Matthew WagonerCounsel

areas of expertise
  • high stakes litigation
  • startups and corporate
  • energy
  • intellectual property
  • appeals
  • New York
  • United States District Court for Southern District of New York
  • United States District Court for Northern District of New York

As an experienced commercial litigator and transactional attorney, Matt focuses on providing value above all by blending legal advice with practical business counsel based on his own unique entrepreneurial experience. The groundswell of new products and services being to market has created a demand for the unconventional practice of law. Client’s expectations of attorneys and the practice of law has changed dramatically, but traditional firms have failed to even acknowledge this. Matt gets it. Today’s businesses require more than what those firms can offer.

Matt began his legal career in New York City where he served as the Principal Law Clerk to a Supreme Court Justice in one of the busiest and most diverse jurisdictions in the world. There, Matt worked on a broad range of lawsuits involving breach of contract, piercing the corporate veil, trademark and trade secret protection, non-disclosure agreements and confidential information, covenants not to compete and other restrictive covenants, vicarious liability, personal injury, property damage, insurance coverage, and real property disputes and transactions. Matt was responsible for drafting proposed decisions and orders on all applications made to the court, including dispositive motions, emergency temporary restraining order applications and bench trials.

Matt pinpoints issues with precision, and strategies at 50,000 feet to mold advice for business efficiencies.

Representative Experience

  • Represent rapidly expanding software company as in a general counsel capacity on a variety of legal issues including contract drafting and negotiation, employment issues, real property issues and issues related to the StartUp New York program, among others.
  • Represent successful, local software developer and engineering firm with employment related contractual issues.
  • Represented owner of 15 regional approved wireless retail stores in a multimillion dollar sale of those stores to a nationwide entity.
  • Represented software developer in drafting and negotiating a complex, multi-faceted software development agreement.
  • Represent successful wealth management firm with respect to employment issues, management and operational issues and on a joint venture with a strategic partner.
  • Represent Financial Advisor in ongoing FINRA Arbitration proceeding.
  • Represent successful IT Company with respect to its service agreements.
  • Represent several local entities that buy, sell and lease real property.
  • Represent local developer on acquisition and development of vacant land to utilize as a nursery.
  • Represent artists and entrepreneurs in the resolution of trademark infringement claims.
  • Represent contractor in the purchase of commercial real estate.
  • Represent downstate real estate developer on lien law matters.
  • Represent successful local restaurant owner with respect to its complaints against a local contractor for breach of contract, failure to perform in a workmanlike manner and failure to obtain proper insurance and permits.
  • Represent local contractor and businessman before the New York State Department of Tax and Finance as well as New York State Worker’s Compensation Board.
  • Represent a variety of business owners on breach of contract and accounts stated claims and collections.
  • Representing a large, regional waste service company in a lawsuit involving claims of theft of confidential business information and trade secrets, unfair competition, breach of duty of loyalty and good faith and fair dealing as well as breaches of restrictive covenants by pursuing novel and aggressive injunctive relief that resulted in an ongoing, confidential settlement agreement.
  • Represented former owners of a highly successful scrap metal yard against the purchaser – an aggressive international conglomerate – that alleged the former owners were personally liable for environmental contamination based on the underlying contract, CERCLA and the oil spill law, which resulted in a mutually agreeable and confidential settlement agreement.
  • Represented international land service company against a former employee alleging breach of contract, breach of the duty of loyalty and theft of corporate secrets that resulted in a confidential settlement.
  • Worked with a team of attorneys on a very high-profile lawsuit against the Governor, the New York State Departments of Environmental Conservation and Health and their respective commissioners seeking to compel completion of the State Environmental Quality Review Act relative to high-volume hydraulic fracturing.
  • Awarded summary judgment on behalf one of the nation’s largest natural gas producers relative to a lease dispute involving the free gas clause of the subject lease, which involved complex expert affidavits relative to the production capacity of the well, the target formation and production enhancement mechanisms used by the operator that were used by the judge in interpreting the language of the conditions precedent to provision of free gas.
  • Obtained dismissal on procedural grounds for a national oil and gas operator relative to an attempt to nullify over twenty oil and gas leases based upon claims premised on the Statute of Frauds and General Obligations Law 15-304.
  • Successfully argued on behalf of a national oil and gas operator on a case of first impression at the appellate level involving the attempt to circumvent the oil and gas lease’s arbitration clause by arguing that General Obligations Law 15-304 automatically cancelled the lease, which ultimately set favorable precedent for the industry.
  • Represented client in easement prescription and/or necessity case, resulting in a favorable settlement that provided a recordable right-of-way.
  • Part of legal team representing various natural gas operators in high-profile cases of first impression involving force majeure lease disputes that arose out of the ongoing moratorium in New York on high-volume hydraulic fracturing.
  • Represented a national natural gas pipeline company on a complex, high-stakes construction contract dispute involving the interpretation of hundreds of invoices, change orders and the subject Master Service Agreement, together with several choice of law issues.
  • Member of a legal team on behalf of a natural gas operator and landowner on cases of first impression involving the question of whether the Oil, Gas and Solutions Mining Law and Energy Law serve to preempt local zoning, which is currently pending before the New York State Court of Appeals.
  • Counsels natural gas operators on a variety of compulsory integration, unitization and well spacing issues, and advocates clients’ positions to adversarial landowners or their attorneys.
  • Representing natural gas operator relative to Road Use and Maintenance Agreements, local legislation and regulation of Road Use and Maintenance and address industry concerns through lobbying efforts.
  • Represents national oil and gas operator in connection with landowner complaints made to the New York State Attorney General as well as complaints made to the firm through landowner attorneys.
  • Represents one of the nation’s largest natural gas producers in litigation involving a variety of lease disputes, which often culminates in confidential settlements.
  • Worked with legal team on a case involving spacing, compulsory integration and the three explicit options for uncontrolled owners set forth in ECL§ 23-901(3)(a).
  • Part of a legal team representing an international commercial property developer on issues of liability relative to CERCLA and RCRA as well as the historic contracts between the predecessors-in-interest through arbitration, federal litigation and regulatory negotiations with the DEC.


contact details

+1 518 400 0955
8 Thurlow Terrace
Albany, NY 12203

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Rich is a super intelligent attorney with a skilled chess grandmaster mindset — always looking at the big picture and thinking several moves ahead in the advice he gives. Fast document turn-around time with incredible structure and attention to detail built-in. Rich also did an amazing job of understanding my case and accurately communicating the proper tone in his correspondences as my representative.

Kenichi Ninomiya
Founder, Tech Company

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