Matthew Hefflefinger (Shareholder)
Matt is an aggressive advocate who has tried many cases to verdict and enjoys the challenge of complex litigation. He handles the defense of personal injury cases primarily focusing upon the trucking and construction industries. Matt is chair of the firm's Trucking/Motor Carrier Litigation Practice Group. He is frequently contacted immediately after a catastrophic loss to visit an accident scene and help develop the facts and case strategy with an eye toward a successful result once litigation is filed. Beyond his experience in trucking and construction matters, he also handles cases touching upon a wide variety of areas including construction delay claims, covenants not to compete, breach of contract, aviation accidents, premises liability, auto accidents and product liability.
Matt is a Martindale-Hubbell AV rated lawyer who has remained extensively involved in the community serving on a number of boards of community organizations. He has taught a Masters level course in the graduate business program at Bradley University and is a frequent speaker at continuing legal education seminars held across the state addressing a variety of different legal topics. He has also been instrumental in founding two local charitable organizations dedicated to, among other things, awarding college scholarships to local high school seniors. In 2000, Matt was recognized as one of the "40 Leaders Under 40" by InterBusiness Issues, a leading publication in central Illinois.
Born in Pennsylvania, Matt began his legal career with Heyl Royster while he was still in law school by clerking with the firm during the summer. Following graduation, he joined the firm in the Peoria office in 1989 and became a partner in 1997.
- Illinois High School Association v. Illinois Attorney General US District Court Northern District Illinois, Case Nos: 12 MR 151, 12 CV 1155, 12 CV 3758 – Successfully resolved litigation on behalf of the IHSA involving the rights of student athletes with disabilities in high school athletics. In a case of first impression, the Illinois Attorney General argued that student athletes with disabilities needed separate events and modified qualifying times to earn points for their team and have an equal opportunity to participate in high school athletics. The case was successfully resolved on behalf of the IHSA after 2.5 years of intense litigation, which focused upon the application and scope of Titles 2 and 3 of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
- Illinois Press Association, The State Journal-Register and the Northwest Herald v. Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Case No: 07 CH 885, Sangamon County. Illinois Press Association alleged that the IHSA was in breach of a 2008 Settlement Agreement for charging a fee for broadcasting high school playoff games on the Internet. The Illinois Press Association contended that the Internet broadcasting of playoff games constituted a "newspaper product." The IHSA was successful, and the court determined that the IHSA did have the legal right to charge fees for broadcasting playoff games on the Internet. Read Article
- Hammond v. System Transport, Inc. 942 F.Supp.2d 867 (C.D. Ill. 2013) Rural intersection accident involving post-impact fire. Double fatality with admitted liability. Prior to trial, court ruled that evidence of any negligent acts leading up to the accident were irrelevant. However, the manner of death was within the scope of damages allowable for grief, sorrow and mental suffering under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act. Despite no evidence suggesting either decedent survived the impact, plaintiffs' counsel argued various facts regarding the subsequent fire was relevant. Despite some of the aggravating evidence associated with the fire post-occurrence, court ruled that it could not exclude all evidence associated with the manner of death or the events surrounding the accident. This was an issue of first impression in Illinois.
- Burch v. Earle M. Jorgenson v. Morton Welding Circuit Court of Tazewell County, Illinois, Case No: 04 L 56 – Obtained summary judgment on the eve of trial for a welding company. Plaintiff suffered injuries during the unloading of a flat bed semi. Plaintiff had a career ending back injury, which resulted in three surgeries. After summary judgment was entered for our client, the case settled for $2.2 million.
- Jeramie Morris as special administrator of the Estate of Kimberly Gregorich, deceased and the Estate of John F. Parrett, IV deceased and Elizabeth Johnson, Individually and as special administrator of the Estate of Inara Parrett, deceased v. Nathan E. Merrill and Martin Co. Excavating Truck driver ran stop sign resulting in deaths of 18 month old child, child's father and child's grandmother. The child's mother survived, but suffered various injuries. Retained by insurance carrier to help navigate through potential bad faith issues. Complex pre-suit investigation with numerous issues explored, ultimately resulting in favorable settlement at mediation within our case evaluation.
- Knight v. Smithway Motor Xpress, Inc. Case No. 08-4046 Trucking accident litigation involving serious injuries with a complicated recovery. There were multiple parties involved with claims for punitive damages and spoliation of evidence. We represented the bailee of the trailer involved in the accident, a concrete pre-cast manufacturer. It was alleged that the trailer involved had various brake problems arguably contributing to the accident. Complex case with a favorable settlement reached for our client through mediation.
- Chapman v. Brokaw 225 Ill. App. 3d 662 (3d Dist. 1992) Jury trial arising from a dispute under a lease with an option to purchase a home in Peoria. Issues involved whether the covenant of quiet enjoyment was breached and whether our clients' properly exercised their option to purchase the property.
- Cornett v. Gromenn Service Company v. Caterpillar Inc 227 Ill. App. 3d 148 (3d Dist. 1992) Third Party Complaint for Contribution against Caterpillar was dismissed as time-barred under the product liability statute of repose.
- Morton Community Bank v. Nash-Hasty Investments Tazewell County, 98 L 133, and NASD Arbitration No. 98-03671 Represented two stockbrokers against a bank in the successful arbitration of a covenant not to compete before the National Association of Securities Dealers.
- National City Bank of Michigan/Illinois f/k/a N.C. Illinois Trust Company, as Executor of the Estate 01 L 138, 01 L 171 Florida airplane crash occurred just after take-off due to a faulty throttle linkage assembly installed just 1.7 flight hours before the accident. The pilot and his wife, along with another couple, all perished in the accident. The maintenance facility settled before suit. The issue was whether the pilot engaged in appropriate measures after the power failure occurred. Complex case with multi-million dollar demand settled favorably through mediation.
- Avemco Ins. Co., Inc. v. Elliott Aviation Flight Services, Inc. 86 F. Supp. 2d 824 (C.D. Ill. 2000) Trial of an airplane crash case involving a Bonanza A36 during a biennial flight review. The issue was determining who was the pilot in command between the flight instructor and the pilot undergoing the biennial flight review.
- United States of America for the use of Bowman Metal Deck, a division of ARMCO, Inc., and Bowman Met. A complex Miller Act case involving millions of dollars in construction delay claims arising from the construction of identical federal prisons in Pekin and Greenville, Illinois. The case was successfully resolved at mediation for our clients, the steel subcontractors at each site.
- Eagan v. Murk Represented a trucker who rear-ended plaintiff who was stopped waiting to make a left turn. Following the accident, plaintiff engaged in extensive pain management treatment (multiple injections, radiofrequency denervation, etc), saw a number of physicians, and sought chiropractic care. At the conclusion of the week-long trial, the plaintiff asked for $560,000, and the jury awarded 94,990.00.
- Jalel Hanafi v. Tri-Hi Transportation, Inc. McLean County, 03 L 200 Jury trial of a trucking accident with chronic pain claims involving testimony from fourteen physicians. Verdict for plaintiff was in line with case evaluation and less than the offer of settlement prior to trial.
- Neziroski v. Von Maur 99 L 121 Jury trial involving false arrest, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution claims arising out of an unusual transaction at the Bloomington Von Maur Store. Plaintiff asked for more than $250,000. Verdict for plaintiff in the amount of $50,000.
- "Dakter v. Cavallino: An Anomaly or the New Normal?" DRI, For The Defense (2015) - Download Article
- "Supreme Court Limits the Scope of Personal Jurisdiction" DRI, The Voice, Volume 14, Issue 30 (2015)
- "Evidentiary Issues Involving Grief, Sorrow and Mental Suffering," DRI, In Transit - The Newsletter for the Trucking Law Committee (2014)
- "Review of Broker Liability," For The Defense (2014) - Download Article
- "Punitive Damages in Trucking Litigation: Recognizing Risk and Assessing Exposure," DRI, In Transit - The Newsletter for the Trucking Law Committee (2012) - Download Article
- “Large Verdicts: Is Hindsight 20/20?”
ABA Transportation Megaconference XIII 2017
- “Student Accommodations - Accommodating Student Athletes with Disabilities”
Heyl Royster Education Seminar 2016
- “Collision Mitigation Systems: State of the Technology and Impact Upon the Trucking Industry”
DRI Trucking Law Seminar 2016
- “CYA 101: When Do I Contact a Lawyer – After the Accident? Work Comp Claim? Problem Employee?”
Moderator, Mid-West Truck & Trailer Show, Peoria 2016
- “Taking and Defending the Deposition of the Orthopedic Surgeon”
DRI Trucking Primer 2015
- “Advantage Plaintiffs: Impact of 2-1117 on Multi-Party Litigation”
Illinois Plumbing Education Association 2015
- “There’s Been an Accident, Now What? Tips for a Successful Accident Investigation”
Heyl Royster's 30th Annual Claims Handling Seminar 2015
- “What Do I Need to Know About Litigation?”
Illinois Plumbing Education Association 2015
- “You’re In An Accident – How and What to Preserve and Protect”
Midwest Truckers Association Annual Convention 2015
- “Governmental Regulation of State Association Disability Accommodations”
National Federation of High School Associations Legal Summit 2014
- “Attorney and Company Perspective: Accident Response/Client Protection/Preservation”
DRI Trucking Primer 2013
- “The Involvement & Impact of Disabled Student Athletes in High School Activities”
National Federation of High School Associations Legal Summit 2013
- “Common Issues in Trucking Litigation”
Peoria County Bar Association Civil Practice Seminar 2012
Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent
Selected as a Leading Lawyer in Illinois. Only five percent of lawyers in the state are named as Leading Lawyers
40 Leaders Under 40 - Peoria, 2000
Abraham Lincoln American Inn of Court (President 2005-2006)
Claims and Litigation Management Alliance ("CLM")
Trucking Insurance Defense Association ("TIDA")
Transportation Lawyers Association ("TLA")
Defense Research Institute (Vice Chair, 2016-present, Trucking Law Committee; Membership Chair, 2014-2016)
Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel
Abraham Lincoln Court (Past President)
American Bar Association (Vice Chair, TIPS Commercial Transportation Litigation Committee; Co-Editor, Commercial Transportation Litigation Newsletter; Webinar Chair/Vice Chair, 2015-2016)
Illinois State Bar Association
Peoria County Bar Association
State Courts of Illinois
United States District Court, Central District of Illinois
United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois
United States District Court, Southern District of Illinois
Past Board Member - Habitat for Humanity (Vice-President)
Past Board Member - Children's Hospital of Illinois
Past Board Member - Easter Seals - UCP
Co-Founder - River Cup Foundation
Co-Founder - Maxheimer Memorial Scholarship Foundation
Volunteer Basketball and Baseball Coach