Matthew G. Breneman
Matt Breneman represents clients in toxic tort, construction and general liability litigation in Western Pennsylvania and throughout West Virginia. In everything from informal settlement negotiations to trial, his strong but open minded and creative approach to handling cases allows him to be fiercely vigilant for his clients while working efficiently to bring matters to a favorable resolution.
Since joining the firm in 2004, Matt has represented manufacturers, suppliers, contractors, employers and premises owners in asbestos litigation. During that time, he has overseen thousands of cases from their filing through resolution. Matt also serves as regional counsel for a product manufacturer and has represented contractors and suppliers in benzene litigation. He has also been retained to handle toxic tort cases involving mold, mercury exposure and groundwater contamination. Matt has also been involved in defending cosmetic and industrial talc cases in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Being part of this still new and growing litigation from the outset has allowed Matt and Zimmer Kunz to have an intimate knowledge of this litigation within this region of the country. Matt is sure to be continuously updating his knowledge regarding the ever changing medical and scientific aspects of these different types of toxic tort litigation and relies on that knowledge to evaluate and defend cases. He has found that this has allowed him to effectively guide clients and insurance carriers in making educated decisions throughout the course of the litigation of a case.
Matt also represents contractors in construction defect claims ranging from a few thousand dollars to multi-million dollars. These cases have involved everything from excavation and hill slips to improper installation of sewer lines and vinyl siding. These cases often involve cross claims for defense and indemnity from other contractors and/or project owners. Matt has found that the devil is in the details with these cases and focuses on the contracts and project documents to protect the interests of his clients. He has found that each construction case offers a new and interesting fact pattern which needs to be dissected through thorough work with his clients and the appropriate experts. He has found that this brings the key issues into laser focus and allows for a pointed defense.
Finally, Matt also defends general liability cases. These range from slip/trip and falls to dog bites to motor vehicle accidents. He regularly handles these cases throughout Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia. This work has permitted him to represent many individuals from all walks of life and he has enjoyed the opportunity to help people who are often times quite nervous and unknowledgeable regarding the legal process. Matt finds it fulfilling to bring a sense of comfort to those clients. He recognizes that oftentimes lawsuits involve strong emotions and unsettling allegations of wrong doing and Matt treats people with respect and courtesy while also being a zealous advocate. Matt also prides himself in his ability to evaluate each matter and make recommendations regarding whether to examine potential early resolution versus extensive litigation in each case that he handles.
Matt is also active in presenting at continuing legal education seminars and has presented on topics including: determining the nature and extent of damages in a personal injury claim; UM/UIM motorist law; and admitting/excluding emails, texts and social media posts into evidence. He has also prepared and provided presentations for insurance carriers regarding updates on the law in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. He also has prepared literature regarding different areas of law for insurance carriers who have found those materials to be quite helpful in staying up-to-date on the law as well as having the ability to use these materials as a quick reference to have at their disposal.
Finally, Matt has always believed in the importance of charitable work and service. He has volunteered as a “big brother” for Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh and has also served as a mentor in the Career Literacy for African-American Youth (CLAAY) program. He has also been proud to participate in firm events which have benefitted local shelters, the American Cancer Foundation, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Matt currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Southpointe Grizzlies Special Hockey Program, an organization that educates and encourages individuals with developmental disabilities, such as Autism, Down Syndrome, traumatic brain injuries and other rare genetic disorders, to participate in the game of ice hockey.
Undergraduate:West Virginia University, B.A. History, 1999
Law School:Duquesne University, 2002
- West Virginia
- United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
- United State District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of West Virginia
- Defense Research Institute
- Pennsylvania Bar Association (Civil Litigation Section member)
- West Virginia Bar Association
- Allegheny County Bar Association
- All state courts in Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia
- Federal District Courts of Pennsylvania and West Virginia
- Volunteer work with Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Western Pennsylvania
- Volunteer work for Career Literacy for African-American Youth (CLAAY)
- Estate of Brian A. Obermeier, et al. v. Dynamic Building Corporation, et al. (Allegheny County, PA 2009), obtained summary judgment for a property owner in a wrongful death case involving a construction worker who died as a result of a fall from the roof of the client’s building while performing renovation work.
- Curtis, et al. v. Hartley Trucking Company, Inc. (Kanawha County, WV 2005), wrongful case involving 3 fatalities successfully resolved within the policy limits following extensive fact and expert discovery.
- Adkins, et al. v. Marathon Ashland Petroleum, et al. (Wayne County, WV 2004), successfully defended and resolved hundreds of claims for personal injury and property damage as result of a release of over 20,000 gallons of coal tar light oil from a railcar into a residential community. Also, defended the cross-claim asserted by a major oil company to verdict and resolved all claims within the client’s insurance policy limits.
- Hill v. Ashland, Inc., et al. (Marshall County, WV 2011), obtained voluntary dismissal for a solvent manufacturer and target defendant in a case alleging benzene exposure.
- Wamsley, et al. v. G.A. Brown & Son, et al. (Tucker County, WV 2012), defense of a general contractor in a wrongful death/medical monitoring claim in which Plaintiffs are alleging exposure to “toxic dust” as a result of construction renovation work on the Tucker County, WV Courthouse.