The American Lawyer has recognized Jones Day's Matt Kairis in its inaugural "South Trailblazers" feature, which appears in its October 2021 issue.
Based in the Firm's Dallas Office, Mr. Kairis is a partner in the Business & Tort Litigation Practice and Partner-in-Charge of the Texas Region. He has spent more than 30 years trying class actions; winning verdicts in mass tort, financial regulation, and consumer fraud litigation; and is a trailblazer in two emerging areas facing higher education and sports organizations: COVID litigation and concussion litigation. Mr. Kairis leads the defense of tuition refund class actions following COVID-related shutdowns and is lead counsel in more than 500 separate class actions seeking damages for concussion-related football injuries.
Following the COVID pandemic shutdown, Mr. Kairis was retained in multiple lawsuits when tuition refund class actions were filed in multiple jurisdictions by students of higher education institutions, alleging that they were promised an on-campus education experience and demanding full refunds of tuition on behalf of entire student populations. He is currently defending Penn State University in consolidated actions pending in Pennsylvania federal court.
Mr. Kairis serves as lead counsel for all collegiate institutions in the national football concussion multidistrict litigation (MDL 2492, which began in 2016) pending in the Northern District of Illinois, a consolidation of more than 525 class actions against NCAA institutions. The plaintiffs allege that colleges and the NCAA failed to warn football players of the adverse effects of concussions, and challenges conduct since 1952. In addition, he directly represents dozens of the universities named as defendants, including Penn State, University of Miami, Notre Dame, and the University of Pittsburgh, and schools in state court single-plaintiff concussion actions in states across the country. Mr. Kairis delivered oral argument in the Ohio Supreme Court in what led to the first binding precedent on the application of the statute of limitations discovery rule in concussion cases.
This is Mr. Kairis' second Trailblazer recognition, having been named to National Law Journal's list of "Sports Trailblazers" in October 2020.