7.7 million verdict
December 14, 2022 By Esme Johnson


Our client, Mr. O’Reilly, was a career-long pipefitter with Local 597. He started in the trades in 1979 and retired in 2019. He worked as a contractor all over Chicagoland with industrial facilities like U.S. Steel, BP, Amoco Chemical, and many others. As a pipefitter, he worked with piping insulation and other asbestos-containing products like pumps, gaskets, and valves. This exposure led to a diagnosis of pleural mesothelioma in his left lung in January 2020. In February 2020, doctors discovered that the cancer was in both lungs. His wife and two daughters survive Mr. O’Reilly.

The Vogelzang Law litigation team took the case from sign-up to resolution, fighting relentlessly for the O’Reilly family. Michael Maienza led the team as first chair, with the help of the entire litigation and bankruptcy team and staff and administrators. 

When asked about the trial, first chair Michael Maienza said, “This verdict is all the hard work for the family paying off. To take the case all the way to the verdict is exhilarating. At certain moments, I thought the defendants might change their minds and not want us to go all the way and say, ‘All right, it’s time to settle the case.’ They never took that position and allowed us to go all the way and get across the finish line and get a verdict for the family.”

“We are litigation attorneys – that’s our bread and butter,” says Christian Luciano, Vogelzang Law lawyer, and litigation team member. “We want to take every case that we sign on to trial so that we can achieve the best possible results for our clients. Mrs. O’Reilly and her daughters wanted to pursue this case to trial to hold these defendants accountable, and ultimately, we achieved a great result for their family.”

The case was incredibly document heavy and often had exhibits numbering in the hundreds of thousands of pages. This is where the support staff came and took the reigns. Their dedication and organization allowed the attorneys to focus on the trial and achieve a historical jury verdict.

“This verdict was truly a team effort from all of the other Vogelzang Law attorneys and the staff,” said Maienza. “From the other attorneys assisting from behind the scenes to our paralegals and staff – because of them, we had everything we needed to give the case the fight it deserved.”

The Vogelzang Law team is grateful to the judge and jury for recognizing the wrong done to Mr. O’Reilly and his family. Hopefully, this verdict is a step in the right direction in banning asbestos and supporting exposed workers. 

Please see your doctor immediately if you or a loved one has been exposed to asbestos. Advances in medicine are making early diagnosis and treatment for mesothelioma more effective. Please visit our mesothelioma page to learn more.