was prosecuted for vehicular manslaughter; driver discovered to be in possession of vial of urine; case presented issues of course and scope, vicarious liability, and punitive damages.
  • Handled motor vehicle negligence claim arising from high-speed intersection collision resulting in traumatic brain injury to 35-year-old plaintiff. Event data recorder (“black box”) data indicated that defendant violated plaintiff’s right-of-way; cross-complaint filed against county alleging dangerous condition of roadway and extensive accident history.

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PERSONAL INJURY – HOSPITALITY

  • Handled dispute involving national hotel chain in connection with degloving injury to young female employee in hotel laundry. Plaintiff alleged negligent supervision of laundry employees and strict liability for faulty design of laundry machinery and systems.
  • Dispute involving national hotel chain in food poisoning claim arising from banquet operations.
  • Dispute involving national hotel chain in case arising from personal injuries sustained by Hollywood celebrity who confronted third party criminal entering hotel room. Plaintiff alleged inadequate security and failure to identify/apprehend perpetrator.
  • Handled wrongful death case involving Nevada hotel filed by parents of young adult who experienced medical emergency while alone in hotel room. Plaintiffs alleged that the hotel security personnel failed to respond in timely fashion to the emergency, resulting in delay in medical treatment.

PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY - MEDICAL/ENGINEERING/ACCOUNTING

  • Dispute involving Northern California engineering firm in connection with major landslide and subsidence claim affecting several multi-million dollar residences. Plaintiffs and project developer asserted that grading plans were inadequate and that the engineer failed to identify an ancient landslide and related inherent propensity for soil movement.
  • Dispute involving Northern California engineering firm in property damage action arising from failure of public works drainage improvement project. Plaintiff, an adjoining landowner, alleged that the design of drainage plan was faulty, triggering flooding and sedimentation of agricultural property.
  • Handled medical malpractice claim arising from allegedly negligent placement of catheter during spinal surgery, resulting in urethra injury. Plaintiff asserted permanent urinary discomfort, testicular pain, and reduced libido.
  • Handled medical malpractice claim arising from failed podiatric surgery resulting in non-union, and necessitating additional surgeries and fusion.
  • Handled medical malpractice claim alleging permanent nerve damage associated with negligent placement of intravenous needle.
  • Handled medical malpractice action alleging negligent release of psychiatric records to plaintiff/patient employer, resulting in demotion and eventual termination.
  • Dispute involving national ambulance company arising from emergency medical attention and transport of referee injured at high school football game. Plaintiff asserted that the paramedics did not utilize a gurney and required plaintiff to walk from football field to ambulance.
  • Wrongful death dispute involving national ambulance company alleging paramedic negligence in “5150” transport. Plaintiffs’ decedent was unrestrained during transport and jumped from ambulance at freeway speed.
  • Handled wrongful death dispute involving national ambulance company arising from emergency “Code 3” transport of nine year old patient with intracranial hemorrhage. Plaintiff parents alleged dispatch errors, failure to properly communicate diagnosis, and inadequacy of advanced life support equipment resulting in death.
  • Wrongful death case involving Northern California architectural firm arising from the design of a play structure. Plaintiffs were the parents of a 9 year old who was asphyxiated while playing on a rope swing and alleged that the play structure and swing were negligently designed.
  • Mediated claim for accountant malpractice arising from alleged failure of CPA to properly advise Wyoming-domiciled plaintiff that California state income taxes could be avoided by creating “C” corporation. Plaintiff asserted substantial damages including taxes, penalties, interest, and professional fees.
  • Mediated claim for medical negligence arising from fall from clinic exam table. Plaintiff, alleges that a nurse failed to assist her from the table following an examination, resulting in knee injury that required surgery.

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BUSINESS / REAL ESTATE

  • Mediated dispute arising from sale of residential property. Action filed alleging breach of contract, and for specific performance and fraud. Plaintiff claimed the defendant sellers failed to perform and refused to take steps to quiet title, ostensibly because the property had been targeted by city as key parcel for redevelopment project.
  • Handled breach of contract and fraud claim between an engineering company and real estate developer arising from non-payment of professional service fees. Multi-million dollar trial court judgment was obtained including finding of “alter ego” against individual defendant; judgment affirmed on appeal.
  • Partnership dispute arising from retirement of key member of engineering firm. Case involved alleged breach of contract, estoppel, and detrimental reliance.

LANDLORD-TENANT

  • Mediated combined habitability/personal injury claim alleging inadequate heat, water intrusion, and mold contamination. Plaintiff tenant also asserted personal injury resulting from code violation which allegedly caused trip and fall with ankle fracture.
  • Mediated habitability claim alleging lack of proper heating system, numerous electrical problems, and chronic moisture intrusion in non-permitted “in-law” unit.
  • Mediated habitability and retaliatory eviction claim including allegations of written and oral harassment, ethnic slurs and threats of deportation.
  • Mediated habitability claim involving “Section 8” housing unit with chronic water intrusion, mold, rodent infestation problem affecting adult and minor tenants.

AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT

  • Handled ADA dispute involving Major League Soccer team alleging inaccessibility of public restroom facilities.
  • Dispute wherein ADA violations were alleged against professional football team from inappropriate screening/exclusion of “comfort” animal.
  • Handled ADA dispute alleging personal injuries and emotional distress associated with failure by professional football team to accommodate ticket exchange and inappropriate seat selection.
  • ADA case involving national hotel chain alleging personal injury due to non-conforming toilet height.