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Matthew W. Clark

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Insurance Coverage Attorney in Newport Beach, CA

Bentley & More LLP
4931 Birch Street
Newport Beach, CA 92660
Phone: 949-870-3800
Selected to Rising Stars: 2015 - 2022
Licensed in California Since: 2010
Practice Areas: Insurance Coverage (40%), Personal Injury - General: Plaintiff (30%), Personal Injury - Products: Plaintiff (30%)
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Attorney Profile

Matthew Clark is a partner at Bentley & More whose practice focuses on insurance bad faith, catastrophic personal injury and wrongful death, products liability, and governmental entity liability. Mr. Clark is the head of the firm’s law and motion practice, litigating in a wide variety of courtrooms across the state, and is the attorney responsible for handling not only the firm’s extensive motion practice, but also its significant appellate practice.

About Matthew W. Clark

First Admitted: 2010, California

Professional Webpage: http://www.bentleymore.com/matthew-clark

Educational Background

  • Notre Dame Law School - 2010, J.D. magana cum laude; University of Michigan - 2007, B.A.

Verdicts/Settlements

  • In August 2012, at the Metro Station located on Hill Street between Temple and First Streets in Los Angeles, California, a number of contractors were engaged in the erection of a steel canopy.  The steel canopy was designed and manufactured by George Jue Manufacturing Company and during erection was supported by a shoring system. On  August 11, 2012 Aissa Chelbab, an iron worker,  was directed by George Jue Manufacturing Company to adjust a shoring jack because various pieces of the structure were not fitting together.   While adjusting the shoring jack, the jack failed, causing the steel canopy to collapse, crushing Aissa Chelbab's head and fracturing his skull in several places. Mr. Chelbab suffered life-altering brain injuries along with a fractured back, permanent vision problems, and permanent epilepsy.  Plaintiffs contended that George Jue Manufacturing Co. negligently designed and manufactured the shoring jack to have an articulating head, allowing it to easily rotate. When Mr. Chelbab was directed by George Jue Manufacturing to adjust the shoring, the articulating head was sheared from the rest of the jack, causing the canopy's collapse.  In addition, George Jue Manufacturing Co. negligently designed and manufactured the canopy as a whole because the canopy pieces were incorrect sizes and unable to fit together at the job site. Moreover, the principal of George Jue Manufacturing held himself out to be an engineer when he in fact was not, and failed to notice the imminent collapse of the steel canopy due to the repeated failures of George Jue Manufacturing in the manufacture, design, and erection plan for the canopy.   The canopy crushed Mr. Chelbab, pinning his head and body between the scaffolding and the steel, resulting in severe, permanent, and life-altering injuries.  Mr. Chelbab sustained a subdural hematoma, intracranial hemorrhage, multiple skull fractures, a thoracic fracture, numerous other fractures throughout his body, pneumothorax, and cranial nerve 6 palsy that causes Mr. Chelbab to suffer from the most severe form of diplopia, which cannot be corrected or improved with surgery. Mr. Clark served as first the primary associate and later as the lead law and motion attorney on this matter, which ultimately resulted in a $7.45 million settlement in Plaintiffs' favor. , 2016
  • On August 3, 2013, newlyweds Alice Gruppioni and Christian Casadei were visiting the Venice Beach Boardwalk, in Los Angeles, while on their honeymoon from Italy. Nearby, Nathan Louis Campbell drove his Dodge sedan around a set of improperly placed bollards on Dudley Avenue, driving his car onto and down the Boardwalk.  He was able to do so because the City left a large gap in the Dudley bollards, and failed to install any additional restraints or safety measures to prevent unauthorized vehicles on the Boardwalk.  Campbell drove unimpeded down the Boardwalk, striking numerous visitors and locals, and tragically striking, and killing, Alice Gruppioni.  The primary attorneys on the matter (Greg Bentley, Matt Clark, and Clare Lucich), brought suit on behalf of Ms. Gruppioni’s heirs, including her parents Valerio Gruppioni and Barbara Michelini, and her husband Christian Casadei. Mr. Clark served as the lead law and motion and appellate attorney.              The suit against the City of Los Angeles was based on the dangerous condition of public property existing on both Dudley Avenue and the Boardwalk—namely, the City knew that up to 15 unauthorized vehicles were driving on the Boardwalk per day, and entering from a number of different streets that intersect with the Boardwalk, yet did nothing to adequately protect the visitors and locals in the area from this obvious, significant danger.  The case was originally filed on July 29, 2014, and was heavily litigated for nearly four years.             One of the City’s primary defenses was the issue of “recreational trail” immunity under California Government Code § 831.4.  This doctrine provides complete immunity to a public entity for injuries arising out of the condition of trails used for the purpose of, or access to, recreational activities (hiking, camping, riding, water sports, scenic areas etc.).  The City claimed that the Venice Beach Boardwalk, because visitors walked, rollerbladed, could see the Pacific Ocean, and rode bikes along it, qualified as a recreational trail, entitling it to immunity.  Plaintiffs argued that the Boardwalk could not qualify as a recreational trail because: (1) it was heavily commercialized, with hundreds of vendors and brick-and-mortar shops lined along it; (2) it is the second most visited tourist destination in Southern California, generating huge revenues for the City in the form of taxes, fees, and visitor spending; and (3) immunity would not comport with the purpose of the statute—keeping unimproved, non-revenue generating areas, like bike paths and nature trails, open to the public.             That issue of trail immunity on a commercialized, tourist-destination like the Boardwalk presented a novel issue under California law.  Never before has that doctrine been discussed in connection with a venue like the Boardwalk.  That novelty played out as the case progressed too.  Following the denial of the City’s Motion for Summary Judgment, the City filed a Writ with the Court of Appeal.  Although that Writ was summarily denied, the City successfully petitioned for review by the California Supreme Court, which ordered the appellate court to show cause why the writ should not be granted.  Following full briefing and oral argument of the issue, the Court of Appeal issued an unpublished opinion of first impression, adopting Plaintiffs’ arguments and finding that: (1) no case had ever extended the idea of a trail to a commercial, world-wide tourist destination such as the Boardwalk; (2) a reasonable trier of fact could conclude that the Boardwalk was not a recreational trail; and (3) extending immunity would not be consistent with the purpose of recreational trail immunity. (City of Los Angeles v. Superior Court (Alvarez) (COA Case No. B280429, issued Oct. 17, 2017).) The City filed yet another Petition for Review, which was eventually denied by the Supreme Court.             Upon return to the trial court, and on the eve of trial on the trifurcated issue of trail immunity, the City chose to resolve the Plaintiffs’ claims for $12 million—the largest wrongful death settlement in City history.  The City also agreed to significantly increase the safety measures present on the Boardwalk, promising to add additional bollards and barriers to prevent the issue from ever occurring again. Additional bollards/barriers will limit the number of unauthorized vehicles on the Boardwalk, will limit the danger to the up to 16 million visitors that visit the area per year, and will significantly lessen the chance of any other family ever having to endure the tragedy of the Gruppionis. Finally, the City agreed to place a memorial plaque in Alice Gruppioni’s memory on the Boardwalk, with input and approval from the family., 2018
  • On July 16, 2014, Misty Holt-Singh, a devoted 41-year-old wife and mother-of-two, went to the Bank of the West in Stockton, California. She was making at ATM withdrawal at the bank while her then 12-year-old daughter sat in the car. At the same time, three armed robbers were in the process of robbing the bank, ended up pulling Misty inside, and later fled with three hostages—including Misty. A high-speed pursuit with the bank robbers followed through populated city streets, reaching speeds in excess of over 100 miles per hour, multiple rounds of gunfire being traded back and forth, and at times with over 50 police vehicles in pursuit and air support overhead. The pursuit ended with 32 Stockton Police officers firing over 600 bullets into the perpetrators’ disabled vehicle, tragically killing Misty. Plaintiffs claimed that the City of Stockton was responsible for Misty’s death because its officers failed to follow standard and well-recognized protocol every step of the way, including (1) improperly responding to the silent bank robbery alarm (with lights on, in full view of the perpetrators, causing them to grab additional hostages), (2) engaging in an hour-long, rolling gun battle with the bank robbers through populated city streets, at times with over 50 police vehicles in pursuit, and (3) ultimately allowing 32 officers to indiscriminately fire over 600 bullets into the perpetrators’ disabled vehicle without command, without a line of sight on the hostage or suspects, and knowing a hostage was inside. Ten of those bullets—all fired from police weapons without regard for the innocent life—struck hostage, wife, and mother-of-two Misty, causing her death. This unreasonable use of deadly force was the polar opposite of police’s mission to protect and serve the public. The indiscriminate fire was also counter to the primary police objective in hostage situations—to take necessary steps to free innocent persons who are endangered and held against their will, and to take reasonable steps to prevent the situation from escalating. The Police Foundation, a research group in Washington, D.C., conducted an independent review of the shooting of Misty Holt-Singh. Disclosed in that report is the fact that Stockton Police officers acknowledged they “were angry that officers were shooting at the disabled vehicle without a clear, articulable threat,” that “officers continued shooting after threats had been eliminated,” and that there were “officers who did not see an active threat but did fire their weapons based on others firing their weapons.” The Police Foundation determined that the 600 rounds “were excessive and unnecessary.”The matter ultimately resolved in a settlement between the Plaintiffs and Defendants in the amount of $8.75 million.  Mr. Clark served as the lead law and motion and appellate attorney on this matter. , 2018
  • Served as the lead law and motion and disabled person's compromise attorney on a devastating personal injury and wrongful death matter that ultimately resulted in a $26 million settlement on behalf of the Plaintiffs, which arose from the following facts: On Feb. 16, 2015, four members of the Munoz and Gomez families were traveling toward the Ontario Mills Mall in Ontario. As they traveled along the freeway, traffic began to slow and a summer intern of a large construction company rear-ended plaintiffs while driving a Ford Ranger pickup truck. Plaintiffs, which consisted of 10 plaintiffs with their own separate claims, filed suit against a large Southern California construction company. Plaintiffs claimed defendant took his eyes off the road, failed to see the slowing traffic, and plowed into the back of plaintiffs' Toyota Corolla at more than 70 miles per hour. The Corolla containing the four family members was all but crumpled in half. One rear-seat passenger lost her life-leaving eight wrongful death claimants among her brothers, sisters, and financially dependent niece. Another rear-seat passenger suffered extensive spinal and facial fractures, a major traumatic brain injury that left her skull caved in and her face disfigured, which left her virtually blind in one eye and in for a lifetime of chronic pain, treatments, and difficulties. The driver and front-seat passenger suffered serious head, neck, back and shoulder injuries that required months of therapy, surgical repair, chronic pain, and a lifetime of emotional distress from witnessing the death of and serious injury to their family members.Plaintiffs contended that due to their injuries caused by the collision, their living situation was altered, forcing some to immigrate to the area to provide full-time care to the injured. They went from financially successful and stable, to cramped, and having to live with multiple family members out of a tiny apartment. Following significant litigation for nearly two years, the matter ultimately resolved in the amount of $26 million.   , 2018
  • Mr. Clark served as the lead law and motion attorney and an integral part of the litigation team that secured a $30 million settlement on behalf of a client who suffered a massive traumatic brain injury, vision loss, and incurred a lifetime of care after the driveshaft of a truck in front of her vehicle dislodged, ricocheted off the roadway, and rocketed through the client’s windshield, striking her in the face with massive force., 2018
  • Lead law and motion attorney representing an injured construction worker who fell off a piece of construction material and suffered significant injuries, including paralysis.  Matter ultimately resolved against the manufacturer of the construction material for its defective product in the amount of $4.75 million. , 2017
  • Mr. Clark served as the lead law and motion attorney in the case of a client who fell through an uncovered, unsecured hole in the roof of a jobsite, fell more than 20 feet to the floor below, and suffered a massive traumatic brain injury, significantly disabling orthopedic injuries, and will likely be confined to a facility for the rest of his life. Following judicial reference, the matter result in a multi-million dollar judgment, with the firm ultimately recovering a more than $8 million settlement on behalf of the client, and maximizing the recovery of insurance proceeds dispute litigating an active coverage dispute., 2017
  • Mr. Clark served as the lead law and motion attorney on a Wyoming insurance coverage dispute in which the Court granted the insureds’ partial summary judgment motion—finding coverage under the policy for a more than $26 million judgment in the underlying case against the insureds. The case is Interstate Fire & Casualty Company et al. v. Apartment Management Consultants, LLC, et al., Case No. 2:13-CV-00278-ABJ., 2016
  • Lead associate representing 28 tenants on a pro bono basis against the landlord and landowners permitting uninhabitable living conditions to persist on a property in Downtown Los Angeles. Resulted in nearly $4 million in settlement/refurbish/repair benefits going to the tenants. http://shernoff.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Settlement-reached-in-housing-conditions-case.pdf, 2014

Scholarly Lectures/Writings

  • Electronic cigarette sales continue to boom – amounting to more than $11 billion globally in 2016, and with a recent market forecast anticipating growth to over $86 billion by 2025. The US alone has more than 10 million regular e-cig users,accounting for approximately 96% of the North American market. That market is particularly directed at young adults, with a study of middle and high school students finding that at least 2.1 million students have used e-cigs. In addition to the highly addictive nature of these products, there remains an added threat – the device can explode without warning, with explosions occurring during use, while charging, or even while resting in a user’s pocket. These catastrophic cases cause severe burns, blasted and broken teeth, gums, and lips, with significant, occasionally life-long recoveries. In the litigation or evaluation by Bentley & More LLP of more than 150 e-cig explosions, a few issues repeatedly crop up. This article was intended to serve as a brief primer on electronic cigarette litigation and a discussion of some of the thornier issues that continue to appear., Co-Author, Vaping with Fire - Emerging Issues in E-Cig Litigation, CAOC Forum Magazine, 2018
  • The article addressed a then pending (and since resolved by the Cal. Supreme Court in the affirmative) question in California law - should an employer's negligent hiring, training, and retention of an employee who commits an intentional tort still trigger an "occurrence" under most Commercial General Liability policies in California?, Co-Author, Questions in coverage: Intentional tort by an employee, CAALA Advocate Magazine, 2016
  • Explored the new and emerging field of electronic cigarette litigation, with a broad survery of product liability cases in general, and the first electronic cigarette verdict in the nation (Ries v. Zolghadr, litigated by Greg Bentley, Clare Lucich and Matt Clark),, Co-Author, The Dangers of Vaping: A Primer on Litigating Exploding E-Cig Cases, OCTLA - The Gavel - Fall 2016, 2016
  • Policy limit demands come with a series of potential pitfalls for the unwary attorney, this article discussed the process for curing potential defects, sending in a timely, appropriate demand, and ultimately working to take the "lid" off of the policy. , Author, Demander Beware! A Policy Limit Demand is Crucial To Any Claim for Failure to Settle, But Making an Incorrect Demand Can Cripple Your Case, CAALA Advocate Magazine, 2017
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Office Location for Matthew W. Clark

4931 Birch Street
Newport Beach, CA 92660

Last Updated: 12/29/2021

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