Matthew D. Anderson

mda@vermontcounsel.com

(802) 775-7141

Biography

My parents are Vermonters who married in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  My father was there vaccinating villagers against small pox as a Peace Corps volunteer and my mother worked in a hospital as a nurse. My sister and I were born after my parents returned to the States and the two of us grew up in the village of Brandon.

I graduated from Mount Saint Joseph Academy in Rutland and The University of Vermont. At UVM I competed for the school’s nationally recognized intercollegiate debate team, the Lawrence Debate Union, and won a few debate tournaments.

After college I moved to Dorchester, Massachusetts, a gritty Boston neighborhood with lots of character and some affordable housing. I turned a “temp” job at Sun Life of Canada into a full time position collaborating with stockbrokers to execute qualified IRC 1035 tax-free annuity exchanges under time pressure. Approximately two years after graduating from UVM I went on to the College of William and Mary Marshall-Wythe law school in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Legal Experience

After law school I returned home and began studying to take the New York bar exam.  I planned to venture off to New York City to pursue a position that would allow for relatively short term repayment of my law school loans.  However, in the meantime I began working for the Rutland civil law firm of Webber, Reis, Holler & Urso and by the time the passing test results arrived that winter in the mail I had decided to stay on with the firm as an associate due to the appeal of living near family and remaining part of the Rutland community.

Bob Reis was my primary mentor at Webber Reis.  He tried over fifty cases to jury verdict in his career and was perhaps the only lawyer in the state who obtained a million dollar jury verdict in a civil case, a defendant’s verdict in a wrongful death medical malpractice trial, and an acquittal in a murder trial.  We worked together for over a decade.  Together we represented dozens of lawyers, motorists, property owners and businesses in high dollar value cases.  A few representative matters that are part of the public record include:

  • Defense of a gender discrimination action alleging that an Elks Club was not a truly private club and therefore was not entitled to refuse to admit women as full members.  Human Rights Comm’n v. Benevolent & Protective Order of Elks of U.S., 2003 VT 104, 176 Vt. 125, 839 A.2d 576 (2003) (reversing trial court grant of summary judgment to the Hartford Elks Club).
  • Successful prosecution of a liability insurance coverage priority declaratory rights action between three insurers of a milk truck and trailers involved in a catastrophic, multiple fatality, trucking accident.  Fireman’s Fund Ins. Co. v. CNA Ins. Co., 2004 VT 93, 177 Vt. 215, 862 A.2d 251 (2004).
  • Obtaining summary judgment for a college student who burned his dormitory down in a federal court action brought by the college’s fire insurer on the grounds that the student was an implied co-insured under the policy and therefore could not be held liable in subrogation to the insurer for the loss.  Green Mountain College v. Vaillancourt, 2:02-cv-52 (Niedermeier, J., 2004).
  • Obtaining summary judgment on behalf of a property owner using an affirmative defense to the strict liability statutory enforcement regime in a case in which the State of Vermont sought over a million dollars in past and future damages incident to cleaning up perchloroethylene contamination at the dry cleaner site.  State v. Howe Cleaners, Inc., 2010 VT 70, 188 Vt. 303, 307, 9 A.3d 276, 278 (2010).

 

After Bob Reis was lost to cancer in the autumn of 2011 I took complete control of the existing litigation case load we had shared. In the course of my stewardship since then I have taken three cases to jury trial as first chair counsel. I persuaded a jury to return a verdict for my clients in the premises liability matter of Buxton v. Springfield Lodge No. 679, Loyal Order of Moose, Inc. et al, a case alleging a drunken brawl incident to arm wrestling challenges, and the Vermont Supreme Court affirmed the verdict for my clients on appeal. 2014 VT 52 (Vt. May 23, 2014). I also prosecuted a third-party indemnity claim in a multi-million dollar construction defect case over several years. A mutually satisfactory resolution was achieved two days into the jury trial in that matter, without any admission of liability by the Third-Party Defendant. Most recently, in June of 2016, I obtained a jury verdict on behalf of a farm in a six figure collection lawsuit prosecuted by one of the most successful lawyers in modern Vermont history. Congdon v. Congdon & Sons, 114-2-14 Rdcv. I have also prosecuted a wrongful death case against a local attorney in which all available insurance coverage was obtained in settlement and I achieved resolution of two uninsured motorist insurance coverage wrongful death claims flowing from a dual fatality motor vehicle accident in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.

In 2013 I joined Pratt Vreeland “Of Counsel” and in 2014 I became a principal.  As of this writing approximately half of my practice is devoted to personal injury litigation arising from automobile and premises accidents.  I derive immense satisfaction from working with clients who have been injured and seeing that they receive the full compensation to which they are entitled.  Another substantial portion of my litigation practice concerns claims of professional malpractice, and I do that work on behalf of both professionals and clients of professionals.  In addition, I regularly provide insurance coverage analysis to insurance carriers and collaborate with Jack Kennelly on the firm’s busy commercial litigation practice.

Community Involvement

Member, Vermont Bar Foundation Grants Committee
Member, Grace Congregational Church (UCC), Rutland, VT
Member, Rutland South Rotary Club
Member, Rutland Italian-American Club
Past Board Member, Rutland ARC (Advocacy, Resources, Community serving the mentally handicapped)

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Practice Areas

Professional Malpractice (medical, legal and engineering)

 

Professional Discipline

 

Car Accidents

 

Personal Injury and Wrongful Death, including Traumatic Brain Injuries

 

Insurance Coverage and Defense

 

Trial and Appellate Practice

 

Commercial Litigation including small business divorces and employment law

 

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

 

Pollution Liability Defense

 

Dram Shop Liability

 

Timber Trespass

 

Premises Liability

 

Construction Defect Litigation

 

Product Liability

 

Unfair or Deceptive Acts in Commerce Claims (Consumer Fraud)

 

Overtime and other State and federal wage law enforcement claims

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Achievements

“BV®” (Distinguished/Very High Ethical Standards) Martindale-Hubbell peer-review rated™.

 

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Education

Mount Saint Joseph Academy (Rutland, VT)
High School Diploma

 

University of Vermont (Burlington, VT)
Bachelor of Arts, Philosophy

 

College of William & Mary (Williamsburg, VA)
Juris Doctor

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Memberships

Admitted to all Vermont State courts

 

Admitted to US Federal Court for the District of Vermont

 

Admitted to the US Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

 

Rutland County Bar Association

 

Vermont Bar Association

 

Joan Loring Wing Chapter of Inns of Court.

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