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Matthew W. Breetz

Matthew W. Breetz

Mr. Breetz has a sophisticated trial practice and regularly appears in courtrooms across Kentucky, Tennessee, and upon occasion, Southern Indiana. He is co-leader of the firm's Torts & Insurance Practice Service Group.

Matt defends numerous professionals, including lawyers, insurance agents and brokers, accountants, debt collectors, engineers, title agents, architects and home inspectors in professional malpractice suits throughout the region. Mr. Breetz still represents nurses, nursing homes and a variety of allied health professionals in actions alleging significant personal injury or death. Mr. Breetz has a significant premises liability practice, in the past defending a national chain of restaurants throughout the states of Kentucky and Tennessee. He has significant experience in coordinating the defense of hundreds of complex toxic tort cases throughout the country, working as national counsel for one company in asbestos litigation. Mr. Breetz also has wide experience in defending cases against banks, credit unions and other lending institutions.  Mr. Breetz works in cases involving motor carrier litigation.

Mr. Breetz is also well versed in both insurance coverage work as well as bad faith litigation, regularly counseling carriers on such issues and defending such clients as necessary.

Recent Assignments

  • In federal court, obtained dismissal of majority of plaintiff's speculative claims arising from thoroughbred racing issues.
  • Succeeded on a motion to compel arbitration stemming from an alleged injury at a trampoline park.
  • Affirmed before the Sixth Circuit an order dismissing a claim against a medical record reviewer on the grounds of ERISA preemption.
  • Affirmed before the Kentucky Court of Appeals a dismissal order from a trial court in a case against an insurance agency stemming from the loss of a tractor-trailer.
  • Obtained summary judgment in federal court on bad faith claims against an insurer for allegedly delaying payment after a fire loss.
  • In a Sixth Circuit decision, affirmed summary judgment from the District Court in Kentucky in a case against a prosecutor on the defense of absolute immunity before any discovery was undertaken.
  • Intimately involved as lead trial counsel, and also on the briefs, in a case decided by the Kentucky Supreme Court requiring jury instructions on the "case within the case" in a legal malpractice action, and determining that "lost punitives" are not recoverable in such cases.
  • Obtained an Opinion from the Kentucky Court of Appeals affirming summary judgment for an insurance agent and agency who were alleged to have been negligent in procuring commercial insurance coverage for a new client of the agency.  The issues involved UIM coverage for a truck under a commercial policy, and whether the truck should have been insured under the client's personal policy.
  • Tried a nursing home case, for almost two weeks, in Eastern Kentucky, settling well under his client’s position at mediation after obtaining directed verdicts on claims of statutory violations and claims for punitive damages.
  • Obtained a dismissal of all RICO claims asserted by the plaintiff before the United States District Court of Kentucky, Eastern District, that were asserted against a mortgage lender in a case involving yield spread premiums.
  • Briefed, argued and obtained a successful result from the Kentucky Supreme Court which affirmed the dismissal via summary judgment of a legal malpractice claim due to the improper assignment of the claim.
  • Obtained a decision from the Kentucky Court of Appeals affirming a summary judgment obtained in a complex legal malpractice case involving alleged transactional negligence. The decision was based primarily on the Plaintiff's inability to satisfy the "but for" causation requirement.
  • Argued and won a case before the Kentucky Supreme Court on issues related to arbitration waiver. The Supreme Court granted discretionary review and reversed decisions from the trial court and Court of Appeals on the issues raised.
  • In a published decision, had a motion to dismiss granted on behalf of a private prison company in a case where an inmate escaped and allegedly caused harm to others.
  • Successfully excluded the plaintiff's sole expert witness in a complex accounting malpractice case less than a week before trial.
  • Obtained summary judgment for contractor/engineer in two separate counts on the "government contractor" defense, the first of its kind in Kentucky.
  • Mr. Breetz has tried about thirty jury trials.

Recent News, Articles & Speaking Engagements

  • "Commanding the Courtroom," with Thad M. Barnes,  University of Kentucky College of Law, Lexington, Ky., November 2, 2018
  • "Choosing Wisely: Can Picking the Right Client Prevent Malpractice Cases?," 2018 Argo Pro Lawyers Professional Liability Conference, Las Vegas, NV, June 14, 2018
  • "Ethical Considerations for CPAs," Mountjoy Chilton Medley LLP, Louisville, Ky., December 11, 2017
  • "Defending Professionals in Court and Before Licensing Boards," DRI Professional Liability Seminar, New York, December 8, 2017
  • "It Wasn’t Me: It Was the Judge," DRI Professional Liability Seminar, New York, December 4, 2015
  • "Division of Loyalties: The Impact of Conflicts of Interest and Waivers," Sixth Annual Lawyers' Professional Liability Risk Management Conference, Las Vegas, Nev., May 16, 2012
  • "Professional Liability and the Restatement of the Law : What is it Restating?," DRI's Professional Liability Seminar, New York, NY, December 15, 2011
  • "Judgmental Immunity for Lawyers," Harmonie Group Professional Liability Seminar, New York, NY, May 13, 2010
  • "Defending Legal Malpractice Claims," DRI's Insurance Coverage and Claims Institute, Chicago, Ill., April 6, 2010
  • "Estate Planning—Being Sued by Persons You Never Met for Things Your Client Did Not Ask You to Do," Legal Malpractice Risk Management Conference, Chicago, February 27, 2008
  • "The Uncertainties in Trial Practice - Do They Constitute Malpractice," Defense Research Institute's For the Defense, March 2007
  • "Prevention and Risk Control," The Harmonie Group's Transportation Industry Seminar, Denver, Colo., November 1, 2006
  • "Crossing State Lines - Ethical and Malpractice Issues Arising From Multi-Jurisdictional Practice," Defense Research Institute's Annual Meeting, San Francisco, Calif., October 12, 2006
  • "Ethical Considerations for the Defense Lawyer," Kentucky Defense Counsel, August 31, 2006
  • "Choice of Jurisdictions," The Harmonie Group Transportation and Trucking Seminar, Chicago, Ill., February 22, 2006
  • "Legal Malpractice Issues Involving Estate Planners," Annual Midwest/Midsouth Estate Planning Institute, University of Kentucky, July 21, 2005
  • "Legal Malpractice: Negligent Settlement Advice," Harmonie Group's Spring Conference, May 13, 2005
  • "State and National Activity in Nursing Home Litigation," Kentucky Association of Health Care Facilities, April 19, 2005
  • "The Strict Privity Rule: A Limit on Estate Planner Liability," For the Defense, published by Defense Research Institute, February 2004
  • "Grounds for Indemnity on Foreign Sourced Products," Defense Research Institute Product Liability Conference, Children's Products Session, February 10, 2004
  • "Nursing Home Malpractice in Kentucky: Successful Case Management from Investigation to Trial," National Business Institute, October 23, 2003
  • "Recent Kentucky Ethics Opinions and Judicial Decisions Concerning Ethical Issues," Louisville Bar Association, June 26, 2003
  • "Experts and Daubert," Real Evidence for the Trial Practitioner in Kentucky, Lorman Education Services, February 6, 2003
  • "Pitfalls with Experts: Turning Your Work Product Into Evidence," Real Evidence for the Trial Practitioner in Kentucky, Lorman Education Services, February 6, 2003

More Than Stites & Harbison

Mr. Breetz lives and dies University of Kentucky football, when his wife and nine children give him the opportunity. He formerly coached middle school girl's lacrosse and announced high school field hockey and lacrosse games. Mr. Breetz is also an advocate for international adoptions, as his family has been blessed with three children from Ethiopia and two children from China. Mr. Breetz is a member of the Board of Directors for Southeast American Board of Trial Advocates and is a member of the Prichard Committee on Academic Excellence.

Professional Accolades

Martindale-Hubbell® AV-Preeminent® Peer Review Rated

Best Lawyers in America®, Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants (2016-19)

Kentucky Super Lawyers® (2009-18)

Louisville Magazine's "Top Lawyers" for Professional Malpractice - Defense (2013, 2014, 2016)

Community Involvement

  • Southeast American Board of Trial Advocates, Board of Directors