Matt Knowles focuses his practice on high-stakes commercial litigation as well as government and internal investigations. He represents clients in a broad range of civil and criminal proceedings at the trial and appellate levels in federal and state courts across the country, including class actions and other complex matters.
Matt graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he was the recipient of the Charles H. Smith Bequest Scholarship and was named a Dean’s Scholar in the Federal Courts and the Federal System. He served as an honors legal intern in the Office of Legal Counsel for the US Department of Defense and as an intern in the office of the US Attorney for the District of Massachusetts. He also served as an intern to the Chief Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court.
Matt has an active pro bono practice, which has included challenges to wrongful convictions, a death penalty appeal, disputes between students and educational institutions concerning reasonable accommodation and racial discrimination, domestic violence victim protection cases, and employment discrimination matters. He is presently representing a traveler in pro bono litigation against the TSA arising from an abusive search and false arrest at an airport checkpoint. This case resulted in an en banc decision from the Third Circuit establishing travelers’ rights to pursue damages from the TSA under the Federal Tort Claims Act.
Matt is also a member of our legal cannabis industry group, a multidisciplinary team of lawyers providing clients with regulatory, litigation, intellectual property, trade and tax services with respect to their investments and participation in the cannabis industry, all subject to the Firm’s obligations under federal and state laws and bar licensure rules.
Matt has written and co-authored a number of publications including: Eleventh Circuit Decision Expands Circuit Split on the FCA’s Statute of Limitations (FCA Update, April 26, 2018); The Telephone Consumer Protection Act and 2014 Data Breaches Highlight a Broad Range of Risks, Privacy and Data Protection 2014 Year in Review; Federal, State Law Liability for Call Center Operators, New England In-House, Vol. 12, No. 3 (2014); This Call May Be Recorded: Class Action Plaintiffs in California Continue to Target Businesses on Call Center Recording, Privacy and Data Protection 2013 Year in Review; The Reinvigorated Confrontation Clause: A New Basis to Challenge the Admission of Evidence from Nontestifying Forensic Experts in White Collar Prosecutions, NACDL Champion, Vol. XXVII No. 3 (2013); FTC v. Actavis: The Supreme Court Decision and Going-Forward Scrutiny of Reverse Payment Settlement Agreements, The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel (September 2013); Questions from the Box: Jury Questioning and the Adversarial System, published in the Journal of Politics and Society, 17th ed.; and ReadMe: Software for Automated Content Analysis for Distributional Patterns (2007).
- Helped to lead McDermott’s investigation into an outbreak of COVID-19 at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home that led to the deaths of at least 76 veterans. The Governor of Massachusetts retained McDermott to investigate the tragedy, identify root causes, and make recommendations to prevent similar outbreaks. Matt coordinated a team of thirteen lawyers that worked around the clock to conduct 111 interviews and review 17,000 documents in a matter of weeks. The team’s work resulted in a public 176-page report and substantial legislative changes to ensure the future of the Soldiers’ Home and the safety of its residents.
- Defeated class certification and secured voluntary dismissal of all claims against a healthcare client in a case arising from one of the largest outbreaks of hepatitis C in the nation’s history. The matter began as an internal investigation and resulted in a favorable settlement for Matt’s client – by that point, the plaintiff in the case – on the eve of trial
- Represented numerous hospitals, physicians’ groups, medical device manufacturers, and other healthcare entities in government investigations and litigation (at both the trial and appellate level) under the False Claims Act. This includes a recent False Claims Act appeal arising from allegations of medically unnecessary surgical procedures, in which Matt argued before the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. In particular, Matt specializes in False Claims Act matters and other enforcement proceedings involving hospitals, provider entities, laboratories, and controlled-substance prescribing.
- Defeated class certification and secured other favorable resolutions in a number of putative class actions in state and federal court alleging violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and related state-law data privacy claims. Matt recently led a team that defeated certification of a proposed national class in a TCPA fax case. Matt also has substantial experience in representing defendants under the Florida Telephone Solicitation Act (FTSA) and other state-law analogs to the TCPA
- Successfully resolved all claims against a publicly traded bank that was sued under RICO for providing banking services to a medical marijuana dispensary. Matt was the lead author of the bank’s motion to dismiss. Although the Court allowed the plaintiffs to re-plead, they soon elected to end the litigation and withdraw all claims against the bank on a voluntary basis
- Represented a pharmaceutical sales manager who was charged with healthcare fraud in connection with a nationwide investigation by the United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts. The manager – who was facing a substantial prison sentence under the federal sentencing guidelines – was sentenced to probation
- A substantial monetary judgment and broad permanent injunction in an extended trade secret dispute in state and federal court involving low-shrink film for the encapsulation of solar panels. This case included appeals to the Massachusetts Appeals Court, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, and the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
- Prevailed in a dispute between a hedge fund and a large mutual fund relating to a fundamental issues of corporate governance, including successful defense of the trial court’s decision on appeal before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
- A jury award of compensatory and punitive damages in a civil rights case in federal court in which Matt delivered the opening statement and cross-examined the primary defendant
- Part of a team that represented a state legislature in connection with a federal criminal investigation; the government declined to bring charges against any member of the legislature
- Defended an employee of a healthcare client at a preliminary injunction hearing in Massachusetts Superior Court. The case related to allegations that the client did not follow state law relating to a child residing at the client’s facility. The court denied the injunction and dismissed the case
- Favorable decision on a motion to dismiss in the Delaware Court of Chancery in a dispute between an international pharmaceutical company and a biotechnology firm regarding the development of a novel antibiotic drug
- Bankruptcy adversary proceedings relating to credit-default swaps and other complex financial instruments
- Favorable resolution of an international arbitration and litigation involving virtual reality training software
- Favorable resolution of administrative proceedings related to the distribution of alcoholic beverages
- Favorable resolution of an employment dispute in federal court involving an international humanitarian relief organization
- Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, “Up & Coming Lawyer,” 2017
- Law360, Editorial board for Massachusetts, 2022
Harvard Law School, JD, cum laude
Harvard College, AB, cum laude
Courts / Agencies
US Supreme Court
US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
US District Court for the Central District of Illinois
US District Court for the District of Massachusetts