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Matthew F. Burger
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Matthew F. Burger

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Chair, Energy Section

Pittsburgh, PA
 
 
 

Matt is a commercial litigator in Buchanan's Pittsburgh office and Chair of the firm’s Energy Section, Chair of the Coal Industry Practice Group, past member of the Board of Directors, and Chair of the firm's Federal and State Political Action Committees. For more than 20 years, Matt has represented natural gas exploration and production companies, coal companies, energy trading companies, and financial institutions in litigation and commercial matters throughout the United States. Many of Matt’s engagements involve significant stakes where the future of the company is on the line. Matt has a deep understanding of his clients’ businesses, and is meticulous in taking complicated facts to create novel arguments and compelling narratives at trial. He has been quoted in numerous media regarding legal and economic development matters, including The New York Times, "NBC Nightly News," The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and The Pittsburgh Business Times.

How Matt Helps Clients

Oil and Gas Litigation
Matt has served as trial counsel for companies in the oil and gas industry in federal and state courts and arbitration tribunals in more than 20 different states. Matt currently serves as lead Pennsylvania counsel for a number of Fortune 500 E&P companies involved in Marcellus and Utica Shale development, and his knowledge of the industry allows Matt to discern litigation strategies quickly and efficiently.  Matt has significant experience litigating disputes arising under joint venture/joint development agreements, shareholder class actions and securities fraud claims, royalty and other lease disputes, product liability claims, and trade secret claims. He has responsible for a number of significant cases on behalf of his clients, including the U.S. District Court’s decision in Hoffman v. Arcelormittal Pristine Resources, Inc., where the Court preserved the Marcellus rights of natural gas companies under vintage oil and gas leases throughout Pennsylvania.

Coal Litigation and Commercial Work
Matt began his career in the energy industry representing coal producers, and continues to represent a number of these clients in coal supply and other UCC litigation, as well as commercial matters including the negotiation and drafting of coal supply and transportation contracts, contract mining agreements, mineral lease agreements and other transactions. Matt currently serves as contract counsel for two of the largest coal companies in the United States and has negotiated and drafted agreements for the supply of more than 100 million tons of coal over the past 15+ years. Matt previously served on an interim basis as CONSOL Energy, Inc.'s in-house contract counsel, with legal oversight over its commercial contracts.

What Clients Can Expect

Matt currently serves in the role of general counsel for a number of energy companies. Drawing upon this experience, Matt has a unique understanding of energy company operations, culture, and strategic aims which are essential considerations when developing a litigation strategy. Clients appreciate his diligent attention to their strategic and reputational concerns as well as his aggressive nature when litigation is filed.

Matt has delivered superb results in complex and often difficult cases, and remains one of our go-to counsel in litigation matters throughout Appalachia.

Matt is our most trusted legal advisor. He has an in-depth knowledge of our business and is a gifted trial attorney with responsibility for our most significant litigation matters.

Outside the Office

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA, Matt is married with two great kids. He is hanging on to his status as a nationally-ranked platform tennis player, and is an avid golfer and supporter of the Virginia Cavaliers. He is also active in the community, and serves as a board member of the Pennsylvania Economy League, the Energy & Mineral Law Foundation, Pittsburgh XPAC, and a member of the Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce, the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, and the American Coal Council.

Proof Points

  • Represented large natural gas production company in litigation involving the producer’s private placement engagement agreements and the investment advisory services thereunder.
  • Represented large natural gas production company in class action litigation alleging claims under the company’s convertible debenture agreements and other unfair trade practices claims.
  • Represented Fortune 500 client in product liability case involving equipment utilized throughout Appalachia.
  • Represented a Fortune 50 client in litigation implicating the enforceability of overriding royalty rights for the client’s Appalachian acreage.
  • In a case of first impression, obtained emergency injunctions for a Fortune 200 oil and gas company by arguing that the client’s right to operate upon the properties for oil and gas necessarily includes the right to explore for that same oil and gas via seismic testing.
  • In a case of first impression, secured a decision preserving the Marcellus rights for natural gas companies under vintage oil and gas leases in Pennsylvania.
  • Served as lead Pennsylvania counsel in property, regulatory, permitting, leasing and joint venture litigation for two Marcellus Shale producers.
  • Represented a large U.S. coal company in force majeure litigation in Pennsylvania in which damages exceeded $35 million.
  • Represented as lead trial counsel an international mining and construction company in a $60 million commercial arbitration in Denver to set the contract mining price for Powder River Basin coal reserves.
  • Served as lead trial counsel for a U.S. coal company in New Jersey litigation against a national utility company concerning the interpretation and enforcement of a 20-year coal supply agreement.
  • Represented a national coal company in declaratory judgment actions in Indiana and Illinois upholding the validity of the company's force majeure declaration.
  • Represented a U.S. coal company in a declaratory judgment action in the District Court for Colorado in a contract mining dispute.
  • Represented a number of U.S. coal companies in arbitrations throughout the United States to re-determine coal prices and price adjustment indices under long-term coal supply agreements.
  • Represented a U.S. coal company in a large commercial arbitration in Washington, D.C., concerning the client's coal supply agreements with a large power supplier. Resolution of arbitration included allowance of the client's nominated coal prices and acceptance of force majeure claim.
  • Represented a U.S. coal company and related subsidiaries in a large federal bankruptcy case in Tennessee. Litigated numerous contested claims resulting in the payment of millions of dollars to debtors' estate.
  • Won a substantial bench verdict in Ohio upholding the right of a transfer agent subsidiary of a national bank to enforce non-competition and non-solicitation agreements with a former executive employee. Verdict included an order precluding competitor's use of client's trade secrets, and extraordinary relief in the form of compensation paid to employee during period of disloyalty.
  • In a case of first impression in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, upholding the right of a Dutch corporation involved in an adversarial proceeding before the Enterprise Court in the Netherlands to obtain substantial discovery in the United States from joint venture subsidiary.
  • Represented national information technology company in a $100 million trade secret/corporate raiding case in Virginia federal and state courts.

Awards

  • Pittsburgh Business Times' "Who's Who in Energy" list (consecutive years), a compilation of southwestern Pennsylvania-based key players in the energy industry.
  • Pennsylvania Super Lawyers list (2018-2020); Pennsylvania Super Lawyers Rising Star (2005-2009)
  • The Best Lawyers in America® list each year since 2013, in the Commercial Litigation, Commercial Transactions/UCC Law, Energy Law and Mining Law categories.
  • Pittsburgh Magazine's "40 Under 40"
  • The Pittsburgh Business Times' first-ever list of 50 "Fast Trackers"