Honorable Judge Sylvia Matthews

Sylvia Matthews has served as a state court trial judge for 15 years - 10 years as a full-time civil district judge in Harris County and five years as a part-time visiting judge. As a visiting judge, she is assigned to preside over four Multi-District Litigation matters and she sits in courts where the presiding judge is absent.  She has presided over hundreds of civil trials and managed a docket of thousands of cases including those involving injuries at the workplace, industrial job-site accidents, Texas Department of Insurance DWC decision challenges, employment contract disputes, non-compete issues, partnership disputes, and complex business litigation, among other types of cases.  
Since early 2019, Judge Matthews has had an arbitration and mediation practice and is on the American Arbitration Association roster of arbitrators. She has mediated or arbitrated a variety of cases included personal injury claims, oil and gas disputes, breach of contract issues, trade secret issues, and employment disputes.

Before being appointed to the bench in 2008, she had civil trial practice for 20 plus years.    As a young lawyer she cut her teeth trying premises liability cases and insurance defense claims. She also has experience in pharmaceutical litigation, products liability claims, and business torts. 

Sylvia is married to Murray Fogler, a partner in Fogler, Brar, O’Neil & Gray LLP.  She enjoys theater, architecture, long-distance running, and spending time with her family.  She is a longtime member of St. John the Divine Episcopal Church and a proud grandmother.

Education  + -

  • The University of South Carolina School of Law
  • The College of Charleston
    Mathmatics, BS; Cum Laude
  • Texas Board of Legal Specialization
    Board Certified in Civil Trial Law

Experience  + -

  • 281st District Court
    Judge   10+ Years
  • American Arbitration Association
  • State of Texas
    Visiting Judge   5+ Years
  • Statewide Multi-District Litigations
    MDL Judge   5+ Years
  • Andrews Kurth LLP ( Now Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP )
    Litigation Partner

Memberships & Affiliations  + -

  • State Bar of Texas
  • Houston Bar Association
  • Texas Bar Foundation
    Fellow; Life Fellow   1998; 2000
  • Houston Bar Foundation
    Fellow   1999
  • Texas College Bar
    Professional Society of Legal Scholars
  • Texas Association of Civil Trial and Appellate Specialists
    President; Board Member   2018 - 2020; 2015 - Present

Honors & Awards  + -

  • HBA President’s Award for exemplary service and leadership through Hurricane Harvey
  • HBA President’s Award for outstanding service as co-chair of the Administration of Justice Committee

Speaking / Authoring / Seminars  + -

Recent Presentations/Publications

  • Moderator, ChatGPT: The Possibilities and Potential Problems, TACTAS (September 2023)
  • Panel Member, Federal/State Coordination, The 2023 Baylor MDL Judicial Summit, Baylor University School of Law (June 2023)
  • Co-Author, Multidistrict Litigation: Practice Tips for Consolidated Pretrial Proceedings, The Houston Lawyer, Vol. 60, No. 1 (July/August 2022)
  • Panel Member, The Basics of Multidistrict Litigation, Texas Center for the Judiciary (June 2022)
  • Panel Member, A Case Got Tagged Into An MDL – Now What?, Texas Center for the Judiciary (April 2022)
  • Moderator, What Judges Want From Trial Lawyers, Young Lawyers Trial Skills Program, ABA Litigation Section and The American College of Trial Lawyers (April 2022)
  • Panel Member, 21st Annual Complex Litigation Symposium, Louisiana State Bar Association (November 2021)
  • Moderator, What You Need to Know About Litigation Finance, TACTAS (January 2020)
  • Panel Member, Employment Law 101: Anatomy of an Employment Dispute, TexasBar CLE (January 2020)