Retired Judge Rejoins Bird Marella

Judge A. Howard Matz (Ret.) is Senior Counsel at Bird Marella. After serving on the bench of the United States District Court for the Central District of California for nearly 15 years, in 2013 he rejoined the firm he helped launch in 1983, then known as Bird Marella Boxer Wolpert & Matz P.C. During his 15 years with the firm, he was one of the first attorneys listed in The Best Lawyers in America®. Judge Matz is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

Judge Matz was nominated to the federal bench by President Clinton and received his commission in June 1998. He presided over numerous noteworthy cases and several of his decisions were ultimately adjudicated by the Supreme Court. Judge Matz served on many judicial committees, including the Ninth Circuit Model Jury Instructions Committee. He chaired the District Court’s Pro Bono/Pro Se Committee and under his leadership the Committee established the nation’s first walk-in Pro Se Clinic, which received widespread recognition. Additionally, Judge Matz was the first recipient of the “Vanguard Award” bestowed by the California State Bar for his contributions to intellectual property jurisprudence. Upon his retirement from the Bench, the Federal Bar Association sponsored an unusual Dinner Tribute for Judge Matz in recognition of his judicial service.

In addition to the above “ADR” matters, Judge Matz has represented certain private and pro bono clients as an advocate, in state and federal court; functioned as a Special Master in a precedent-setting civil case pending in the Central District of California; served as an expert witness in several engagements; presided over moot court presentations for several firms about to argue cases in appellate courts or try cases at the district court level; and spoken as a panelist at several professional conferences. He also enjoys mentoring younger lawyers in the firm.

For further information, including about fees, contact Judge Matz or his assistant, Diane Hunsaker (

Representative Cases

  • Among Judge Matz’s precedent-setting decisions are the following:

    Became the first judge in the country to rule on challenges to the detention of alleged terrorists at Guantanamo Bay.

  • Ruled that under CERCLA, various California water districts were entitled to recover costs from a military weapons manufacturer for cleaning up perchlorate-contaminated aquifers.

  • Enjoined real estate magnate and former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling from using the word “Korean” (as opposed to “Koreatown”) in the names of some of his apartment buildings, finding that such practices violated the Fair Housing Act.

  • Held for the first time that the “sublicensing rule” from copyright and patent law should be extended to the licensing of trademark and related publicity rights. The Ninth Circuit affirmed that ruling by attaching Judge Matz’s decision as an appendix.

  • Issued precedent-setting rulings construing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in highly publicized cases, including those brought against Google by softcore pornography publisher Perfect 10 and against Veoh by music recording giant Universal Music Group.

  • Ruled that the term “foreign official” in the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act encompasses high-ranking executives of state-owned enterprises.

  • Ruled that Dick Clark Productions had the right to produce the Golden Globes award show under its contract with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.


    In the brief period since he returned to the private sector, Judge Matz has been designated as a mediator or arbitrator in dozens of matters. They include:

    A. Arbitration Matters

    Patent infringement claims involving devices used for video games.

  • Disputes over the scope of arbitration clauses.

  • Dispute over whether arbitration agreement permits class-wide arbitration.

  • Dispute over alleged breach of contract involving alternative electric power supply in matter regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission.

  • Antitrust claims about computer products arbitrated in Japan.

  • Dispute over claimed breach of “affiliation agreement” between a national television broadcaster and a major producer of televised content.

  • Disputes between for-profit higher educational institutions and their students.

  • Antitrust dispute between auto manufacturer and parts suppliers.

  • Contract dispute involving fiber optic cable systems.

  • Dispute among insurance companies over reinsurance obligations.

  • Disputes over ownership of “Top-Level” internet domains.

  • Dispute over development of for-profit housing.

  • B. Mediation Matters

    Intra-family dispute over administration of trusts and allocation of assets.

  • Copyright infringement claims between famous recording artists.

  • Trademark infringement claims involving competing software purveyors.

  • Business and Professions Code § 17200 action against bank brought by governmental prosecuting office.

  • Securities fraud claims against bank for its role in alleged immigration fraud.

  • Multiple patent infringement disputes between software developer and prominent consumer-oriented businesses.

  • Breach of contract and invasion of privacy claims involving giant social media enterprise.

  • Breach of merchandising contract involving major professional sports league.

  • Copyright and trademark claims involving competing jewelry manufacturers.

  • Breach of contract claims involving rights to acquire telecommunications franchise in African nation.

  • Breach of contract claims involving distribution of aircraft components in Brazil.

  • Dispute over confirmation of arbitration award arising out of a supply and distribution agreement for supply of industrial energy.

  • Dispute over ownership rights to valuable artwork once seized by the Third Reich.

  • False advertising claim against manufacturer of nutrition products.

  • Breach of contract claims arising out of commercial fleet vehicle leases.

  • Dispute among competitors over validity of former employee’s non-compete clauses.

Appellate Decisions


A. Howard Matz Inducted as a Fellow into the American College of Trial Lawyers

Earlier this year, Bird Marella Senior Counsel Judge A. Howard Matz (Ret.) was inducted as a Fellow into the American College of Trial Lawyers. The American College of Trial Lawyers is composed of fellows who represent the best of the trial bar in ...

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A. Howard Matz Featured in Daily Journal’s Verdicts & Settlements

Bird Marella Senior Counsel, Judge A. Howard Matz (Ret.), has been featured in Daily Journal’s Verdicts & Settlements, detailing his previous position as a Federal Judge and his current role with Bird Marella. Having previously served on the bench of the United States District Court for the Central District of ...

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A. Howard Matz to Speak at PLI Law and Regulation of Intermediary Businesses Conference

Bird Marella Senior Counsel A. Howard Matz will be a featured speaker at the 2014 PLI Law and Regulation of Intermediary Businesses Conference, and will participate in the panel discussion “Practical Litigation Issues for Intermediary Businesses,” at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 5. The panel will discuss strategies of litigating ...

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Retired Judge Rejoins Bird Marella

Bird Marella is pleased to announce that one of its founding partners, former Senior District Judge  A. Howard Matz, will rejoin the firm after a 15-year tenure on the United States District Court in the Central District of California.  Matz press release.  

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Published Cases