Picture of Matthew S. Kenefick

Matthew Kenefick has an extensive law practice which includes litigation, real estate and compliance matters. Mr. Kenefick represents a variety of industries including manufacturers, financial institutions, retailers, real estate developers, wineries and the hotel industry, among others. Mr. Kenefick is the Hiring Partner for JMBM's San Francisco office.

Representative Experience

Notable Litigation Matters

  • Contract Claim. Mr. Kenefick represented Plaintiff venture capital fund in an extended jury trial, lasting 30 trial days, involving a breach of contract claim against a semiconductor corporation and fraudulent transfer claims against more than twenty defendants. Result: Verdict in favor of Mr. Kenefick’s client for more than $4.5 million on the breach of contract claim and more than $9.2 million on the fraudulent transfer claims. Mr. Kenefick successfully defended the verdict on appeal and enforced the resulting judgment, collecting all amounts owed.
  • Breach of Fiduciary Duty/Director. Mr. Kenefick defended a director and venture capital fund against a $77.5 million breach of fiduciary duty lawsuit, through a month-long jury trial. Result: Defense verdict in favor of Mr. Kenefick’s client.
  • Breach of Fiduciary Duty/Whistleblower. Mr. Kenefick successfully defended a defamation and breach of fiduciary duty lawsuit arising from client's role as a whistleblower in an alleged affinity based "Ponzi" scheme. Result: dismissal of lawsuit with prejudice following successful anti-SLAPP motion, including recovery of significant attorneys' fees for Mr. Kenefick’s client.
  • Alter-Ego/Successor Liability. Mr. Kenefick successfully defended, through appeal, a complex fraudulent transfer, successor liability, and alter-ego action through trial. Result: Defense verdict in favor of Mr. Kenefick’s client that was upheld on appeal.
  • Wine Industry. Mr. Kenefick has extensive experience representing wineries, cellars, and warehouses related to wine damage, manufacturing and storage disputes. Examples include: 
    • Wine Storage Claim. Mr. Kenefick successfully prosecuted, through a 4-week jury trial, claims against a third-party warehouse for improper wine storage conditions. Result: Seven-figure verdict in favor of Mr. Kenefick’s client.
    • Winery Fire Damage Claim. Mr. Kenefick successfully prosecuted against insurer claims for heat damage to wine caused by a winery fire event. Insurer denied coverage for lack of physical injury or harm. Result: Mr. Kenefick collected over $6 million for his client.
  • Judgment Enforcement. Mr. Kenefick has extensive experience in high value judgment enforcement matters.
  • Insurance. Mr. Kenefick regularly prepares and advocates insurance claims and litigates policyholder insurance coverage matters.

Notable Real Estate Matters

  • Breach of Fiduciary Duty/Shareholder Derivative. Mr. Kenefick represented Plaintiff in shareholder derivative related to investment in prominent office building in downtown Seattle. Mr. Kenefick prosecuted case through a six-week jury trial. Result: Mr. Kenefick’s client sought approx. $20 million – Defendant settled after the jury asked if they could award Mr. Kenefick’s client $65 million.
  • Groundwater Contamination. Mr. Kenefick defended, through jury verdict, a real estate developer/landowner from groundwater contamination claims brought by a neighboring property owner. Pollution was undisputed. Result: Complete defense verdict in favor of Mr. Kenefick’s client after a six-week jury trial. 
  • Real Estate Development Dispute. Mr. Kenefick prosecuted, through arbitration award, the claims of a prominent real-estate owner related to a joint-development agreement with a developer. Result: Complete award of all amounts sought in favor of Mr. Kenefick’s client, including all attorneys’ fees and arbitration costs. Mr. Kenefick conducted the binding arbitration for this case while in the middle of a jury trial, on the trial court’s dark days.
  • Defense of Entitlements. Mr. Kenefick defended, through appeal, a developer from challenge to grant of land use entitlement for substantial San Francisco condominium project. Result: Mr. Kenefick obtained judgment in favor of client that was upheld on appeal.
  • Leasing Disputes. Mr. Kenefick has prosecuted and defended numerous commercial leasing lawsuits, including lease term extension, restricted use, and return condition disputes.
  • Real Estate Secured Creditor’s Rights. Mr. Kenefick has significant experience in representing well-known lenders in complex commercial foreclosure, receivership, and guaranty actions.

Notable Compliance Matters

  • Accessibility. Mr. Kenefick has extensive experience in successfully defending, throughout the United States, website, physical and communicative access lawsuits involving the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (the “ADA”) and related state laws. Noteworthy Results: Numerous complete defense judgments; several impositions of monetary sanctions against plaintiff's lawyers; successful defense of trial court results in the Ninth and Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, resulting in defense favorable and regularly cited legal precedent. See, e.g., Kohler v. Bed Bath & Beyond of California, 780 F.3d 1260 (9th Cir. 2015).
  • Proposition 65. Mr. Kenefick regularly counsels clients on Proposition 65 compliance and defends prominent retails, manufacturers and suppliers in Proposition 65 litigation. Mr. Kenefick also develops Proposition 65 compliance programs.
  • Product Safety. Mr. Kenefick regularly advises on product labelling and safety matters.
  • Internal Investigations. Mr. Kenefick performs internal investigations involving sensitive and highly confidential subject matter, including enterprise-wide gap analysis of operational compliance matters.
  • Policy Development. Mr. Kenefick counsel clients on change management, internal campaigning, and policy, procedure and practice development.
  • Administrative Proceedings. Mr. Kenefick has extensive experience in responding to Department of Justice, District Attorney and Attorney General investigatory proceedings.
  • Electronically Stored Information. Mr. Kenefick has extensive experience in counseling clients on Electronically Stored Information collection, preservation, processing and production.

Matthew is from the San Francisco Bay Area, growing up in Los Gatos. Prior to becoming a lawyer, Matthew worked his way through college in heavy equipment. Matthew is a proud father and in his spare time, Matthew enjoys spending time with his family, travel, outdoors and wildlife photography. Matthew’s guilty pleasures include: science fiction, single malt, baking with his daughter, and 18 holes. Prior to joining JMBM, Matthew performed volunteer legal work at Legal Advocates for Children and Youth, East San Jose Community Law Center, and the Santa Clara County Public Defender's Office.


J.D., Santa Clara University School of Law, 2003

  • Editor-in-Chief, Santa Clara Computer and High Technology Law Journal
  • Santa Clara University High Tech Law Certificate
  • Moot Court Oral Advocacy Award
  • Witkin Award for Academic Excellence
  • CALI Excellence for the Future Award
  • Dean’s List-three years
  • Emory Scholarship
  • Law Alumni Scholarship
  • Bernice and Saul Manaster Scholarship
  • Public Interest Clearinghouse Summer Fellowship

B.A., San Jose State University, 1999

Bar Admissions State Bar of California
Northern District of California
Southern District of California
Eastern District of California
Central District of California

American Bar Association

San Francisco Bar Association

Awards & Recognition
  • Included in the 2022 "Top Verdicts" list in the Los Angeles Daily Journal
  • Recognized as a "Northern California Super Lawyer" in Super Lawyers Magazine, San Francisco Magazine and Sacramento Magazine - 2014-2022
  • Recognized as a "Northern California Rising Star" in San Francisco Magazine - 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013