Matt is a trial lawyer representing plaintiffs and defendants and practicing primarily in the areas of personal injury and wrongful death, employment, and commercial litigation matters. He has trial and litigation experience in both federal and state courts across the state of Michigan and in numerous other states.
Matt devotes the majority of his practice to helping individuals and families who have catastrophic injuries and wrongful death claims. Matt's experience includes vehicular, aviation, product liability, and construction accidents.
Additionally, Matt serves a variety of businesses and individuals in commercial disputes, such as employment discrimination, employment non-competition agreements, trade secret, trademark infringement, wrongful advertising, and other unfair trade practice claims. Matt also defends business charged with ADA violations (barriers to access to public accommodations).
Whether Matt is representing individuals or businesses, he maintains a genuine and passionate dedication to his clients and their interests. While many "litigators" dread the court room, Matt welcomes the privilege of presenting his client's case to a jury.
Matt began his career with Smith Haughey as a summer associate in 2003 and joined the firm as a full-time associate in 2004. Currently, Matt serves on the firm's Board of Directors (management committee) and hiring committee.
2017 – Matt Wikander successfully represented a local franchisor of fast-food restaurants in numerous ADA “drive-by” public accommodation lawsuits. Mounting an aggressive defense, the plaintiffs agreed to either voluntarily dismiss or abandon their claims altogether.
2017 - Matt Wikander represented a Tier 1 auto supplier in the prosecution of a former employee who had violated numerous employment agreements, misappropriated trade secrets and other confidential information, and who started work at a competitor. In short order, Matt and his team filed suit against both the former employee and competitor business and were able to obtain an Temporary Restraining Order from the court, precluding the former employee from working at the competitor. The matter resolved with all defendants shortly thereafter.
2007-2011 - R. Jay Hardin and Matt Wikander represented the estates of two deceased pilots killed in an aviation crash. After years of litigation, and after defeating the defendant's numerous motions to dismiss the claims, both cases were resolved under confidential terms just before trial was set to commence.
2016 - Matt Wikander and Charissa Huang were successful in obtaining a settlement of $650,000 on behalf of a client who suffered numerous injuries after his car crashed into a backhoe. The defendant was operating the backhoe illegally, at night and without sufficient warning flashers or markings. The defendant’s insurance company refused to offer any money prior to litigation, instead blaming our client for the crash. Shortly before trial, the defendant’s insurance company agreed to the settlement.
2016 - Matt Wikander achieved a settlement of $300,000 on behalf of a client who suffered a subtalar (ankle) fracture in an automobile crash. Defendants refused to engage in pre-lawsuit settlement negotiations and thus, our client was forced to file the lawsuit and litigate the case. The defendants finally agreed to the settlement shortly before trial was to be scheduled.
2016 - Matt Wikander successfully represented a husband and wife injured in a crash with a large commercial semi-tractor and trailer. The crash occurred after dark when the semi-truck driver was jackknifed and illegally backing in to a customer’s driveway, blocking off our clients’ lane of travel and blinding them in the process with its lights. One of our clients suffered a serious closed head injury and the other, a broken arm. After a contested discovery phase of the litigation, the trucking company ultimately agreed to settle with our clients for $500,000.
2015 - Tom McCarthy and Matt Wikander achieved a jury verdict in Kalamazoo County of $14,450,683 for the estate of an individual who was killed in a catastrophic motor vehicle crash with a garbage truck. The case, Blahnik vs. Republic Services, et al., involved a garbage truck driver who ran a stop sign resulting in the death of Lary Blahnik in 2011. Claims were brought against the garbage truck driver and his employers—whose representatives failed to implement proper driver safety training and allocate proper funding for the training. After a two-week trial, the jury returned its verdict on March 27, 2015.
2014 - Tom McCarthy and Matt Wikander achieved a settlement of $950,000 on behalf of the estate for a middle-aged man who was instantly killed in an automobile accident. Claims were brought against the defendant, who was driving too fast for conditions and thus lost control of his vehicle by hydroplaning in standing water, crossing the center line and crashing into the deceased’s vehicle head-on. After winning numerous motions for the estate, defendant agreed to settle the case prior to trial.
2013 - Matt Wikander and Tom McCarthy achieved a settlement of $670,000 for the estate of a teenager who was killed in a catastrophic work-site accident at a car wash. Claims were brought against the manufacturer of the car wash equipment involved in the incident and the franchisor of the car wash whose representatives failed to ensure that the teenager was properly trained to work around the moving equipment. After defeating numerous motions to dismiss the lawsuit, defendants agreed to settle the case prior to trial.
2012 - Matt Wikander and Kristen Campbell obtained a jury verdict in Kent County Circuit Court in which the jury awarded our client $856,000 in damages in a personal injury case resulting in permanent restrictions to our client's hand. The case involved a renter who was assaulted after intruders were able to access the apartment through a broken security door. The jury found the defendant owner and defendant landlord/management company to be negligent because they had notice of the defective door but did not repair it, thus allowing intruders into the building.
2011 - R. Jay Hardin and Matt Wikander achieved a settlement of over $4,000,000 on behalf of the estates of two individuals killed in a catastrophic crash.
2010 - Matt Wikander achieved a settlement of $425,000 on behalf of a passenger who was thrown off the back of a motorcycle after being struck by a negligent automobile driver. Our client suffered numerous back and lower body fractures in the crash.
2009 - Matt Wikander successfully represented a motorcyclist who was injured after being run off the road by a negligent driver. In a jury trial, the jury awarded our client substantial damages, and the court added interests, costs and attorney fees against the defendant.
2009 - Mark Gilchrist and Matt Wikander successfully represented a minor who was injured in an automobile accident. In a trial for damages, the jury awarded substantial damages to our client, to which the Court added interest and costs.
2007 - Chip Behler and Matt Wikander represented a governmental agency and its former manager in a lawsuit brought by a recently terminated employee. The plaintiff alleged a breach of contract claim against the governmental agency, alleging that the agency had failed to complete a reciprocal transfer of the plaintiff's pension benefits. The plaintiff also alleged that the agency's former manager tortuously interfered with the plaintiff's contract, causing a breach. Finally, plaintiff alleged that the agency's former manager had openly defamed plaintiff during both public and private meetings. With reference to targeted discovery, and a thorough application of the facts to the relevant law, the court dismissed the governmental agency from the lawsuit, stating that the agency had performed all of its obligations under the contract. The court dismissed all remaining claims against the former manager on the basis of governmental immunity and absolute privileges that the manager held while engaged in the alleged conduct.