Heyl Royster

Matthew Hefflefinger

Practice Groups:


Product Liability


Casualty/Tort Litigation

Office Locations:

Peoria (Downtown), IL

Phone: 309.676.0400

Email Me


60 Heyl Royster Attorneys Top 2021 Leading Lawyers List - 08/04/2021

Matt Hefflefinger Authors DRI Article - 02/19/2021

Matt Hefflefinger Elected as a National Director with DRI - 10/29/2020

67 Heyl Royster Attorneys Top 2020 Leading Lawyers List - 07/30/2020

64 Heyl Royster Attorneys Top 2019 Leading Lawyers’ List - 06/28/2019

Hefflefinger Appointed Chair of DRI Trucking Law Committee - 11/29/2018

79 Heyl Royster Attorneys Top Leading Lawyers’ Latest List - 05/31/2018

Hefflefinger and Pratt Speak on 7th Circuit Victory at the NFHS Legal Meeting - 05/23/2018

7th Circuit Upholds Summary Judgment for IHSA in Reasonable Accommodation Lawsuit - 03/30/2018

Northern District Rules in Favor of the IHSA - 07/21/2017

60 Heyl Royster Attorneys on Leading Lawyers’ Latest List - 06/29/2017

Hefflefinger Leads Large Verdict Panel Discussion at ABA Transportation Megaconference - 03/11/2017

Hefflefinger Appointed Vice-Chair of DRI Trucking Committee - 10/27/2016

Firm Succeeds in Getting IHSA Dismissed from Catastrophic Injury Case - 06/08/2016

57 Heyl Royster Attorneys Recognized by Leading Lawyers - 04/22/2016

Hefflefinger Conducts Interactive Presentation at DRI Trucking Law Conference - 04/15/2016

Attorneys Author Trucking Articles for DRI - 01/04/2016

Hefflefinger and Perkins Author Article on Personal Jurisdiction for DRI - 10/07/2015

IHSA and Attorney General Reach Settlement in Disabled Athlete Litigation - 06/26/2015

Hefflefinger Appointed Vice-Chair of ABA TIPS Commercial Transportation Litigation Committee - 04/23/2015

Hefflefinger and Bell Author DRI Article - 11/14/2014

Hefflefinger and Keller Author "Review of Broker Liability" Article for DRI - 01/23/2014

Hefflefinger Joins Claims and Litigation Management Alliance - 10/08/2013

Hefflefinger Speaks at DRI Primer on Defending Trucking Litigation - 06/21/2013

Hefflefinger Speaks at National Federation of High School Association Legal Summit - 05/17/2013

Court Rules IHSA Can Charge Fees for Online Broadcast of High School Playoffs - 02/15/2013

Heyl Royster Attorneys Publish DRI Article - 08/28/2012

Heyl Royster Attorneys Speak at Peoria County Bar Association Winter 2012 CLE Seminars - 03/02/2012


  • Juris Doctor, Southern Illinois University School of Law, 1989
  • Master of Business Administration, Southern Illinois University, 1989
  • Bachelor of Science (magna cum laude), Bradley University, 1984 

Year Joined Firm




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Heyl Royster



Matthew Hefflefinger (Shareholder)


Matt is an aggressive advocate who has tried many cases to verdict and enjoys the challenge of complex litigation. He handles the defense of personal injury cases primarily focusing upon the trucking and construction industries. Matt is chair of the firm's Trucking/Motor Carrier Litigation Practice Group. He is frequently contacted immediately after a catastrophic loss to visit an accident scene and help develop the facts and case strategy with an eye toward a successful result once litigation is filed. Beyond his experience in trucking and construction matters, he also handles cases touching upon a wide variety of areas in commercial litigation. 

Matt is a Martindale-Hubbell AV rated lawyer who has remained extensively involved in the community serving on a number of boards of community organizations. He has taught a Masters level course in the graduate business program at Bradley University and is a frequent speaker at continuing legal education seminars held across the country addressing cutting edge trucking litigation topics. He has also been instrumental in founding two local charitable organizations dedicated to, among other things, awarding college scholarships to local high school seniors. In 2000, Matt was recognized as one of the "40 Leaders Under 40" by InterBusiness Issues, a leading publication in central Illinois.

Born in Pennsylvania, Matt began his legal career with Heyl Royster while he was still in law school by clerking with the firm during the summer. Following graduation, he joined the firm in the Peoria office in 1989 and became a partner in 1997.

Significant Cases

  • A.H. v. Illinois High School Association 263 F. Supp. 3d 705 (N.D. Ill. 2017), 881 F.3d 587 (7th Cir. 2018) – A.H., a T-36 disabled student athlete, filed suit against the IHSA contending that he was discriminated against under the ADA and Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution on the basis that the IHSA did not create a separate division in the State Series with different qualifying standards for para-ambulatory runners, such as A.H. At the District Court level, the court granted summary judgment in favor of the IHSA finding that A.H.’s request went beyond the scope of “reasonable accommodations” as required by the ADA. A.H. appealed to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and it affirmed. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals found that requiring the IHSA to lower its qualifying time standards would operate as a fundamental alteration of the State Track & Field competition. Furthermore, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that the IHSA provided an opportunity for A.H. to participate and compete on his high school team. The IHSA was not required under the ADA to guarantee A.H. certain results. This was the first appellate decision in the country which examined the extent to which accommodations are required in high school sports for student athletes with disabilities. 
  • Illinois High School Association v. Illinois Attorney General US District Court Northern District Illinois, Case Nos: 12 MR 151, 12 CV 1155, 12 CV 3758 – Successfully resolved litigation on behalf of the IHSA involving the rights of student athletes with disabilities in high school athletics.  In a case of first impression, the Illinois Attorney General argued that student athletes with disabilities needed separate events and modified qualifying times to earn points for their team and have an equal opportunity to participate in high school athletics. The case was successfully resolved on behalf of the IHSA after 2.5 years of intense litigation, which focused upon the application and scope of Titles 2 and 3 of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
  • Illinois Press Association, The State Journal-Register and the Northwest Herald v. Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Case No: 07 CH 885, Sangamon County. Illinois Press Association alleged that the IHSA was in breach of a 2008 Settlement Agreement for charging a fee for broadcasting high school playoff games on the Internet. The Illinois Press Association contended that the Internet broadcasting of playoff games constituted a "newspaper product." The IHSA was successful, and the court determined that the IHSA did have the legal right to charge fees for broadcasting playoff games on the Internet. Read Article
  • Hammond v. System Transport, Inc. 942 F.Supp.2d 867 (C.D. Ill. 2013) Rural intersection accident involving post-impact fire. Double fatality with admitted liability. Prior to trial, court ruled that evidence of any negligent acts  leading up to the accident were irrelevant. However, the manner of death was within the scope of damages allowable for grief, sorrow and mental suffering under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act. Despite no evidence suggesting either decedent survived the impact, plaintiffs' counsel argued various facts regarding the subsequent fire was relevant.  Despite some of the aggravating evidence associated with the fire post-occurrence, court ruled that it could not exclude all evidence associated with the manner of death or the events surrounding the accident. This was an issue of first impression in Illinois.
  • Burch v. Earle M. Jorgenson v. Morton Welding Circuit Court of Tazewell County, Illinois, Case No: 04 L 56 – Obtained summary judgment on the eve of trial for a welding company. Plaintiff suffered injuries during the unloading of a flat bed semi. Plaintiff had a career ending back injury, which resulted in three surgeries.  After summary judgment was entered for our client, the case settled for $2.2 million.
  • Jeramie Morris as special administrator of the Estate of Kimberly Gregorich, deceased and the Estate of John F. Parrett, IV deceased and Elizabeth Johnson, Individually and as special administrator of the Estate of Inara Parrett, deceased v. Nathan E. Merrill and Martin Co. Excavating Truck driver ran stop sign resulting in deaths of 18 month old child, child's father and child's grandmother. The child's mother survived, but suffered various injuries. Retained by insurance carrier to help navigate through potential bad faith issues. Complex pre-suit investigation with numerous issues explored, ultimately resulting in favorable settlement at mediation within our case evaluation.
  • Knight v. Smithway Motor Xpress, Inc. Case No. 08-4046 Trucking accident litigation involving serious injuries with a complicated recovery. There were multiple parties involved with claims for punitive damages and spoliation of evidence. We represented the bailee of the trailer involved in the accident, a concrete pre-cast manufacturer. It was alleged that the trailer involved had various brake problems arguably contributing to the accident. Complex case with a favorable settlement reached for our client through mediation.
  • Chapman v. Brokaw 225 Ill. App. 3d 662 (3d Dist. 1992) Jury trial arising from a dispute under a lease with an option to purchase a home in Peoria. Issues involved whether the covenant of quiet enjoyment was breached and whether our clients' properly exercised their option to purchase the property.
  • Cornett v. Gromenn Service Company v. Caterpillar Inc 227 Ill. App. 3d 148 (3d Dist. 1992) Third Party Complaint for Contribution against Caterpillar was dismissed as time-barred under the product liability statute of repose. 
  • Morton Community Bank v. Nash-Hasty Investments Tazewell County, 98 L 133, and NASD Arbitration No. 98-03671 Represented two stockbrokers against a bank in the successful arbitration of a covenant not to compete before the National Association of Securities Dealers.
  • Click here to view full list.


  • “Man, I Sure Do Miss Spending Time Together,” DRI, The Voice, Volume 20, Issue 3 (2021)
  • "Dakter v. Cavallino: An Anomaly or the New Normal?" DRI, For The Defense (2015) - Download Article
  • "Supreme Court Limits the Scope of Personal Jurisdiction" DRI, The Voice, Volume 14, Issue 30 (2015)
  • "Evidentiary Issues Involving Grief, Sorrow and Mental Suffering," DRI, In Transit - The Newsletter for the Trucking Law Committee (2014)
  • "Review of Broker Liability," For The Defense (2014) - Download Article
  • "Punitive Damages in Trucking Litigation: Recognizing Risk and Assessing Exposure," DRI, In Transit - The Newsletter for the Trucking Law Committee (2012) - Download Article

Public Speaking

  • “The Mythical Elevated Standard of Care and Defeating the Reptile”
    Iowa Motor Truck Association Safety Conference 2022
  • “Expectations of Panel Counsel: Do's and Don'ts”
    DRI Annual Meeting 2022
  • “The Mythical Elevated Standard of Care and Defeating the Reptile”
    International Warehouse Logistics Association (IWLA) Safety & Risk Conference 2022
  • “Juries & Nuclear Verdicts”
    IDC / MODL Defense Seminar 2022
  • “A Primer On The Newest Area In Trucking Litigation: Collision Mitigation Systems”
    ATA Litigation Center Trucking Legal Forum 2022
  • “When your Trucking Case Turns into a Products Case”
    DRI Trucking Seminar 2022
  • “Pitfalls of CDL and Training Manuals”
    Trucking Boot Camp for the Claims Professional XIV Seminars 2022
  • “Driver Handbooks, CDL Manuals and Driver Training Resources: Strategies in Handling Plaintiffs Use of These Materials, Defeating the Reptile and Avoiding the Nuclear Verdict”
    American Trucking Association 2021
  • “Driver Handbooks, CDL Manuals and Driver Training Resources: Strategies in Handling Plaintiffs Use of These Materials, Defeating the Reptile and Avoiding the Nuclear Verdict”
    Iowa Motor Truck Association 2020
  • “Nuclear Verdicts and How to Avoid Them”
    Mid-West Truck & Trailer Show 2020
  • “Effective Team Building Strategies That Drive Results”
    DRI National Leadership Meeting 2020
  • “Driver Handbooks, CDL Manuals & Driver Training Resources: Effective Challenges and Strategies to Plaintiffs’ Use of These Materials”
    Arkansas Trucking Seminar 2019
  • “Nuclear Verdicts and How to Avoid Them”
    2019 Cottingham & Butler Transportation Safety Workshop
  • “Disability Litigation”
    NFHS' Legal Meeting 2017, 2018 & 2019
  • “Large Verdicts: Is Hindsight 20/20?”
    ABA Transportation Megaconference XIII 2017
  • “Student Accommodations - Accommodating Student Athletes with Disabilities”
    Heyl Royster Education Seminar 2016
  • “Collision Mitigation Systems: State of the Technology and Impact Upon the Trucking Industry”
    DRI Trucking Law Seminar 2016
  • “CYA 101: When Do I Contact a Lawyer – After the Accident? Work Comp Claim? Problem Employee?”
    Moderator, Mid-West Truck & Trailer Show, Peoria 2016
  • Click here to view full list”

Professional Recognition

  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent
  • Selected as a Leading Lawyer in Illinois. Only five percent of lawyers in the state are named as Leading Lawyers.
  • 40 Leaders Under 40 - Peoria, 2000
  • Abraham Lincoln American Inn of Court (President 2005-2006)

Professional Associations

  • Trucking Industry Defense Association (TIDA)
  • Transportation Lawyers Association (TLA)
  • Defense Research Institute (National Director; Trucking Law Committee Chair, 2018-2020; Vice Chair, 2016-2018; Membership Chair, 2014-2016)
  • Illinois Trucking Association
  • Iowa Motor Truck Association
  • Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel
  • Abraham Lincoln Court (Past President)
  • American Bar Association (Vice Chair, TIPS Commercial Transportation Litigation Committee)
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • Peoria County Bar Association
  • Iowa State Bar Association

Court Admissions

  • State Courts of Illinois
  • State Courts of Iowa
  • United States District Court, Central District of Illinois
  • United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois (Trial Bar)
  • United States District Court, Southern District of Illinois
  • United States District Court, Southern District of Indiana
  • United States District Court, Southern District of Iowa
  • United States District Court, Northern District of Iowa
  • United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

Community Involvement

  • Past Board Member - Habitat for Humanity (Vice-President)
  • Past Board Member - Children's Hospital of Illinois
  • Past Board Member - Easter Seals - UCP
  • Co-Founder - River Cup Foundation
  • Co-Founder - Maxheimer Memorial Scholarship Foundation
  • Volunteer Basketball and Baseball Coach