Matthew A. Richards

Matt Richards is a litigator who represents owners and general contractors in federal and state court construction litigation and in arbitration. He also has significant antitrust, bankruptcy and appellate experience.

What do you focus on?

Construction & Real Estate Development

I represent public entities, private owners, and general contractors in all phases of construction, from counseling and contract drafting through litigation of complex construction disputes. When litigation is required, I develop and implement case-specific strategies, from pre-litigation claims investigation through fact and expert discovery to trial and appeal.

My background and experience in bankruptcy and appellate work uniquely positions me to address two key ancillary issues that frequently confront my clients as litigation unfolds—dealing with insolvent adversaries and defending favorable rulings, judgments, and verdicts on appeal. Having also litigated construction defect, mechanic’s lien, contract, insurance, indemnification, and statute of limitation/statute of repose issues from all sides, I can effectively advise our clients to minimize their risk.

Commercial Litigation

I litigate complex commercial matters in industries ranging from technology to logistics and insurance, and in a variety of practice areas, including antitrust, insurance, and trade secrets. I coordinate strategy, handle administrative appeals, and litigate all manner of FOIA and state public records act matters.

What do you see on the horizon?

I believe the construction industry is on the leading edge of significant structural changes that will fundamentally alter how services are delivered and projects are built. Strategic adoption of disruptive technologies (drones and 3-D printing, to name two high-profile examples) will give savvy owners and contractors alike advantages over less adaptive competitors. These new technologies will raise new legal issues as well, as the law evolves to meet the pace of change.

Representative Cases

  • Represented public works contractor claiming unpaid retention, change order work, and fraud against school district and individual defendant, and defended contractor against breach of contract and false claims by district in three-week California state court jury trial. Obtained jury verdict on all affirmative claims and successfully defended against district’s false claims cause of action.
  • Represented co-guarantor on failed condominium construction project in suit against other co-guarantor in California state court bench trial. Obtained judgment and net recovery in client’s favor.
  • Defended public works contractor against subcontractor’s claims for nonpayment and improper termination in California state court bench trial. Obtained defense verdict on motion for judgment at close of plaintiff’s evidence, obtained award of attorneys’ fees, and successfully defended judgment and award on appeal.
  • Defended Fortune 500 company against general contractor and subcontractors’ mechanic’s lien and other claims arising from solar panel installation project in complex, consolidated California state court cases. Obtained favorable early resolution of all consolidated cases.
  • Defended insurance company against former agent’s $25 million wrongful claim, included alleged fraud and interference. Obtained summary judgment with respect to all of former agent’s claims. Prevailed in Eastern District of California jury trial on all counterclaims, and awarded all damages sought.
  • Defended client in real estate dispute against buyer’s allegations of fraud and failure to disclose material information. Obtained summary judgment on all claims in Northern District of California.
  • Defended Fortune 500 energy company against allegations of conspiracy, price fixing, and unfair competition in multibillion dollar class action. Obtained early, favorable result for client.
  • Represented major forest products company in series of antitrust (alleged monopolization) litigation, including jury trial, in federal district court.
  • Represented client seeking political asylum in proceedings before the Ninth Circuit, including drafting briefs and conducting oral argument.

Rights Group Sues DHS for Info on Asylum Seekers

Law360 | March 25, 2018

San Francisco commercial litigation partner Matt Richards and associate Christina Fletes are mentioned in this article for representing pro bono client Human Rights Watch in a FOIA dispute with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Legal Risks of Using Automated Drones in Construction

Engineering News-Record (ENR) | April 26, 2017

San Francisco commercial litigation partner Matt Richards and associate Aldo Ibarra contributed this article about legal risks construction companies should consider as automated drone technology becomes more widely used in the industry. Click here to read the full article.

Legal risks of using automated drones in construction

ENR | April 26, 2017

San Francisco commercial litigation partner Matt Richards and associate Aldo Ibarra contributed this article about legal risks construction companies should consider as automated drone technology becomes more widely used in their industry.


Matthew A. Richards


San Francisco

Phone: 415-984-5093

Fax: 866-904-7778

University of California, Hastings College of the Law, J.D., cum laude (Order of the Coif; Thurston Society; Editor-in-Chief, Hastings International & Comparative Law Review)

University of California, Berkeley, B.A.with distinction in general scholarship


U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

U.S. District Court, Central District of California

U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California

U.S. District Court, Northern District of California

U.S. District Court, Southern District of California

Matt has been recognized as a “Rising Star” by the publishers of the 2013 and 2014 Northern California Super Lawyers  magazine. Inclusion in Super Lawyers is based on a peer-review survey.

He has been recommended in The Legal 500 United States 2016 editorial for Real estate and construction—Construction (including construction litigation).

  • AIDS Legal Referral Panel, Board of Directors and Executive Committee
  • Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, Member
  • American Bar Association, Appellate Judges Conference
  • Marin County District Attorney’s Office, Deputy District Attorney (2011)
  • UC Hastings Alumni Association
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